*Romanos* and the TR?
- Regarding Matthew Johnson's two recent posts on Romanos and the TR (the
post, and then his correction of his own post):
>A couple of corrections here: 1) the DIatessaron is a different text: itBoth of your "corrections" are empirically wrong. I refer you to my
>is (of course), the text of the DIatessaron, not of the Canonical Gospels.
>2) According to the historians of the Syrian Church I have read, the
>history of Western Syria (sphere of influence of Antioch) and Eastern
>Syria (sphere of influence of Edessa) are somewhat distinct: it is in
>Eastern Syria that the Diatessaron enjoyed such popularity.
>If you are aware of more recent work that has overturned this version of
>history, please feel free to make reference to it in your reply.
*Tatian's Diatessaron. Its Creation, Dissemination, History, and
Significance in Scholarship*, SuppVigChr 25 (Leiden: Brill 1994). I'm sure
its 500+ pages of textual evidence and history of research on precisely
these problems will shed light on how you err. Both of your "corrections"
have been discounted for over a century (since the time of Theodore Zahn
; one could even argue that de Beausobre [1730s] implicitly
understood this). (Whence are you getting this bad information???)
>This is an interesting point, I am glad you mentioned it. But there is anYour reasoning here is very odd, especially if you are well informed. (1)
>important distinction you have still not mentioned: when you counted these
>citations and allusions, did you take into account which of them were in
>hymns that have never been widely used in the Church vs. which found an
>established place? There might be a dramatic difference in text-type.
Romanos' hymns were extremely popular *during his lifetime.* The
*menologion* states that Romanos wrote "more than a thousand" *knotakia.*
We have about fifty *kontakia* preserved in MSS which are considered
"genuina" by Mass/Trypanis (Oxford edition, 1963) or Grosdidier de Matons
(SC edition, 1964-81). Since these are well-preserved in their MS
tradition--as opposed to the 950 (!!) lost hymns--it is usually assumed that
these fifty included the "cream" of his output. (Note: Romanos died post
553/554, was a "hanger-on" at Justinian's court, and is a Saint in the RC
tradition: we are not talking about a persecuted church, or a feeble early
church here: the tradition was established, and during his lifetime,
Romanos was understood to be "the greatest church poets of all time"
[Krumbacher]). A consideration of the preserved hymns suggests this is so.
(2) The Diatessaronic quotations are found throughout his hymns, but group
most tightly in three areas: the Nativity, the Passion, and the Hymn on the
Bleeding Woman. And it is precisely for the Nativity and Passion hymns that
Romanos is best known. Also, recall that the Diatessaron apparently was the
text of the Syrian chruch and of the Judaic Christians--it was their
Vulgate. (3) *All* of Romanos' preserved hymns were, as far as we know,
widely used in public worship in Constantinople at his time and thereafter;
they were widely appreciated elsewhere, as well. Their popularity is
attested independently, and their texts demonstrate through internal
evidence that they were used in public worship ("Now that we have heard the
gospel story,/ Let us inquire...", etc.). I refer you to the definitive
work on Romanos and his hymns: Jose Grosdidier de Matons, *Romanos le
Melode et les origines de la poesie religieuse a Byzance* (Paris:
>> What is your evidence for your assertions?"errata" post] "The History of the Byzantine >Empire" (I know, o-l-d, which
>1 - The comments of Rostovcev [Johnson corrected this to Vasiliev in his
is why I didn't realize Romanos had been published)
>concerning the explosion of religious poetry in the Byzantine empire -Three comments: (1) Vasiliev is neither a specialist in this area
>poetry written by Syrian Orthodox Christians.
(Byzantine hymnography) nor in textual studies, so he simply can't serve as
an authority. If you are familiar with the literature, the experts on
Romanos and the *kontakion* are: Christ, Paranikas, Maas, Trypanis,
Krumbacher, Meyer. There are other great names who have worked in the area,
but their work is faulty, either because their logic, evidence, or breadth
of knowledge was defective. These include: Pitra, Emereau, and, yes,
Grosdidier de Matons (that he is still the expert on Romanos and his hymns
remains, despite his errors on certain points). (2) I use works far older
than Vasiliev (cp. my citation of de Beausobre, above), who is very good on
history. Only a fool would criticise something *simply* because it is old.
But he is very much behind the times here, in an area in which he has *no*
expertise, and he does *not* give any specifics to back up his generalities.
(3) Your statement "I didn't realize Romanos had been published" is the
problem in this entire discussion, from start to finish. My dear sir,
Romanos was published in 1963--almost 35 years ago! And much literature has
been generated since. See the bibliography in my CSCO volume. To be frank,
this discussion is rather like a physician talking cardiac care with someone
who hasn't read any of the literature in the last 35 years: it is really
rather pointless, isn't it?
>2 - Amphoux's "An Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticsim" p 95[Johnson augments this quotation with a second one in his "errata" post:
>"but this sophisticated kind of coded writing is not suitable for the
>general circulation. For wider distribution, the text had to be adapted
>to the mentatlity of the people who werer going to receive it".
>True, he had in mind the Western text, but why should this process have
the much more appropriate citation from AMphoux is p 115 " all that is
certain is that this type of text [the syro-byzantine] spread very
rapidly throughout the Greek-speaking world when John Chrysostom and
other Syrians had occupied the patriarchal see at Constantinople"]
Both of these statements are so vague as to be worthless. Read the precise
textual evidence presented in the half dozen titles I have given you, and
then see what you think. I am not interested in generalities, or "may have
beens." We are talking about a specific author (Romanos) and a specific
text (the TR). Amphoux is writing (1) in broad generalities (Romanos is not
cited here), and is (2) pushing his own particular textual theories. Both
are irrelevant to this discussion. But, lest one more error survive: I
repeat what I said above: *ANYONE* who has read the antique sources about
Romanos, or read his hymns, will immediately see why he was called "le
Melode" and why his hymns were so popular both during and after his
lifetime. Some have attributed the *Akathistos* to him--probably
erroneously--but it nevertheless suggests his stature. Further, *ANYONE*
who has read his hymns will see that they are exquisitely constructed works,
multi-layered, but still immediately accessible to the simplest among us.
That is why they have been considered the genesis of chancel drama (see A.C.
Mahr). Romanos' hymns *can* be read at a very profound, deep, mystical
level; but their brilliance is that they can also be read at a superficial
level--and be equally significant for either audience.
>As for holiness being subjective, if so, then remember that the book allQuite so. Which is why some Southern Baptists (and other "good" Christians)
>of us devote so much effort to studying commands us in quite unequivocal
>terms to be subjective: "be holy, for I am Holy".
thought owning slaves was consistent with "holiness," while other
Protestants did not. Which is why some German Lutherans thought killing
Jews was equal to "holiness," while others did not. Which is why some Roman
Catholics went off on bloody crusades, to "be Holy," while others did not.
Which is why some Christians permit remarriage after divorce, while others
do not. Why some require celibacy for their clergy and others can have
"holy" clergy who are not celibate. Why some Christians are pacifists, and
others are not.
What is so difficult about church history? It's all pretty straightforward
--Petersen, Penn State University.