Thursday, June 28, 2012

Who Named Paraleipomena?

I'm back to looking at Chronicles for a little while. Actually, I guess I'll be studying it off-and-on until the end of the year because of a couple writing projects dealing with certain aspects of it. Anyway, I am now re-reading this interesting article on the names of the book: Gary N. Knoppers and Paul B. Harvey Jr., "Omitted and Remaining Matters: On the Names Given to the Book of Chronicles in Antiquity," JBL 121.2 (2002): 227-43.

As I said, the article covers a lot of interesting ground. But one assumption made in it bothers me a little. Now, you need to know that the Greek title for Chronicles is Paraleipomena = "things omitted" (or, as I like to tell my students, "the left-overs"). But who gave Greek Chronicles this name? Knoppers and Harvey say a couple of times that it derives from the LXX translators themselves.
[...] Paraleipomena [...] is both (apparently) a unique title for an ancient literary/historical composition and a reflection of the LXX translators' conception of this work. (p. 233)
By employing these titles, the LXX translators [...] attempt to explain the existence of two parallel literary works--Genesis through Kings (or simply just Kings) and Chronicles. What the former omits, the latter supplies. (p. 236)
Why do they think the LXX translators supplied the title? Greek Chronicles is usually dated to the 2nd cent BCE. The title, I believe, is unattested until perhaps Melito of Sardis gave his famous list of OT books toward the end of the 2nd cent. CE (in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 4.26.12-14). The manuscripts that we have of Greek Chronicles are all Christian. So, is it possible to take this title, Paraleipomena, back before the 2nd or 1st cent. CE?

Or, the question could be, were the LXX translators accustomed to giving names to their translations? But I don't think we know the answer to that, either. The Hebrew books are mostly untitled, at least in the traditional sense. So, perhaps the translators didn't supply titles either. Or, if they did, would they have been the same title as is later attested? I can think of one example where the Greek title seems to have changed over time: the second book of the Pentateuch was at one time called in Greek Exagoge, but later become known as Exodus, both words having similar meanings.

So, did the LXX translators of Chronicles supply the title Paraleipomena? Maybe. If so, did they coin the title? It's possible. Or, would it have reflected what earlier Greek-speaking Jews called the book? Or maybe even there was an equivalent title in Hebrew?

On the other hand, is the title even attested by any Greek-speaking Jews? A search on TLG shows that it is unattested in Philo and Josephus. Could it be what Gentile Christians decided to call the book? 

Corrections would be welcome.

UPDATE (29 Oct 2016): I'm reading Robert Kraft's SBL presidential address, and I find that he has a footnote on this issue:
It is not clear when and under what circumstances the Greek translations of 1–2 Chronicles came to be called "Paral(e)ipomena." The earliest evidence of which I am aware is Melito (and Origen) according to Eusebius .... Nor is it clear that this was already a title in use in the Greek-speaking world at large. In Jewish and Christian circles, the title also appears for most manuscripts of "Paraleipomena Jeremiou," and in two references in Testament of Job (40.14; 41.6). Based on content, such works as LAB or even Deuteronomy could easily be labeled "Remainders" (depending, of course, on what is assumed to be the basis of comparison). (19n55)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hebraica Veritas

I received a query from a faculty member at another university about Jerome's use of the phrase hebraica veritas. I thought some of the information I shared would be worth posting.

I ran a search on the Library of Latin Texts database (Brepols; subscription required), which showed that Jerome was the first author in Latin to put the two terms hebr* and verita* side-by-side.

Jerome himself uses the phrase veritas hebraica twice (Epist. 78.17; Comm. in. Jer. 22:7), and hebraica veritas 85 times.

Augustine uses hebraica veritas three times (City of God 18.44; Questions on Genesis 152, twice). Bede uses it 42 times. And that's mostly it for the patristic period. There are 137 total hits for hebraica veritas in the patristic period. It comes back in the Medieval and Renaissance periods: 172x for hebraica veritas, 35x for veritas hebraica.

Here's the breakdown for Jerome's usage, according to work.

Adv. Iov., 3x
Apol. adv. Ruf., 3x
Comm. in Dan., 3x
Comm. in Matt., 2x
Comm. in Ezech., 11x
Comm. in Isa., 11x
Comm. in Hos., 3x
Comm. in Joel, 2x
Comm. in Amos, 1x
Comm. in Obad., 2x
Comm. in Micah, 3x
Comm. in Zeph., 1x
Comm. in Hag., 1x
Comm. in Mal., 2x
Comm. in Eccl., 1x
Epistles, 19x (including nos. 49,  53, 57, 65, 71, 72, 78, 106, 109, 112, 121, 122)
Comm. in Jer., 7x
Quaest. hebr. in Gen., 4x
Praef. in lib. Psal. iuxta Hebr., 1x
Praef. in lib. Sam. et Reg. (Prologus galeatus), 1x
Tract. in Marc. ev., 1x
Tract. Psal., 3x

Monday, June 18, 2012

New Article: Jerome on the 'Apocrypha'

My article on Jerome's use of the term 'apocrypha' in his Prologus Galeatus (= Preface to Samuel and Kings) in reference to the deuterocanonical books has just been published in the Journal of Early Christian Studies.

Here's the reference and the abstract:

"The Old Testament 'Apocrypha' in Jerome's Canonical Theory," JECS 20 (2012): 313-33.
In his preface to Samuel and Kings (the Prologus Galeatus), Jerome sets forth a theory of the Old Testament canon that allows for no room between the canonical books and the apocrypha. However, Jerome elsewhere maintained a more neutral or even positive view of some of the non-canonical books, even accepting their use within the ecclesiastical liturgy. Jerome's seemingly inconsistent attitude toward some books he classifies as "apocrypha" has led scholars to posit a development in Jerome's canonical theory, such that his earlier position was accepting of books that he later excluded, and to suppose that Jerome's use of the word "apocrypha" in the Prologus Galeatus relied on a neutral definition of the term. This paper examines the evidence for these claims and finds them wanting. While Jerome consistently regarded the books labeled "apocrypha" in the Prologus Galeatus as outside the canon, he chose to propagate an especially harsh judgment against these books especially in this preface. The confusion arising from Jerome's comments may be explained as a consequence of a multi-faceted plan to realign the church's Old Testament with the Hebrew Bible, a plan that Jerome articulates only partially on any given occasion.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Old Testament Canon of the Fathers

This post continues a series introducing some of the key elements in my book and how I think it makes a contribution. (See here for the first post in this series.) The title of my book is Hebrew Scripture in Patristic Biblical Theory, with the subtitle Canon, Language, Text. This post will cover the first word of the subtitle, and therefore could be called 'Hebrew Scripture in Patristic Canonical Theory.'

I have long been interested in canonical studies, but I did not immediately choose it for a topic. I explained last time how I came to write on the topic that originally formed my dissertation and now is published through Brill--I started reading Origen's correspondence with Sextus Julius Africanus and found some interesting things worthy of further exploration. That especially was the case at section 10 of the letter (using the section numbers in the edition of N. de Lange; it is section 6 in the online ANF translation). Now, up to this point, Origen has been explaining that there are many differences between the Greek OT and the Hebrew Bible, but at sec. 10 he signals that he is changing topics.

Ταῦτα μὲν οὖν εἰρήσθω πρὸς τὸ μὴ φέρεσθαι παρ’ ῾Εβραίοις τὰ περὶ Σουσάννας· ἴδωμεν δὲ καὶ ἃ προσφέρεις τῷ λόγῷ ἐγκλήματα. Καὶ πρῶτόν γε ἀρξώμεθα ἀπὸ τοῦ δυνηθέντος ἄν δυσωπῆσαι πρὸς τὸ μὴ παραδέξασθαι τὴν ἱστορίαν· ὅπερ ἐστὶ τὸ περὶ τὴν παρωνυμίαν πρίνου μὲν πρὸς πρίσιν, σχίνου δὲ πρὸς σχίσιν.

Let these things be said with regard to Susanna’s not circulating among the Hebrews. Now, let us see what accusations you bring against the narrative. And let us begin first from the point that would be able to shame us into not accepting the story, which is the play on words between prinos and prisis, schinos and schisis.
Origen is responding to a point brought up by Africanus in his letter against the authenticity of the Story of Susanna, a deuterocanonical addition to Daniel. Africanus had argued in part that since this story contained a pun in Greek, it could not have been written in Hebrew, which he thought was a necessary criterion for canonicity. Now, it seemed to me upon reading Origen's response, that though he disagreed with Africanus that the pun proves the Greek origin of Susanna--that is, Origen thought there might be other ways of explaining this pun in Greek other than rejecting the possibility of a Hebrew original--nevertheless he did agree with Afriancus' major premise: composition in Hebrew was a necessary criterion for canonicity in the Church's OT.

Recognition of this fundamental agreement between these two early Christian scholars regarding how they thought about the OT canon led me to look for (a) the views of other Fathers regarding which criteria were operative for accepting books into the Church's OT, and (b) specifically whether other Fathers besides Origen and Africanus also considered composition in Hebrew to be one such criterion. The results feature in the first two major chapters of my book.

In brief, in ch. 2 I argue that the two major opposing positions in the Church of the first 4-5 centuries were (a) that the Christian OT should be equivalent to the Jewish canon, and (b) that the Church should accept as canonical those books that it finds useful. The first position I called the 'synagogal criterion', and the basic evidence for its wide distribution in the Church are the numerous canon lists we have from this time period, almost all of which transmit basically the Jewish canon (there are, of course, differences among the lists, but that does not change the intention behind the list), and that is what I argue is precisely the point of the list. Sometimes a particular Father will explicitly link his list to the Jewish canon, or he will link the 22 books of the OT to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet (more here).

The second position I mentioned in the previous paragraph I called the 'ecclesiastical criterion', and it, I believe, was the basic position of Origen and Augustine, among others. They said essentially that the books used by the Church, especially in the liturgy, should be considered canonical, able to establish doctrine. This was precisely what Jerome in his Preface to the Books of Solomon and Rufinus in his Commentary on the Apostle's Creed said was not the case: just because the Church uses a particular book or reads it does not make it canonical, able to establish doctrine. But the Council of Hippo in 393, and of course Augustine, said, "no, actually, that is exactly what it means." This resulted in the inclusion, alongside the books of the Hebrew Bible, of what are now known as the deuterocanonical books: Tobit, Judith, 1&2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, and Sirach = Ecclesiasticus (Baruch was at this time considered a part of the Book of Jeremiah).

In the third chapter, I argue that what I called the 'Hebrew criterion'--composition in Hebrew was a necessary criterion for OT canonicity--was accepted widely by Fathers on both sides of the previously mentioned divide. Julius Africanus and Origen explicitly say as much in their correspondence. Other Fathers are not quite so forthcoming on this point, but I argue that the implication of their acceptance of this criterion may be drawn from two common themes in patristic literature when it comes to the OT: (1) the aforementioned link between the number of OT books and the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and (2) the extension of the 'inspired' LXX translation to cover all the books of the OT. Just to explain this second point a little further, the Fathers routinely think about every OT book in Greek as deriving from the inspired Seventy translators, which means that every OT book must have been originally written in Hebrew so that it could be included in this translation.

That's the gist of chs. 2-3. Hopefully it will whet your appetite for the full presentation of these arguments in the book. In my next post in this series, I'll talk about the second word of the subtitle: language.