The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 2 – part 2

Continuing our translation.  More material summarised from the bible.

3. If someone objects that in the Torah it is written that the sons of Abraham – in another text: the sons of Israel – were slaves for four hundred years (11) and then asks why we say instead that they were slaves for two hundred and seventeen years, we answer: “You have not chosen correctly the date from which to begin to compute to get to the four hundred years.  Know that it is written in the first book of the Torah that God – highest be His praise – said to Abraham: “Look up at the sky and count the stars if you can count them.  Your seed will be as numerous as them.”(12)  And God told him again: “I am the God who brought you out of Qarrà of the Chaldeans to bring you to this land that I will give you as an inheritance” (13). Abraham said: “My Lord, how will I know that I shall inherit it?”(14). And God answered him: “Take a young bull, a ram and a three-year-old goat, then take a turtledove and a pigeon. Divide them in half and place each half in front of the respective half, but do not divide the birds “(15).  Abraham did [as God had ordered him to do].  The birds immediately rushed to the sides, but Abraham called them and they went to him. It was sunset.  On Abraham there fell a deep sleep and a great fright because dense darkness had fallen on Abraham.  God told Abraham: “You must know that your descendants will dwell in a land not their own and will work there and will be slaves for four hundred years.  But I will judge the nation that they serve. Later they will come out and come here with great riches.  As for you, you will go in peace to your fathers and you will be buried after a decent old age”(16).  It is from this time when God said to Abraham: “Your descendants will be slaves for four hundred years” that it is necessary to compute the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt. Understand it well!

4. Pharaoh let the children of Israel go and told them: “Go with Moses and worship your Lord on the holy mountain (17).  But in three days, go back to your places”. Moses ordered the women of the children of Israel to borrow clothes and jewels from the Egyptians and wear them. The women did as Moses had ordered them to do. Moses led them out of Egypt. There were six hundred thousand. The sea split in two before them, on the orders of Moses, and allowed them to walk in the middle. The pharaoh regretted allowing the children of Israel to leave. The pharaoh of the times of Moses was called ‘Amyūs (18). He chased them with six hundred thousand men and passed through where they had passed. But the waters rejoined over them and drowned the pharaoh with his men, without even one being saved. From Abraham to when the children of Israel came out of Egypt five hundred and seven years had passed away; from Fāliq to the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt, one thousand and forty-eight; from the deluge to the exodus of the childrens of Israel from Egypt, one thousand five hundred and seventy-nine years; from Adam to the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt, three thousand eight hundred and thirty-five years.

The children of Israel wandered for forty years. God rained manna and quails on them. In their wandering from one place to another they fought against the Amalekites and the Philistines. Whenever they tried to occupy Palestine they were driven out, and every time they tried to enter the territory of the Amalekites they engaged in battle and were driven back. When they thought of returning to Egypt, they were afraid of the people. In the desert there prophesied the sons of Qūrih (19), who were swallowed up by the earth, namely Ashīr, Ilqānā and Anīsāf (20). The earth swallowed Qūrih because he had become arrogant to Moses and insulted him. Moses therefore commanded the earth [to open] and it swallowed Qūrih with his tent and all that belonged to him.  Moses and Harun made a census of the sons of Israel who were in the desert, of those who carried arms, from twenty years upwards, except those of the tribe of Levi, and counted them six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty.  Then the sons of Levi, those from a month upwards, turned out to be twenty-two thousand two hundred and seventy-three. The total number of the sons of Israel that Moses and Harūn counted thus turned out to be six hundred and twenty-five thousand eight hundred and twenty-three. While in the desert, Moses killed Sīhūn, king of Hishwan (21): he destroyed their homes, killed their men and took their women captive. He killed the king of Madyan, destroyed Madyan and killed the men and the children, taking the women prisoner.  He killed the king of ‘Ūğ and destroyed the city, killing the men and children and making the women prisoner (22).

5. Moses ascended Mount Tur Sīnā (23) and God gave him the Torah written on plates. When he came down he found that the sons of Israel had taken the jewels of their women, smelted them, and had forged a calf’s head and worshiped it. Seeing them in this condition, he threw down the plates which were broken in pieces. Then Moses picked them up and placed them in an ark. Moses built the Tent of time using the thread of the garments of the women of the Israelites and placed a sanctuary within it. Harūn, his brother, was a priest in the sanctuary. In the desert, many snakes were mortally biting the children of Israel, who asked Moses for help. God then ordered Moses to make a bronze serpent and put it in such a way as to be clearly visible and to raise the standard in the camp of the children of Israel. Anyone who was bitten and looked at the bronze snake would not report any damage from the snake’s venom. Moses, Harūn and Maryam, their sister, died in the desert in the same year, having wandered for forty years in the desert. First Maryam, their sister, on the sixth of Nīsān, or Barmūdah (24), died at the age of one hundred and twenty-seven; then Harūn died, on the first of the month of Āb, or Misra (25), at the age of one hundred and twenty-three years and was buried on Mount Hūr (26); finally Moses died – on him be peace – on the seventh of the month of Adhār, or Baramhāt (27), in the land of Muwāb. He was buried in the wādī of Muwāb (28): he was one hundred and twenty years old.

A new translation of Synesius’ Encomium of Calvitius from Anthony Alcock

Anthony Alcock has translated Synesius of Cyrene’s Encomium on Calvitius from Greek.  Synesius was a contemporary of Hypatia, and lived in the late 4th century.  The Fitzgerald translation of all the works of Synesius is already online, but evidently Dr. A just fancied a bit of Greek!

