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RE: [textualcriticism] Didymus, Trinitate II:12, and Mk. 16:15-16

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  • Bart Ehrman
    I haven t been following this discussion (been hiking in the hinterlands of Cornwall, blissfully incommunicado), but for anyone interested, I have collected
    Message 1 of 10 , Aug 17, 2007
           I haven't been following this discussion (been hiking in the hinterlands of Cornwall, blissfully incommunicado), but for anyone interested, I have collected every quotation of the Gospels in the writings of Didymus and analyzed them for the geneaological significance (i.e., collated them against a range of mss and performed both a quantitative and a comprehensive group profile analysis on them).  I did not use de trinitate because of the questions of its authorship, but relied on the commentaries, certainly by Didymus, discovered in Toura.  Anyway, all this is in my dissertation-turned-into-book, Didymus the Blind and the Text of the Gospels (the book gives every single citation, adaptation, and allusion, along with full collations against the mss, and then the analyses).
       
      -- Bart Ehrman
       
      Bart D. Ehrman
      James A. Gray Professor
      Department of Religious Studies
      University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
       


      From: textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com [mailto:textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of James Snapp, Jr.
      Sent: Friday, August 17, 2007 9:48 AM
      To: textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [textualcriticism] Didymus, Trinitate II:12, and Mk. 16:15-16

      Greetings and thanks to those who helped track down De Trinitate
      II:12. The one presentation appeared as perfect Martian on my
      computer, so just in case this happened to others also, here is what I
      have gathered:

      In De Trinitate II:12 (39.688 in Migne's P.G.), Didymus finishes a
      quotation from I Peter 1:23, and then comes

      EDEDOIKEI GAR TON PARAKELEUSAMENON EN TW KATA MARKON EUAGGELIW

      which is followed by an exact quotation of Mk. 16:15-16. The quotation
      is exactly like the contents of N-A 27 except that Didymus has "PANTA"
      instead of "APANTA."

      After this, Didymus quotes from Matthew 28:19 and II Cor. 13:14.

      Um . . . how sure should we be that De Trinitate is the work of Didymus?

      Yours in Christ,

      James Snapp, Jr.
      Minister, Curtisville Christian Church
      Tipton, Indiana (USA)
      www.curtisvillechri stian.org/ BasicTC.html

    • sarban
      ... From: James Snapp, Jr. To: textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com Sent: Friday, August 17, 2007 2:48 PM Subject: [textualcriticism] Didymus, Trinitate II:12, and
      Message 2 of 10 , Aug 18, 2007
         
        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Friday, August 17, 2007 2:48 PM
        Subject: [textualcriticism] Didymus, Trinitate II:12, and Mk. 16:15-16

        > Um . . . how sure should we be that De Trinitate is the work of Didymus?

        > Yours in Christ,

        > James Snapp, Jr.
        > Minister, Curtisville Christian Church
        > Tipton, Indiana (USA)


        The attribution to Didymus is not secure

        There is a good discussion in Hanson's "The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God" pps 653-658 The manuscript lacks the opening pages and is attributed to Didymus on circumstantial evidence.

         

        We know Didymus wrote a work in three books on the Trinity. The Author of De Trinitate claims to have written a work on the Holy Spirit and there is a surviving work on the Holy Spirit by Didymus. De Trinitate is clearly an Egyptian work of the late 4th century and has important similarities with the undisputed works of Didymus.

         

        On the other hand there are significant differences between De Trinitate and the other works of Didymus. With the discovery of the Toura Papyri in Egypt these differences have become more apparent. There are real problems in attributing to the same author the Toura Commentary on Zechariah by Didymus and the De Trinitate.

         

        However for purposes of Testual Criticism this may not be very important. De Trinitate is a withness to the NT text used in Egypt in the late 4th century whether or not it is by Didymus.

         

        Andrew Criddle

      • James Snapp, Jr.
        David R Palmer, I almost always use the Yahoo site to access the list, and that s why the beautiful polytonic Greek showed up as Martian. The transliteration
        Message 3 of 10 , Aug 18, 2007
          David R Palmer,

          I almost always use the Yahoo site to access the list, and that's why
          the beautiful polytonic Greek showed up as Martian. The
          transliteration showed up intact; again, thanks.

          Bart Ehrman,

          If De Trinitate were to be considered a genuine work of Didymus,
          would the text-type-flavor of Didymus' text(s) be significantly
          altered? (Besides in regard to the end of Mark.)


          Andrew Criddle,

          I'll try to reach a copy of R.P.C. Hanson's book in a few days. In
          the meantime, the circumstantial evidence you mentioned seems pretty
          strong. I'll delay asking the obvious question -- what is it about
          the Commentary on Zechariah (I'm assuming that this is the same work
          that Didymus provided for Jerome in 386?) that makes it hard for
          Didymus to be the author of De Trinitate? -- till after reading
          Hanson.

