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Browse the Gothic Bible

By default the text is presented verse by verse, with selected interlinear translations. Every word is ‘clickable’, linked to tentative lexical and morphosyntactic analyses. These annotations have been generated automatically and are gradually being disambiguated or corrected where necessary. Visit the download page if you prefer static documents for offline reading or processing.

Table of contents

Configuration choose interlinear translations and other parameters

Gospels:

Matthew chapter 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 25 | 26 | 27

John chapter 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19

Luke chapter 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20

Mark chapter 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16

Pauline epistles:

Romans chapter 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16

Corinthians I chapter 1 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16

Corinthians II chapter 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13

Ephesians chapter 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Galatians chapter 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Philippians chapter 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Colossians chapter 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Thessalonians I chapter 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Thessalonians II chapter 1 | 2 | 3

Timothy I chapter 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Timothy II chapter 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Titus chapter 1 | 2

Philemon chapter 1

Minor fragments:

Nehemiah chapter 5 | 6 | 7

Skeireins leaf 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Signatures deed 1 | 2

Calendar month 10 | 11

Note. For technical reasons, the non-biblical fragments in the database have been forced somewhat awkwardly into the ‘canonical’ reference system of the Bible. For instance, the familiar <chapter:verse> pair becomes <leaf:sentence> in the Skeireins or even <month:day> in the Calendar. For more natural reading, have a look at the literal transcription of Streitberg's Anhang. Please note that Streitberg's rendering of the Skeireins is quite outdated. If you are seriously interested in the minor fragments, turn to Christian Petersen's well-documented editions.

Where are the missing parts?

Judging from emails received over the course of the last years, the most frequently asked question seems to be: where can I find John 1:1? The short answer is: you can't. Wulfila reputedly translated the whole Bible except the Books of Kings, but only parts of the translation have been preserved, and none of the surviving manuscripts is complete.1 Slightly more than half of the New Testament is extant. With the exception of the second epistle to the Corinthians, every book has gaps, ranging from a few verses to several chapters. As for the Old Testament, only a small fragment of Nehemiah has survived. As far as we know, the extant biblical texts can all be accessed from the menu above, minus a few minor fragments (notably Codex Gissensis, containing fragments of Luke 23 and 24).

The Greek text

There is no doubt that the Gothic Bible was translated from Greek: daß Wulfila die gotische Bibel aus dem Griechischen übersetzt hat, lehrt fast ein jeder Vers seiner Übertragung, es bedarf daher nicht des ausdrücklichen Zeugnisses der Acta S. Nicetæ (Streitberg 1919, p. XXXI). However, it is not an easy task to determine the precise source text used by Wulfila. Streitberg's attempt to reconstruct the unknown ‘Vorlage’, printed on the left-hand pages of his edition, is nowadays generally criticised for being too dependent on the theories of Hermann von Soden. See e.g. James Marchand at WEMSK (who labels the reconstruction seriously flawed) or Elfriede Stutz:

Wenn eine gotische Bibelausgabe einen griechischen Text enthält, beruht dieser auf Kombinationen des Herausgebers. So hatte Bernhardt […] einen griech[ischen] Text durch freie Auswahl aus der Gesamtüberlieferung unter Bevorzugung des Codex Alexandrinus (A) zusammengestellt, während Streitbergs griechische Vorlage […] ein Koine-text ist, rekonstruiert in Anlehnung an die textgeschichtliche Theorie Hermann von Sodens, die keine bleibende Anerkennung gefunden hat. Ein Germanist muß sich in diesen schwierigen Fragen auf den Spuren der theologischen Forschung bewegen, und dabei kann es vorkommen, daß er — wie Streitberg — in eine unglückliche Abhängigkeit gerät. (Stutz 1966, p. 31; my emphasis)

For this reason — and the amount of time it would take to transcribe Streitberg's Greek text — it seemed wise to focus on other areas first. So please note that the interlinear Greek text presented on this website is not Streitberg's reconstruction of the original Greek source, but an electronic version of Nestle-Aland's Novum Testamentum Graece (26th/27th edition). This is obviously not the version used by Wulfila. Like the other interlinear translations, it is provided for illustrative purposes only, in order to make the Gothic text more accessible. It should not be used for a close study of the translation technique.2

Editorial interventions by Streitberg

Angular brackets < > indicate additions to the text, square brackets [ ] indicate deletions, italic text indicates that certain characters or words can not be identified with complete certainty. These conventions have been retained in the online text. Additionally, variations between parallel versions of the same verse (e.g. Codex Ambrosianus A and B) are optionally displayed in boldface.

