Markus Vinzent's Blog

Monday, 19 February 2018

Orthodoxy and Heresy - and the particular case of Marcion

Having given the AKC lectures at Kings two weeks ago, I was asked by one of the listeners in the AKC forum:

'Given that the term’s presentations are said to be about ‘orthodoxy’ and ‘heresy’, I would like to ask Dr Vinzent why he did not point out (for us beginners) that the gospel of Thomas is said to be ‘Gnostic’ or comment on what is known of Marcion’s ‘alternative’ views on God, Judaism, the Scriptures and the church in Rome at that time? Weren’t these early‘heresies’? Thank you.'

To which I replied:

I was trying to convey the process towards the distinction between 'orthodoxy' and 'heresy'. In the second century - and this is the opinio communis - this differentiation does not yet exist, neither does the category 'Gnostic'. Hence, it is not only anachronistic to call, say the Gospel of Thomas, 'Gnostic' - present scholarship is highly sceptical about this label anyway. 
The last question on Marcion is comparatively easier. Marcion was not an early heretic, even though - as Judith Lieu in her new monograph shows - he was made into one later on. During his lifetime he enjoyed the community in Rome, later formed his own community and, particularly in Rome, his community seems to have enjoyed a relationship with other Christian communities far into the third century. Nevertheless, as I have tried to show, he is also crucial for the development of 'Christianity' as a heresy within Judaism. Heresy, here and in the second century, however, should not be misunderstood. 'Heresy' at that time translated 'school opinion' and was not yet a shame label. Irenaeus of Lyon (around 180) is the first who tries to narrow the notion of 'heresy', yet still Clement of Alexandria can call himself a gnostic and people speak of their own heresies.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Correction to Eckhart, Predigt 90 (DW IV) on the basis of Wartburg-Stiftung, Ms. 1361-50 (Gi2)

Working on the recently rediscovered Wartburg Manuscript of Meister Eckhart, I am able to also correct the critical edition of Eckhart's Works (German and Latin), this time it is the German Works, Eckhart, Homily 90 (DW IV).

In the Karlsruhe Manuscript (K1a) (as in the Wartburg manuscript too) Eckhart refers to Aristotle, De an. III 8 (432a8-9; Hamesse 188 [167]): Necesse est quemcumque intelligentem phantasmata speculari (the one who understands must behold images). 

K1a, the oldest manuscript that preserves this homily of Eckhart (DW IV 51) (at least in fragmentary form), does not only read „in die bildærinne“ ("in the images", see below), but preserves the better:

Consequently, Aristotle says in the book De animaThe one who understands needs to behold images. One power of the soul in this body is called image together with the power. Und what is received from the outer senses is being caught and brought into the intellect, from which the person can grow in wisdom. In this skill also Christ had a growth as Saint Thomas says:[1] Quod puer ihesus crescebat uirtutibus sensitiuis. Jesus Christ, our Lord, he grew in his humanity in the powers of the senses.[2]

(„fanthasie, daz ist in die bildærinnen“; before mentioning Thomas, the text refers to Aristotle: „Alse Aristoteles sprichet In libro de anima. Oportet intelligentem fantasma speculari. Eine craft der selen in deme libe heiszet fanthasia in der craft sament. vnde vaszet sich daz. daz da von den vszern sinnen. wirt vernomen vnd wirt also braht in daz virstentnGsse. do von der mensche mag zG nemen an wisheyde. An der kGnst hade auch Cristus ein zG nemen alse Sanctus thomas sprichet. Quod puer ihesus crescebat uirtutibus sensitiuis. Jhesus Cristus Nnser herre. der wGsch in sinre mensheit an den creften der sinne“). 


In the critical edition, we only read Eckhart, Pr. 90 (DW IV 64,8-65,5): 
„Diu vierde kunst, die er hâte, die was an der sinnelîcheit. Wan swaz die sinne begrîfent von bûzen, daz wirt geistlîche getragen in die bildærinne und dâ sô vazzet ez daz înblicken des verstantnisses. Alsô hâte er ein zuonemen als wir. Meister Thomas sprichet: er hâte ein zuonemen von den kreften der sinne“.

We notice, how important the new manuscript of the Wartburg is, as it not only gives us new, hitherto unknown texts by Eckhart, but also allows us to review the known homilies.


[1] Th. Aqu., Compendium theologiae I, c. 216: ‘quantum ad cognitionem experimentalem Christus potuit proficere’.
[2] see Liber Positionum (668,20-34 Pfeiffer); Tauler, Pr. 37 (144,8-14 Vetter): „Diser grunt mGs gesGcht und funden werden. In dis hus mGs der mensche gon und enpfallen allen den sinnen und das sinnelich ist, und allem dem das mit den sinnen zGgetragen wirt und in getragen ist von bilden und von formen, und von allem dem das die fantasie und die bilderinne und alle sinneliche bilde ie in getrGgen in eigener wise, ja och úber die vernúnftigen bilde und die wirkunge der vernunft nach vernúnftiger wise und irre wúrkunge“; see also Pr. 49 (217,7-14 Vetter); Das Geistbuch (65,12-66,14 Gottschall)..")


Friday, 13 October 2017

The many recensions of the letters of Ignatius of Antioch

When comparing the various recensions in which the letters of Ignatius of Antioch have been transmitted, scholarship, so far, has only talked about the Short, the Middle and the Long Recensions. The Short one was dismissed as an extract of the Middle Recension, while the Long one was seen as a later extension of the Middle Recension. Hence, the Middle Recension of the seven letters is regarded as the authoritative and authentic version from either the beginning (majority of scholars) or the later second century.