          I found a fleeting reference in a Google-books excerpt to the
          following effect: "Questions were raised about the authorship of De
          trinitate by B. Kramer & F. Young, but were answered by A. Heron in
          1989." This has to be Alasdair Heron, whose dissertation "Studies in
          the Trinitarian writings of Didymus the Blind his authorship of the
          Adversus Eunomium IV-V and the De Trinitate" was published back in
          1972. The work produced in 1989 must be the ninth chapter of "The
          Making of Orthodoxy - Essays in Honour of Henry Chadwick," edited by
          Rowan Williams. Chapter 9, by Heron, is titled "Some sources used in
          the De Trinitate ascribed to Didymus the Blind."

          You're right that De Trinitate doesn't have to be by Didymus to be
          useful, but it's still an interesting question.

          (Btw, should it be "de trinitate," or "De trinitate," or "De
          Trinitate"? I'm thinking that Latin titles are usually written
          like "De trinitate" and "De rebaptismate," but this might just be old-
          fashioned.)

          Yours in Christ,

          James Snapp, Jr.
          Minister, Curtisville Christian Church
          Tipton, Ohio (USA)
          www.curtisvillechristian.org/BasicTC.html
        • A. Dirkzwager
          Dear all, I don t want to interfere in the discussion, but only make some things clear about the use of capitals in Latin book titles. The word de means
          Message 4 of 10 , Aug 19, 2007
            Dear all,

            I don't want to interfere in the discussion, but only make some things
            clear about the use of capitals in Latin book titles.

            The word 'de' means 'about', 'on'. It was used by the Romans very often
            in book titles where we wouldn't use it. We would write e.g. 'Trinity',
            not 'On Trinity'. The Greeks used 'peri' likewise.
            In Latin the omission of the preposition 'de' before 'trinitate' gives a
            weird impression, because 'trinitate' is an ablative depending of the
            preposition 'de'. The word without declension would be trinitas.
            In English the first word and the substantives of a book title are
            written with capitals. Americans are using still more capitals. In other
            European languages only the first word of a book title is written with a
            capital (and names of course).
            The Romans had only capitals.

            So we can find different customs.
            Some prefer to write Latin titles without capitals (no distinction, like
            in Roman times) - except for names.
            Others are using a capital in the first word and in names.
            Still others are using capitals in substantives, but certainly not in
            prepositions.

            Arie

            A. Dirkzwager
            Hoeselt, Belgium
          • David Robert Palmer
            Ok, Jim, I guess that is the way it is, that some poeple rely on the actual Yahoo web page. I must admit that that is the way anyone arriving at the Yahoo web
            Message 5 of 10 , Aug 19, 2007
              Ok, Jim, I guess that is the way it is, that some poeple rely on the actual Yahoo web page.  I must admit that that is the way anyone arriving at the Yahoo web page from a Google search will have to access it.
               
              Thank-you for working on hardening the authorship of the de Trinitate work.  I look forward to and value your efforts.
               
              David Robert Palmer
               
              ----- Original Message -----
               

              David R Palmer,

              I almost always use the Yahoo site to access the list, and that's why
              the beautiful polytonic Greek showed up as Martian. The
              transliteration showed up intact; again, thanks.

              .

            • James Snapp, Jr.
              I ve acquired Hanson s Search for the Christian Doctrine of God. (Now if only someone else would track down Alasdair Heron s 1989 essay for comparison.)
              Message 6 of 10 , Aug 21, 2007
                I've acquired Hanson's "Search for the Christian Doctrine of God."
                (Now if only someone else would track down Alasdair Heron's 1989
                essay for comparison.) Here are the problems with a Didymian
                (Didymite? Didymusian?) authorship of De Trinitate, which are
                mentioned on pp. 653-658 (most of which seem to have been formulated
                by a Franch-writing scholar named Doutreleau; Hanson sums up
                Doutreleau's points), accompanied by some thoughts about possible
                problems with the problems.

                (1) The author of De Trinitate III:16, when commenting on I Tim.
                5:6, refers to his previous work on the Holy Spirit, but in
                Didymus' "On the Holy Spirit," as preserved and translated by Jerome,
                there is no exposition of I Tim. 5:6.

                (I Tim. 5:6 says, "But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she
                lives." Does the author of De Trinitate explicitly say that he
                commented on I Tim. 5:6 in his work on the Holy Spirit, or does he
                just say something like, "For my earlier comments about this sort of
                thing, see my comments in my treatise on the Holy Spirit"? Is there
                anything in Didymus' "On the Holy Spirit" that, while not explicitly
                quoting I Tim. 5:6, could be considered to be thematically related to
                it? And, did Jerome translate the entire work?)

