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Re: Didymus, Trinitate II:12, and Mk. 16:15-16

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  • 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 1 of 10 , Aug 18, 2007
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      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 2 of 10 , Aug 19, 2007
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        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 3 of 10 , Aug 19, 2007
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          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 4 of 10 , Aug 21, 2007
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            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 5 of 10 , Aug 27, 2007
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              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 6 of 10 , Aug 30, 2007
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                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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