HumaReC blogposts archive (24 months SNSF project 2016-2018)

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Three (in)dependent versions of one text

Is it a fact that the Greek, the Latin and the Arabic texts share the same support, sufficient to argue that they are related? Of course not. Many parts ofthe manuscript point out that the three versions are independent from each other. 

In a previous article, I have demonstrated that the Greek text is close to the Byzantine text-type

The Latin text is an exemplar of the Vulgate text.

The Arabic text is a translation made from the Vulgate (see previous article) – but not from the Latin column

The Greek and the Latin texts, regularly show slight differences as expected from witnesses of different traditions. Some of them are listed in the table I made, which can be found in a previous article about the Greek text (see column "latin 460"): to the table.

To this we can add some more:

  • 1 Thes 4:13 (folio 250r)
  • Ὀυ θέλω δὲ ὑμᾶς ἀγνωεῖν ἀδελφοί
  • Nolumus autem vos ignorare fratres
  • 1 Thes 4:9 (folio 249v)
  • οὐ χρείαν ἔχετε γράφειν ὑμῖν αὐτοὶ γὰρ ὑμεῖς θεοδίδακτοί ἐστε εἰς τὸ ἀγαπᾶν ἀλλήλους
  • non necesse habuimus scribere vobis ipsi enim vos a deo didicistis ut diligatis invicem

The Arabic text has a text of the Vulgate as Vorlage. In several places, it is clear that the Arabic follows the Latin text and not the Greek. E.g.:

  • Gal 3:6 (folio in preparation)
  • καθῶς ἀβραὰμ ἐπίστευσε τῶ θεῶ καὶ ἐλογίσθη αὐτῶ εἰς δικαιοσύνην
  • Sicut scriptum est Abraham credidit deo et reputatum est illi ad iustitiam
  • كما كتب ان ابرهيم امن بالله و عُدّ له ذلك صلَاحًا

However the Latin version used for the translation into Arabic differs from the one we find in the Latin column. Here is an example where this is visible:

  • 1 Cor 1:6 (folio 156r)
  • καθὼς τὸ μαρτύριον τοῦ θεοῦ ἐβεβαιώθη ὑμῖν
  • sicut testimonium dei confirmatum est in vobis
  • كما اثبتت شهاده المسيح فيكم

In fact, the reading testimonium christi is the common reading in the Vulgate manuscripts and it is reflected in the Arabic text.

The repetition of examples makes the process quite clear. Each column was copied from a text that existed before the composition of the manuscript and all three were brought together for this occasion

Nevertheless, the three traditions seem to have been influenced by each other – through the written columns or the living texts that were in use at the time.

At several occasions, the Latin text shows readings that could be explained by an influence of the Greek text. E.g.:

  • Gal 1:15 (folio 208r)
  • ὅτε δὲ ηὐδόκησεν ὁ θεός ὁ ἀφορίσας με ἐκ κοιλίας μητρός μου
  • Cum autem cumplacuit dei qui me segregavit ex utero matris meae
  • فلما شا الذى خزلنى من بطن امى

The presence of dei here is not listed in Weber-Gryson's edition of the Vulgate and comes certainly from Greek. Another case of Greek influence is the reading baptizaverim in 1 Cor 1:15 (folio 156v). 

Contrariwise, the Greek reading νήπιοι in 1 Thes 2:7 (folio 247r) could be explained by the Latin influence.

In 1 Co 1:6 (see above), the reading τὸ μαρτύριον τοῦ θεοῦ/testimonium dei can probably be explained by mutual influence – but it is difficult to know in which direction (see previous article).

For now, we don't have striking evidences showing Greek influences in the Arabic text but this should also appear at some points.

We will very soon discuss an interesting case in Gal 2:21 that support this argumentation in favour of mutual influences in addition to the dependance to their particular Vorlagen.