Archive for the 'Announcements' Category
May 16th, 2015 by Roger Pearse
Today I saw an interesting quotation attributed to John Chrysostom, which reads as follows:
John Chrysostom, a fourth-century preacher and bishop of Constantinople, wrote, “Tell me then, how is it that you are rich? From whom did you receive it, and from whom did he transmit it to you? From his father and his grandfather. But can you, ascending through many generations, show the acquisition just? It cannot be. The root and origin of it must have been injustice. Why? Because God in the beginning did not make one person rich and another poor, He left the earth free to all alike. Why then if it is common, have you so many acres of land, while your neighbor has not a portion of it?”
Searching on the first words, “Tell me then, how is it you are rich?”, the source appears to be Shane Claiborne &c, Common Prayer: A liturgy for ordinary radicals, for May 14 – annoyingly the pages are unnumbered. But the authors give no source for this supposed quotation. The quote has now started to appear in Twitter, and will doubtless circulate.
A Google Books search reveals earlier use of those words; e.g. in 1978 by Mary Evelyn Jegen & Bruno V. Manno, The Earth is the Lord’s: Essays in Stewardship, p.40. Unfortunately all the results listed are in snippet form only.
It sometimes helps to use later words in a quote, so I did a search on “The root and origin of it must have been injustice”, and … bingo! It appears in the 1843 translation of the homilies of Chrysostom on Timothy, Titus and Philemon, published in the Oxford Movement Library of the Fathers series, on p.100: in homily 12, on 1 Timothy. This reads, in the NPNF series of homily 12:
Tell me, then, whence art thou rich? From whom didst thou receive it, and from whom he who transmitted it to thee? From his father and his grandfather. But canst thou, ascending through many generations, show the acquisition just? It cannot be. The root and origin of it must have been injustice. Why? Because God in the beginning made not one man rich, and another poor. Nor did He afterwards take and show to one treasures of gold, and deny to the other the right of searching for it: but He left the earth free to all alike. Why then, if it is common, have you so many acres of land, while your neighbor has not a portion of it?
At some point somebody modernised these words – not too arduous a task, since the original translator seems to have abandoned his thee’s and thou’s after the first couple of sentences, and reverted to the English of his own day in which he no doubt actually first wrote his translation – and that modernised version has been quoted and requoted.
So there we have it. It is from Homily 12 of Chrysostom’s Homilies on 1 Timothy.
May 15th, 2015 by Roger Pearse
Many years ago – indeed in my last summer at Oxford – I formed a high opinion of the pre-WW1 essays of Augustine Birrell. This opinion was not founded on any great study. On the contrary: I was going punting, and looking for a book to take with me. In a shop I found a copy of the Everyman Century of English Essays. It was very cheap, for its cover was gone, and had been replaced by some careful person with a cover of brown paper. Anyway it was clearly not valuable, and so ideal for the risky environment of the punt.
The volume contained a couple of essays by Birrell, and this led me to buy some collections of his essays, and then to venture to look at some of the literary works which he discussed. Notable among these was Boswell’s Life of Johnson. This I acquired somewhere, in a two-volume Everyman, and had a local bookshop – the Amberstone bookshop in Ipswich, long since vanished alas – cover the battered dustwrappers with plastic. Consequently Birrell and Boswell have been long allied in my memory.
The reign of Charles II was not a happy one in Britain, and Johnson looks back to it often. The main consequence of that reign was to exclude by law half of England from any share in the government, if they failed to “conform”; that is, to swear oaths of their allegiance to the Church of England. The Act of Uniformity, the Test Act, and other detestable pieces of legislation were devised, not to promote national unity, but in order to push the puritans and presbyterians out of the church, thereby allowing the revenues of many valuable benefices to fall to their enemies, and allowing the latter to use the state to harass, imprison, and otherwise abuse those they hated. This process created “non-conformity”, a parallel state, which continued to exist for more than a century and a half, until the laws were entirely removed in the 19th century.
