Jubilees Palimpsest

The Jubilees Palimpsest Project

About the Jubilees Palimpsest


In the fifth century a Latin translation of Jubilees (originally composed in Hebrew in the 150s BCE) was copied with another work associated with Moses, the Testament (or Assumption) of Moses. In the eighth century, presumably at the Bobbio abbey, that codex was unbound, erased, and recombined with another erased manuscript of the Arian Commentary on Luke. The erased parchment was then used to copy Eugippius’s anthology of the works of Augustine. In the seventeenth century that palimpsest was brought to the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan, where it is preserved today. In 1861 A. M. Ceriani published the editio princeps. Additional scholarship on the manuscript was offered by H. Rönsch (1874). After the nineteenth century there were no successful attempts to recover additional text of Jubilees or the Testament of Moses.

Images of the Manuscript

The manuscript is the property of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana. Commercial use of images of the manuscript must be licensed from them, direzione.biblioteca@ambrosiana.it.

A reconstruction of the original fifth-century codex of Latin Moses (including Jubilees and the Testament of Moses) facilitates visualization of the preserved portion and the structure of a quire-based codex. (LINK)

All available images are stored on the project IIIF Repository, using the IIIF Image and Presentation APIs. The IIIF Presentation manifests can be viewed in Mirador or the Leaflet-based IIIF Navigator. The microfilm and 2011 images previously listed here are integrated into the IIIF manifests.

A paleography chart (utilizing the IIIF Image API) is also available (HTML).

Descriptions of the Manuscript

Peyron, Amedeus. Ciceronis orationum. Stuttgart: Cottae, 1824.

Mai, Angelo. Scriptorum veterum nova collectio e vaticania codicibus. Vol. 3. Rome: Typis Vaticanis, 1828.

Dillmann, A. “Das Buch der Jubiläen oder die kleine Genesis.” In Jahrbücher der biblischen Wissenschaft 2–3 (1850-1851) pp. 230–256, 1–96.

Ceriani, A. M. Monumenta Sacra et Profana. 2 vols. Milan: Bibliotheca Ambrosiana, 1861–1863.

Volkmar, Gustav. Mose Prophetie und Himmelfahrt: Eine Quelle für das Neue Testament, zum ersten Male deutsch herausgegeben, im Zusammenhang der Apokrypha und der Christologie überhaupt. Fues’ Verlag, 1867.

Rönsch, H. Das Buch der Jubiläen oder die Kleine Genesis. Leipzig: Fues’s Verlag [R. Reisland], 1874.

Wordsworth, John, W. Sanday, and H. J. White. Portions of the Gospels according to St. Mark and St. Matthew. Oxford: Clarendon, 1886.

Knöll, Pius. Evgippii Excerpta ex operibvs S. Avgvstini, Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 9. Vindobona: apvd C. Geroldi filivm, 1885.

Charles, Robert Henry. The Ethiopic Version of the Hebrew Book of Jubilees. Oxford: Clarendon, 1895.

Charles, Robert Henry. The Assumption of Moses: Translated from the Latin Sixth Century Manuscript, the Unemended Text of Which Is Published Herewith, Together with the Text in Its Restored and Critically Emended Form. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1897.

Clemen, Carl. Die Himmelfahrt Des Mose. Kleine Texte für Theologische Vorlesungen und Übungen. Bonn: Marcus und Weber, 1904.

Laperrousaz, Ernest-Marie. Le Testament de Moïse: (Généralement Appelé “Assomption de Moïse”). Semitica 19. Paris: Librairie d’Amérique et d’Orient, 1970.

Denis, A. M. Concordance Latine Du Liber Jubilaeorum Sive Parva Genesis. Informatique et Étude de Textes 4. Louvain: Publications du CETEDOC, Université Catholique de Louvain, 1973.

Denis, A.M. Concordance Latine des Pseudepigraphes d'Ancien Testament. Turnhout: Brepols, 1993.

