Editio Regia

From Textus Receptus

Jump to: navigation, search
3rd edition of Estienne's New Testament opened to the beginning of the Gospel of John
3rd edition of Estienne's New Testament opened to the beginning of the Gospel of John
4th edition of New Testament of Robert Estienne
4th edition of New Testament of Robert Estienne

Editio Regia (Royal edition) is the third and the most important edition of the Greek New Testament of Robert Estienne (1503-1559). It is one of the most important printed editions of the Greek New Testament in history, the Textus Receptus. It was named Editio Regia because of the beautiful and elegant Greek font it uses.

It was edited by Estienne (Stephanus is the Latinized version of the French name Estienne) in 1550 at Paris. It is the first Greek Testament that has a critical apparatus. Estienne entered on the margins of the pages variant readings from 15 Greek manuscripts as well as many readings from the Complutensian Polyglot.[1] He designated all these sources by symbols from α' to ις'. The Complutensian Polyglot was signified by α'. The oldest manuscript used in this edition was the Codex Bezae, which had been collated for him, "by friends in Italy" (secundo exemplar vetustissimum in Italia ab amicis collatum). The majority of these manuscripts are held in National Library of France to the present day.

The text of the editions of 1546 and 1549 was a composition of the Complutesian and Erasmian Novum Testamentum. The third edition approaches more closely to the Erasmian fourth and fifth editions. According to John Mill first and second editions differ in 67 places, and the third in 284 places.[2] The third edition became for many people, especially in England, the normative text of the Greek New Testament. The fourth edition used exactly the same text as the third, without a critical apparatus, but the text is divided into numbered verses for the first time in the history of the printed text of Greek New Testament. It was used for the Geneva Bible.

A collation against the first edition of Stephanus, 1546, reveals that in 38 passages the editor here rejected the Complutensian reading in favor of that if Erasmus, whereas the converse occurs only twice. This edition is the important 1550 printing in Paris by Estienne (Robert Stephanus) of the Greek New Testament, based on the final lifetime edition of Erasmus of Rotterdam. This was this printing that Stephanus used to divid e th e text into numbered verses which he first put into print in the 1551 edition. These two Stephanus printings (1550, 1551) were utilized by th e translators of the New Testament for the 1611 King James Bible and became cited as the fundament of the 1633 “Textus Receptus” Greek New Testament printed by the Elzeviers in Amsterdam (DM 4679) – “Est haec ipsa editio ex qua derivatur quem nostri textum receptum vulgo vocant, nomine rei minus bene aptato”.


The British Magazine

The number of manuscripts used by Stephanus in the production of his first three editions was elucidated by Huyshe at the beginning of the nineteenth century. His findings can be downloaded in PDF format here. A summary is found in The British Magazine vol. 3, London 1833, pp. 285 (bracketed are footnotes):

“Upon his (Stephanus’) petition to his high-minded patron, Francis I., (The king of France) he was accommodated with the use of fifteen MSS. from the royal library; out of these, and some one private MS., he formed the text of the “O mirificam,” of 1546. (Stephanus’ first edition) This stock he nearly doubled while he was preparing for the glory of his life, the folio of 1550; and when the text of that splendid edition had been formed from it, he selected seven of the fifteen royal MSS. and six of the private, numbered 2-14, to give opposing (I.e. variant) readings to his first volume (the Gospels and the Acts) which together with those of one of the previous editions, (The Complutensian) No. 1, are given in the inner margin. As a sufficient number of these thirteen MSS. contained the epistles of St. Paul, and the remainder of the third part of the sacred text (the catholic epistles) there was no alteration made in the opposing materials for giving various readings thus far, in the second volume. But in the Revelations (the 4th part of the sacred text) all the thirteen of the first selection failed. A new selection then became necessary, and No. 15 was taken out of the royal MSS., and No 16 out of the private MSS., with the printed edition, (The Complutensian) to furnish opposing (I.e. variant) readings to the new text, there. A reading or two was given from each of the two last selected MSS., in the previous part of the work, probably (as I have imagined) to shew that the royal MS., No. 15, contained the whole of this second volume; (Viz. the Pauline epistles) and that the private one, No. 16, contained the whole New Testament. The original set of MSS. then amounted to little more than half of what were obtained in the whole, for the text of the folio; and exactly half of that set, (viz., eight of the royal MSS.) and about one half of those that were obtained afterwards, together with the Complutensian print, made up the set that was taken first and last to oppose (I.e. give variants for) the text of the folio in the marginal readings. Such was the theory of a pamphlet (By Huyshe) entitled “Specimen of an intended publication &c”, (London, 1827) namely, that Stephanus had fifteen MSS. from the royal library, but that he had, in all, 16 MSS., “posterioribus diebus,” (“At a later date”) for the first edition of 1546; that these were increased, as might naturally be expected, by his keeping his son so long searching the libraries of Italy, to thirty, and more, for the folio; (Viz. the Editio Regia of 1550) and that a selection was made out of the whole, to furnish opposing (I.e. variant) readings in the margin.” [1]

Manuscripts and sources used in Editio Regia

In his preface Estienne said that he had used sixteen manuscripts as his sources.[3]

α' Complutensian Polyglot 16th New Testament
β' Codex Bezae 5th Gospels, Acts University of Cambridge
γ' Minuscule 4 13th Gospels National Library of France
δ' Minuscule 5 13th New Testament (except Rev) National Library of France
ε' Minuscule 6 13th New Testament (except Rev) National Library of France
ς' Minuscule 2817 12th Pauline epistles University of Basel
ζ' Minuscule 8 11th Gospels National Library of France
η' Codex Regius 8th Gospels National Library of France
θ' Minuscule 38 12th New Testament (except Rev) National Library of France
ι' Minuscule 2298 ? 11th Acts, Pauline epistles National Library of France
ια' Unidentified
ιβ' Minuscule 9 1167 Gospels National Library of France
ιγ' Minuscule 393 University of Cambridge, Kk. 6.4 (?)
ιδ' Codex Victorinus, 774 (Minuscule 120)
ιε' Minuscule 237 (?)
ις' Unidentified
 ? Minuscule 42
 ? Minuscule 111

Manuscripts γ', δ', ε', ς', ζ', η', ι', ιε' were taken from the King Henry II's Library (Royal Library of France, now Bibliothèque nationale de France). It was suggested by Wettstein that θ' means Codex Coislinianus (it came to France ca. 1650, and was not available in time of Estienne).

See also

1550 Greek New Testament
1550 Greek New Testament


  • 1. T. H. L. Parker, Calvin's New Testament Commentaries, (London: CSM Press, 1971), p. 103.
  • 2. Cited by J. J. Griesbach, Novum Testamentum Graece, vol. 1, Prolegomena, p. XXIII.; F.H. A., Scrivener, A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament, Cambridge 1861, pp. 387-388.
  • 3. F. H. A. Scrivener, A Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament, Cambridge 1861, p. 299.

External links

Personal tools