Apart from the additions and deletions indicated by brackets, Streitberg made numerous corrections that are not marked in the text, but mentioned in the apparatus at the bottom of the page, typically in the form qiþiþ] qiþiþiþ CA. Conversely, phonologically relevant ‘orthographical errors’ were left untouched in the text, but corrected in the apparatus, e.g. greitiþ] CA für gretiþ:

Orthographische Fehler sind nur dann im Text verbessert, wenn sie für die Erkenntnis der Aussprache bedeutungslos sind (Streitberg 1919, Erläuterungen, p. LI).

Regrettably, the critical apparatus has not yet been digitized. We do plan to integrate it into the TEI edition later on, possibly with annotations and references to recent emendations (e.g. Snædal 1998). Meanwhile, it is important to bear in mind that the electronic edition in its current form offers a partially normalized text with many unmarked emendations to the manuscript. It should be used in conjunction with the apparatus in the printed version or — better still — facsimile editions of the manuscripts (the Codex Argenteus can now be studied online).

Sigla used in this edition

Notes

(1) Three historical sources mention Wulfila as the author of a translation of the Holy Scriptures. We refer to Streitberg 1920, §10: Philostorgios, Sokrates und Sozomenos erzählen übereinstimmend, daß Wulfila die gotischen Buchstaben erfunden und die h. Schriften übersetzt habe; Philostorgios mit der Einschränkung, Wulfila habe die Bücher der Könige unübersetzt gelassen, um den kriegerischen Sinn seines Volkes durch sie nicht noch stärker zu entflammen. (read more...). The statements from the church historians mentioned above, cited from Streitberg 1919, pp. XIX-XXIII:

Sokrates: «τότε δὲ καὶ Οὐλφίλας ὁ τῶν Γότθων ἐπίσκοπος γράμματα ἐφεῦρε Γοτθικά· καὶ τὰς θείας γραφὰς εἰς τὴν Γότθων μεταβαλὼν, [...]»;

Sozomenos: «πρῶτος δὲ γραμμάτων εὑρετὴς αὐτοῖς ἐγένετο καὶ εἰς τὴν οἰκείαν φωνὴν μετέφρασε τὰς ἱερὰς βίβλους»;

Philostorgios: «μετέφρασεν εἰς τὴν αὐτῶν φωνὴν τὰς γραφὰς ἁπάσας, πλήν γε δὴ τῶν βασιλειῶν [...]»

These claims notwithstanding, the real extent of the original Gothic Bible cannot be determined with certainty. There definitely was a complete translation of the Gospels and Pauline Epistles, and there is no reason to doubt Wulfila's authorship. Some scholars, however, have doubts about the reliability of Philostorgios' remark regarding the Books of Kings and the authorship of the Nehemiah-fragment (cf. Stutz 1966, p. 29).

(2) Most of the time, there is a one-to-one correspondence between Greek and Gothic words, but there are also many deviations from this pattern. As Streitberg points out, the deviations are much more interesting than the correspondences, especially for the study of syntax:

[Es] ist stets von der griechischen Vorlage bei Beurteilung der gotischen Verhältnisse auszugehn. [...] Von besonderer Bedeutung [...] sind jene Fälle, wo die gotische Konstruktion in irgendeinem Punkte von der griechischen abweicht. Denn allein diese Abweichungen geben uns den Schlüssel zum Verständnis der wahren gotischen Syntax. (Streitberg/Stopp 1981, §234)

Obviously, the lack of a reliable reconstruction of the ‘Vorlage’ makes it harder to determine whether an unexpected word order or other apparent deviation actually tells something about syntax or style, or simply reflects an alternative reading in the unknown base text.