Many people will perhaps suppose that this was religious persecution, from the language used by the oppressors. But I learned yesterday that the judge who worded the Act of Uniformity of 1662, John Keeling, was himself an atheist. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Gilbert Sheldon, who drafted the material and was in the forefront of the persecutions, is recorded by Samuel Pepys a few years later as a wencher. These were not religious men.
In fact laws that strain mens’ consciences invariably produce governments full of liars and scoundrels. Honest men say what they mean, and so are at the mercy of wretches who will say anything, and are quite happy to draw up “tests” which will exclude those more honest than themselves. The Act of Uniformity was of this character; for it involved swearing that the Book of Common Prayer was in full accordance with scripture, when in fact almost no copies had even been made available for examination.
For many years, I was under the impression that Birrell referred to one of the drafters of these nasty pieces of legislation in the following terms: “that the wretch who drafted it boasted that it would damn one half of the country and starve the other half.” I always wondered who precisely the “wretch” was, and where Birrell found the statement.
This evening I took advantage of the digitisation of Birrell’s works at the Internet Archive to do some searches. And I found … that the words are not Birrell’s, but are found in the footnotes (by either Boswell himself, or by Malone, an early editor). The footnote is to a remark about the non-jurors, clergymen who declined to swear to William III in 1688, on the basis that they were already sworn to James II, and so were deprived of their livings.
This was not merely a cursory remark ; for in his Li/e o/ Fenten
he observes, ‘ With many other wise and virtuous men, who at that
time of discord and debate [about the beginning of this century] con-
sulted conscience well or ill informed, more than interest, he doubted
the legality of the government ; and refusing to qualify himself for
public employment by taking the oaths required, left the University
without a degree.’ This conduct Johnson calls ‘ perverseness of
The question concerning the morality of taking oaths of whatever kind, imposed by the prevailing power at the time, rather than to be excluded from all consequence, or even any considerable usefulness in society, has been agitated with all the acuteness of casuistry. It is related that he who devised the oath of abjuration, profligately boasted that he had framed a test which should ‘damn one half of the nation, and starve the other.’ Upon minds not exalted to inflexible rectitude, or minds in which zeal for a party is predominant to excess, taking that oath against conviction may have been palliated under the plea of necessity or ventured upon in heat, as upon the whole producing more good than evil.
At a county election in Scotland many years ago, when there was a warm contest between the friends of the Hanoverian succession and those against it, the oath of abjuration having been demanded, the freeholders upon one side rose to go away. Upon which a very sanguine gentleman, one of their number, ran to the door to stop them, calling out with much earnestness, ‘Stay, stay, my friends, and let us swear the rogues out of it!’ 
It is indeed hard not to be cynical about those who draft laws about what opinions may or may not be held or expressed. They are invariably rogues who seek only their own advantage by turning the natural desire of all men to do what is right into a means to harm those who possess it.
So this relates to a later oath than I had imagined. But who was the man who “profligately boasted” of the harm he had done his country?
I do not know the answer. But a search produces more information.
In Thomas Carte’s A full answer, 1742, p.87 I find the following:
I am no great Friend to Tests, but all Governments have thought it proper to take such Precautions for their Security. Thus we have seen in our Times seven excellent Bishops, and near 1000 Clergymen of the Church of England, and the whole Body of the Clergy (almost to a Man) of another Kingdom, now united to ours, turned out of their Freeholds, because they could not comply with such Tests, though their former Conduct had been in all Respects irreproachable. There have been some invented, which a Son of one of the Trustees for the Charities to the Bartholomew Divines, has been laid to glory in contriving so, as to damn one half of the Clergy and starve the other.
The “Bartholomew Divines” were the clergy ejected in 1662 by the Act of Uniformity, which took effect on St Bartholomew’s Day – itself cunningly chosen, as Bishop Burnet informs us, just before Michaelmas, when the rents for the year past were due, so that the incoming appointees could enjoy the profits for the year just gone, rather than those who had earned them. The charities, then, must be funds raised for those clergy. The reference again is to the Oath of Abjuration (of 1702), and evidently a son of one of those trustees had decided to revenge himself on the (conforming) clergy who had benefitted from those expulsions.
