Archive for April, 2012

Chapter divisions in Gregory of Nyssa’s “Contra Eunomium”

There is a paper on the web by Matthieu Cassin, discussing the context of the three books of the Contra Eunomium of Gregory of Nyssa.[1]  In the middle of it (p.112) he discussed the divisions in the text, as it has been transmitted.  It’s fascinating stuff.

Besides the division of Book III, the different manuscripts present a list of titles for the different chapters (κεφλαια). A large number of manuscripts indicate the chapters of Book I in the margins, proposing converging positions for them.(16) Furthermore, it is acknowledged that the chapters of Book I are by Gregory himself,(17) and I have shown that their position goes back at least to the sixth century. If this is accurate, it would be a very valuable testimony to the way Gregory understood his own text. However, the chapters of the other books are obviously not by the same hand.

(16) Matthieu Cassin, L’écriture de la polémique à la fin du IVe siècle: Grégoire de Nysse, Contre Eunome III (Thèse de doctorat, Université Paris IV – Sorbonne, 2009), vol. I, 135–7.
(17) See J. A. Röder, Gregor von Nyssa, Contra Eunomium I, 1–146, eingeleitet, übersetzt und kommentiert (Patrologia 2; Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1993), 73–4.

This is interesting, and I wish I could see the references!  For if so, this is evidence of 4th century authorial chapter titles.  The thesis does not seem to be online; while no-one on earth could access the Röder volume unless they live near a research library.

I will write to Dr Cassin and see if I can get a peek at his pages 135-7!

  1. [1] Matthieu Cassin«Text and context : the importance of scholarly reading. Gregory of Nyssa, Contra Eunomium», dans S. Douglas, M. Ludlow (éd.), Reading the Church Fathers, Londres, 2011, p. 109-131 et 161-165.

A curious article opposing open-access to the products of state-funded research

AWOL has drawn my attention to a rather curious article by the president of the Archaeological Institute of America, Elizabeth Bartman.

The Federal Research Public Access Act of 2012 was introduced in both houses of Congress on February 9 of this year.

The legislation would require that publishers of academic and scholarly journals provide the government with final peer-reviewed and edited manuscripts, and, six months after their publication, those manuscripts would be made available to the public, on the Internet, for no charge. The House bill states, “The Federal Government funds basic and applied research with the expectation that new ideas and discoveries that result from the research, if shared and effectively disseminated, will advance science and improve the lives and welfare of people of the United States and around the world.”

Quite properly too.  Who but a vested interest could argue that those who pay should be able to see the fruits of what they pay for?  Well…

We at the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), along with our colleagues at the American Anthropological Association and other learned societies, have taken a stand against open access. Here at the AIA, we particularly object to having such a scheme imposed on us from the outside …

Huh?  Why on earth?

Here at the AIA, we particularly object to having such a scheme imposed on us from the outside when, in fact, during the AIA’s more than 130-year history, we have energetically supported the broad dissemination of knowledge, and do so through our extensive program of events and lectures for the general public and through our publications.

Emphasis mine.  This woman believes that the public must pay for the research, but is NOT entitled to see the research.  Instead they should be grateful to be allowed to attend the occasional public lecture — if they live anywhere nearby – and to know that the publications exist, even if they can’t ever see them.  Wow.  That’s pretty obscurantist.

While it may be true that the government finances research, it does not fund the arduous peer-review process that lies at the heart of journal and scholarly publication, nor the considerable effort beyond that step that goes into preparing articles for publication. Those efforts are not without cost. When an archaeologist publishes his or her work, the final product has typically been significantly improved by the contributions of other professionals such as peer reviewers, editors, copywriters, photo editors, and designers. This is the context in which the work should appear. (Almost all scholarly books and many articles lead off with a lengthy list that acknowledges these individuals.)

What?  The public is to be denied access, because someone has to pay typesetters so that it can appear in nice printed form?!  Talk about cart before horse!  As for reviewers … erm, just how do reviewers get paid now?  By the taxpayer, of course, who funds every element of their life-style bar one or two.

But of course Mrs Bartman has published this article on the web.  We might ask, if we are cynical enough, how she was able to afford to place her article on the web?  After all, are there not “the contributions of other professionals such as peer reviewers, editors, copywriters, photo editors, and designers”? 

There is a polite response here

My own response, as a member of  the tax-paying public, is to suggest that AIA find another president.  Open access is morally right.  Obstructing it is morally wrong, and, for someone who lives off the public, disgustingly wrong.  Mrs Bartman needs to be removed, for the sake of the AIA itself.

