Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

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

Expand Messages
  • 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 1 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


      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 2 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 3 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

          (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

          (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

          (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
          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)
        • 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 4 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 5 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?
              David Robert Palmer
            Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.