Markus Vinzent's Blog

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)

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