That the culprit was indeed a non-conformist appears also in a pro-conformist tract, written by Samuel Butler, the author of Hudibras, called The assembly-man. A 1715 3rd edition is here, and on p.109 we find the following description of the non-conformists:
But the Assembler‘s deepest, highest Abomination, is his Solemn League and Covenant, whereby he strives to damn or beggar the whole Kingdom, out doing the Devil, who only persuades, but the Assembler forces to Perjury or Starving. And this (whoever lives to observe it) will one Day sink both him and his Faction : For He and his Oath are so much one,that were he half hang’d and let down again, his first Word would be Covenant! Covenant!
This, of course, is at a time when the times have changed. The evil men who created conformity were all strong supporters of James II; and after his overthrow, had a test inflicted upon them in turn by the nonconformists, then in favour with the Whig party.
So I find that I am mistaken, and that the phrase in fact refers to the nonconformists’ revenge on the conformists, and not the evil of 1662! I still can’t put a name to the man, tho.
But so it goes in life. The wrong that you do to others will one day be done to you, and it will be justified, over your protests, by the precedents that you created.
These events are perhaps forgotten today. One can’t help wishing that they were better known.
May 8th, 2015 by Roger Pearse
A couple more drawings have come my way of the Vatican Rotunda.
I have blogged before about this. It appears that a couple of circular tombs were built in the 3rd century AD in what had been the Circus of Gaius and Nero, just down the slope from where Constantine was to build the basilica of Old St Peter’s. The two tombs were incorporated into the structure as attached buildings, used as chapels. The western one was demolished when the new basilica was built, but the other remained until quite modern times, and was known as the Vatican rotunda.
The first image is from the Met Museum, and is a drawing by Antonio Tempesta of 1645. In fact it forms part of a map of Rome. Here it is:
A. Tempesta, 1645. Map of Rome.
This shows new St Peter’s, but without the colonnades. Instead the steps of Old St Peter’s are still there. The Vatican rotunda is in the middle of the south side of the basilica.
Now here’s the other, also from the Met Museum. Giovanni Battista Falda (Italian, 1643–1678). Veduta di Tutta la Basilica Vaticana (…), from Il Nuovo Teatro (…), 1665–1669:
Falda, 1665-9. New St Peter’s with Vatican Rotunda.
Note the rotunda, in an unusual view, end-on, at the left-hand end of the colonnade.
May 7th, 2015 by Roger Pearse
Yesterday I wrote some notes on this curious Latin apocryphal text. There is a whole cycle of medieval texts about what happened to Pilate after the gospels, often attached to the Gospel of Nicodemus in Latin versions, of which the Cura Sanitatis Tiberii is one.
Today I discovered a few more bits of information, especially that Z. Izydorczyk’s The Medieval Gospel of Nicodemus: Texts, Intertexts and Contents in Western Europe (1997) is online here. It contains some interesting information.
Given the absence of concern for textual integrity and definitive textual boundaries in manuscript culture, it is hardly surprising that the Gospel of Nicodemus provided both a source and a point of gravity for a host of minor, often derivative compositions. Known collectively as the cycle of Pilate, those texts are quite diverse in form and content, and include private and official letters, reports, narratives, and legal pronouncements. What links them all is the emphasis on the person of Pilate, textual and thematic links to the GN, and frequent co-occurrence with the GN in manuscripts (in fact, they are sometimes fully integrated with it). Most of them were originally written in crude Greek or Latin and later translated into various Eastern and Western languages.
The notion of the cycle of Pilate is rather loose and has never been unambiguously defined. There is no absolute agreement as to which texts should be included in it and which should not, but there is a general consensus that the cycle constitutes the immediate textual milieu for the AP. Since the Pilate cycle will occasionally enter the discussions of the apocryphon in this book, it may be worthwhile to mention its main texts here….
