Gothic Bible

Gothic Bible

The Gothic Bible or Wulfila Bible is the Christian Bible as translated by Wulfila into the Gothic language spoken by the Eastern Germanic, or Gothic Tribes.


The Wulfilabible consists of a number of manuscripts from the 6th to 8th century containing a large part of the New Testament and some parts of the Old Testament, largely written in Italy. The remaining codices are Codex Argenteus, which is kept in Uppsala, the "Codex Ambrosianus A" through "Codex Ambrosianus E" containing the epistles Skeireins, Nehemia), the "Codex Carolinus" (Romans), the "Codex Vaticanus Latinus 5750" (Skeireins), den "Codex Gissensis" (fragments of the Gospel of Luke) and the "Fragmenta Pannonica", Fragments of a 1 mm thick metal plate with verses of the Gospel of John.

Historic context

During the Third Century, the Goths lived on the northeast border of the Roman Empire, in what is now Ukraine, Bulgaria and Romania. During the Fourth Century, the Goths were converted to Christianity, largely through the efforts of Bishop Ulfilas, who invented the Gothic alphabet and translated the Bible into the Gothic language in Nicopolis ad Istrum in today's northern Bulgaria. Portions of this translation survive, affording the main surviving text written in the Gothic language.

Gothic Christianity differed from Catholic doctrine as to the divinity of Jesus, with the Gothic Christians maintaining that Jesus was of a lesser creation than God. The Goths rejected the Holy Trinity. (see "Arianism").

During the Fifth Century, the Goths overran the Western Roman Empire, including Spain, southern France, and North Africa. Gothic Christianity reigned in these areas for several centuries, before the re-establishment of the Catholic Church, and the advent of Islam.

Modern importance

The Wulfila bible is the only document in an ancient, Eastern Germanic language. Its significance for the study of these languages can hardly be overstated.

Text of The Lord's Prayer in the Wulfilabible

:"atta unsar þu ïn himina":"weihnai namo þein":"qimai þiudi nassus þeins":"wairþai wilja þeins":"swe ïn himina jah ana airþai":"hlaif unsarana þana sin teinan gif uns himma daga":"jah aflet uns þatei skulans sijai ma":"swaswe jah weis afletam þai skulam unsaraim":"jah ni brig gais uns ïn fraistubnjai":"ak lau sei uns af þamma ubilin":"unte þeina ïst þiudangardi":"jah mahs jah wulþus ïn aiwins":"amen"

External links

* [ Full text of the Wulfilabible]
* [ Smaller gothic fragments]

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