In a forthcoming book 'Retrospective Patristics', I am also looking into the Ignatiana, of which I am only want to present here the snapshot on Ignatius' letter to the Romans, as we are having more witnesses to this (often separately transmitted) letter than the other six.

IgnRom Praef.
Long
Ms. Sinaï ar. 443, ff. 135r-140r[1]
Symeon Metaphrastes (PG 114,1269-1285)[2]
Middle
Short
Ignatius, who is also called
Theophorus,





to the
Church
which has
been pitied
in the
greatness of
the
            
Most High God the        
          Father, and of
Jesus Christ, His only-begotten Son;



his Church which is
beloved and enlightened by the will of God, who formed all things that are
according to the faith and love of
Jesus Christ, our God and Saviour;
which       
         presideth in the place
of the
country of
the Romans, and
which is
worthy of
God,
worthy of honour,
worthy of the highest
happiness, worthy of praise, worthy of credit,


            worthy of being deemed holy,
 and
which
presideth over love,
is
named from

Christ, and from the Father, and is possessed of the Spirit, which I
also salute in the name of Almighty God, and of Jesus Christ His Son:

             to those who are
united,
both according to the flesh and spirit,
                 to every one of His commandments, who are filled inseparably with all the grace of
God, and are purified from every strange taint, I wish abundance of happiness unblameably, in God, even the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
By Ignatius
             called
clothed by the divinity
the bishop of the holy Church of God in Antioch of Syria
to the
Church
which has
been pitied
in the
greatness of
the Father
            Most High   

and of


             His only
         Son, our Lord Jesus Christ


beloved and enlightened by the will of Him, who wants all things who is
through the  

               
love of                 
                 
our God our brother,
who       
        presideth over
the
country of
the Romans,




























which I
    salute in
the name of

          
Jesus Christ




both according to the flesh and spirit, because it is united to every one of
His commandments,
filled
 
with      the
grace of
God,





                    in


the Lord Jesus Christ,

peace be with you.
Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus,

the bishop of the holy Church of God in Antioch

to the
Church
which has
been pitied
in the
greatness of
the
             
Most High   
                 
Father, and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
His only-
begotten Son;


his Church
which is
beloved and enlightened by the will of Him,
who formed all things that are
according to the
              
           
love of Jesus Christ,
our God;

which       
            presideth in the place
of the
country of
the Romans,















        












which I
also salute in
the name of

          
Jesus Christ

            to those            
who are
united,
both according
to the flesh and spirit,
                    to every one of
His commandments, who are filled inseparably
with        the
grace of
God,


     I wish


                      in God,
                  

Jesus
Christ.
Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus,





to the
Church
which has
been pitied
in the
greatness of
the
Father,
           Most High,

and
Jesus Christ, His only
           Son;



the Church which is
beloved and
enlightened by the will of Him that willeth all things which are according to the
           
            love of Jesus Christ
our God,
                    

which
also presideth
in the place
of the
country of
the Romans,


     worthy of God,
worthy of honour,
worthy of the highest

happiness, worthy of praise, worthy of obtaining her every desire, worthy
of being
deemed holy
,
 and
which
presideth over love,
is
named from

Christ, and from the Father,
   

                  which I
also salute in the name of

         Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father:
           to those
who are
united,
both according to the flesh and spirit,
                to
every one of

His commandments, who are filled inseparably
with
        the
grace of
God, and are
purified from every strange taint,
I wish abundance of happiness unblameably, in


Jesus
Christ
our God
.
Ignatius, who is 
Theophorus,





to the Church which has been pitied in the greatness of the Father
             Most High;














       
     to her





who
      presideth in the place of the country of the Romans,

who is worthy of God, and
worthy of
life
and

happiness, and
praise, and remembrance, and is worthy of prosperity,
          and

presideth in love,























and is perfected in the law of Christ









blameless,





much peace.



Long
Symeon Metaphrastes
Middle
Short
Ἰγνάτιος, ὁ καὶ Θεοφόρος,




τῇ ἠλεημένῃ ἐν μεγαλειότητι
ὑψίστου θεοῦ πατρὸς
καὶ         Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ μονογενοῦς αὐτοῦ υἱοῦ,
αὐτοῦ ἐκκλησίᾳ ἠγαπημένῃ καὶ πεφωτισμένῃ ἐν θελήματι θεοῦ τοῦ ποιήσαντος τὰ πάντα, ἃ ἔστι
κατὰ πίστιν καὶ ἀγάπην Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ,
τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν,
ἥτις
προκάθηται ἐν
τόπῳ χωρίου ῾Ρωμαίων,
ἀξιόθεος, ἀξιοπρεπὴς ἀξιομακάριστος
ἀξιέπαινος

ἀξιοεπίτευκτος, ἀξίαγνος καὶ προκαθημένη τῆς ἀγάπης, χριστώνυμος, πατρώνυμος, πνευματοφόρος, ἣν καὶ ἀσπάζομαι ἐν ὀνόματι θεοῦ παντοκράτορος, καὶ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ,
τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ τοῖς κατὰ σάρκα καὶ πνεῦμα ἡνωμένοις πάσῃ ἐντολῇ
αὐτοῦ, πεπληρωμένοις πάσης χάριτος θεοῦ ἀδιακρίτως καὶ ἀποδιϋλισμένοις
ἀπὸ παντὸς ἀλλοτρίου
χρώματος πλεῖστα ἐν
     
θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ, καὶ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ ἀμώμως χαίρειν.
Ἰγνάτιος, ὁ καὶ Θεοφόρος, ἐπίσκοπος τῆς ἐν Ἀντιοχείᾳ ἁγίας τοῦ θεοῦ ἐκκλησίας
τῇ ἠλεημένῃ ἐν μεγαλειότητι
πατρὸς
ὑψίστου
καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ μονογενοῦς αὐτοῦ υἱοῦ,
αὐτοῦ ἐκκλησίᾳ ἠγαπημένῃ καὶ πεφωτισμένῃ ἐν θελήματι θεοῦ τοῦ ποιήσαντος τὰ πάντα, ἃ ἔστι
κατὰ πίστιν καὶ
ἀγάπην Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ,
τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν, ἥτις
      
προκάθηται ἐν τόπῳ χωρίου ῾Ρωμαίων,











                        
ἣν καὶ ἀσπάζομαι ἐν ὀνόματι

Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ,
                
κατὰ σάρκα καὶ πνεῦμα ἡνωμένην πάσῃ ἐντολῇ αὐτοῦ, πεπληρωμένην
        
χάριτος θεοῦ





ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ
τῷ θεῷ


             
χαίρειν.
Ἰγνάτιος, ὁ καὶ Θεοφόρος,




τῇ ἠλεημένῃ ἐν μεγαλειότητι πατρὸς
ὑψίστου
καὶ          Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ
μόνου
υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ
            
ἐκκλησίᾳ ἠγαπημένῃ καὶ πεφωτισμένῃ ἐν θελήματι         τοῦ θελήσαντος τὰ πάντα, ἃ ἔστιν, κατὰ
ἀγάπην Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ,
τοῦ θεοῦ
              
ἡμῶν,
ἥτις καὶ
προκάθηται ἐν τόπῳ χωρίου ῾Ρωμαίων, ἀξιόθεος,




ἀξιεπίτευκτος, ἀξίαγνος καὶ προκαθημένη τῆς ἀγάπης, χριστώνυμος, πατρώνυμος,
                        
ἣν καὶ ἀσπάζομαι ἐν ὀνόματι

Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ,
      
υἱοῦ πατρός· κατὰ σάρκα καὶ πνεῦμα ἡνωμένοις πάσῃ ἐντολῇ
αὐτοῦ, πεπληρωμένοις 
         
χάριτος θεοῦ ἀδιακρίτως καὶ ἀποδιϋλισμένοις ἀπὸ παντὸς ἀλλοτρίου χρώματος πλεῖστα ἐν Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ, τῷ θεῷ ἡμῶν,


ἀμώμως χαίρειν.
Ἰγνάτιος, ὁ καὶ Θεοφόρος,




τῇ ἠλεημένῃ ἐν μεγαλειότητι πατρὸς
ὑψίστου




          
ἐκκλησίᾳ,









                      
ἥτις
προκάθηται ἐν τόπῳ χωρίου ῾Ρωμαίων, ἀξιόθεος, ἀξιεπρεπὴς ἀξιομακάριστος, ἀξιέπαινος [ἀξιομνημονεύτος] ἀξεπτευκτος,
                        
καὶ προκαθημένη [ἐν] ἀγάπ, καὶ












πεπληρωμένοις






ἐν νόμῳ Χριστοῦ



ἀμώμως, πλεῖστα χαίρειν.


le; hi; fu1;




[1] This is a translation from the French translation, provided by (Obeid 1996)
[2] See also (Halkin 1957) BHG 815; see also BHG 813: PG 5, 980-983. While most texts of the Menologion have been published according to one manuscript only, here IgnMart makes an exception, and yet, the history of its publishing is a labyrinth which would need to be assessed in a critical edition. Ehrhard has listed seven editions of IgnMart for which a total of 15 different manuscripts (not always the same) have been used. Which edition used which manuscript is listed in (Ehrhard 1936: II 519 n. 1) The edition that is based on most manuscripts is that by (Diekamp and Funk 1913) and it is used here.

Ignatius, qui et Theophorus, misericordiam consecutae in magnitudine Dei altissimi Patris
       Jesu Christi unigeniti
ejus filii,
         Ecclesiae sanctificatae, et illuminatae in voluntate Dei, qui fecit omnia,
quae sunt
secundum
fidem et
dilectionem
Jesu Christi,
Dei et Salvatoris nostri: quae et praesidet in loco regionis Romanorum;
Deo dignae, eminentia dignae, beatudine dignae, laude dignae,
fide dignae,
castitate dignae
fundatae in dilectione et fide
Christi,
paternum nomen habenti,
spiritiferae:
quam
et saluto in nomine Dei omnipotentis, et Jesu Christi
filii ejus, qui est secundum carnem et spiritum;
adunatis in
mandato ejus, repletis gratia Dei inseparabiliter, et

ablutis ab omni alieno colore,
atque immaculatis; plurimam in
Deo Patre et Domino Jesu Christo, salutem.
Ignatius, qui et Theophorus, misericordiam consecutae in magnitudine Dei altissimi Patris
       Jesu Christi unigeniti
ejus filii,
         Ecclesiae sanctificatae, et illuminatae in voluntate Dei, qui fecit omnia,
quae sunt
secundum
fidem et dilectionem
Jesu Christi,
Dei et Salvatoris nostri: quae et praesidet in loco regionis Romanorum;
Deo dignae, eminentia dignae, beatudine dignae, laude dignae,
fide dignae,
castitate dignae