He then gives a useful list, with a short summary of the contents of each. He indicates that his list is derived from Mauritius Geerard, Clavis apocryphorum Novi Testamenti, Corpus Christianorum. Series Apocryphorum (Tumhout: Brepols, 1992), no. 64 onwards.
Cura sanitatis Tiberii: Tiberius is miraculously healed by an image of Christ, Peter confirms the truth of Pilate’s report on Jesus, and Nero exiles Pilate, who commits suicide. The work was composed in Latin, possibly in northern Italy, between the fifth and the eighth centuries.
A more detailed discussion appears on p.57-9, in which the date of the piece is given as between the 5-8th centuries; the latter being the date of the first extant manuscript, while the former is the date of the Latin translation of the Gospel of Nicodemus, to which the Cura is “textually indebted.”
The CANT indicates that the Cura is CANT 69 (BHL 4218-4220), that there are two recensions, and the edition is by Dobschutz, as we saw yesterday. I learn from Izydorczyk that an Old Czech version of the Cura exists; and Old English, Middle English, and German versions. A google search informs me of a volume of Old French and Middle French versions of Pilate texts, including the Cura.
It is curious, tho, that no modern translation exists. It seems clear that a volume which edits the entire cycle, with translations, would be very useful to have. Would it be so hard to do?
May 6th, 2015 by Roger Pearse
A correspondent enquired whether I knew of a translation of a text named the Cura sanitatis Tiberii. Never having heard of this text, I looked into it. Here is what I found.
In the medieval Greek and Latin manuscripts, there are preserved a whole cycle of fictional stories known as the Gospel of Nicodemus, the Acts of Pilate, and various other texts connected to Pilate, including letters, and accounts of his death. Both J.K. Elliot in his Apocryphal New Testament and W. Schneemelcher group this material together, rather hopelessly; and those who read through it, to get an overview of the corpus, will find their patience strained. The texts were all published originally Tischendorff and both Elliot and Schneemelcher refer to the pages of his edition using abbreviations like “Ea.”
The literature contains three different accounts of the death of Pilate, taking different views of his attitude to Christianity. All are medieval. Schneemelcher mentions them on p.530 and 532-3.
The first of these is the Paradosis or Handing over of Pilate (text in Ea. pp. 449-455), which is found appended to another text, the Anaphora, which itself is an appendix to the Acts of Pilate. The Paradosis treats Pilate as a saint, and has an eastern origin. It is translated by Schneemelcher (p.530-532), and Elliot (p.208-211) with an extensive list of other translations.
The next account is the Mors Pilati or Death of Pilate (text in Ea. pp.456-458). In this the Emperor Tiberius is sick. He sends out an envoy, Volusianus, and is cured by the Veronica. Pilate is punished. This is a very late western text, based by Tischendorff on a 14th century manuscript. Elliot (p.216-7) gives only a summary plus a list of editions and translations. The English translations are: Cowper, 415-19; Walker, 234-6; Westcott, 131-5.
The final account is, so Schneemelcher says, the Cura sanitatis Tiberii or Cure of the illness of Tiberius (text in Ea. 471-486), and summarises it (p.532-3). But at this point confusion creeps in. For there are two texts involved here, related but different. For Schneemelcher also refers to the Vindicta Salvatoris or Vengeance of the Saviour, as if it was the same text. This is also discussed by Elliot, but without reference to the Cura. Elliot gives a summary and translation of the Vindicta (p.213-6), and lists the modern translations as Cowper, 432-47; Walker, 245-55; Westcott, 146-59; and M.R. James, 159-60 (summary).
A real modern critical edition of the Latin Cura sanitatis Tiberii is to be found in E. Dobschütz, Christusbilder: Untersuchungen zur christlichen Legende (Leipzig, 1899), in the second volume with the curious page numbers 157**-203**. Examining this, it is clear that the text translated by Walker is not the same work as that published by Dobschütz.