Here it is:

Two inscriptions from the library of Pantainos in the agora at Athens

I’d never heard of the library of Pantainos in the marketplace in Athens, until I saw a very nice image on twitter today by Michael Lara:

The stone is marble backed by concrete, and reads:

No book is to be taken out because we have sworn an oath. (The library) is to be open from the first hour until the sixth.[1]

This makes it the only library from antiquity where we know the rules.  And we know the founder of the library because an inscription from the lintel has survived:[2]

Ἀθηνᾷ Πολιάδι καὶ Αὐτοκράτορι Καίσαρι Σεβα{σ}στῷ Νέρβᾳ Τραϊανῷ Γερμανικῷ καὶ τῇ πόλι τῇ ǀ Ἀθηναίων ὁ ἱερεὺς Μουσῶν φιλοσόφων Τ. Φλάβιος Πάνταινος Φλαβίου Μενάνδρου διαδόχου ǀ υἱὸς τὰς ἔξω στοάς, τὸ περίστυλον, τὴν βυβλιοθήκην μετὰ τῶν βυβλίων, τὸν ἐν αὐτοῖς πάντα ǀ κόσμον, ἐκ τῶν ἰδίων μετὰ τῶν τέκνων Φλαβίου Μενάνδρου καὶ Φλαβίας Σεκουνδίλλης ἀνέθηκε.

The priest of the philosophic Muses, T. Flavius Pantainos son of the successor (diadochos) Flavius Menandros, dedicated the outer stoas, the peristyle, the library with the books, and all the decorations in them from his own resources. He did this together with his children Flavius Menandros and Flavia Secundilla, dedicating them to Athena Polias (“of the City”), to the emperor Caesar Augustus Nerva Trajan Germanicus and to the city of the Athenians.[3]

This all dates to 98-102 AD.

A photograph of the lintel as it was found in 1933, built into the late Roman defensive wall, via here:[4]

An amazing collection of images can be found here.

The library was destroyed by the Heruli in their raid on Athens in 267. A defensive wall was built by the Athenians after that, which ran across the site of the library.

It is interesting to see an ancient site which is quite definitely a library.  There are plenty of photographs online, but clearly it would be nice to actually visit the place!

  1. [1]Published in Hesperia 5 (1936), p. 41, fig. 40.
  2. [2]As published by Camp (1986), p. 190, fig. 160.; Agora XIV, pl. 62, c.  Via http://agora.ascsa.net/id/agora/image/1997.12.0099.  The site is very hard to use, but I think “Camp” is “Camp (J. M.) The Athenian agora: excavations in the heart of classical Athens. (New aspects of antiquity.) London: Thames and Hudson, 1986”
  3. [3]Text and translation by Philip Harland, here.  Publication: James H. Oliver, “Flavius Pantaenus, Priest of the Philosophical Muses,” Harvard Theological Review 72 (1979) 157-160 = SEG 21 (1965), no. 703 = PHI 291635  = ID# 16291.
  4. [4]The finds were published in Hesperia 4 (1935), p. 322, fig. 19. (JSTOR: https://www.jstor.org/stable/146455) and Cf. Hesperia Suppl. 8 (1949), pl. 26.

What on earth is the “Hypomnesticon” of “Josephus Christianus”?

While we were looking at the Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae of ps.Athanasius, there was a reference in Zahn’s article to “the strange book of Josephus Christianus”.  This is yet another obscure text, so I thought that I would gather what I could find here.

This work is divided into 5 books and 167 chapters.  It has the title Ἰωσήππου βιβλίον ὑπομνηστικόν, which generated the idea that the author was a Josephus, called Josephus Christianus to distinguish him from the famous historian Flavius Josephus.  But in reality it merely means the hypomnesticon of the books of Fl. Josephus, i.e. extracts from the latter.  There is no author name attached, although older writers refer to him as “hypomnesticon auctor”.  Some have thought that he was the 4th century Joseph of Tiberias, but this is impossible.[1]  Chapter 136 is an extract from the Byzantine author Hippolytus of Thebes, who flourished in the late 7th/early 8th century.  If this is considered a Byzantine interpolation, the work would naturally date to the 5th century.[2]

Each chapter contains a question – mostly biblical-historical questions – which receives an answer, generally given as a list. The questions concern a wide range of subjects. These include: How many generations were there from Adam to the coming of the Saviour? Hebrews married gentile wives? Which men were admired for their wisdom? What are the miracles wrought by Isaiah the prophet? How many Jakoboi were there among the apostles?

The Greek text with the rare title “Hypomnestikon” has reached us in a single manuscript, the tenth century Codex Ff.1.24 of Cambridge University library (a copy made in the 18th century is in the university library at Utrecht). This manuscript contains the best extant text of The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and was probably brought to England from Athens about 1241 AD by Robert Grosseteste.[3]

The editio princeps was printed with a Latin translation in J. A. Fabricius, Codex pseudepigraphus Veteris Testamenti, Volume 2 (1723), and is online at Google Books here.  It is also in the Patrologia Graeca vol. 106, cols. 15-177, as “Joseppus Christianus”, “Libellus memorialis in Vetus et Novum Testamentum”.

Amazingly a modern edition and translation does exist: Robert M. Grant and G. W. Menzies, Joseph’s Bible Notes (Hypomnestikon). SBL Texts and Translations 41, Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1996.  This I have not seen, however.  There is a deeply useful review by William Adler. “Review of R M, Grant, and G W Menzies, Joseph’s Bible Notes. (hypomnestikon.)Journal of Theological Studies 48, no. 1 (1997): 258, which includes corrections.

A German translation was made by J. Haug and published as part of the Berleburg annotated bible, volume 8, in 1742.[4]

The only study devoted to the Hypomnesticon in modern times is J. Moreau, “Observations sur l’ὑπομνηστικόν βιβλίον Ἰωσήππου”, in: Byzantion 25-27, 1955-7, 241-276.[5]  There is also the PhD thesis of G. W. Menzies, Interpretative traditions in the Hypomnestikon Biblion Ioseppou, Diss: University of Minnesota 1994.[6]  Update: also see Stephen Goranson, “Joseph of Tiberias Revisited: Orthodox and Heresies in Fourth-Century Galilee” in: Eric M. Meyers (ed), Galilee Through the Centuries: Confluence of Cultures, 1999, p.343; and Simon C. Mimoumi, “L’Hypomnesticon de Joseph de Tiberiade: Une oeuvre  du IVeme siecle?”, Studia Patristica XXXII, 1997, p.346-57.