                (2) The author of De Trinitate refers to the "Macedonians," but
                in "On the Holy Spirit," Didymus refers to this group of heretics as
                the "Pneumatomachians."

                (Could Jerome have taken slight liberties with the text of "On the
                Holy Spirit" so as to refer to this group by a name which he
                considered more appropriate than "Macedonians"? -- Also, the
                nomenclature by which some heretics were described back then may have
                drifted similarly to such nomenclature today ("Mormons" vs.
                LDS; "Jehovah's Witnesses" vs. Watchtower Society). An author may
                arbitrarily use either one on different occasions.)

                (3) "Jerome in his account of Didymus does not mention a work on the
                Trinity by him, though De Trinitate must have been written fairly
                soon after 381 and Jerome visited Didymus in 386."

                (In ch. 109 of Viris Illustribus is, Jerome, after naming several of
                Didymus' commentaries and books, finishes the list by saying, "and
                many other things, to give an account of which would be a work of
                itself. He is still living, and has already passed his eighty-third
                year." Since Jerome stated explicitly that he did not mention "many
                other" works by Didymus, this objection is extremely light.)

                (4) "De Trinitate enumerates Zechariah as the last of the Minor
                Prophets, whereas Didymus Comm. on Zechariah counts him as the
                eleventh (before Malachi)."

                (Okay. I'd like to see the contexts of the two listings. Is one a
                chronological listing, and the other a list in order of appearance in
                a canon-list? Is one a shortest-to-longest list? Or are we looking
                at two canon-lists, and if so, is that a big deal in 381?)

                (5) "The explanation of the candelabra in Zech. 3:8-4:10 is utterly
                different in every detail in De Trinitate and Comm. on Zechariah, and
                the latter does not refer to the treatment of the passage in the De
                Trinitate."

                (Okay; this is a significant difference. But an author approaching
                that passage in search of allegorical insights could probably squeeze
                two very different allegorical insights out of it, depending on what
                themes he wished to emphasized, or what points he wished to make, on
                different occasions.)

                (6) De Trinitate "deploys a full technical vocabulary in dealing
                with Trinitarian themes," while in the undisputed works of Didymus,
                he "uses almost no technical terms at all."

                (Okay; I'll consider this a significant difference. On the other
                hand, topics can greatly affect style. Even text-critics don't often
                employ text-critical jargon unless they are writing something related
                to textual criticism. Also, Hanson does mention that
                Didymus "applies homoousios twice to the Son but never to the
                Spirit." Just because Didymus didn't typically employ terms
                like "homoousois" and "theotokos" and "isotimia" in works that were
                not about the Trinity does not mean that they were not in his verbal
                arsenal.)

                (7) Didymus never quotes pagan poets, but the author of De
                Trinitate "frequently quotes Homer and the classic Greek poets."

                (Okay; this is a significant point.)

                (8) Didymus is "fond of arithmology, i.e. playing around with the
                significance of numbers," but De Trinitate "has only two brief
                excursions into arithmology."

                (This is a pretty light objection! An author can't be expected to
                use numerically-based illustrations in every single work. And then,
                when we see that the author of De Trinitate does this, well, two such
                uses is just not enough?!?)

                (9) Didymus relies on Origen for a lot of his theology, but De
                Trinitate "shows no influence from Origen."

                (Since Didymus had been appointed to lead the school of Alexandria by
                Athanasius, it would come as no surprise to see that despite admiring
                Origen's erudition, and despite learning from Origen's works, Didymus
                did not rely on Origen when writing about the Trinity, but took his
                stand on ground taken by more recent, and more orthodox, movers-and-
                shakers in the church.)

                (10) The author of De Trinitate states, in III:1 (784), "I go
                forward to the next task, trusting that even before I speak I shall
                receive grace along with the children whom (God) has given to me and
                the children of those children, through whom as long as we live we
                labor, and indeed also all whom (God) knows." Didymus was a monk,
                and the idea that he had children and grandchildren is unlikely.

                (Hanson wrote, "These 'children' could refer to the writer's
                disciples, but to call disciples of a later generation or disciples
                of one's disciples would be odd." Why? To a writer such as Didymus,
                fond of allegories and such, it seems entirely natural. This
                evidence may be easily converted into evidence in favor of Didymusian
                authorship: the author says that he is speaking -- i.e., dictating,
                as Didymus (and others) did -- and by the 380's, Didymus had worked
                long enough to see the disciples of his disciples mature. Didymus
                was old. The author of De Trinitate, if he here refers to students
                of his students, was old.)

