Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Khabouris Codex
Shlama Kulkhon:
This is the latest whereabouts of the Khabouris Codex. It was to be auctioned off at Sotheby's in London, England. Does anyone have any more current information. Was the auction completed or was the Khabouris withdrawn?


Lot Details
Sotheby's - London - 2007

Show Location Details
34-35 New Bond Street
London, Greater London
United Kingdom
Phone: +44 (0)207 293 5000
Fax: +44 (0)207 293 5989
Email: <!-- e --><a href=""></a><!-- e -->


Lot 30 : The Khabouris Codex, the New Testament in Syriac, manuscript on vellum
Price Realized:
Please sign in or subscribe to Artfact Basic to see realized prices.

Pre-Auction Price Estimate:
Please sign in or subscribe to Artfact Basic to see estimated prices.

The Khabouris Codex, the New Testament in Syriac, manuscript on vellum

[Assyria, (probably Nineveh), eleventh or twelfth century] 252 leaves , 260mm. by 184mm.,3 leaves added slightly later (see below) to complete text, collation: i 8 (vi & vii are singletons), ii-xxv 10 , plus 2 detached leaves and 2 more attached to binding, paginated in modern pencil 1-510 (missing out 155-8 and 239-40; but followed here), written space 200mm. by 125mm., single column, 29 lines in dark brown ink mainly in an accomplished Estrangel?? script, with pp.13-14, 39-40, 53-5 in East Adiabene script on leaves added later, diacritical marks in darker brown ink, beginnings of books and rubrics in red, some paragraphs touched in red, some wear and parchment cockled through water damage, some folios at each end difficult to read, and parts of the colophons very damaged, in thick olive-wood boards (front detached, back partially detached and split with old repair)

provenance(1) According to the most popular interpretation of the difficult colophon, this manuscript was copied in Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian empire, from a now-lost manuscript which may have dated to the second century AD, and bears the authenticating seal and signature of the bishop of Nineveh as a true and accurate copy. Carbon-dating has now shown that this copy was made in the eleventh or twelfth century.(2) Acquired by Norman Malik Yonan of Richmond, Virginia, and sold before his death in 1970 to D. McDougald, and by descent to the present owner.