The text edited by Dobschütz is based on a range of manuscripts, from th 8-15th centuries. He dismisses the 14th century date – for obvious reasons – and suggests that this text is in fact the earliest witness to the legend of the Veronica, the piece of cloth with which Christ wiped his face while carrying his cross. He states that the Vindicta is not the same text; and that Tischendorff simply ignored the Cura, in favour of the Vindicta and the Mors, which he discovered and described as older.
An edition of the Cura was given by Schoenbach in Anzeiger für deutsches Altertum II 1876 (= Zeitschrift XX) p.173-180, based on a younger manuscript. Dobschütz sneered at this edition for using a smoothed, modern text, rather than grappling with the difficulties of 8th century Latin and reproducing its orthography. (I confess, after OCRing Dobschütz’s effort, so that I could read what the text said, I found myself short of sympathy for his point of view).
I thought that I would end by giving the Latin text, as best I could, from Dobschütz, stripped of his apparatus. Here it is:
Anybody fancy making a translation?
UPDATE: I forgot to mention that a paper on the Cura sanitatis Tiberii and the Vindicta Salvatoris is accessible online: Remi Gounelle, « Les origines littéraires de la légende de Véronique et de la Sainte Face: la Cura sanitatis Tiberii et la Vindicta Saluatoris », dans A. MONACI CASTAGNO (éd.), Sacre impronte e oggetti « non fatti da mano d’uomo » nelle religioni…., Turin, Edizioni dell’Orso, 2011, p. 231-251. It’s good stuff!
May 5th, 2015 by Roger Pearse
I came across an article by Alin Suciu on the Coptic ps.Severian homily In Apostolos, and thought that I had better update the bibliography. It is, as ever, far from comprehensive – I am no compiler of bibliographies – but merely a tool for my own purposes.
This replaces the files uploaded here.
May 4th, 2015 by Roger Pearse
A couple more interesting pictures appeared on Twitter tonight.
The first of these was posted by Ste Trombetti, and shows the Arch of Titus in 1848 (!). The photo is in the Getty archive, and was taken by Count Jean-François-Charles-André Flachéron (French, 1813-1883). Through the arch, the Meta Sudans is visible, in its truncated 19th century state.
Here it is:
Arch of Titus, Meta Sudans, and Colosseum. Flacheron, 1848.
The next item is a photograph which was found by searching on “Collina della Velia”, i.e. the little Velian hill. This hill was completely levelled by Mussolini, in building the Via del Foro Imperiali. This old photograph shows the black base of the Colossus of Nero, which existed until Mussolini removed it. The black item below the Colosseum is the base.
I found it on Flickr here. Here it is:
Collina della Velia. Note the base of the Colossus of Nero.
Finally let’s include an aerial view of the whole region, from a 2009 exhibition here. Click on it to get a very large photo!
The base of the Colossus is in the shade of the Colosseum, but I think the rectangle can be made out if you zoom:
Zoomed area of the aerial photo of the base of the Colossus of Nero
There seem to be very few photographs of this obscure item.
May 4th, 2015 by Roger Pearse
Methodius of Olympus. 5-6th century papyrus fragment of the Symposium.
I learn from Brice C. Jones that a marvellous discovery has been made: a papyrus leaf, or the remains of one, containing a portion of the Symposium of the Ante-Nicene writer Methodius of Olympus (d. 311 AD, as a martyr):
New Discovery: The Earliest Manuscript of Methodius of Olympus and an Unattested Saying about the Nile
… The only complete work of Methodius that we possess is his Symposium or Banquet—a treatise in praise of voluntary virginity.
Until quite recently, the earliest manuscript of this text was an eleventh century codex known as Patmiacus Graecus 202, which is housed in the Monastery of St. John the Theologian on the island of Patmos.
But a remarkable discovery has recently been made in the Montserrat Abbey in Spain.
Sofia Torallas Tovar and Klaas A. Worp, who have been working on the manuscript collection in the Montserrat Abbey for many years, have just published a fragment of Methodius’ Symposium that they date on palaeographical grounds to the fifth-sixth century—about 450 years earlier than the Patmos codex mentioned above. (On another recent, important discovery by Tovar and Worp, see here.)
