Re: Theories of trans. (#2)
- After returning to Muenster I found some highly interesting examples from early
Christian literature brought forth by William L. Petersen (Wed 12 Jun + Fri 14
Jun). The issue was the testimonies of (Gospel) quotations in patristic writings
and their reliability. Concerning the MSS tradition of these writings I totally
agree with W.L. Petersen. Usually their text is faithfully transmitted; the
examples from "One is good, my/the father in heaven" (Matt 19.17/Mark 10.10/Luke
18.19) give abundant evidence. And I too am convinced that we have to consider
church father testimonies seriously. However, I may express some hesitations
concerning the case presented by W.L. Petersen. On Wed, 12 Jun 1996, he wrote:
>Permit me to quote F.C. Burkitt:I may express some doubts wether M. Mees really "reached similar conclusions"
>"[Clement of Alexandria's gospel citations] cut off the only channel by
>which we might have thought to connect the 'non-Western' text, as an organic
>whole, with apostolic times. With Clement's evidence before us we must
>recognise that the earliest texts of the Gospels were fundamentally
>'Western' in every country of which we have knowledge, even in Egypt. If we
>have any real trust in antiquity, any real belief in the continuity of
>Chrisitan tradition, we must be prepared to admit many 'Western' readings as
>authentic, as alone having a historical claim to originality."
>The quotation is from Burkitt's "introduction" to Barnard's study (TaS V.5
>, pp. xvii-xviii) of "Clement of Alexandria's Biblical Text."
>Kenyon's studies led him to the same conclusion (see his evaluation of the
>text of Justin, Marcion, Irenaeus, and Clement of Alexandria in his _The
>Text of the Greek Bible_ 3rd rev. ed. with A. Adams , p. 169). More
>recently, M. Mees' exhaustive study of Clement's text (_Die Zitate aus dem
>Neuen Testamen bei Clemens von Alexandrien_ ), in which the results of
>his verse-by-verse study were summarized on a book-by-book basis, reached
(i.e. Burkitt-Barnard like). Permit me to quote from Mees (p. 106): "Dennoch
duerfte die Burkitt-Barnard-These vom westlichen Charakter der Clemenszitate aus
den Evangelien nicht mehr in der damals aufgestellten Form zu halten sein." At
least Mees found nothing in Clement's Gospel citations that justifies the label
>>Second, the writings of these authors are often badly preserved. IrenaeusRufin may turn out to be a RELATIVELY ACCURATE translator when compared to the
>>and Origen, for instance, wrote in Greek but are preserved primarily in
>>Latin. And in the case of Origen, at least, Rufinus's translation was more
>>than a little biased.
>This too is a common supposition, and is undoubtedly true in SOME instances.
>However, I remember a paper in the NT TC seminar at the SBL some 5 or 7
>years ago, in which F. Stanley Jones compared Rufinus' Latin translation of
>the Pseudo-Clementine "Recognitions" with the Syriac of the same, and found
>that Rufinus was a VERY ACCURATE translator, all things considered (Syriac
>grammar vs. Latin grammar, idioms, etc.).
Syriac translation of Pseudo-Clementine literature. But, comparing Rufin's
translation of the (Pseudo-Origen) 'Dialog des Adamantius' with the Greek text
reveals some striking differences in the renderings of the Pauline citations
within this text (occasional droppings, interference of Rufin's Old-Latin text,
W.L. Petersen further wrote:
>Now to an example (Matt 19.17/Mark 10.18/Luke 18.19):Nice.
>A) JUSTIN: Dial. 101.2 (Justin dies 163-167; the Dial. is probably from
>the 140s or 150s; we have two VERY late MSS, one from 1346 and one from 1541):
> "One is good, my Father in the heavens."
>Since we "know" [ ;-)] Justin was a "sloppy" scholar, who had early-onset
>Alzheimers, and worked from VERY early but VERY corrupt manuscripts, and
>since we "know" that Justin often took liberties with the text, the phrase
>"my Father in the heavens" must be his own expansion, a lapse of memory, his
>own addition for clarity, or one too many glasses of Chianti, right? It
>CANNOT be part of the Ur-text, because none of the "big" MS or traditions
>(Alexandrian, Byzantine, etc.) have it. And if that is not the case, then
>it is clear that these LATE MSS of Justin have been corrupted in their long
>history of transmission, right? If we had a 4th cent. MS of Justin, "my
>Father in the heavens" wouldn't be there, right?