There are probably gems to be had within the text.  For instance chapter 122 contains a list of the translators of Hebrew scripture, and a little information about them; the seventy, Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion. Then it goes on:

A fifth version was found however at Jericho, hidden in bronze jars, bearing no translator’s name in the title.  However they say that this translation was by a certain woman, because those jars were found at the house of a woman who was studious of sacred literature.

(A sixth translation is mentioned after this).

Another obscure text, now perhaps a little better known!

Update: I discover an article on it at French wikipedia.
Update: Many thanks to commenter “Diego” for locating the German translation in the Berleburg bible; and to IG for some modern bibliography.

  1. [1]Although I see that the excellent Steven Goranson has attempted to revive it: Stephen Goranson, “Joseph of Tiberias Revisited: Orthodox and Heresies in Fourth-Century Galilee” in Galilee Through the Centuries: Confluence of Cultures edited by Eric M. Meyers, p.343.
  2. [2]Most of this from Smith’s elderly Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, Vol. 2, 1846, p.609.
  3. [3]All this via https://muse.jhu.edu/article/9952: “The author’s name, Joseph, is derived from the brief poem which is found at the end of the book—if this poem is the work of the author and not a scribal colophon. Apart from a few brief abstracts found in commentaries and catenae, the Greek text, with the rare title Hypomnestikon, is found only in one manuscript, the tenth century Codex Ff.1.24 of Cambridge University library. This somewhat notorious codex, containing the best extant text of The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, was probably brought to England from Athens about 1241 C.E. by Robert Grosseteste. The heart of this rather miscellaneous manuscript consists in moral lessons from the patriarchal and post-patriarchal times. The first modern edition was produced in 1723 by J. A. Fabricius the famous polymath and a later version, found in Migne PG 10ff, was edited by Giovanni Batista Gallicciolli. Although previously translated into Latin and German, this is the first English translation. It is not a theological treatise but rather a medieval Book of Lists or Trivia Pursuit, a pastiche of biblical-historical questions drawn from different writers, especially the Jewish historian Josephus, and occasionally developed with the help of the New Testament. It answers such questions as “Which of the saints became blind and died?” “Who survived and did not die?” “Who died and lived again?” (127) “What are the stations of the people on the way from Egypt?” It described five ‘heresies’ (sects) among the Jews (307): 1) Pharisees (‘separated’), concerned with phylacteries, cleansings of the body and washing of cups and plates. 2) Sadducees (‘just’) deny the resurrection, angels, Holy Spirit, spirits of the dead, judgement. 3) Essenes are ‘precise’ about the laws and abstain from marriage and procreation and from dealings and meetings due to blind chance. 4) Another order of Essenes ‘who similarly observe the laws yet do not reject marriage and procreation but despise the others because they cut off the succession of the race.’ 5) A fifth sect of Judas the Galilean ‘allowing them to call no man Lord or Master and prohibiting them to accept the census that took place under Quirinius.’ Among the Samaritans, who were originally colonists of the Persians, are four sects, Gorothenes, Sebouaeans, Essenes and Dositheans (307).”
  4. [4]Online here.
  5. [5]Henk Jan de Jonge, “Additional notes on the history of Mss. Venice Bibl. Marc. Gr. 494 (k) and Cambridge Univ. Libr. Ff. 1.24 (b)”, in: Marinus De Jonge, Studies on the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs: Text and Interpretation, p.107 f; p.114.
  6. [6]Hathi entry: https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/102172074

Manuscripts of the Suda / Suidas

I recently had reason to consult manuscripts of the 10th century Byzantine encyclopedia known as the Suda, and known in the past under the misleading title of “Suidas”.  This I did, but I realised that I did not actually know what the main mss of the Suda might be.  Some 80 manuscripts are listed at Pinakes, containing all or part of the text. The following notes are from Adler’s edition, vol. 1, p.218 f.

  • A = Paris, BNF, gr. 2625 and 2626.  Both have an older and a younger section.  2625 older portion is not dated by Adler; the younger is 14th century.  The older part of 2626 is 12-13th century, the younger is 15th century.
  • R = Vatican 3-4, copied from A before 1449.
  • Marcianus 449 (today 558), 15th c.  Copied from A.
  • British Library Additional 11892-3. Copied from A in 1402 by George Baeophorus.
  • Vatican 2317 (= 2431).  AD 1463.  Copied from A.
  • F = Florence, Mediceo-Laurenziana 55, 1.  Copied from A in 1422.
  • V = Leiden, Vossianus, 12th century.  Written before 1204 when S was copied from it.  Adler gives no shelfmark, and it does not appear to be listed in Pinakes.  A google search suggests it is Leiden University Library, Vossianus gr. F 2.[1]
  • S = Cod. Vaticanus 1296.  AD 1204.  Copied from V. Currently divided in 3 volumes.
  • C = Oxford, Corpus Christi College 76-7.  End of 15th c.  Copied from V.
  • British Library, Harleianus 3100.  End of 15th c.  Copied from V.  Originally at Durham Cathedral; presented by the dean and chapter to Edward Harley in 1715; and sold to the British Museum with the other Harley mss in 1753.
  • G = Paris 2623.  Written before 1481 by Caesare Strategus.  Part of the mixed GIT family.
  • Holkham Hall 288 (now in Bodleian library), 1454 AD.   Related to G.
  • I = Codex Angelicus 75. 15th c.  Part of the mixed GIT family.
  • Escorial X I 1. 15th c.   Part of the mixed GIT family.
  • Paris suppl. 96.  15th c. Excerpts.  Part of the mixed GIT family.
  • T = Vatican 881.  AD 1434.  Part of the mixed GIT family.  Interpolated at the end.
  • U = Urbinas gr. 161.  AD 1461.  Related to T.
  • N = Marcianus XI, 8 ( today 991). 15th c.  Related to T.
  • B = Paris 2622. 13th c.  Part of the BLM family.
  • Madrid 4882. (O 89) 16th c.    Part of the BLM family.
  • Copenhagen Gl. Kgl. Saml. 413.  1465 AD.    Part of the BLM family.
  • Marcianus X 21-22, (today 1197-8). ca. 1475.    Part of the BLM family.
  • E = Brussels 11281. AD 1476.    Part of the BLM family.
  • L = Codex Sinaiticus, St Petersburg 125. 14th c.    Part of the BLM family.
  • D = Bodleian Misc. Gr. 289. (= Auct. V 52). 15th c.    Part of the BLM family.
  • H = Paris gr. 2624. 15th c.   Part of the BLM family.
  • Milan, Ambrosianus 494 (L 108 Sup.) 15th c.    Part of the BLM family.
  • M = Marcianus 448 (1047). 13th c.   Part of the BLM family.
  • Oxford, Bodleian Misc. 290 (Auct. V 53) 15th c. Copied from M.