text Syriac is a dialect, or group of dialects, of Middle Aramaic, a direct descendant of the language spoken by Christ and his immediate audience. It was an important literary language throughout the Middle East from the second to the eighth century AD, and a Peshitta Syriac version of the Old Testament was in existence by the second or third century AD, followed by a Peshitta Syriac version of the New Testament by the early fifth century, when the whole work became the standard Bible of the Syriac-speaking eastern church. The zealous missionary work of this church in the lands to the east, and the various movements of groups of the church spread this text throughout the Christian communities of the Middle East, and into India. In 489 many Syriac-speaking Christians living in the Roman Empire fled to Persia to escape persecution. These refugees became the ?Nestorian? Christians, and spread far into Asia, reaching China by 635, and according to the Patriarch Timothy I (727-823) a large Christian community existed in Tibet in his lifetime. Nestorian Christianity was accepted as the official religion of the steppe-people the Khitans, and was absorbed through them into the religious sphere of Genghis Khan and his Mongolian successors. Marco Polo, William of Rubruck, and the other western visitors to the Mongol court in the thirteenth century report the presence of many Nestorian Christian communities in the empire, and often the respected position of the priests. From the seventh century Syriac as a language began to loose ground to Arabic as the dominant spoken language of the Middle East, and following the conversion of the Mongols to Islam, the language went into rapid decline. Whereas the majority of the branches of the Early Church relied on the Greek Septuagint, the Syriac-speaking church may have translated its text from an early form of the Hebrew tradition, similar but not identical to the present Masoretic one. The Peshitta version of the New Testament in particular includes a number of important variants, and unlike the Greek canon, it does not contain the Second Epistle of Peter, the Second Epistle of John, the Third Epistle of John, the Epistle of Jude or the Book of Revelation. The remaining contents of the present volume are Matthew (pp.2-73); Mark (73-117); Luke (117-98); John (198-257); Acts (257-338); the Catholic Epistles (those of James, Peter, and John, pp.338-360); Epistle to the Romans (360-87); Epistle to the Corinthians (387-415); II Corinthians (416-33); Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians, I Timothy, II Timothy, Titus, Philemon (433-88); Hebrews (488-506). The present manuscript is an excellent example of a Peshitta New Testament, and is remarkable for its completeness. Of the approximately 360 extant manuscripts, only about 50 can compare to this one in age, and only a handful of those are complete. In recent generations the present manuscript has acquired fame as a cultural icon of a quite extraordinary kind. Its provenance closely associates it with the more well-known Yonan Codex, which was lauded as ?Christendom?s most precious document?, offered to the Library of Congress in the mid-1950s for $1,500,000, and driven around all 48 states in a custom-built glass-domed bus named ?the Spirit of Galilee? (it was eventually sold in our rooms 24 June 1986, lot 129, and bought by the Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Mi., where it remains today). That manuscript was named after Mr. Norman Malik Yonan, a Washington based businessman who was of Iranian descent. He was convinced that this codex dated to the third or fourth century AD (since dated by various scholars to the seventh, ninth and even twelfth century) and was thus the earliest extant example of a Syriac New Testament. However, the Yonan Codex is missing considerable portions of the text, and so Mr. Yonan and an associate, Mr. D. MacDougald, committed their energies to the pursuit of a complete version. According to their own reports (which may be exaggerated or even fabricated) they discovered the present manuscript in a small Assyrian monastery on the River Khabor, a tributary of the River Euphrates, and hence gave their discovery the name the Khabouris Codex. They claimed to have enlisted the support and aid of the abbot in deciphering some of the text, and purchased the codex from the monastery and brought it to America. Mr. Yonan interpreted the worn and damaged colophon of the manuscript and a subsequent inscription to date it between 195 AD and 410 AD; making it, as he explained in his press-release, potentially older than the Yonan Codex, the Codex Syriac Sinaiticus, the Cureton Codex and the Jerusalem Codex. However, doubt was raised by a number of scholars after Yonan?s death in 1970. Correspondence from 1986 shows that the British Library experts had dated it paleolographically to about the twelfth century, and this has now been confirmed by a research team assembled in America in 1995, as well as by carbon dating by the University of Arizona in 1999 (giving the date range 1000-1190 AD). Some belief has remained, however, and debate has persisted over the reading of the colophon, which if Yonan?s decipherment is accurate indicates that the manuscript?s ultimate exemplar was written in the period 195-410, making it (and the readings in this text) older than the earliest known Greek canons of the New Testament. The codex has been used by a number of modern-day Christians for religious-healing or holistic purposes, and soon after 1970 MacDougald himself transcribed from the present manuscript the text of the Beatitudes in Christ?s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5.3?12), and used these to develop a course of contemplative study named ?Emotional Maturity Instruction?, which claimed to significantly improve the mental health of those who contemplated and recited aloud transcriptions of the present manuscript. The course met with some approval and was even used by magistrates in Atlanta in an attempt to quell anti-social prisoners (see B. Metzger, ?The Saga of the Yonan Codex?, B.M. Metzger, 1997, Reminiscences of an Octogenarian, p. 115 for fuller discussion). A revived form of this course is still taught annually by Dr M. Ryce at Heartland, a teaching centre in the Ozark Mountains of Southern Missouri. Most recently, the Khabouris Codex has been the subject of a great deal of interest, and while on loan to the Queensborough Community College in New York it was photographed with high-resolution digital photography in the summer of 2004. At the same time the text was transcribed, and photographs of the manuscript are now available via the internet with parallel Syriac text and Modern English translation. This must now be the most accessible Peshitta codex, and will remain an invaluable tool that will continue to be consulted by scholars and students in the future, ensuring that the original manuscript will remain a well-known cultural icon, and at the centre of future debate.

Messages In This Thread
Khabouris Codex - by SP Silver - 04-27-2008, 12:11 PM
Re: Khabouris Codex - by enarxe - 04-27-2008, 10:00 PM
Re: Khabouris Codex - by SP Silver - 04-27-2008, 10:32 PM
Re: Khabouris Codex - by Paul Younan - 04-28-2008, 12:16 AM
Re: Khabouris Codex - by EEChO - 09-20-2009, 03:23 AM
Re: Khabouris Codex - by Stephen Silver - 09-20-2009, 03:51 AM
Re: Khabouris Codex - by EEChO - 09-22-2009, 10:03 AM
Re: Khabouris Codex - by Lars Lindgren - 09-25-2009, 02:00 PM
Khabouris Codex - by Stephen Silver - 09-26-2009, 12:25 AM

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)