Christi,
paternum nomen habenti, spiritiferae:
quam
et saluto in nomine Dei omnipotentis, et Jesu Christi
filii ejus, qui est secundum carnem et spiritum;
adunatis in
mandato ejus, repletis gratia Dei inseparabiliter, et

ablutis ab omni alieno colore, atque immaculatis; plurimam in
Deo Patre et Domino Jesu Christo, salutem.
Ignatius, qui et Theophorus,
habenti propitiationem in magnitudine
Patris altissimi
et Jesu Christi
solius
filii ipsius,
           Ecclesiae
dilectae et illuminatae in voluntate
volentis omnia,
quae sunt
secundum           

dilectionem
Jesu Christi,
Dei
nostri, quae et praesidet in loco chori
Romanorum;
digna Deo,
digna decentia,
digna beatitudine, digna laude,
dignae ordinata,
digne casta,
et praesidens in charitate,
Christi
habens legem,
patris nomen,

quam
et saluto in nomine

Jesu Christi
filii Patris:
secundum carnem et spiritum
unitis in omni mandato ipsius, impletis gratia Dei inseparabiliter, et indivisum, et abstractis ab omni alieno colore,

plurimum in

Domino Jesu Christo Deo nostro immaculate gaudere.

fide] lege Cod. Magdal., Cod. Petav.




