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3121Re: [textualcriticism] Book of Revelation & Folio 129a of Sinaiticus

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  • Jean G. Valentin
    May 9, 2007
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      I'll quickly make a few points and come back later:

      1. Why in Arabic? Simply because many christians in the middle east were
      speaking and writing in that language. The first versions of the Gospels in
      Arabic date from around the IXth century if my memory serves me well. It was
      simply the language of all people there, not only muslims. Don't associate
      too quickly the Arabic language to islam, there have always been Arabic
      Christians. And if you live in Europe or in America, there's surely a
      melkite catholic (http://www.mliles.com/melkite/) or an antiochian orthodox
      parish not far from your home, where divine liturgy is celebrated in Arabic.

      2. Judging from the handwriting, the notes are not earlier than the XIIIth
      century. Just my two cents of course!

      3. Connection of Sinai with Arabic: just see my first paragraph. If you look
      a the list of manuscripts of the library at St Catherine's, you'll find
      scores of biblical, patristic and liturgical texts in Arabic because it was
      the language of everyday life. Of course there's an evolution and it differs
      according to time and place, but most of the eastern churches were
      completely arabized by the XIIIth century (the Antiochian-Malkite church
      still undivided had translated all of the Byzantine liturgical books by the
      XIth century). Greek remained as a hieratic language, and Syriac resisted
      better, specially in the mountains of Lebanon (till the XVIIth century?) and
      Northern Mesopotamia where it is still alive today in a modern dialectal
      form - not to forget a few villages north of Damascus in the mountains of
      Antilibanonn, among which Maalula.

      4. So to me there's nothing curious about notes in Arabic inside a Greek
      codex of the Sinai convent. In my opinion there's no point in trying to find
      islamic influences: the annotator was certainly an orthodox monk whose
      mother tongue was Arabic.

      5. For more on Arabic in the Church, there's a chapter in Metzger "Versions"
      and you can find my examination of the Arabic Gospel manuscripts in Le
      Muséon of 2003. There's plenty of footnotes in both if you need more

      I'll come back later.
      Jean V.

      Jean Valentin - Bruxelles - Belgique

      "Le rite est l'écorce de la sincérité et de la fidélité,
      Mais aussi la source du désordre"

      (Lao Tzeu, Tao-te-king 38)

      > De : Mark Thunderson <mark.thunderson@...>
      > Répondre à : textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com
      > Date : Wed, 9 May 2007 04:40:19 -0700 (PDT)
      > À : textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com
      > Objet : [textualcriticism] Book of Revelation & Folio 129a of Sinaiticus
      > Dear List:
      > The notes here are definitly instriguing to say the
      > least. The questions leaping to my mind are the
      > following:
      > 1. What would be the motive(s) for writing these
      > notes, and why in Arabic?
      > 2. Closelyas sociated with the above questions, Why
      > these notes at Revelation 7:12 -8:12?
      > 3. What date might we assign this editorial note?
      > Daniel Buck has suggested the Muslim period - perhaps
      > 7th century?
      > 4. What connection is there between the Manuscript
      > history of Sinaiticus and these Arabic notes? For
      > example, Kirssop Lake outlines two possible histories:
      > one originating in Ceasarea, the other Alexandria.
      > Still more, What connection is there between Saint
      > Catherines Montastery and these Arabic notes? For
      > example, the presence of the Fatimid Mosque within the
      > Monastery as well as the Letter from Mohammad
      > promising protection, suggests a close link between
      > Mohammad and the Monastery that housed this great
      > manuscript. One might even ponder if Mohammad himself
      > is the author of these editorial notes???
      > 5. This lines of questioning finally leads to the
      > question: Is there any connection between the
      > editorial notes and the Quran and/or Sunnah? In other
      > words, does the content of the Arabic note have a
      > parallel in the Quran and/or Sunnah?
      > Any help from the list, would be greatly appreciated.
      > Mark Thunderson.
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