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Re: Early history of Lk 7.47

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  • Jean VALENTIN
    Thanks to Mr Petersen for referring me to the pages of his book concerning the variant in Lk 7.47. I will take the time to consider how it affects my ideas
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 31, 1969
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      Thanks to Mr Petersen for referring me to the pages of his book
      concerning the variant in Lk 7.47. I will take the time to consider how
      it affects my ideas about the transmission of this verse. Very
      stimulating!

      Jean V.


      _________________________________________________
      Jean Valentin - Bruxelles - Belgique
      _________________________________________________
      "Ce qui est trop simple est faux, ce qui est trop complexe est
      inutilisable"
      "What's too simple is wrong, what's too complex is unusable"
      _________________________________________________
    • Jean VALENTIN
      Lk 7.47 is an interesting verse when we study it from the perspective of the history of the text. There are short, long and intermediary forms of the text. I d
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 31, 1969
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        Lk 7.47 is an interesting verse when we study it from the perspective of
        the history of the text. There are short, long and intermediary forms of
        the text. I'd like to present you those and have your reactions as to
        what seems to you the most probable reconstruction of the history of the
        development of this text (mine being just an hypothesis, it's worth what
        it's worth).

        1/ D has the shortest form:
        D: ou charin de legw soi afewntai auth polla.
        That's all, and it's the shortest form that we find in the mss. Without
        applying mechanically the canon "lectio brevior, lectio potior", this has
        to be noted.

        2/ Irenaeus.
        Interestingly, Irenaeus, who usually testifies of the D-text, quotes a
        fragment of the verse that is absent from D.
        Ir III.20.2: cui enim plus dimittitur plus diligit.
        I found an English translation of irenaeus on the internet, so here is
        the whole context:
        2. This, therefore, was the [object of the] long-suffering of God, that
        man, passing through all things, and acquiring the knowledge of moral
        discipline, then attaining to the resurrection from the dead, and
        learning by experience what is the source of his deliverance, may always
        live in a state of gratitude to the Lord, having obtained from Him the
        gift of incorruptibility, that he might love Him the more; for "he to
        whom more is forgiven, loveth more:" and that he may know himself, how
        mortal and weak he is...
        We must note that the sentence is not introduced by any formula of the
        genre "for it is written that". We can't be sure from Irenaeus that the
        sentence he uses comes from a Gospel text. May be it's an aphorism that
        was circulating in his time (whether or not it went back to Jesus), and
        that he found suited to his argument. Or, maybe he is himself the author
        of it!

        3/ Tatian (probably?)
        We have two witnesses that have a longer form of the text, fusioning what
        we find in D and what we find in Irenaeus: the vetus latina afra (codex
        e) and the commentary of Ephrem on the Diatessaron (10.9). This
        conjunction of the old latin with Ephrem makes me think it is reasonable
        to suppose that Tatian might be the author of the fusion of the two
        elements: the early, short text of codex D and the oral tradition found
        in Irenaeus. By the way, he knows the second element in a form slightly
        different from that used by Irenaeus: while the bishop of Lyons says "he
        to whom _more_ is forgiven, loveth _more_", the author of the Diatessaron
        has: "he to whom _less_ is forgiven, loveth _less_". This might be
        another evidence for the fact that it comes from an oral, a little
        inconstant tradition.
        e: propter quod dico tibi, remittentur illi peccata multa.
        Ephrem: w-meTul hono shbiqin loh Hatoheyh sagiye, lhaw geyr d-qalil shbiq
        leh z(ur maHeb.

        4/ The Egyptian texts.
        P75 is the earliest witness to the current text of this verse. it is
        followed by most greek manuscripts, whether Alexandrian, Palestinian or
        Byzantine.This text is also found already in the old syriac versions, the
        other old latin mss, etc...
        This form of the text is now in three parts: "for she loved much" is
        inserted between the two elements that we have already mentioned.
        P75, B, Byz: ou charin legw soi afewntai ai amartiai auths ai pollai, OTI
        HGAPHSEN POLU. w de oligon afietai, (B + kai) oligon agapa.
        Several small variants are found in other mss, but they are all
        characterized by this threefold form of the text, so I won't quote them
        by large.