There are also excerpts preserved.

Sadly no stemma is given by Adler.

  1. [1]Tiziano Dorandi, “Liber qui vocatur suda: Translation of the Suda by Robert Grosseteste”, 2013. Via here: “Abstract: Robert Grosseteste (Bishop of Lincoln from 1235) translated in Latin some entries of the Byzantine Lexicon known as the Suda, a translation which is still unpublished. This paper investigates the textual transmission of Suda’s translation. In the first part Grosseteste’s learning and knowledge of Ancient Greek are briefly outlined. In the same section his other translations from Greek are also discussed. A description of the extant manuscripts of Suda’s translation is provided, as well as a catalogue of the items (pertaining to a separate textual tradition), which are found in Grosseteste’s notulae of his doctrinal, literary and scholarly works. Special attention is paid to the so-called Lexicon Arundelianum (a Greek-Latin Lexicon – but entirely written in Latin – Transmitted by MS London, College of Arms, Arundel 9). Grosseteste sometimes combines several Suda’s items and/or inserts in the original Lexicon text some entries of the Etymologicum Gudianum. Moreover Grosseteste’s translations are extremely literal (verbum de verbo). Finally, MS Leiden University Library, Vossianus gr. F 2 (12th cent.) is proved to be the Suda Greek manuscript used by Grosseteste for his translation.”

What the heck is the “Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae” of ps.Athanasius??

Enthusiasts for the authenticity of the “Three Heavenly Witnesses” passage in 1 John 5:7 are well aware that no Greek manuscript contains it.  But as I remarked in a previous post, they point to a work by Athanasius, the Synposis Scripturae Sacrae (“Summary of the Holy Scriptures”) as evidence that it was part of the text in his day.  But what on earth is this work?  And how has it reached us, and what scholarship has been done upon it?

Let’s look at how we got this text, and then we can talk about what it contains.

The work is listed in the Clavis Patrum Graecorum under CPG 2249.  It has reached us in a single manuscript, which remained unknown until 1895, hidden in the prestigious surroundings of Eton College, where it has the shelfmark Codex Etonensis 144 (formerly B. l. 5. 13).  J. Armitage Robinson published it in that year in Texts and Studies 3, “Euthaliana”, p.106-120, with a collation of the manuscript against the PG text.[1]  The manuscript was written by Ducas the Notary, among others, at the end of the 14th or start of the 15th century.

Other manuscripts seem to exist. The Pinakes database gives a list, which contains four manuscripts that look like full-length texts: Tübingen Mb 10 (16th c.), Vienna theol. gr. 249 (16th c.) and two 18th century Greek manuscripts – but I am not aware of any publication that deals with them.

The work was first published by P. Felckmann in Operum sancti patris nostri Athanasii archiepiscopi Alexandrini, t. II, Heidelberg 1600, p. 61-136, with a Latin translation by Wolfgang Musculus.[2]  Regular readers will remember Musculus from my post Apocryphal and then some: The so-called “Synopsis” of so-called Dorotheus of Tyre.  The Eton manuscript bears the marks of use as an exemplar for this edition.  But the manuscript then disappeared, and all subsequent editions based themselves on Felckmann.  Here’s the start of Felckmann’s text:

Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae in Felkmann’s edition of Athanasius (1600).

The text was edited again by Montfaucon, and reprinted by J.-P. Migne in the Patrologia Graeca vol. 28, cols. 281-438.  There is no critical edition of the text, and the only translation is that of Musculus into Latin.  The opening section of the work has been translated into English by Michael D. Marlowe and placed online here.

Studies of the work have been few.  The only serious study, until a decade ago, was undertaken by Theodor Zahn in Geschichte des neutestamentlichen Kanons, 1890, Band 2, Hälfte 1, p.302-318.[3]

Zahn established that the work is not an original literary composition.  Rather it is a collection of materials about the books of the bible and their contents, assembled from pre-existing sources in a pretty raw manner.  The work contradicts itself; at one time it describes the Old Testament apocrypha as useful for reading; at another it states that they are not to be read.

The work has always been recognised as spurious.  Montfaucon in his preface listed some reasons why:

  •  No work of this title is attributed to Athanasius in any ancient or medieval source.  We have detailed lists of his work in Jerome (de viris illustribus 87) and Photius (codd. 32, 139, 140).
  •  It is not found with any other work of Athanasius in the manuscript.
  •  It contradicts what Athanasius says about the canon in his 39th Festal Letter, and ignores the Shepherd of Hermas, so dear to Athanasius’ heart.

The Synopsis takes material from the genuine Festal Letter 39.  A section on the translation of the Old Testament is taken word-for-word from Epiphanius.  Another section belongs to the strange book of Josephus Christianus.  The content for Leviticus, Paralip., Esra, Prov., Job, Esther, Judith, Tobit, Sapientia Sal. is almost literally identical with corresponding sections of the Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae of ps.Chrysostom, another confused text of the same genre, which appears to be older than the ps.Athanasius.

Zahn concludes:

We cannot give be more precise on the period when the Athanasian Synopsis was written. For the time being there is nothing to be found in the relation to Josephus Christianus; for 1) the original affiliation with the parallel section on synopsis is highly doubtful, 2) that Josephus, whose work is nothing more than a compilation of very different books, may as well have drawn this passage from our synopsis, but conversely, 3) the time of Josephus is a very unknown or at least uncertain thing.