UPDATE: Quite by coincidence I saw this cartoon at Trevin Wax.  For some reason it seemed relevant:

Ever wonder why textbooks are so expensive? Me too. (HT)

UPDATE: Another dissection of the same article here.

Images of 5th century letter titles in Pliny the Younger

The Lowe and Rand publication[1] of the Morgan fragment of the 5th century Saint-Victor manuscript of the letters of Pliny the Younger has, by great good fortune, images of the transition between books 2 and 3.  These include a contents list for book 3, consisting of the recipients, followed by the opening words.

Let’s have a look.  Note that you can click on each image for a larger view.

Here’s the end of the first folio of the Morgan fragment — folio 48r, as it was, of the whole manuscript, as the folio number written in a 15th century Italian hand indicates.

So nothing special: “Exp(licit) liber II | Inc(ipit) Lib(er) III.” — “Book 2 ends | Book 3 begins”, plus the usual “feliciter”.  Over the page we find on the verso this:

The lines are alternate black and red ink.  (I do apologise for the wretched quality).  And the next page is similar (you can see the folio number, 49, top right):

This ends with a line of marks, and then on the verso the text begins:

“C.Plinius Calusio Suo Salutem. Nescio nullum …”  Note how the words of the text are not separated in this 5th century manuscript, and the the first two words of the text are as in the table of contents.  And also notice … how the full name of the recipient, Calusius Rufus, is NOT given in the title in the text, which simply says “C. Pliny to his (dear) Calusius, greeting”.

Likewise the beginning of the next letter is also in the Morgan fragment, on folio 61:

Ignore the 15th century scribblings at the top, and note the folio number.  Here it reads “C. Plinius Maximo suo salutem.”  This is the next addressee; Vibius Maximus, as we learn from the index and nowhere else.

The same is true of the next three letters, also present in these few folios, which I will spare you here.  The index of addressees gives two names in every case; the actual superscriptio to the letter gives one.

The presence of extra information in the titles means that these cannot be scribal work; they must come down from Pliny himself, unless we propose to imagine some intermediate person locating this information and adding it, which seems unlikely and unnecessary.

The Lowe and Rand publication, bless  them, also gives the chapter titles in the only other manuscript that has them.  Here they are:

Note that the addressee of the first letter is as it is in the 5th century ms., but the first two words have been moved to the right, to save space.

The titles continue onto the next folio, and then, once again, the superscription of the letter only has the one name, “Calusius”.

Curiously yesterday I discovered a 15th century manuscript of Pliny at the Bibliotheque Nationale site in Paris, shelfmark Ms. Latin 8557.  Let’s have a look at the same point in that:

 There are no titles in this, and the first letter simply refers to “Calusius”.

  1. [1] E.A. Lowe and E.K. Rand, A Sixth-Century Fragment of the Letters of Pliny the Younger: A Study of Six Leaves of an Uncial Manuscript Preserved in the Pierpont Morgan Library New York, Washington (1922).  Online here.

Over 500 Latin Manuscripts available in PDF at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris!

The Pyle site aims to be a portal for manuscripts.  And it links to some very interesting stuff. 

Among this is a link to Greek manuscripts at the BNF in Paris.  These are mainly late; but there are gospel manuscripts, catena manuscripts, and commentaries on the Iliad and Odyssey.

But here is the biggie: you can download the whole manuscript!  Yes!!!  That’s just what we want.

But I wondered what would happen if I adjusted their link to look for Latin manuscripts?  And … there are 1116 matches!  Wow!

You have to click on “Informations detailees” to see what the ms. contains.  There are loads of bibles, of course, and medieval texts.  But what we see is a real cornucopia of what the BNF contains!  Here are some selections (I’d love to link, but I really haven’t the time):

  • Ms. Latin 8953: There’s books 21-40 of Livy.
  • Ms. Latin 6755: A bunch of texts: 1.° Aristotelis liber de secretis secretorum : interprete Philippo , Clerico Tripolitano. — 2.° Ambrosii Autperti tractatus de conflictu vitiorum et virtutum. — 3.° Flores è Scriptoribus cùm sacris tum profanis collecti. — 4.° Anonymi opusculum de musica. — 5.° Descriptio sanctorum locorum circa Jerusalem. — 6.° Descriptio urbis Antiochiae. — 7.° Urbium et majorum villarum quas Carolus acquisivit in Hispania et Galecia catalogus. — 8.° Sancti Bernardi meditationes. — 9.° Anonymus de constructione et excidio templi Hierosolymitani, et de passione Christi. — 10.° Methodii , Patarensis Episcopi, oratio de Antichristo et de consummatione saeculi. — 11.° Anonymi dialogus de vitae felicitate.  Yes, that really does contain a text by Methodius!
  • Ms. Latin 11627: Jerome’s commentary on Isaiah.
  • Ms. Latin 7900: Terence
  • Cicero
  • Sallust
  • Eusebius, HE, in Rufinus translation.
  • Plutarch, Lives.
  • Herodotus, translated by Lorenzo Valla.
  • A 9th century ms. of Isidore of Seville.
  • Oh yes!  A manuscript of the letters of Pliny the Younger! (I’ve been blogging about these this week).  This is ms. Latin 8557, dated 1470-1471.
  • Lactantius, Divine Institutes.
  • Ms. Latin 9661, the Notitia Dignitatum!
  • Ms. Latin 8658A, Seneca: Moral Letters!  In a 9th century ms., no less!
  • Josephus, Jewish War.  Another has Antiquities.
  • Catullus.
  • Statius.
  • Lucan’s Pharsalia.
  • Quintus Curtius Rufus.
  • Ps.Hegesippus, de bello Judaico. (13th c., ms. 5064)
  • Tibullus, and Propertius, and Petronius, all in one volume.
  • Suetonius, ms. 5802, 13th c.
  • The Augustan History, dated 1356.
  • Cyprian. Ms.1657, 1175-1200, including chapter titles for letters.
  • Justinus’ epitome of Pompeius Trogus, ms. 4950, ca. 800-850 AD!
  • Caesar, De bello gallico.
  • Quintilian
  • Virgil
  • Commentary on Tironian notation, dated 9th c.  Ms. Latin 8779.

After a while, you just start flicking past the treasures, so rich is the bounty on offer!  I did download a couple; but who needs to download much, when you can find it here anytime, accompanied by a good catalogue entry?  If you need a PDF, say to flick through quickly, just grab it.

After about 500 mss, suddenly we find ourselves in modern Latin “manuscripts”.  These, of course, are of no interest to us, valuable as they doubtless are to others.

From my diary

I’m going through the mill at work at the moment, which makes life rather heavy, and engagement with hobbies impossible.  To add to the fun, I have only a slow mobile broadband connection on my laptop in the evenings, which makes the necessary task of collecting and responding to my email a slow and painful one.  This leaves little at the end of the day.

But this evening I was able to download E. A. Lowe and E. K. Rand, A sixth century fragment of the letters of Pliny the Younger, from my inbox, to which a kind correspondant had sent it, and I have been reading it with much interest.  The plates do not merely reproduce the 12 leaves of the 5th century manuscript of Pliny; they also reproduce the corresponding portion of manuscripts B and F, which derive from it.  This naturally includes the table of contents in B (F omits these).

I will blog about these in due course.  But the book is well worth reading for the painstaking way in which the authors address all the concerns about authenticity, date and so forth.  Inevitably it is rather technical, but if you find manuscripts interesting, it’s a godsend.

I have yet to discover quite why this item is not on Google books.  Apparently it is on the Hathi website, in low-resolution form, where it may be downloaded one page at a time.  My correspondant kindly did this evil task, and then zipped the files up into a PDF — thank you!

Eusebius book — first review, at Bryn Mawr

The first review of the Eusebius Gospel Problems and Solutions book by David Miller, Adam McCollum, Carol Downer and friends, edited by me, has appeared here at Bryn Mawr.  It’s very kind and rather encouraging!

Greek Papyri in Cairo now online

Via AWOL, I learn that a Photographic Archive of Papyri in the Cairo Museum is now online.  It is mainly documentary material, but one literary codex seems to be involved:

A list of contents of all the papyri would be a useful addition to the site.

Trying to find a 1922 publication in Google books – for my US readers

I’m trying to locate a copy of E. A. Lowe and E. K. Rand, A sixth century Fragment of the Letters of Pliny the Younger, 1922, in Google Books.  The date means that in the US it is out of copyright. There are pages from it in Hathi, which bear the mark of Google Books and the University of Michigan.  (A correspondent has sent me a PDF he made himself from them)  So the PDF must exist in Google Books.  But I can’t find a downloadable copy.

Would any of my readers in the USA care to have a look, and post a URL in the comments, if they can find it?

What I want to know, of course, is whether it’s just me, living outside the US, or whether it is genuinely inaccessible.