The opening gives us a good insight into the nature of the different Recensions, even though Lightfoot does not see the need ‘for examination’ of this passage.[1] We can see that they are mostly literally identical, albeit with significant differences in details. By ranging them Long – Ms. Sinaï ar. 443[2] – Symeon Metaphrastes[3] – Middle – Short, I am not intending to give a genealogical order, as in places, we will see, they all rely on older versions, and do, in places, provide an older text, and are certainly not directly dependent on each other. And yet, as we will discover, the order Long – Ms. Sinaï ar. 443 – Symeon Metaphrastes – Middle – Short seems to reflect the principal age of these texts.
Starting from the Long Recension in comparison to that of the 10th c. of attested by Symeon Metaphrastes, we notice that the bold elements (3 x ‘God’, ‘faith and’, ‘and Saviour’, ‘Almighty God’, ‘even the Father’, ‘Lord’) are additional divine epithets and creedal allusions. In these the Long Recension is richer than the others, although ‘Lord’ also appears in the Arabic, ‘God’ in Metaphrastes and the Middle Recension. The added ‘and is possessed of the Spirit’ which is part of a longer addition which is partly also present in the Middle Recension, but without the ‘and is possessed of the Spirit’, indicates that the Long Recension, as we have it, seems to be a developed version which represents at least doctrinal developments of the late fourth century with the emphasis on the Spirit and the developed creed. Symeon Metaphrastes, the Arabic and Short Recensions may have here preserved an older text.
When we compare the Recensions, the Long, Arabic, Symeon Metaphrastes’ and the Middle Recensions have elements in common. They share the ‘only[-begotten]’, also that the Father ‘willed’ all things, and yet, only the Long Recension here adds ‘God’, ‘faith and’, ‘Saviour’. On the other hand, there are also commonalities of the Long, the Middle and Short Recensions over and against the Arabic and Symeon’s Recension, so the longer passage ‘worthy of God … presideth over’. In this respect, the Arabic and Symeon’s Recension are very similar. This similarity begins already in the opening address, where only these two mentione that Ignatius is ‘the bishop of the holy Church of God in Antioch’. In this respect, they represent a different tradition from the rest of the Recensions and because of the literalness need to be based on a common ancestor recension. Then, however, the Arabic version seems to reflect an older stratum which is less parallel to the Middle and Long Recensions, as Metaphrastes sides with these two on ‘his Church which is’.
Why the entire praise of the Church of Rome is missing in the Arabic and Symeon is not clear, as some elements are also present in the Short recension. Either already the Short Recension is here an expanded version, or the Arabic and Symeon’s Vorlage has left the passage consciously out. As it is a praise of the Roman Church, one could easily imagine that the passage had been skipped in a Byzantine redaction at a time when Rome was no longer the centre of the Empire and the epithets may have sounded misleading. Equally, however, one could assume that here not the Short Recension, but the Arabic-Symeon Recensions preserved the unexpanded older version. In the salutation we have the phenomenon that the Lond, Arabic, Symeon’s and the Middle Recensions go together against the text largely missing in the Short Recension, whereas here the Long Recension seems to be a clear expansion of the others. In the very end the Arabic and the Short Recensions go together with their wish for ‘peace’.
When comparing the four versions to the Short Recension, both the bold of the Long, the Arabic and Symeon’s Recensions, and the underlined text of the Middle Recension display a similarly doctrinal tendency that alludes to the creed with the added ‘Jesus Christ, His only[-begotten] Son … God.’ If one where to think of the short version as of an abbreviation one would need to answer the question why a Christian scribe took out the first reference to Jesus Christ in the introduction of a Christian letter? As the second mention of the Christological formula in the Long, Arabic, Symeon’s and the Middle Recensions show (‘love of [Jesus Christ], our God’), where it seems that the Arabic with its ‘love of our God our brother’ sounds the older tradition with the term ‘brother’ skipped by Symeon and the Middle Recension and altered by the Long Recension into ‘Saviour’, it seems that doctrinal views led to changes, alterations, shortenings and broadenings of an existing text. Again, it is hardly likely that the Short Recension would have taken out the entire Christological statements of the beginning of this letter.
Compared to all other Recensions, the Middle Recension has an added elevated and emphatic tendency by turning the straight forward ‘worthy of credit’ or ‘worthy of prosperity’ into a spiritual ‘worthy of obtaining her every desire’. It seems that in this passage, the Long Recension preserved the older tradition, shared with the Short Recension.
Overall, with the exception of the missing praise of Rome in the Arabic and Symeon’s Recensions which has been touched upon before and which might be a further development or a kind of contamination between the Short, Middle and Long Recensions, the Short Recension seems to represent the oldest text of this preface which does not yet reflect the clear differentiation between ‘the Father Most High’ and the ‘only[-begotten] Son’, let alone ‘the Spirit’. On the contrary, there is only mention of ‘the Father Most High’, of ‘God’ and the Church which ‘is perfected in the law of Christ’, a Monarchian expression without further binitarian or trinitarian differentiation which cannot be explained as a later abbreviation.[4] If the praise of Rome was part of the older text and left out by the Arabic and Symeon’s Recension, then the simple praise of Rome, ‘worthy of life and happiness’, contrasted with the ‘worthy of honour, worthy of the highest happiness’ of the Long/Middle Recensions. These latter than show emphatic locutions which are signs of a reworking of the Short Recension. We can conclude from these observations that in this preface to IgnRom the Short Recension, as preserved in the Syriac tradition, may give us the oldest text that has come down to us of this letter, unless the praise of Rome might have been later added, as it is missing in the Arabic and Symeon’s Recensions.
The textual relations are even more complex, if we add the Latin translations. Quite clearly, these translations reflect the Longer, and the Middle Recensions more than the Arabic, Symeon’s or the Short Recensions, yet they seem to rely on different Vorlagen. This can be seen with the missing ‘et’ in front of ‘Jesu Christi’ which is present in the Greek of the Long, Symeon’s and the Middle Recension, but only preserved in the Latin translation of the Middle Recension. Similarly, the αὐτοῦ in front of ἐκκλησίᾳ, present only in the Long and Symeon’s Recension, has not been rendered into Latin. In the following translation of ἐκκλησίᾳ ἠγαπημένῃ the Latin of the Long and Symeon’ Recensions (‘ecclesiae sanctificatae’) seem to be a later development, as they stand against an ‘ecclesiae dilectae’ of the Latin Middle Recension which translates the Greek present in three Recensions (Long, Symeon, Middle). Then, we have the case, where the Latin translation of Symeon goes with the text of the Middle Recension with the missing ‘Dei’ after ‘voluntate’ against the Greek text of Symeon, yet, then, Symeon’s Latin translation sides twice with the Long recension by translating the Greek πίστιν with ‘fidem’, and καὶ σωτῆρος with ‘et Salvatoris’, not present in Symeon’s Greek text. Interesting is also the Latin rendering of ἐν τόπῳ χωρίου by ‘in loco chori’ in the Latin Middle Recension against ‘in loco regionis’ in the Long and Symeon’s Recension. Also note the different rendering of the Latin praise of Rome, where the Latin of Symeon has the passage that is missing in the Greek, and also the Latin of the Middle Recension is more extensive than its Greek text. Noticeable is the translation of πνευματοφόρος, only present in the Long Recension by ‘spiritiferae’ in the Latin of both the Long and Symeon’s Recensions. The same case we have with the translation of θεοῦ παντοκράτορος of the Long Recension by ‘Dei omnipotentis’ in both the Latin Long and Symeon’s Recensions. Also the ending in the three Recensions is noteworthy. Symeon’s Latin translation follows the Long Recension, although the Long Recension’s Latin omits to translate the ἀμώμως, present there, and in this case reflects Symeon’s text against the other recensions.
In conclusion:
1) We are lacking an editio maior of the Ignatiana which is an urgent desideratum for any further scholarship on the letters.
2) We need to take into account all extant witnesses. I have not checked for this repliminary study the versions of other languages, not gone beyond the three handful of Greek manuscripts that have been used for the critical text of Symeon’s Recension. But it has become clear from this exercise, the Arabic Recension as well as that of Symeon, but then quite independently all the Latin translations are textual witnesses, as they show both dependency and in places independency and reflect lost manuscript traditions.
3) The rough cut of three Recensions is far from reflecting the manuscript evidence. There are certainly Recensions and traditions, as can be seen, for example, from the proximity of the Arabic and Symeon’s Recensions, but there are more than three and all Recensions show signs of cross-contamination.
4) The scholarly settlement on the Middle Recension as the oldest, authentic text of Ignatius is more than dubious. If at all, then the Short Recension shows signs of being an older text, yet even in this case, there are doubts whether the version that we have got has not also been contaminated by later Recensions.
To test and deepen the first impression, in the book I will look into another passage of IgnRom, this time into chapter 3, and the results there confirm the observations here.


[1] (Lightfoot 1889a: 317)
[2] On this Recension see more below, the manuscript is dated to the 12th c. CE.
[3] On Symeon Metaphrastes see more below; his text is dated to the 10th c. CE. From the comparisons we will see that this text does not fall into the category of ‘oral reformulation’, ‘taken down in shorthand’ and being rephrased by Symeon, hence it could have well been included in the first category which Ehrhard had established and Høgel adopted, see (Ehrhard 1936: II 697-99; Høgel 2002: 91-93)
[4] It does not convince, when Robert M. Grant (n a letter of 28 April 1961 to Fritz Guy) sees in this ‘something like a monophysite doctrine’, as he still cannot account for the cutting out of the reference to Jesus Christ, the extract of his letter is quoted in (Guy 1964: 6 n. 17)