The dependence of our synopsis on that of Chrysostom, on the 39th festal letter of Athanasius, on a fifth-century Palestinian canon, and probably also on Epiphanius, places us in a monastery or church library in which these diverse spirits were united as equally venerable authorities.

The compilation certainly did not come into existence before the sixth century, perhaps even later.[4]

Zahn wrote more than a century ago, and nobody has ventured to touch the work since.  The only subsequent work is by Gilles Dorival in 2005, but this I have not seen and know only from a review.[5]

Work has been done on the related ps.Chrysostom Synopsis.  But that’s another story.

The text is related in some way to the Euthalian materials which appear in the margins and between books in medieval Greek bible manuscripts.  So we are dealing with a mass of non-literary material about the bible, changed by every hand that touched it, incarnate in a variety of versions, and attributed to a variety of authors, none of them genuine.  It’s really very like the Vitae Prophetarum Fabulosa that we encountered in ps.Dorotheus.

  1. [1]Online here.
  2. [2]Online here.
  3. [3]Online here.
  4. [4]Genauere Bestimmungen über die Abfassungszeit der athanasianischen Synopsis wage ich nicht zu geben. Auf das Verhältnis derselben zu Josephus Christianus ist vorläufig nichts zu gründen; denn 1) ist die ursprüngliche Zugehörigkeit des mit diesem parallelen Abschnitts zur Synopsis höchst zweifelhaft, 2) kann jener Josephus, dessen Arbeit nichts als eine Compilation aus sehr verschiedenen Büchern ist, diesen Abschnitt ebensogut aus unserer Synopsis geschöpft haben, als umgekehrt, 3) ist die Zeit jenes Josephus eine sehr unbekannte oder doch unsichere Sache. Die Abhängigkeit unserer Synopsis von derjenigen des Chrysostomus, vom 39. Festbrief des Athanasius, ferner von einem palästinensischen Kanon vielleicht des 5. Jahrhunderts und wahrscheinlich auch von Epiphanius versetzt uns in eine Kloster- oder Kirchenbibliothek, in welcher diese verschiedenartigen Geister als gleich ehrwürdige Auktoritäten vereinigt waren. Vor dem 6. Jahrhundert ist die Compilation gewiß nicht entstanden, vielleicht noch später.
  5. [5]Gilles Dorival, “L’apport des Synopses transmises sous le nom d’Athanase et de Jean Chrysostome à la question du Corpus Littéraire de la Bible?”, In : Gilles Dorival (ed.), Qu’est-ce qu’un Corpus Littéraire ? Recherches sur le corpus biblique et les corpus patristiques, Paris-Louvain-Dudley, 2005, p. 53-93; and a further article 94-108. Reviews on Persee here, which reads “G. Dorival (pp. 53-93), dans un texte très dense, fouillé même, dont notre résumé ne rend qu’imparfaitement compte, traite de l’apport des «synopses» de la Bible transmises sous les noms d’Athanase et de Jean Chrysostome à la connaissance de la constitution des corpus néo- et vétéro-testamentaires. La première est connue par quatre manuscrits divergents entre eux ; G.D. en nie l’authenticité, contre Montfaucon, pour en situer la rédaction entre le début du Ve siècle et la fin du vie ; le classement y est fait selon trois « genres » : historique, exhortatif et prophétique. La seconde, rédigée entre 500 et 600 et faussement attribuée à Athanase, n’est plus conservée que dans un seul manuscrit (cod. Eton. B 1 5 13) ; elle distingue entre les livres canoniques et les livres lus (άναγιγνωσκόμενα), et propose une liste des livres contestés (αντιλεγόμενα) et des apocryphes (απόκρυφα) qui ne correspond pas à la distinction précédemment établie. Dans une seconde étude (p. 95-108), G. Dorival s’intéresse à la synopse contenue dans le codex Barberinianus gr. 317, qui dépend en grande partie des deux synopses étudiées plus haut, mais qui offrent aussi quelques traits originaux, qui font regretter qu’elle n’ait pas été étudiée pour elle-même par les canonistes.”

The Manuscripts of Photius’ Epitome of the Church History of Philostorgius

The Arian Philostorgius wrote his Church History in twelve books.  A copy came into the hands of the patriarch Photius in the 9th century, bound into two volumes, and he reviewed it in his Myriobiblion or Bibliotheca, as codex 40 (online in English here).

But as the Myriobiblion went on, Photius returned to some of the volumes that he had read earlier, and wrote further remarks at greater length, often amounting to an epitome of the work.  He did the same for Philostorgius, although in this case the epitome did not form part of the Myriobiblion but was transmitted separately.  The complete work has since been lost, probably in the disaster of 1204 when Constantinople was sacked by the renegade army originally hired for the Fourth Crusade.

Here are the manuscripts in which the epitome has reached us.  A more complete list can be found at Pinakes here.  These details may be found at much greater length in the GCS edition by Bidez, p.xviii ff (1st edition of 1913 online here).

  • B.  Oxford, Bodleian: Codex Baroccianus 142.  Paper. 13-14th century.  292 pages.  Online here (use Chrome to view).  This is the archetype of most of the others, and consists of a collection of texts and excerpts on the history of the church, compiled by Nicephorus Callistus as source materials for his own Church History.  A list of contents may be found at Pinakes here.  Philostorgius is folios 243-261.  This is image 495 in the online facsimile, which starts with this.  The name of Philostorgius is in the centre; that of Photius to the right.

  • M. =   Venice.  Codex Marcianus gr. 337.  Parchment, 15th century, from the library of Bessarion.  Folios 353-370 contain Philostorgius.  The title is given as ἐκ τῶν ἐκκλησιαστικῶν ἱστοριῶν φιλοστοργίου ἐπιτομὴ ἀπὸ φωνῆς φωτίου πατρίαρχου.
  • Bern. = Bern.  Codex Bernensis 54.  Paper, 16th century.  Once owned by Jacques Bongars.  Philostorgius is fol. 1-53.
  • Harl. = London, British Library Harleian gr. 6316. Paper. 15-16th c.  Philostorgius is fol. 1-42.
  • Vall. = Rome, Codex Vallicelliana 181 (XCI), 16th century.  Item 14 within it is Philostorgius.
  • Langbaine = Oxford, Bodleian Library, Cod. Langbaine 20, paper, quarto size, unknown date.  Langbaine died in 1658.  Philostorgius is on pages 255-493.
  • Bochart = This manuscript is lost.  It seems to have been a copy of B. However a copy of Gothofred’s edition with marginal collation by Bochart exists in the public library at Caen.  (A 17-19th century copy of this collation is Paris BNF suppl. gr. 1005, fol. 6-9v.)
  • L. = Florence, Mediceo-Laurenziana Plutei 70, 5.  Paper, 15th century.  Fol. 63 contains two excerpts from Philostorgius.
  • Cairo = Cairo, Library of the Patriarch 86 (formerly 1002), paper, 13th century.

This gives a stemma:

The Bidez edition has been twice revised, but I don’t know whether these editions contain more details.  However Pinakes lists more manuscripts:

  • Oxford, Codex Barocci 67, 15th century.  Fol. 1-147.  Online catalogue.  But the digitised volume seems to be the second half, which is not Philostorgius.
  • Vatican, Codex Palatinus Graecus 4, 10th-11th century (!).  Folios 151v-189v.  This is not as yet online.

Useful to know all this.  A text gains reality when we see on what it is based.

The last oracle of Delphi

The oracle of Apollo at Delphi was perhaps the most famous of the Greek oracles.  It was known throughout the Greek and Hellenistic world.  It continued to exist in Roman times, doubtless in a somewhat artificially preserved way.  But Apollo ceased to speak to men as Christianity took hold, just as the other oracles also fell silent.

The last oracle delivered by the god has in fact come down to us. A messenger sent by Julian the Apostate returned with the following oracle.  Delivered in hexameters it reads:

ἔπατε τῷ βασιλε̃ι· χαμαὶ πέσε δαίδαλος αὐλά.
οὐκέτι Φοῖβος ἔχει καλύβαν, οὐ μάντιδα δάφνην,
οὐ παγὰν λαλέουσαν, ἀπέσβετο καὶ λάλον ὕδωρ.

Tell the emperor that the Daidalic hall has fallen.
No longer does Phoebus have his chamber, nor mantic laurel,
nor prophetic spring and the speaking water has been silenced.[1]

It is, perhaps, a plea for imperial patronage.  But the brevity of the reign of Julian doubtless precluded any such revival.  All the same, a law of 424 suggests that the games at Delphi were still being celebrated even then (Cod. Theodosianus 15.5.4), showing that at least some of the original institutions around the temple were still in being, a generation after the edict of Theodosius I which abolished paganism, in law at least.

The last oracle of Delphi was preserved in the Church History of Philostorgius the Arian, who died ca. 426 AD.  Philostorgius’ work itself has not survived, but it still existed, in twelve books and two volumes, when Photius reviewed it in his Myriobiblion in the 9th century.  Photius did more; he wrote an epitome of its contents which has reached us.  The modern GCS editor, Bidez, added to this fragments from various sources.

Philip Amidon has made a translation of this, assembled from various sources, and the full context is worth giving.  From book 7:

1b [AP 22].  When Julian had become master of the Roman Empire, as was said, his keenest desire was to restore paganism. He therefore sent letters to every place ordering that all haste and zeal should be applied to rebuilding the pagan temples and altars.

[AP 35: Artemius speaks to Julian]. Know therefore that the strength and power of Christ is invincible and unconquerable. You yourself are certainly convinced of this from the oracles that the physician and quaestor Oribasius recently brought you from the Apollo in Delphi. But I will repeat the oracle to you, whether you wish to hear it or not. It runs as follows:

Go tell the king the wondrous hall is fallen to the ground.
Now Phoebus has a cell no more, no laurel that foretells,
No talking spring; the water that once spoke is heard no more.

The edition of Bidez added fragments under each section of the epitome; these are taken from the 9th century Artemii Passio, the Martyrdom of St Artemius by John the Monk, which preserves sections of the text.[2]

The oracle is also preserved in the Byzantine historian, George Cedrenus.  It may be found on p.532 of volume 1 of the Bonn edition.  Sadly we still await the Australian translation of this useful work.

He sent Oribasius his doctor and quaestor to Delphi, to renew the oracle of Apollo.  When he arrived and began the work, he received this oracle from the demon: …

(Curiously the Latin translation of the oracle in the Bonn edition contains material at the start and end which is not in the Greek; perhaps Bekker, the editor, included a pre-existing paraphrase?)

Did the oracle speak again?  It would be rash to suppose that it did not.  But this is the last oracle known to us, and it speaks of the sanctuary fallen and the oracle silent.  However much the passing of superstition benefits mankind, to the antiquarian this is a melancholy picture.

  1. [1]Timothy E. Gregory, “Julian and the Last Oracle at Delphi”, GRBS 24 (1983), 355-66, online here.
  2. [2]The work is BHG 170-71c, CPG 8082.  Text: PG 96, 1252-1320.  An English translation of the Artemii Passio by Mark Vermes, with notes by Samuel N. C. Lieu, is available in From Constantine to Julian: Pagan and Byzantine Views: A Source History (ed. Samuel N. C. Lieu and Dominic Montserrat; London: Routledge, 1996), p.224 f.

1 John 5:7 in the fourth century? Theodore, Diodorus, the Suda, and Byzantine punctuation

From 1 John chapter 5 (KJV):

This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

1 John 5:7, the Comma Johanneum, has disappeared from our modern bibles, and probably rightly.  It is not found in any Greek manuscript prior to 1500, and it seems to be a marginal comment that found its way into the Latin bible.  This text critical evidence tells us that it formed no part of the original Greek text[1].  Theologically it is usually assumed or presumed that any additions or changes to the original Greek text are the work of men, rather than God, and are therefore not legitimately part of the divinely inspired text.  So on neither count should it appear in our bibles.