Gryson, Roger. Les palimpsestes ariens latins de Bobbio: contribution à la methodologie de l’étude des palimpsestes, Armarium Codicum Insignium 2. Turnhout: Brepols, 1983.

Tromp, Johannes. The Assumption of Moses: A Critical Edition with Commentary. Studia in Veteris Testamenti Pseudepigrapha. Leiden: Brill, 1993.

Hofmann, Norbert Johannes. Die Assumptio Mosis: Studien Zur Rezeption Massgültiger Überlieferung. Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism 67. Leiden: Brill, 2000.

Hanneken, Todd. “The Book of Jubilees in Latin.” In The Textual History of the Bible. Armin Lange, General Editor; Matthias Henze, Editor of Volume 2, DeuteroCanonical Writings. Leiden: Brill, 2015.

Stansbury, Mark. Earlier Latin Manuscripts based on E.A. Lowe, Codices Latini Antiquiores, Galway, 2022.


Bibliography on the Bobbio manuscripts

Seebass, O., “Handschriften von Bobbio in der Vatikanischen und Ambrosianischen Bibliotek” in Centralblatt für Bibliothekswesen volume 13 (1896) pp. 1–12, 57–79. Available through Google Books.

C. H. Beeson, “The Palimpsests of Bobbio,” in Miscellanea Giovanni Mercati, vol. 6, Rome 1946, p. 162–184 (Studi et testi, 126).

M. van den Hout, “Gothic palimpsests of Bobbio,” in Scriptorium, vol. 6 (1952), pp. 91–93.

P. Collura, Studi paleografici: la precarolina e la carolina a Bobbio, 2nd edition, Florence 1965 (Fontes Ambrosiani, 22).

P. Engelbert, “Zur Frühgeschichte des Bobbieser Skriptoriums,” in Revue Bénédictine, vol. 78 (1968), p. 220–260.

Michael Richter, Bobbio in the Early Middle Ages: The Abiding Legacy of Columbanus. 2008.

Wikipedia History of the Library at Bobbio Abbey wikipedia.org

Bibliography on Latin Palimpsests

E. A. Lowe, “Codices Rescripti: A List of the Oldest Latin Palimpsests with Stray Observations on Their Origin” 1964. First publication, Melanges Eugene Tisserant vol. 5, Studi e Testi 235., pp. 67–112, reprinted 1972.

Bernhard Bischoff, Latin Palaeography: Antiquity and the Middle Ages, Cambridge University Press, 1990. First published 1979.

George Declercq, ed., Early Medieval Palimpsests. Bibliologia 26. Turnhout: Brepols, 2007.

Bibliography on the Manuscripts of Eugippius

Gorman, Michael Murray. “The Manuscript Tradition of Eugippius’s Excerpta ex Operibus Sancti Augustini.” Revue Bénédictine 92 (1982): 7–32, 229–265.

Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum (CSEL) Vol. 9/2, EUGIPPIUS, Excerpta ex operibus S. Augustini, ed. P. Knöll, 1886. TEI Encoded XML

Bibliography on the Arian Commentary on Luke

Meslin, Michel. Les Ariens d’Occident, 335–430. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1967.

Gryson’s edition in Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 87, Scripta Arriana Latina, 1982.

Kellerman, James A. Incomplete Commentary on Matthew (Opus Imperfectum). 2 vols. Vol. 1, Ancient Christian Texts. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2010.

Lorenz, Rudolf. Arius judaizans?: Unters. zur dogmengeschichtl. Einordnung d. Arius, Forschungen zur Kirchen- und Dogmengeschichte 31. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1979.

Van Banning, Joop. Opus imperfectum in Matthaeum. Vol. 1, Praefatio. Turnhout: Brepols, 1988.

Compare Ambrose’s Commentary on Luke from around the same time: Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum (CSEL) Vol. 32/4 AMBROSIUS, Expositio evangelii secundum Lucam, ed. C. Schenkl 1902. TEI Encoded XML

Links Pertaining to the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan