Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rufinus on Wisdom

In an earlier post, I drew attention to Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 4.22.9, in which Eusebius informs his readers that some ancient Christian writers gave to the canonical Book of Proverbs the alternative title "All-virtuous Wisdom." Here's the Greek and the LCL translation by K. Lake:
οὐ μόνος δὲ οὗτος, καὶ Εἰρηναῖος δὲ καὶ ὁ πᾶς τῶν ἀρχαίων χορὸς πανάρετον Σοφίαν τὰς Σολομῶνος Παροιμίας ἐκάλουν.
And not only he [= Hegesippus] but also Irenaeus and the whole company of the ancients called the Proverbs the All-virtuous Wisdom.
I don't know why Lake doesn't translate Σολομῶνος. It should be "called the Proverbs of Solomon the All-virtuous Wisdom."

I have just had occasion to notice Rufinus' translation of this statement, it is diverges quite significantly from the Greek. My English translation will mimic the LCL translation above except where the Latin will not permit it. The major divergence is underlined.
verum et hic ipse et Irenaeus et omnis antiquorum chorus librum, qui adtitulatur Sapientia, Salomonis dixerunt, sicut et Proverbia et cetera.
And not only  he but also Irenaeus and the whole company of the ancients said that the book titled 'Wisdom' is Solomon's, just like Proverbs and the others.
I'm not sure what to make of this. Rufinus himself did not regard the Book of Wisdom to be by Solomon and he considered it extra-canonical ("ecclesiastical"). So, I don't think his views on Wisdom would have motivated him to alter the text in this way. I can only imagine that either he had a different Greek text in front of him, his own Latin text has suffered in transmission--but neither of these possibilities receives any support from the apparatus to the major critical edition (pp. 372-73)--or he has misunderstood the Greek. 

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