Incidentally let us never forget that text critical arguments and theological arguments are not the same thing.

However 1 John 5:7 still has its defenders today, and one of them wrote to me recently with an interesting query.  Michael Hollner had come across a defence of the authenticity of the passage written by a certain Ben David in 1825.  In this appears the claim that Theodore of Mopsuestia referenced 1 John 5:7.  Being an honest man, he wanted to know if this was actually true.

The pamphlet of 70 pages was entitled Three Letters Addressed to the Editor of The Quarterly Review, in which is Demonstrated the Genuineness of the Three Heavenly Witnesses – I John v. 7, and published in London.  “Ben David” was actually a unitarian minister named John Jones.[2] No doubt he felt that the high churchmen of the Quarterly Review might suspect a prank from a unitarian minister.

My correspondent’s quotation was itself corrupt and confusing.  It is always good policy to go to the original source, and so doing clarified much.

There is a digitised version of David’s pamphlet at Archive.org, and I have placed it here.  I think it is on Google Books; but I have not been able to locate it.  Here’s the passage:

Theodorus, the master of Chrysostom and a contemporary of the emperor Julian, as we learn from Suidas, wrote “A Treatise on one God in the Trinity, from the Epistle of John the Evangelist” Eis ten Epistolen Ioannou tou Euaggelistou peri tou eis Theos en Triadi. This is a remarkable testimony, as it implies the existence and notoriety of the verse about the middle of the fourth century. At that period, a writer of celebrity erects upon it the doctrine of a trinity in unity; which surely he would hardly have done, if any suspicion of its authenticity had been entertained by him, or by any other person of that age. Besides, the turn of the expression, as it supposes what was grounded on the verse to be grounded also on the whole Epistle, supposes the Epistle and the verse, in respect to their purport and authenticity, to stand exactly on the same foundation. (See Suidas on the word Diodoros.)

A quick look at the Suda online (we do not refer to “Suidas” these days) shows that Ben David made an error; it is not “Theodorus”, i.e. Theodore of Mopsuestia, but Diodorus of Tarsus who is in question here.

Diodorus is a shadowy figure to us today, because all of his immense output has perished.  Fragments exist, and attempts have been made to collect them, with limited success.  But a list of works exists in the Suda, as Ben David rightly says, in section delta 1149.

Ben David’s claim, therefore, is that Diodorus of Tarsus wrote a work entitled On the epistle of the evangelist John concerning one God in three, which is listed under that title in the Suda  (The subsidiary claim, that this must then refer to 1 John 5:7 is not our concern here).  But did he?

Here is the entry from the Suda online, based on the Adler edition of the 1930s which is sadly inaccessible to me:

Διόδωρος, μονάζων, ἐν τοῖς χρόνοις Ἰουλιανοῦ καὶ Οὐάλεντος ἐπισκοπήσας Ταρσῶν τῆς Κιλικίας. οὗτος ἔγραψεν, ὥς φησι Θεόδωρος Ἀναγνώστης ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησιαστικῇ ἱστορίᾳ, διάφορα. εἰσὶ δὲ τάδε: Ἑρμηνεῖαι εἰς τὴν παλαιὰν πᾶσαν: Γένεσιν, Ἔξοδον καὶ ἐφεξῆς: καὶ Εἰς Ψαλμούς: Εἰς τὰς δ# Βασιλείας: Εἰς τὰ ζητούμενα τῶν Παραλειπομένων, Εἰς τὰς Παροιμίας, Τίς διαφορὰ θεωρίας καὶ ἀλληγορίας, Εἰς τὸν Ἐκκλησιαστήν, Εἰς τὸ ᾆσμα τῶν ᾀσμάτων, Εἰς τοὺς προφήτας, Χρονικόν, διορθούμενον τὸ σφάλμα Εὐσεβίου τοῦ Παμφίλου περὶ τῶν χρόνων, Εἰς τὰ δ# Εὐαγγέλια, Εἰς τὰς πράξεις τῶν Ἀποστόλων, Εἰς τὴν ἐπιστολὴν Ἰωάννου τοῦ Εὐαγγελιστοῦ, Περὶ τοῦ, εἷς θεὸς ἐν τριάδι, Κατὰ Μελχισεδεκιτῶν, Κατὰ Ἰουδαίων, Περὶ νεκρῶν ἀναστάσεως, Περὶ ψυχῆς κατὰ διαφόρων περὶ αὐτῆς αἱρέσεων, Πρὸς Γρατιανὸν κεφάλαια, Κατὰ ἀστρονόμων καὶ ἀστρολόγων καὶ εἱμαρμένης, Περὶ σφαίρας καὶ τῶν ζ# ζωνῶν καὶ τῆς ἐναντίας τῶν ἀστέρων πορείας, Περὶ τῆς Ἱππάρχου σφαίρας, Περὶ προνοίας, Κατὰ Πλάτωνος περὶ θεοῦ καὶ θεῶν, Περὶ φύσεως καὶ ὕλης, ἐν ᾧ, τί τὸ δίκαιόν ἐστι, Περὶ θεοῦ καὶ ὕλης Ἑλληνικῆς πεπλασμένης, Ὅτι αἱ ἀόρατοι φύσεις οὐκ ἐκ τῶν στοιχείων, ἀλλ’ ἐκ μηδενὸς μετὰ τῶν στοιχείων ἐδημιουργήθησαν, Πρὸς Εὐφρόνιον φιλόσοφον κατὰ πεῦσιν καὶ ἀπόκρισιν, Κατὰ Ἀριστοτέλους περὶ σώματος οὐρανίου, Πῶς θερμὸς ὁ ἥλιος, Κατὰ τῶν λεγόντων ζῷον τὸν οὐρανόν, Περὶ τοῦ πῶς ἀεὶ μὲν ὁ δημιουργός, οὐκ ἀεὶ δὲ τὰ δημιουργήματα, Πῶς τὸ θέλειν καὶ τὸ μὴ θέλειν ἐπὶ θεοῦ ἀϊδίου ὄντος, Κατὰ Πορφυρίου περὶ ζῴων καὶ θυσιῶν.