Indexes in manuscripts of Pliny the Younger’s letters

Six folios survive of a 5th century manuscript of the Letters of Pliny the Younger.  They are in New York, in the Pierpont Morgan collection, where they have the shelfmark M.462.[1]  They contain letters from Book 2, Letter XX, line 13, to Book 3, Letter V, line 10.  But I learn that they also contain “one of the indices (to Book 3) which are a special feature of the Ten-Book tradition” of the letters of Pliny.[2] 

The Letters of Pliny reached us by a complicated process.  Originally possessing ten books, copies of this kind began to be cut down during the middle ages into a collection of 100 letters.  Another family also existed, which contained only nine books, and circulated in various more or less complete forms.

The ancient manuscript of the ten-book family was still complete in the 15th century, when it belonged to the library of Saint-Victor in Paris.  It is mentioned in the 1514 catalogue of that library, which was made by Claude de Grandrue,[3] and published in 1983.[4]  At what date thereafter it was dismembered, we cannot now say.

This detail, about the “indices” is mentioned only in passing.  But to those of us interested in chapter titles and tables of contents in ancient books, this is most interesting. 

So where may these “indices” be found?  Clearly in the Morgan manuscript there is one.  I have emailed Robert Parks, Director of Library and Museum Services there, and asked if the ms. could be digitised and placed online.  It will be interesting to see what he says.  They have some images from books of hours and similar online, but those are more pretty than useful.

There’s a 1903 edition online at Google Books here (and is it me, or is Google Books making it harder and harder to find the PDF that we all want to download, in order to promote its crappy commercial ebook reader?)  This doesn’t give the indices, no siree.  Hey, they’re only present in a 5th century copy!  This casual negligence towards the manuscript data is infuriating!

Where can they be?

  1. [1] The catalogue is here, which tells us these are “6 leaves (1 column, 27 lines), bound : vellum ; 287 x 180 mm”; “The original manuscript was in France at least by ca. 1380 (dated with reference to the inscription on folio 51); owned by the Abbey of Saint Victor Library in Paris up to 1505 (foliated by the librarian Claude de Grandrue and listed as missing/stolen in the 1514 catalogue); discovered around 1500 at the Saint Victor Library by the Dominican Fra Giovanni Giocondo of Verona, who initially transcribed some of the letters and sent them to Aldus Manutius in Venice, and later borrowed or simply removed the manuscript from the abbey in 1505 and perhaps sold it to Aloise Mocenigo, the Venetian ambassador in Paris, who took it to Venice and lent it to Aldus Manutius; by the 18th century the manuscript had been fragmented and the surviving 6 leaves were purchased by Marchese Francesco Taccone of Naples (1763-1818); sold by his heirs to Tammaro de Marinis in 1910; purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) from De Marinis through Alexandre Imbert but shipped by Quaritch, in 1910.”  Publication: A sixth-century fragment of the letters of Pliny the Younger / E.A. Lowe and E.K. Rand. Washington : Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1922.
  2. [2] L. D. Reynolds (ed.), Texts and Transmissions, 1983, p.317.
  3. [3] Reynolds, p.317, n.5: “Where it was foliated and described by the librarian Claude de Grandrue.”
  4. [4] Les manuscrits de l’Abbaye de Saint-Victor : catalogue établi sur la base du répertoire de Claude de Grandrue (1514) / Gilbert Ouy. Turnhout, Belgium : Brepols, 1999, v. I p. 30-31, v. Ii p. 630, and Le catalogue de la bibliothèque de l’abbaye de Saint-Victor de Paris de Claude de Grandrue, 1514 ; introduction par Gilbert OUY ; texte et index établis par Veronika GERZ-VON BUREN, en collaboration avec Raymonde HUBSCHMID et Catherine REGNIER… ; Paris : Editions du C.N.R.S., 1983 ; in-8°, Lxii-734 pages.

“Tertullian Tracts” … what can these be?

A correspondent wrote as follows:

Do you know of any writings by Tertullian call the “Tertullian Tracts”?

They supposedly deal with early church mediumship or spiritualism or spirit contact of prior believers who died.

I did not, of course, but a certain amount of cross-examination revealed that we were discussing a line on the following site, giving a list of books and links:

To anyone who writes to me: do give me all the facts, hey?  Don’t make me drag out of you just which site you are referring to, and so on?! 

Anyway, in the section “Mediumship and Mediums”, there is the curious item:

Tertullian Tracts – very early Christian practice of spirit communion

The link is to a Geocities site “tertulliancyrian”, which must be a typo.  I quickly saw that it had to be:

Of course GeoCities no longer exists.  But the material we are seeking is preserved in the internet archive here:

This consists of excerpts from one of the treatises of Tertullian, “De ieiunio adversus psychicos”, in which he discusses Montanist claims to revelation.  None of this material has anything whatever to do with mediumship (!) or any spirit other than the Holy Spirit.