Tuesday, January 8, 2008

TurretinFan Answer to Question #3


You asked what proof I have that the passage you cited does not appear in several versions of the Apostolic Constitutions, and may be a later medieval addition.

The proof is

1. The testimony of historian James Donaldson, who provides the following footnote for the chapter from which you quoted (it’s a short chapter, only a single paragraph):

This chapter is not found in the Coptic and Syriac. One V. [Vienna] ms. has the following note: “Matthew (probably a mistake for Matthias) taught the doctrines of Christ in Judea, and was one of the seventy disciples. After the ascension of Christ he was numbered with the twelve apostles, instead of Judas, who was the betrayer. He lies in Jerusalem.”

The absence of the chapter from the Coptic and Syriac was the “several versions” to which I was referring.

2. One reasonable inference from its absence from multiple versions is that the chapter was not in the original, but was added later.

3. This hypothesis is confirmed by the fact that the Oxford manuscript of the Apostolic constitutions begins what we label Chapter XXX with “I the same, Simon the Canaanite …” whereas Simon is the ascribed author of the twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth manuscripts, which points to chapter twenty-nine being a later insertion.

4. The number of manuscripts and versions is quite small, which makes the absence from a pair of documents, and evident (or at least arguably evident) insertion in a third more significant. I should point out that I am unaware of the precise total number of manuscripts in existence. The New Advent Catholic encyclopedia claims that there are four manuscripts now in existence, but this seems to be lower than the number of manuscripts available to Donaldson in the 19th century, or possibly merely excludes the other versions as manuscripts. The oldest copy of the text (again, according to the New Advent encyclopedia) is a 12th century manuscript.

From this various testimony, I am inclined to suspect that Chapter XXIX, the one paragraph chapter to which your citation was made, was a latter (i.e. medieval) insertion, and not an original fourth or fifth century writing.


No comments: