3125[textualcriticism] Book of Revelation & Folio 129a of Sinaiticus
- May 10, 2007Dear Jean:
First of all, thank you very much for taking the time
and effort to translate this Arabic note from
Sinaiticus. Your comments and expertise are well
taken. However, perhaps I can elucidate more on my
curiosity regarding this particular note.
1. That Arabic was common-place on the Sinai
Peninsula is true enough. However, my question
regarding the language of the note in Revelation
arises on account of the history of Codex Sinaiticus.
For instance, as far as I can recall, my understanding
is that Sinaiticus is ÒlostÓ to the common memory
somewhere around the 7th or 8th century AD.
Presumably, this would imply that it was either
intentionally hidden or simply forgotten about within
the Monastery library of Saint CatherineÕs. As you
can certainly deduce from this line of logic, this
would imply that the Arabic notes within Sinaiticus
would have to have been written prior to the 7th or
2. Regarding your second comment, perhaps it is the
faded nature of the hand-writing or just poor style.
If the above be true or have plausibility then
regardless of style, it must be prior to the 13th
century AD (which is where you placed it). In other
words, as you can see, the issues surrounding the
hand-writing are not easily pinned down. My own
inclination would be to try to locate a time period
for the hand writing based upon content. For example,
the Arabic names of the stars which are mentioned.
Your own translation yielded the names ÒAghrosÓ and
ÒAfsintos.Ó However, another Arabic source which
translated the passage came up with ÒAÕarneyounÓ and
ÒAl-Sofleen.Ó Can you comment on this semantic flux
in the meaning of these stars? Moreover, the 7th
millenium does so far as I know have correspondance
with the Sunnah. Can you comment on this?
3. Once again, you mention the prominence of Arabic
among the Christian churches. This is true enough for
the later centuries. Yet, what about the early
centuries? In particular we are back to the elusive
history of this particular ancient manuscript, which
pre-dates Islam and Mohammad. Moreover, itÕs the
location of the manuscript that is of particular
interest. For instance, Saint CatherineÕs has a
peculiar history about it. As I mentioned previously,
it houses the Fatimid Mosque within the Monastery
walls, as well as the Letter from Mohammad promising
protection. WouldnÕt you agree this is rather
unusual? In other words, there is an unmistakable
Islamic footprint upon this particular monastery,
unlike many others. Hence, it does seem worthwhile
pursuing this line of questioning until it is
--- "Jean G. Valentin" <jgvalentin@...> wrote:
> 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
> Mais aussi la source du désordre"
> (Lao Tzeu, Tao-te-king 38)
> > De : Mark Thunderson <mark.thunderson@...>
> > Répondre à : firstname.lastname@example.org
> > Date : Wed, 9 May 2007 04:40:19 -0700 (PDT)
> > À : email@example.com
> > Objet : [textualcriticism] Book of Revelation &
> Folio 129a of Sinaiticus
> > Dear List:
> > The notes here are definitly instriguing to say
> > 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,
> > these notes at Revelation 7:12 -8:12?
> > 3. What date might we assign this editorial note?
> > Daniel Buck has suggested the Muslim period -
> > 7th century?
> > 4. What connection is there between the
> > history of Sinaiticus and these Arabic notes? For
> > example, Kirssop Lake outlines two possible
> > 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
> > Monastery as well as the Letter from Mohammad
> > promising protection, suggests a close link
> > Mohammad and the Monastery that housed this great
> > manuscript. One might even ponder if Mohammad
> > 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
> > 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
> > Mark Thunderson.
> > __________________________________________________
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