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Is God's will immutable


Working my way through the newly re-discovered Eckhartian manuscript (Pfeiffer's P; Gi2), Wartburg-Stiftung, Ms. 1361-50, I came across this amazing discussion between Eckhart and Thomas Aquinas:

The immutability of God’s will




The next, second passage of Gi2 deals with a topic that is not unrelated to the previous one on God’s acting, namely the immutability of God’s will. Even though the relation to the previous part is not obvious, both topics are about God’s attributes, a theme on which Eckhart has given Parisian Questions which he has collected and published under the title “De attributis [Deo]”[1] and which he integrated into his Liber quaestionum.[2] There is a close relation between Eckhart’s exegetical writings and his Quaestiones, particularly his Commentary on Exodus, as he based a long digression in this Commentary on the recently rediscovered Parisian Quaestions (Qu. P. 6-9),[3] now published in the critical edition.[4] Likewise, there is a close connection between Eckhart’s homiletic work and his Quaestiones, as the the Parisian Questions 5-6 formed the basis of his Latin Sermo XXVIII.[5] No surprise, therefore, that Eckhart cross-references his collection of questions on the attributes of God both from his exegetical and his homiletic work.[6]

While the first Eckhart-section of Gi2 opened straight with Thomas and Eckhart’s reading of him, here Eckhart introduces the question first by giving an illustration – how can God’s will not change when he made the grain nicely grow, but at the time of harvest allows bad weather and hail to destroy it? The agricultural image may give us a hint at the social setting of his discourse, as it would have made hardly much sense in a city like Paris, but rather speaks for a rural area or a rural city. For his answer, the author first points, again, to Thomas ‘and also other masters’. The latter might be Augustine, Boethius, Avicenna, Averroes or contemporary masters of Eckhart.[7]

In what follows, Eckhart gives a translation, again partly literally, of a section of Thomas’ Summa Theologia (I q. 19 a. 7).



Thom. Aqu., S. Th. I q. 19 a. 7
Thom. Aqu., S. Th. I q. 19 a. 7 (trans.)[8]
Wartburg-Stiftung, Ms. 1361-50 (= Gi2)
Wartburg-Stiftung, Ms. 1361-50 (= Gi2) (trans.)





















voluntas Dei est omnino immutabilis.Sed circa hoc considerandum est, quod aliud est mutare voluntatem; et aliud est velle aliquarum rerum mutationem. Potest enim aliquis, eadem voluntate immobiliter permanente,
velle quod nunc fiat hoc, et postea fiat contrarium. Sed tunc voluntas mutaretur, si aliquis inciperet velle quod prius non voluit, vel desineret velle quod voluit.
Quod quidem accidere non potest, nisi praesupposita mutatione vel ex parte cognitionis, vel circa dispositionem substantiae ipsius volentis.

Cum enim voluntas sit boni, aliquis de novo dupliciter potest incipere aliquid velle. Uno modo sic, quod de novo incipiat sibi illud esse bonum.




Quod non est absque
mutatione eius, sicut adveniente frigore, incipit esse bonum sedere ad ignem, quod prius non erat.




Alio modo sic, quod de novo cognoscat illud esse sibi bonum, cum prius hoc ignorasset, ad hoc enim consiliamur, ut sciamus quid nobis sit bonum.








Ostensum est autem supra quod tam substantia Dei quam eius scientia est omnino immutabilis.


Unde oportet voluntatem eius omnino esse immutabilem.






















The will of God is entirely unchangeable.
On this point we must consider that to change the will is one thing;
to will that certain things should be changed is another.


It is possible to will a thing to be done now, and its contrary afterwards; and yet for the will to remain
throughout the same:
whereas the will would be changed, if one should begin to will what before
one had not willed; or cease to will what one had willed before.



This cannot happen, unless we presuppose change either in the knowledge or in the disposition of the substance of the willer.





For since the will regards good, a man may in two ways begin to will a thing.

In one way when that thing begins to be good for him, and this does not take place without a change in him.



Thus when the cold weather begins, it becomes good to sit by the fire; though it was not so before.









In another way when he knows for the first time that a thing is good for him, though he did not know it before; hence we take counsel in order to know what is good for us.









Now it has already been shown that both the substance of God and His knowledge are entirely unchangeable.

Therefore His will must be entirely unchangeable.
So ist ein vrage wand wir sehen das god etzwas wandeld das er vor gedan had, of godes wille wandelber is. Als so wir sen das lassed sch=n korn wachsen, vnd so das zid kumed das die lude das korn sniden svlen, so sen ded er einen hagel der das korn alles verderued. Rehd als of sin wille gewandeld si an dem korn


hie spriched meister thomas
[9] vnd ?ch ander meister, das godes wille vnwandelber ist.[10]
Vnd bewisend das da mide, wan so ich ein ding wil d
Nn vnd haf in dem seluen willen das ich [36r] das ding welle hernach wandelen.

Da beschihd ein wandelunge nihd an minem willen wan ich wolde vorhin das, das ding gewandeld wurde. Da bliued min wille vnwandelber, mer wandelunge beschihd wal an
dem dinge[11].











Rehd also ist es vmb vnseren herren, der wil der dinge wandelunge vnd werdend dv ding gewandeld, vnd da mide so bliued godes wille vnwandelber.


Vnd dis bewerend si ?ch mit einer andren rede also. Wan dv wandelunge mag an mir beschehen nach [36v] zweier hande wise, van der wegen min mNd vnd min wille mag gewandeld werden.