[sc. At first] a monk, [sc. but later] in the times of Julian and Valens[1] bishop of Tarsus of Cilicia. He wrote a variety of things, as Theodore Lector[2] says in his Ecclesiastical History. They are as follows: Interpretations on the entire Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, and so forth; and On the Psalms; On the Four Books of the Kingdoms;[3] On Inquiries into the Books of Chronicles, On the Proverbs, What is the Difference between Exposition[4] and Allegory, On Ecclesiastes, On the Song of Songs, On the Prophets, Chronology, straightening out the error of Eusebius [the spiritual son] of Pamphilos[5] about the times, On the Four Gospels, On the Acts of the Apostles, On the Epistle of John the Evangelist, About the One God in Three, Against the Melchisedekites,[6] Against the Jews, About the Resurrection of the Dead, About the Soul against the Various Heresies Concerning It, Chapters to Gratian,[7] Against Astronomers and Astrologers and Fate, About the Sphere and the Seven Zones and of the Contrary Motion of the Stars, About Hipparchus'[8] Sphere, About Providence, Against Plato on God and the Gods, On Nature and Matter, in which is “What is the Just,” Concerning God and the Falsely Imagined Matter of the Greeks, That the Unseen Natures are not from the Elements but Were Made from Nothing along with the Elements, To the Philosopher Euphronius[9] by way of Question and Answer, Against Aristotle concerning Celestial Body, How Hot is the Sun, Against Those Who Say the Heaven is a Living Being, Concerning the Question of How the Creator is Forever but the Created is Not, How is there the Capacity to Will and to be Unwilling in the God who is Eternal, Against Porphyry[10] about Animals and Sacrifices.

But as we can instantly see, the Suda online edition introduces a comma, making two works where Ben David reads one.

Ben David is not making this up.  On the contrary, he is using a contemporary edition.  The Latin side of that does the same, as this image sent in by my correspondent makes plain: “In Epistolam Joannis evangelistae, de hoc quod unus est Deus in Trinitate”; but the Greek, note, has punctuation between the two.  It’s hard to say what edition Ben David used, of course – this is the Patrologia Graeca, reprinting an earlier edition.The Greek text is punctuated.  So the question then becomes… are the manuscripts punctuated?

Fortunately a 15th century manuscript is online, British Library Additional 11892.  The headwords are indicated by an initial red letter, although curiously the “diodoros” is not clear in the image – look at the left margin, line 2.  The relevant section is on folio 202r:

So we see… again it is punctuated.  These are two titles, not one.

The use of a single point as a divison mark is older than the 10th century, when the Suda was composed.  So there is little doubt that the author so punctuated his text.

Sadly for my friend, therefore, this particular argument fails.  The Suda does NOT say that Diodorus wrote a work on the epistle of John on one God in Trinity.

UPDATE: A kind gentleman has sent in the page of Adler’s edition.  Our bit is lines 10-11.

  1. [1]General article <a href=https://bible.org/article/textual-problem-1-john-57-8>here</a>.
  2. [2]Wikipedia article on this interesting man here.

My experience of real-time censorship on Twitter

I had a very odd experience this week, while I was away in York, and since it seems to be little known, I thought I’d share it with you.  In brief, I encountered real-time interference with the tweeting process while I was on twitter.

Over the last year or so Twitter has taken to interfering with the user by displaying all sorts of unwanted material when you hit the search button.  These are topics that are “trending” – attracting lots of tweets – although if you look at the number of tweets you can quickly see that Twitter is gaming the process to promote certain subjects.  They’ve also added “moments” which are much the same, but where they don’t even pretend that it is other than a choice.

These are objectionable as they tend to be sensationalist, chose to drive clicks and traffic, and so tend to disturb you from what you were doing.  They are intending to steal your attention.  And it works.

I found myself looking at a “moment” which was about free speech, a long term interest of mine.  The tweets consisted of establishment types and others gloating about some new form of censorship, where the victim would also be jailed.

I forgot myself enough to reply to two of them, pointing out that the revolution always devours its children, and did they want to be imprisoned too, for something they said.

Two of these replies I posted.  When I composed a third tweet, and pressed the send button, it did not send.  It hung there.  I thought that I had missed the button, so I clicked again and it sent.

The next time the same thing happened.  But when I clicked send again – I knew that I had already pressed send once – still nothing happened.  In fact it sat there.  The screen would not refresh, even.  But … I quickly found that I could press Cancel.  I did, and my control of the system returned.

Of course one might assume this was network trouble.  But it wasn’t.

A couple more attempts, and I realised that something or someone was watching me tweet, and blocking my attempts to respond negatively to tweets on this “moment”.

I confirmed this very simply.  I stopped tweeting to that moment, and went off and tweeted replies elsewhere.  I had not the slightest difficulty all evening.

Twitter is a rich company.  It’s possible for them to employ herds of minions to censor comments on certain threads, or whatever.  It could also be a bot, I suppose; but the sudden cessation is suspicious.

It’s all very awful.  It’s made worse because you can’t be sure that it is happening.  Thinking back, I believe that this has happened to me before, but as I wasn’t expecting it, I dismissed it as glitches in twitter.  I can do so no longer.  It was really, really, conspicuous this time.  Twitter is silently manipulating which opinions are displayed on its server.

Twitter is a nasty company.  It pioneered the trick of “shadow-banning” people; allowing them to post but ensuring their tweets were not seen by anyone else.  It’s very hard to protest censorship that you don’t know is happening, which is of course the point.  Now that shadow-banning is known, it probably happens less.  This new nastiness is right in line with their previous approach.

What a world we live in.

Fortunately US Republicans have caught on, and are starting to call for social media firms to be broken up.  Let’s hope this happens soon.