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tc-list Peshitto: an example

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  • Jean VALENTIN
    Is the peshitto byzantine? I must say that once again I get the feeling that it would be much more useful to discuss variants instead of speaking generally.
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 31, 1969
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      Is the peshitto byzantine? I must say that once again I get the feeling
      that it would be much more useful to discuss variants instead of speaking
      generally. That would make the discussion much more useful, because it
      gets concrete and probably less emotional too. So, to the facts!

      Some time ago, I had to study the variants of Mt 23 and I tried to see
      what it taught me about the peshitto. Of course, I realize that studying
      a chapter is not enough if one wants to issue general statements like
      "the peshitto is / is not byzantine". Nevertheless, it's better to have a
      concrete example about which to discuss, and an example can be useful in
      that it gives an impression of the many and intricate problems of the
      peshitto.

      So here you will find a catalogue of variants from this chapter which
      personnally leads me to (1) reject any clear-cut declaration like those
      we have read the last days, (2) have the impression that there is still
      much which I do not understand about the peshitto. Any conclusion, at
      this stage, can only be a hypothesis which remains to be tested on larger
      portions of text.

      ______________________

      1. SYP as against the Greek text-types.

      (a) variants of D against B and Byz
      9 "umin" with D and Theta, sys and syc
      15 "ina poihshte" with D only in Greek, sys and syc
      39 legw gar umin: add. "oti" (syr. d-) with D Th f1 f13

      (b) variant of B against D and Byz
      4 desmeuousin _de_ with B Aleph f13, sys, syc

      (c) variants of B and Byz against D (these are variants typical of D)
      27 oitines exwqen men fainontai wraioi eswqen de gemousin, with B Byz sys
      etc...
      34 egw apostellw pros umas, with B Byz sys etc...
      34 + kai mastigwsete en tais sunagwgais umwn, with B Byz sys etc...

      (d) variants of D + Byz against Byz
      4 autoi de tw: Aleph B D L 33 892 sys syc

      (e) other Greek, non-Byz, variant
      4 omission of kai dusbastakta L f1 892 sys syc

      (f) other Byz variant against B and D, but not without extra-Byz support
      5 add. "twn imatiwn autwn" after "kraspeda" Byz L 33 f13 etc, sys syc

      ________________

      2. variants without any known Greek support

      16 tou naou: da-b-hayklo "which is in the temple" (would correspond to
      "ho en tw naw") with sys syc
      20 kai en pasi tois: b-kul mo (singular, indefinite) with sys syc
      24 ton kwpona: plural, with sys syc
      24 kamhlon: plural, with sys syc
      26 farisaie tufle: plural, with sys
      28 dikaioi: ayk zadiqe (would be "ws dikaioi" in Gr.) with sys
      28 upokrisews kai anomias: invert the two with syp (though with different
      vocabulary)
      35 dikaion: d-zadiqe, genitive plural with sys (= Gr dikaiwn ? an
      possible phonetic confusion in Greek)

      All these variants in (1) and (2) above show one thing: there are MANY
      instances where the peshitto is not byzantine. So much in one chapter
      that I can't call the peshitto "byzantine" without any other nuance.
      You'll notice that variants seem to come from all the text-types (except
      D when it's really isolated, I mean by this: when even theta doesn't
      follow it). The most constant mss agreeing with syp are... sys and syc,
      so probably they are the primary source. So Bill Petersen, I believe, is
      _right_ a thousand times when he says that syp is primarily old syriac.

      ________________________

      (3) Variants where syp eliminates the vetus syra non-greek variant
      without following Byz (in other words, variants which are nither old
      syriac, neither byzantine - these are the crucial ones!)
      2 legwn: + le-hun (to them) This is probably just a translational
      technique, as syp often adds an indirect object after a declarative verb.
      5 platunousin _gar_ : with Aleph B D L f1 f13 33 etc...
      7 rabbi (just once) with Aleph B L Delta Theta f1 33 892 1241 etc...
      8 didaskalos AND om o Christos with Aleph B 33 892 etc...

      These last variants are probably crucial. It is usually believed that the
      peshitto is a revision of the vetus syra, the goal of the revisor(s)
      being to bring it in agreement with the Byzantine text.

      (a) I agree with the first statement: the source of syp is the vetus syra.

      (b) I have counted 25 variants attested by at least one of the two vetus
      syra manuscripts, which find no support whatsoever in Greek mss.
      (b.a) The peshitto keeps eight of them. The revision was not a systematic
      one, whatever be the reason (carelessness? unsystematic method? conscious
      production of a consensual greco-syriac text? respect for the old type?
      need of not shocking the public?).
      (b.b) The other ones are eliminated by variants present in Greek texts.
      Many of them are present in Byz (but not only in Byz), but there are
      those above... They show that the Greek manuscript(s) used by the
      revisor(s) were not purely Byzantine, far from it. In this chapter, there
      are only three and it is not enough to say anything about which kind of
      text it was, though you'll notice that B and 33 are present in all three.
      We need much more of these variants before anything certain can be said.

      As I already said, this is only one chapter and we should refrain from
      drawing general conclusions from such a restricted sample. But at least,
      it gives me a first impression, and this impression is:
      (1) the mss that come most often in agreement with the peshitto are sys
      and syc.
      (2) the peshitto is a revision attempting to bring the vetus syra closer
      to a Greek text, especially by eliminating many (but not all) variants of
      sys/syc which are not attested in Greek.
      (3) the Greek base used in order to produce this revision, though I
      cannot identify it as I need to study more text to gather more non-sys.c,
      non-Byz variants, is clearly not a pure Byzantine text, as the revisors
      introduce variants which are _not_ byzantine.

      As to the date of the text, just one remark. I've always read that it
      must have been produced before the Syrian church split between Nestorians
      and Monophysites in 431. Several facts are overlooked in this too simple
      declaration:
      (1) The Melkites were also using Syriac! If the peshitto was produced by
      Melkites, it would have been more acceptable to the two other churches,
      as the Melkites had a christology that placed them in the center, halfway
      between the two other churches. But of course, I have not one milligramm
      of evidence that the peshitto comes from the Melkites. So this is just a
      remark.
      (2) The real constitution of the nestorian church is not directly in 431
      at the Council of Ephesus, but only in 484, when the nestorian church
      declared its autocephaly at the synod of Beth-Laphat. One cannot really
      speak of the nestorian church before that.
      (3) It's wrong to see Nestorians and Monophysites as obscurantists that
      would never accept a biblical version produced by "the other side".
      Though, of course, there's been a lot of theological controverse, both
      churches lived together in the same areas and there have been numerous
      positive contacts, mutual help in times of distress, liturgical
      influences, and conversations in a spirit of mutual respect. Also with
      the Melkites of course.

      But of course, what is decisive as to the date of the peshitto is
      _evidence_: manuscripts and citations. As Bill Petersen already
      mentioned, the studies of Voeoebus about this problem are fundamental.
      And Voeoebus in his studies generally put the emphasis on "the first
      commandment of resarch", which is "Thou shalt work at the sources". This
      is why I chose to send you some variants in order to advance the
      discussion.

      And now, I go back to my manuscripts... Shlomo to all,

      Jean V.


      _________________________________________________
      Jean Valentin - Bruxelles - Belgique
      e-mail: jgvalentin@...
      _________________________________________________
      "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"
      "Wat te eenvoudig is, is verkeerd; wat te ingewikkeld is, is onbruikbaar"
      _________________________________________________
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