Published as P.Monts. Roca 4.57, this fragment is the first attestation of a work of Methodius from Egypt. It is a narrow strip of parchment, with thirty partial lines preserved on the hair side (see image of fragment at right).
The text on this side of the fragment comes from Oratio 8:16.72-73, 3:14.35-40, 8.60-61, and 9.18-19 (in that order).
The flesh side contains thirty-five partial lines of text unrelated to the Methodian text. This is an unidentified Christian text with “Gnomic” sentiments, as the authors explain.
In addition to the wonderful fact that we now have a significantly earlier manuscript witness of Methodius’ text, there is also another remarkable feature in the new manuscript: a previously unattested saying about the Nile. In lines 5-8, the manuscript reads:
“The rise of the Nile is life and joy for the families”
ἡ ἀνάβα̣σ̣ε̣ι̣[ς] τοῦ Νείλου̣ ζω̣ή̣ ἐστι κ̣[αὶ] χαρὰ ἑστία[ις]
As the authors note, this saying does not occur in Methodius. And indeed, it does not fit the immediate context. Where it comes from is a mystery, but the saying is nonetheless very interesting.
Marvellous! And thank you, Brice, for making this known to the world! Brice adds that the publication is:
Sofía Torallas Tovar and Klaas A. Worp, ed., with the collaboration of Alberto Nodar and María Victoria Spottorno, “Greek Papyri from Montserrat” (P.Monts. Roca IV) (Barcelona: 2014), no. 57.
What this find also reminds me, is that Methodius is one of the very few ante-Nicene authors whose works have not been translated into English. This is because they survive only in Old Slavic versions. I paid some attention to these, in previous posts, and even acquired some texts; but I must hurry up and try to get some translations made!
May 4th, 2015 by Roger Pearse
Anthony Alcock has continued his marvellous programme of translations from Coptic. Today’s item is the Encomium on Theodore the Anatolian, by Theodore, Bishop of Antioch. It’s here:
The manuscript that contains the work was published by E.A.W. Budge, and dates from 995 AD.
The text is a hagiographical text, but St. Theodore the Anatolian was a popular saint in Egypt. Also known as Theodore the General, or Theodore the Stratelates, the cult of this warrior saint developed in Anatolia in the 10-11th centuries.
May 2nd, 2015 by Roger Pearse
Via AWOL I discovered the existence of a search engine for Greek manuscripts, made by David Jenkins and online at Princeton here. I promptly started looking for examples of the “summaries” or “tables of contents” in Greek texts. Not many of the texts that I looked at had them; but a few did.
First off, let’s have a look at an 11th century manuscript of Eusebius’ Church History, BML Plut. 70.28. On folio 2v we find this:
Table of contents for Eusebius HE in 11th century manuscript
But none of this material is in the body of the manuscript as far as I could see.
Here’s a 16th century version of the same thing, much influenced by the age of printing no doubt. This is Ms. Vatican Ottobonianus gr.108. Fol. 1v looks like this:
16th century table of contents for Eusebius HE
It’s neater: but not fundamentally different in content.
Next up, a 9th century manuscript (Pal. gr. 398) from Heidelberg of Arrian’s Cynegetica. Fol. 17r looks like this:
9th century table of contents for Arrian’s Cynegetica
If we then look at the start of the text on fol.18, we see the same material – numerals appear in the margin against each chapter, while the “chapter heading” is in the right margin:
Opening of Arrian’s Cynegetica, with chapter number and title on right.
Unfortunately I found no early examples in the manuscripts listed. The majority of manuscripts listed were biblical (as this is where digitisation has concentrated), which is not what I am looking for. Manuscripts of Plato’s works had no table of contents; nor did a manuscript of the histories of Herodotus. But my search was by no means comprehensive.
It’s still nice to see these things, tho. What I nowhere saw was modern-style chapters, blank lines followed by titles with numbers and another blank line. Which is interesting itself.