Zedem ersten male of etzwas beschihd van dem min substancie beweged wird, vnd das van der bewegunge wegen min wille gewandeld wird,

als of ich ieze nihd wil gan z
N dem fure, wan das weder ist warm mer kvmd ein keldi, so wird ich da von beweged an minem liue, vnd hervmbe so wird min wille gewandeld das ich nv wil zN dem fure da ich iez nihd zN wolde.
Vnd mag Nch [37r] zu dem andren male min wille gewandeld werden, als of ich willen han etzwas ze dNnne morne, so kvmed etzwas die wile das ich wal merke vnd ded ich das, das ich mNd hadde so besche mir schade da van. Vnd also wird min wille gewandeld das ich nihd dNn das ich mNd vnd willen hadde ze dNnne.
Nu mag vnder disen zweien sachen keinv beschehen in gode. Wan sin substancie mag nihd gewandeld werden.
Er weis
?ch allv ding worhin vnd hervmbe so ist sin wille zemal vnwandelber [37v].
It follows a question, when we notice that God changes something that he had done before, whether God’s will is mutable. As when we see that He lets the grain nicely grow and as time comes, when the people should smit the grain, he sends hail which destroys all the grain, rightly as if he had changed his will with regards the grain.
Here, Meister Thomas and also other masters state that God’s will is immutable.
And they prove this by [the thought] that when I wish to do such thing and in this same wish I include that later I [36r] wish to change that thing.


Then, there is no change of
my will,
as I wished before that the thing should be changed.
In this, my will would remain
immutable, while the change
rather happened to the thing.










Right so it is with our Lord who wishes the change of things and do things change, God’s will remains immutable.





And this they also prove with another argument.
As the change may happen to me in [36v] two different ways, because both my strength and my will may change.








With regards the first, whether something is done which affects my substance, and that because of the move my will changes,

for when I do not wish to be close to the fire, when the weather is fine, but when the cold comes, so I am moved by my body and through it my will changes that now I would like to be close to the fire which I did not want before.
And second
, my will might change, for when I intended to do something in the morning, then something happens that I quite notice and if I did it, I knew that I would suffer from.



Hence, my will is going to change not to do what I knew of and wished to do.

Of these two things
none will happen in God.
As his
substance will
not be changed
.

He foreknows all things and, therefore, his will is entirely immutable [37v].









What may prima facie be read like a straight forward translation of Thomas, on closer inspection, this is not only a sharpened reading of Thomas, as in the first section of Gi2, but Eckhart makes a startling statement of disagreement and opposition to the position of Thomas (and other masters). First, however, let us follow the argument of Thomas’ position in the present text.

To begin with, Thomas categorically states that God’s will is unchangeable, or even “entirly unchangeable’”. Having said this, nevertheless, he wants to make concessions (“sed ... considerandum est”). He introduces the distinction between “to change the the will” and the will “that certain things should be changed”.

Instead of looking at the second element, he focusses on “to change the will”. As example he gives that one may will something “to be done now”, say have a cup of coffee, and “its contrary afterwards”, say to go to work. Of course, in this case one’s “will” would “remain throughout the same”. The opposite would be, where the will changed: if, for example “one should begin to will what before one had not willed”, hence if, drinking a coffee, I would suddenly had wished to have gone to work instead, or, while having set off to work, have pity not to have stayed longer with my coffee. Likewise, “the will” could have “cease[d] to will what one had willed before”, or while drinking coffee,  started to dislike the decision to have this drink. To allow the idea of a change of will, Thomas introduces two presuppositions: first, a change “in the knowledge” or second, “in the disposition of the substance of the willer”. The second presupposition of “disposition” is illustrated by a change of outside circumstances (“When the cold weather begins, it becomes good to sit by the fire”) that gives the person a sense for a change, hence something that becomes good for someone and makes him change; the first presupposition of “knowledge” is highlighted by the fact that when somebody gets to know “for the first time that a thing is good for him, though he did not know it before”, he might change his mind and will. Knowledge from consultancy leads to change. The second presupposition of “disposition” is exemplified with the outside changing circumstances of the weather. When the weather turns cold, it makes sense to move and sit close to the fire, hence, the will where to sit is being changed.

And yet, despite these concessions that there are novel knowledge or outside changes that impress on the will, Thomas maintains that because of God’s substance and knowledge being immutable, so also will be His supreme will. This, of course, is only possible, by adding “intermediate causes that have power to produce certain effects” on the cause of action of the divine, even though they will not change the general cause of action of the divine will. And yet, Thomas reckons with “intermediate causes” that “are inferior in power to the first cause” and because of their inferiority, “many things in the divine power, knowledge and will” cannot be “included in the order of inferior causes”, as they will always fall short of the superior will of God. It is this distinction between the superior, unchangeable will of God, and the changeable nature of those secondary or intermediate causes, that allows for a certain openness of God directing things.

