The Codex Fuldensis and the Pericope Adulterae
- Hello - I'm new to this forum
I do not know whether the attached webite is familiar to you all -
but they do allow a very detailed analysis of the Diatessaron and the
Codex Fuldensis :
Using the materiel on these sites, I was struck by the possibility
that the Western Diatesaronic tradition might be the key transmission
route by which the PA may have been assimilated into the canonical
gospels; certainly in the Family 13 group, and possibly in the
Johannine mainstream text too.
To summarise what I many of you, I am sure already know:
The PA is not found in the Eastern witnesses to the Diatessaron of
Tatian (the Arabic Harmony, and the Syriac commentaries of Ephrem).
It is however found in all the western Diatessaron witnesses -
Fuldensis, Heliand, Liege Harmony, Pepysian Harmony (and indeed the
Gospel of Barnabas - which is a particular interest of mine)
Fuldensis is the most interesting of these, as it derives from an Old
Latin Harmony in 181 chapters, whose chapter titles are preserved,
although the contents were thoroughly Vulgatised, most likely by
Victor of Capua in 546.
The PA is included in chapters 119, and 120; and is explicit in the
chapter title of 120, and hence must have stood in Victor's source.
Chapter 119 has the story of Nicodemus coming by night, from John 3;
followed by the PA to 8:2. 120 gives the rest of the PA. Chapter
121 gives the cursing of the fig from Matthew.
All this occurs in Fuldensis soon after the entry into Jerusalem on
Palm Sunday - at chapter 116.
It is clear, I think, that the PA cannot have been incorporated into
Victor's exemplar from the Vulgate, as then it would have been found
in chapter 130. 129 has the bulk of John chapter 7 - further
including Nicodemus of course. 130 is Matthew 22 41 (the son of
David debate). 131 is the rest of John 8:12 onwards.
The Lukan link to the PA (Luke 21:37,38) is found in Fuldensis at
The same material is found in the same order in the 12th century
Liege Harmony, although the text of that witness is much less
strongly Vulgatized, and contains many Syriacisms pointing to a Latin
exemplar created from a Syriac archetype.
So, in effect, this establishes a third location in the Gospel
sequence where the PA might stand - after John 3:21.
My point is that, if someone had an Old Latin harmony, similar to
Victor's source, and with the same chapter divisions; they might
noted that the PA was included therein; but was not included in the
canonical Gospels. I Beleive then they would tend to insert the PA
passage at Luke 21:38:
a. because the opening verses of the PA (i.e. those in Chap 119)
correspond closely to Luke 21:37-38, and might be assumed by our
hypothetical scribe to have been harmonised twice within the
Fuldensis sequence - and hence it could be assumed that the 'missing'
text consisted just of Chapter 120, which would follow on the Lukan
b. because the placing of the PA in the narrative of Fuldensis
closely parallels that of Luke 21; i.e. after Jesus entry on Palm
Sunday, and the commendation of the Widow's gift.
But I would speculate that the point might be taken further.
The fact that the PA is split across two chapters in Fuldensis may be
taken as indicative not only that it was present in Victor's source,
but that it must have preceded that source; and in particular
preceding the re-ordering of the Diatessaron sequence that created
the 181 Fuldensis chapters. Hence it may be that the PA stood in the
Western Diatessaron back into the 3rd or 2nd century. The interest
here is that - as is noted in Metzger on the Early Versions - there
is reason to believe that the Western Diatessaron included material
from the Gospel of the Hebrews/Ebionites in addition to the four
canonical gospels ( particularly noting the "firey light" at Jesus
baptism). Hence if we are justified in understanding Papias as
indicating that the PA stood in the Gospel of the Hebrews, then it is
possible that the passage came into the Western Diatessaron when the
Old Latin form was first created, at the point where we find it in
Fludensis (i.e. after the first appearance of Nicodemus - in
Diatessaron section 32).
It is commonly supposed that the Western Diatessaron preceded the
separated Old Latin gospels, and influenced them into a number of
Syriacisms. Indeed the "firey light" is found in a couple of Old
Latin witnesses to the separate Gospels. Hence, it may be possible,
that the PA text became effectively incorporated into the separated
Gospel texts from the need to retro-fit the Harmony text. If this
was done before the re-ordering (and the creation of the Fuldensis
chapters) then the logical place to insert it would be in John; after
one of the Nicodemus references. John 3:21 might be possible, but
the succeding text relates to John the Baptist. John 7:52 is another
Nicodemus reference, and is then followed by further Pharisee
conflict, and hence would be more logical.
This might explain how the PA came to stand in some Old Latin
witnesses, but not how it came to stand (in the West) in Greek
witnesses too. Here however I note Jerome's comment that he found
the PA in "multis et Graecis et Latinis". This is commonly
translated as "many Greek and many Latin manuscripts"; but could, I
suggest, as well be rendered as "many manuscripts in Greek and Latin"
i.e. specifically in diglots. Indded, I take from Metzger the
observation that lections in the West were commonly delivered in
Greek followed by the vernacular - and so the diglot form would have
been essential. We know that the Greek text of Bezae (which includes
the PA in its canonical place) has been accommodated to its Latin
counterpart. What if this were more general?
Hence, it may be suggested that there is no essential reason to
hypothesize the PA as floating in an apocryphal gospel through till
the 4th century (when Jerome and Didymus witness to its being
incorporated into Canonical John. Instead we may suppose that the PA
entred the canonical tradition by means of a harmony text in the late
2nd early 3rd century - which to my mind is much more plausible.
I would welcome your corrections and comments