        5/ Secundary and longuer texts.
        There are more forms of the texts, probably secundary but deserving
        attention:

        a/ Cyprian (as quoted in the apparatus of Tischendorf)
        "Inquit: cui plus dimittitur plus diligit, et qui minus dimittitur
        modicum diligit".
        The "inquit" seems to show that Cyprian has the intention to quote Jesus.
        The way he does it fusions the aphorism of Irenaeus and its inverted
        form, the one known to the author who inserted it in the gospel tradition
        (probably Tatian). This shows that, besides what is now the gospel
        "text", the aphorism of Irenaeus is still circulating. The same can be
        said of the Armenian version:

        b/ The Armenian version:
        vasn oroy asem khez: thogheal litsin sma meghkh iwr bazowmkh,
        zi yoyzh sireats.
        zi orowm shat thoghowtsow, shat sire,
        ew orowm sakaw, sakaw.
        Translation: "because of which I say to you, her many sins are forgiven
        to her, for she loved much. For he to whom much is forgiven, loves much,
        and he to whom few, few".
        Let us note that we have the same order as in Cyprian: first "much-much",
        then "few-few".

        Much later are the last two forms of the text:

        c/ The persian harmony:
        "For this reason I say to you that the sins of this lady are forgiven,
        for she did much, she deserves much. And who did few, deserves few
        things, and few shall be forgiven to him".
        The persian harmony seems to be nothing more than a quite paraphrastic
        rendering of the current text.

        d/ The venetian harmony:
        "And for this I say to you that her sins are remitted to her, for she has
        loved much".
        This harmony seems to be the only witness to the presence of only the two
        first elements of the current text.

        ____________________________________________

        Of course, you must distinguish between the facts themselves, and my
        analysis. My analysis leads me to give a priority to the western text,
        the other forms of the text being amplifications by the addition of an
        oral tradition (Tatian) and a theological (?) expletive sentence (the
        egyptian texts). At least, my analysis is an attempt to account for the
        development and amplification of this verse. Though I admit I have
        generally a little preference for western-priority hypotheses, I admit
        this reconstruction can be challenged, and the data arranged in another
        "chronological" sequence. How can we, for example, reconstruct the
        history of this text from an alexandrine-priority point of view? We would
        then have to account for the _deletion_ of several phrases of the text. A
        theological analysis, informed of the doctrinal developments of, say, the
        first three centuries, would be necessary to confirm or to challenge my
        reconstruction, and I'm aware I don't have all the resources for this.

        An interesting point in the analysis would be this: the paradox inherent
        to the interaction between love and forgivenness in this passage. In what
        direction does the influence go: is the woman forgiven because she loved,
        or does she love because she was forgiven? The several forms of the text
        seem to give slightly different answers to this question:

        In the text of D, the answer seems to be more stricktly paulinian than in
        other texts. The short text of D sees the actions of the woman (perfuming
        Jesus, washing his feet etc...) as reflecting her faith, as v. 48 comes
        after the short v.47 without elaboration. She is saved by the faith that
        she showed in welcoming Jesus.

        The other texts seem to have a more nuanced answer: if the woman is saved
        by her faith because she welcomes Jesus, her actions are attributed to
        love - a love that precedes forgivenness: her sins are forgiven _because
        she loved_, says the text. Paradoxically, the text adds also that the one
        who has been forgiven will love: love is both the source and the
        consequence of forgivenness. The theology of the alexandrian text seems
        more elaborate, its logic - may be - less simple than the D-text...

        A possible documentation about these theological discussions can be found
        in a text of the 1st letter of Clement, bishop of Rome:
        "Blessed are we, beloved, if we keep the commandments of God in the
        harmony of love; that so through love our sins may be forgiven us". (I
        Clement, L, 5)

        I don't think I am at the end of my reasoning about this verse, but I
        thought that at this point it might become interesting to share it with
        you... Any thoughts?

        Jean V.


        _________________________________________________
        Jean Valentin - Bruxelles - Belgique
        _________________________________________________
        "Ce qui est trop simple est faux, ce qui est trop complexe est
        inutilisable"
        "What's too simple is wrong, what's too complex is unusable"
        _________________________________________________
      • William L. Petersen
        ... [sinp] This verse and the variants (not all of which are given in Jean s post) have a long history in research. A variant form was noted by Th. Zahn over
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 1 7:51 PM
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          Jean Valentin wrote:

          >Lk 7.47 is an interesting verse when we study it from the perspective of
          >the history of the text. There are short, long and intermediary forms of
          >the text. I'd like to present you those and have your reactions as to
          >what seems to you the most probable reconstruction of the history of the
          >development of this text (mine being just an hypothesis, it's worth what
          >it's worth).

          [sinp]

          This verse and the variants (not all of which are given in Jean's post) have
          a long history in research. A variant form was noted by Th. Zahn over a
          century ago in the bilingual Codex Sangallensis (Latin-OHGerm); much later,
          Walter Henss published his reconstruction of the history of the verse in a
          book titled *Das Verhaeltnis zwischen Diatessaron, christlicher Gnosis und
          "Western Text"*, BZNW 33 (Berlin 1967).

          I discuss the verse, the history of research, and offer additional evidence
          on pp. 264-269 of *Tatian's Diatessaron*.

          --Petersen, Penn State University.
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