                (11) In De Trinitate II:11 (660), the author writes, "But John too
                is obvious, as they say, even to a blind man." It is unlikely that
                Didymus the Blind would have used this expression.

                (Why? That Didymus could make an occasional self-referential
                statement like this does not seem unlikely to me.)

                (12) In De Trinitate II:27 (768), the author "urges his readers or
                disciples to 'live among books,'" and this, according to Hanson,
                is "not a likely piece of advice for a blind man to give."

                (Why not? Are we to imagine that Didymus did not realize the
                advantages that the acquisition of books could provide? As the
                author of many books -- which Didymus wanted people to read --
                Didymus would be entirely capable of encouraging people to live in
                the company of books.) (tangent: didn't Chrysostom also say this
                somewhere?)

                (13) "And at one point [III:2 (825)], quoting Aquila's version, the
                author transliterates the Hebrew word into Greek letters. We have to
                ask ourselves whether a blind man is likely to have learnt even the
                letters of the Hebrew alphabet."

                Didymus the Blind's career is one unlikely accomplishment after
                another. Is it likely that a blind man would learn geometry? Yet
                the record that he did so is there, along with a report that he
                learned to read by the use of carved wooden letters. There is
                nothing in the way of the view that Didymus knew enough Hebrew to be
                able, with the help of his assistants, to transliterate one Hebrew
                word into Greek. A commentator on several OT books (including
                Psalms) whose erudition was saluted by Jerome would almost inevitably
                have an awareness of the Hebrew alphabet.

                +++++++

                Out of the 13 objections that Hanson presented, #9-13 seem
                inconsequential, #2, #3, and #8 seem feathery, #1 and #4 are possibly
                significant but more info is needed, and only #5, #6, and #7
                obviously carry real and firm weight, such as it is. Focusing on
                these points, the case that Didymus is not the author of De Trinitate
                seems, for the moment, to rest on three points:

                The author of De Trinitate and Didymus interpret Zech. 3:8-4:10 in
                two very different ways.
                The author of De Trinitate uses technical jargon about the Trinity,
                but Didymus hardly ever uses such terms.
                The author of De Trinitate frequently quotes Homer and other pagan
                poets, but Didymus never does so.

                I wonder how Alasdair Heron tackled these objections.

                In related news: at
                http://papyrology.blogspot.com/2007/04/rc-hill-tr-didymus-blind-
                commentary-on.html
                there's a mention of R.C. Hill's new English translation of Didymus'
                commentary on Zechariah, and Emanuela Prinzivalli's Italian
                translation of Didymus' commentary on the Psalms.

                Yours in Christ,

                James Snapp, Jr.
                Minister, Curtisville Christian Church
                Tipton, Indiana (USA)
                www.curtisvillechristian.org/BasicTC.html
              • Benjamin Pehrson
                In Peter Williams (2004) Early Syriac Translation Technique and the Textual Criticism of the Greek Gospels, he argues (p. 2) that too often an omission in the
                Message 7 of 10 , Aug 27, 2007

                  In Peter Williams (2004) Early Syriac Translation Technique and the Textual Criticism of the Greek Gospels, he argues (p. 2) that too often an omission in the Syriac has been used to support an assumed Greek Vorlage, and the possibility of formal alterations during the translation process have been explored too little. In his discussion (pp. 163-64) of the adverb ETI ‘still’, he discusses a possible ‘tendency’ of Syriac to omit this adverb (5 of 37 occurrences in the Gospels). In support of Williams’ general argument, I draw your attention to a blog post (http://agaphseis.blogspot.com/2007/08/early-syriac-translation-technique.html) that discusses some translation factors that may have influenced two of the instances where the Syriac omission goes against the entire extant Greek tradition (Lk. 8:49 and Lk. 9:42) and two instances where the Syriac omission might be used to support one Greek reading over another (Jn. 4:35 and Jn. 11:30). Could the apparent redundancy of ETI in the Greek text explain the Syriac omission in all four of these passages?

                   

                  Benjamin Pehrson

                  Aitape West Translation Project

                  Papua New Guinea

                • David Robert Palmer
                  Hello Benjamin! Are you working with SIL? What is the mame of the language into which you are translating? I m thinking Aitape is a name of a region or
                  Message 8 of 10 , Aug 30, 2007
                    Hello Benjamin!
                     
                    Are you working with SIL?  What is the mame of the language into which you are translating?  I'm thinking Aitape is a name of a region or district, not a language.
                     
                    What I really want to get at is, what Greek text do you use as the source text for the New Testament you are working on?
                     
                    Thanks.
                     
                    David Robert Palmer
                     
                    ._,___
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