Let us now move to how Eckhart in Gi2 deals with this statement of Thomas: He starts with an introduction setting out the question. ‘God changes something that he had done before’, hence the question arises ‘whether God’s will is mutable’. He starts with the mentioned rural example about the growth of grain and its subsequent destruction. Already the translation of Thomas’ position that follows is carefully corrected. While Thomas boldly stated that “the will of God is entirely unchangeable” – even though he than makes concessions – Eckhart correctly omits the “entirely” as he must have noticed that Thomas did not stick to that “omnino” unchangeability, even if he might have reserved such absolute immutability to the superior will of God. Yet, as we will see, Eckhart is attacking precisely this kind of conditionality that Thomas is introducing. For this reason, he also flattens the differentiation that Thomas then had introduced between “to change the will” and “to will that certain things should be changed”, pulling them together into “I wish to do such thing and in this same wish I include that later I wish to change that thing”. The translator moves even further away from Thomas, as he omits to translate the further explanation of the two presuppositions of changing the will and concentrates only on the second option that there was a “will that certain things should be changed”, on which Thomas did not elaborate. Only this, however, is being picked up by Eckhart. To this he agrees that a change that was known before and then happens later cannot be described as a change of will, “as I wished before that the thing should be changed”. And he adds that “right so it is with our Lord who wishes the change of things and do things change, God’s will remains immutable”. Only than, he picks up the other argument of Thomas, their “other argument”, according to which “the change may happen to me in two different ways, because both my strength and my will may change”. He follows Thomas’ arguments here, but contrary to him, he categorically states at the end: “Of these two things none will happen in God. As his substance will not be changed”. Interestingly, he does not contradict Thomas directly, as he bases is conclusion on Thomas’ own thought that because of God’s substance is unchangeable, also his will is not changing, but he uses Thomas against Thomas, in order to exclude the concessions that Thomas had introduced. These, Eckhart replaces by the argument that he had developed before, namely Thomas’ first option that God “foreknows all things”, including all the potential later changes of things, and “therefore, his will is entirely immutable”. As the “entirely” here comes in, we notice, how accurate the entire text is structured, thought through and preserved. Eckhart’s response to Thomas, therefore, is, that we can only speak about a fully immutable will of God, if we do not accept any sub-causes that could influence and make for any change of the course of this world, and maintain that God’s will is never changing. Any change is always a change in objects, in the categorical world of creation, and in every nuance foreseen by God and willed by Him.[12]

The wording of the translation also shows Eckhart’s personal, individualized position, as he points to himself as author in the explanation of the text (‘no change of my will as I wished ...). So, with regards Thomas’ text, he is faithful translator of the main arguments of Thomas, but he freely deviates, not rendering all systematic details of Thomas, in order to make his own point. He comes closest to the original text when giving the core thoughts and Thomas’ illustrations, such as the change of will related to the circumstances applied to the cold weather and sitting by the fire. Yet, when it came to the fundamental explanation of the question of immutability of God’s will, Eckhart, as we have seen, radically and fundamentally disagrees with both Thomas and the masters.



[1] See Eckhart, Sermo II/1 n. 8 (LW 4, p. 10, 5): Vide Quaestiones de attributis infra.
[2] See Eckhart, In Sap. n. 125 (LW II 463,7-9): Omnis enim motus  necessario est ab immobili. Ab immobili quidem est omnis motus, etiam secundum triplex  genus causae, sicut notavi in Libro quaestionum de immutabilitate dei; see also Sermo II/2 n. 8 (LW IV 10,5): Vide Quaestiones de attributis infra.
[3] Eckhart, In Ex. n. 27 on Qu. P. 6; nn. 28; 68–70 on Qu. P. 7; n. 62 on Qu. P. 7-9; on this see Markus Vinzent, “Questions on the attributes (of God): Four rediscovered Parisian Questions of Meister Eckhart”, Journal of Theological Studies 63 (2012), 156-186, .
[4] Meister Eckhart. Die deutschen und lateinischen Werke. Die lateinischen Werke. Bd. I,2, 7.-9. Lieferung (S. 385-576), ed. Loris Sturlese, Stuttgart 2011, 461-469.
[5] See ibid. 181.
[6] See the mentioned cross-reference above in Eckhart, In Sap. n. 125 (LW II 463,7-9), and Eckhart, Sermo II/1 n. 8 (LW IV 10,5): “Vide Quaestiones de attributis infra” (“See below the Questions on the attributes (of God)’”).
[7] See Eckhart, Pr. 21 (DW I 357,9-11): Boethius sprichet: got ist ein und enwandelt sich niht. Allez, daz got ie geschuof, duz schuof er in wandelunge. Alliu dinc, sô sie geschaffen werdent, sô tragent sie ûf irm rücke daz sie sich wandelnt; Thom. Aqu., S. Th. I q. 9 with reference to Aug., De Gen. ad lit. VIII 20; in Thom. Aqu., Metaphysics IX 1 Avicenna is cited by Thomas as holding that God's will is unchangeable and never starts anew (an argument advanced also by Averroes), and that it is impossible that God precedes the world in duration, because this implies that time existed before the world and before movement.
[8] Translation adopted by the Fathers of the Dominican Province, London 1920, online (slightly altered): http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/aquinas/summa/sum022.htm
[9] See Thom. Aqu., STh I q. 9; while Thomas insists on God’s immutability here, he does discuss the immutability of his will in a separate section in STh I q. 19.
[10] See Aug., Conf. XII 15: nequaquam eius substantia per tempora varietur nec eius voluntas mutabilis est et omne mutabile aeternum non est; deus autem noster aeternus est. item, quod mihi dicit in aurem interiorem, expectatio rerum venturarum fit contuitus, cum venerint, idemque contuitus fit memoria, cum praeterierint: omnis porro intentio, quae ita variatur, mutabilis est, et omne mutabile aeternum non est: deus autem noster aeternus est. haec colligo atque coniungo, et invenio deum meum, deum aeternum non aliqua nova voluntate condidisse creaturam, nec scientam eius transitorium aliquid pati.
[11] dinge prim. man. in marg. post del. das
[12] On God’s foreknowledge see Eckhart, Pr. 75 (DW III 293,7); for more see ad loc.