[omitting B) EPHREM...]:
>C) IRENAEUS: Haer. V.7.25 (pre-185):Well, Irenaeus, "that bastion of orthodoxy", cites this passage not from his
> "One is good, the/my Father in the heavens."
>Gee. Back in the West, Irenaeus, that bastion of orthodoxy, cites the
>passage in PRECISELY the same form as Justin, save that Justin tucks a "mou"
>in after "pater". Hmmm. Do I see a trend forming???
own, but from a Marcosite (heresy!!!) source!!! Do I see another trend
forming??? (BTW--- the source is misprinted, it should be read Haer. I.20.2)
>D) HIPPOLYTUS: Haer. V.7.25 (pre-222):Well, the only thing one can expect from a heresy-fighter is fighting heresy.
> "One is good, the/my Father in the heavens."
>This heresy-fighter agrees EXACTLY with Irenaeus' version of the passage,
>even down to the lack of a "mou." With Irenaeus and Justin, "heavens" is
Therefore, nobody will be surprised finding the quotation given above as
stemming from the Naassenes (heretics of the worst kind). (BTW--- another small
misprint, it should be read Haer. V.7.26). The heresy trend is going on...
>E) CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA: Strom. V.10.63 (composed c. 207):Well, as we all know, Clement is one of the most erudite Christian teachers.
> "One is good, the/my Father."
>A relief isn't it? At least we are rid of that awkward "in the heavens"
>stuff, which only exists in the very earliest witnesses. But we are still
>saddled with a vestige of Justin's text: FATHER.
Therefore, we might expect the full text. And there it is: "One is good, my
father IN THE HEAVENS" (Paed. I.72.2). But, what about the heresy trend? Well,
the most erudite Clement will not let us down. In Strom. II.114.3-6 Clement
cites from a letter of Valentinus (the latter commenting/alluding to Matth.
19.17): "hEIS DE ESTIN AGAQOS...[...]...hO MONOS AGAQOS PATHR".
To take it more serious, I may conclude that in fact our earliest sources for
the FATHER (IN HEAVEN) are at least contemporary to Justin, but partly
antedating him: Marcosites, Naassenes, Valentinus. I may add to the "heretic"
chain the well known Marcion (definitely before 150 AD). Epiphanius testifies
that the Marcionite Gospel read "One is good, THE FATHER".
The "heretic" chain to my mind gives interesting hints to detect the possible
source of this reading. The above mentioned (at least Marcion and Valentinus) in
fact were Christian teachers heavily dependent on the separation of the one and
only GOOD God revealed through Jesus Christ from the inferior creator God. The
latter could be by no means called GOOD, but God. This is definitely true for
Marcion. He deeply opposed the creator God (i.e. the God of the "Old" covenant,
i.e. OT) and relied solely on the GOOD God revealed through Christ. Both,
Valentinus and Marcion, teached _docetic_ HIGH-CHRISTOLOGY of the highest level.
Jesus definitely was no human being, he descended from the highest realm of the
GOOD God previously unknown to mankind. In this type of theology the sharp
qualitative difference was NOT between Jesus (not good, not God) and God the
FATHER (only God), but between the ONE AND ONLY *GOOD* God revealed through
Christ and the creator God to whom the OT testifies. The text: "One is good,
the/my father in heaven" seen in this context is the definite Gospel proof-text
for all who wish to identify a GOOD God apart from a creator God. If then the
one and only GOOD God of Matth 19,17parr was not identified with the heavenly
father of Christ, the passage remained at least ambiguous to those teaching
dualistic concepts. They must feel the need to clarify the passage and
presumably they added the gloss FATHER (IN HEAVEN).
>= Anyone have an EARLIER version of this passage, from ANY source?No, definitely not. But, most probably earlier SOURCES, indicating that this
earliest version of this passage presumably was created within the context of
dualistic theology. Therefore, though the earliest version attested in time and
space, to my mind it cannot be judged "original", but clearely secondary.
Ulrich Schmid, Muenster
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