Uppsala University Library

Anders Uppström's Editions of 1854 & 1857

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Anders Uppström became professor of "Moesogothic and Related Languages" at Uppsala University in 1859. This was after his edition of the Codex Argenteus. When it was published in 1854, ten leaves of the manuscript were missing. Three years later he could complete his edition with these ten leaves, now recovered.

Already when Julius Löbe worked with his collations of the Codex Argenteus during the summer of 1834, it was realised that ten leaves from the manuscript, earlier in place in the Codex, were missing. It was a matter of scandalous dimensions, of course. It was unknown how the leaves had disappeared, and when. The loss was kept a secret and it was not admitted to until a couple of years later. And even then, the matter was kept under wraps. When Uppström was working with his edition of the Codex Argenteus, the lack of these ten leaves was very irritating to him. The leaves had been lost for a long time, and this state was commonly known. But Uppström could not accept the lacuna in the manuscript; he wanted to get to the bottom of the matter.

Uppström was met with no positive response from Johan Henrik  Schröder, the Librarian, in his searching for the ten missing leaves. However, he happened to ask the old library messenger Lars Wallin about the leaves. Uppström’s more than two years’ long dialogue with Wallin is a fascinating story for itself. A month before his death, Wallin gives Uppström the ten missing leaves when Uppström is visiting him at his sickbed. Wallin does not admit that he is the thief of the leaves, but Uppström thinks that he is. Nevertheless, in his preface to his edition of the missing leaves, Uppström writes very warmly about Wallin and says: »… I cannot avoid feeling grateful to the deceased who gave me back what he could have easily destroyed forever. And though I hate his crime, I wish with all my heart that the creator of the world may prove to be a mild rather than severe judge.«

Uppström’s edition gives the text of the manuscript transliterated into Latin letters with pages and lines marked out. The text is ordered by chapters and passages in a "modern" manner, but the Eusebian division into sections is also marked out, as well as the gold script, the enlarged initials, and the dissolved abbreviatures and ligatures. In a supplement the parallel numbers in the canon tables under the text are noted, and in another supplement there is an overview of the original and the still existing leaves of the manuscript. »Uppström has practically ... reached the definitive, and as a philological deed his work is final« according to Friesen and Grape.

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