NB: Little of this literature has spiritual value, The value of this literature is elsewhere. A great deal of mythology circulates about the events of these years, and is sometimes used to concoct libels on the Christians. It is the task of some of those engaged in apologetic’s to look up the slanders and obtain the facts. A collection of the primary data such as this is of immediate service in this task. It is also interesting of itself, and those interested in finding out the facts of history for themselves will find it useful to have this data on hand. Roger Pearse
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of religious, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material; the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. For purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
original page source: http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/aristides_03_preface.htm
TABLE OF CONTENTS..
THE REMAINS OF THE ORIGINAL GREEK
THE APOLOGY OF ARISTIDES
J. ARMITAGE ROBINSON M.A.
FELLOW AND ASSISTANT TUTOR OF CHRIST’S COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE
While Mr Harris was passing the preceding pages through the press, he kindly allowed me to read the proof sheets of his translation of the Syriac. Shortly afterwards as I was turning over Latin Passionals at Vienna in a fruitless search for a lost MS. of the Passion of S. Perpetua, I happened to be reading portions of the Latin Version of the ‘Life of Barlaam and Josaphat,’ and presently I stumbled across words which recalled the manner and the thought of Aristides. Turning back to the beginning of a long speech, I found the words: ‘Ego, rex, providentia Dei veni in mundum; et considerans celum et terram, mare et solem et lunam, et cetera, admiratus sum ornatum eorum.’ The Greek text of ‘Barlaam and Josaphat ‘ is printed in Migne’s edition of the works of S. John of Damascus: and it was not long before I was reading the actual words of the Apologist himself: [Greek] It was with some impatience that I waited for my return to Cambridge, in order to examine the proof sheets again, and so to discover by a comparison of the Syriac Version how much of our author was really in our hands in the original tongue.
To what extent then does the Greek speech in ‘Barlaam and Josaphat’ correspond to the Syriac Version of the Apology of Aristides? In other words: How far may we claim to have recovered the original Apology in the language in which it was written?
The circumstances under which the Greek has been preserved at all demand first a brief notice. ‘The Life of Barlaam and |68 Joasaph (or Josaphat)’ is the title of a religious romance, which, by a tradition dating at the latest from the 11th century, has been connected with the name of S. John of Damascus. It is true that SS. Barlaam and Josaphat find a place in the Calendars of both the Eastern and Western Churches: but it has long been recognised that their ‘Life’ is a working up of the Indian legend of Sakya Mouni, or Buddha; and a number of the apologues scattered over the piece have also been identified as Eastern stories of a very early date.
The popularity of the book has rarely been equalled in the history of literature. Before the 13th century it had been translated into almost every known language of the world; an Icelandic Version was made about the year 1200 by the order of a Norwegian king; and there is an early English rendering in metre.
It has lately been argued, and I think with success, by Zotenberg1)fn1. Notice sur le livre de Barlaam et Joasaph, Paris, 1886. A useful summary of the literature on ‘B. and J.’ is given by Krumbacher in Iwan von Müller’s Handbuch der alt. Wissensch. vol. 9, pt. 1, p. 469,, that the book is much earlier than the time of S. John of Damascus; and that the matter which it has in common with several of his works is drawn from previous writers such as Gregory Nazianzen and Nemesius. This being so, it may well go back to the 6th century, or perhaps earlier still.
The outline of the story is as follows. An Eastern king, named Abenner, persecutes the Christians, and especially the monks, whom he expels from India. He is childless; but at length the young prince Josaphat is born, and the astrologers, as in the case of Buddha, predict for him an extraordinary greatness. They add however that he will become a Christian. This his father determines to prevent. He encloses him in a magnificent palace; allows none but young and beautiful attendants to approach him; and forbids the mention of sorrow, disease and death, and above all of Christianity. When the prince is grown to man’s estate he asks his father to give him liberty. His entreaties are at length successful, as it seems that otherwise his life will be saddened, and the first step will have been taken towards his reception of the forbidden faith. He is allowed to drive out, but the way is carefully prepared beforehand, and guarded from the |69 intrusion of sad sights and sounds. At last precaution fails, and he sees one day a lame man and a blind man, and another day a man wrinkled and tottering with age. He inquires whether accidents may befal any man, and whether every man must come at last to miserable old age or death. There is but one answer: and the joy has fled from his life.
A monk of the desert, Barlaam by name, is divinely warned of the prince’s condition; and comes disguised as a merchant, and obtains entrance to the prince to shew him a most goodly pearl. In a long discourse, into which Gospel parables and Eastern apologues are skilfully woven, he expounds to him the vanity of the world and the Christian hope of the life to come. In the end the prince is baptized, and Barlaam disappears into the desert. The king, distracted with rage on the one hand and love for his son on the other, casts about for means to shake his faith. A wily counsellor propounds a plan. An old man, who closely resembles Barlaam and who is an admirable actor, is to defend the cause of Christianity in an open debate. He is to make a lame speech, and be easily refuted by the rhetoricians. The prince, seeing his instructor baffled, will renounce his newly accepted faith.
The day comes, and Nachor, for this is the old man’s name, appears to personate Barlaam. Josaphat addresses him in vigorous terms, reminding him of the difficulties in which his instructions have involved him, and promising him a miserable fate if he fails to prove his point. Nachor is not reassured by this mode of address; but after some preliminary fencing on the part of the rhetoricians he begins to speak. Such, says our author, was the providence of God, that like Balaam of old he had come to curse, but he ended by blessing with manifold blessings. Or, as he says again, lowering his metaphor; ‘He beckoned to the multitude to keep silence, and he opened his mouth, and like Balaam’s ass he spake that which he had not purposed to speak; and he said to the king: I, O king, by the providence of God came into the world…’
The Apology of Aristides carried the day: and, to cut the long story short, Nachor himself and finally the king and his people were converted: and at last Josaphat, who in due course succeeds |70 his father, resigns his kingdom and retires to spend his days with Barlaam in the desert2)fn2. A small fragment (below, p. 104), which is omitted from its proper place in Nachor’s speech, is embodied in an early part of the book (Bois. p. 49). We thus see that the writer had the Apology before him at the outset of his work, and designed his plot with the definite intention of introducing it..
What modifications then were required to fit the Apology for its new surroundings? Surprisingly few.
(1) The king is of course addressed throughout: but this is so in the original piece. Only a short sentence at the end praises the wise choice of the king’s son.
(2) The fourfold division of mankind into Barbarians and Greeks, Jews and Christians, was out of place in an Indian court. We find in its stead a triple division—-Worshippers of false gods, Jews and Christians: and the first class is subdivided into Chaldeans, Greeks and Egyptians, as being the ringleaders and teachers of heathenism to the rest of the world3)fn3. See, however, below, p. 90; where reasons are given which tend to shew that the Greek has preserved the original triple division, as against the Syriac and the Armenian..
(3) A short passage at the close, in which the Christians are defended from the foul charges so often brought against them in the first days, was out of date and consequently has disappeared.
(4) If we add to this that there are traces of compression here and there, and that the description of the Christians at the close is considerably curtailed, we have exhausted the list of substantial modifications which can with certainty be detected.
The substance of the Apology then is for the most part faithfully preserved: but can we say that with the exceptions already named we have the actual Greek words of Aristides himself?
The first and most obvious test to apply is that of comparative length. The Syriac is, speaking roughly, half as long again as the Greek: and this difference is not fully accounted for by the combination in the latter of the preliminary statements about the Jews and the Christians with the fuller descriptions of them given later on, and by the omission of nearly two pages at the close. |71 The fact is that the Syriac has a large number of repetitions and not a few additional details which are absent from the Greek. Thus at the end of each description of the several gods and goddesses of the heathen, the Syriac Version points the moral and drives home the inevitable conclusion: and again such histories as those of Kronos and of Isis and Osiris are somewhat more elaborately told in this form of the Apology.
Are we then to conclude that the Syriac translator has enlarged upon his original, and supplemented it here and there from his own resources? Or must we say that the author of ‘Barlaam and Josaphat’ found the Apology too long for his purpose, and pruned away unnecessary details?
The second hypothesis has a prima facie probability, and the general reputation for faithfulness of Syriac translators might point us in the same direction. On the other side it is to be observed that, even when read in the light of the Syriac Version, the Greek form is still felt to be a harmonious and consistent whole: and it certainly does not convey the impression of serious mutilation. The genius of the author, in so framing his plot as perfectly to suit the Apology which he intended to introduce, needs no further praise than is involved in the fact that hitherto no one has had the remotest suspicion that he did not write the speech of Nachor himself. If anything could make his genius appear more extraordinary still, it would be the proof that he had consistently compressed the original document in almost every alternate sentence without leaving any traces of rough handling: but such proof is at present not forthcoming. In the absence of further documents, the question must be decided largely by internal evidence and the minute investigation of the points of difference. But there are two external sources from which light may be thrown upon the problem.
(1) In 1855 Cureton published in his Spicilegium Syriacum a treatise bearing the title: ‘Hypomnemata, which Ambrose, a chief man of Greece, wrote;’ and commencing with the words: ‘Do not suppose, men and Greeks, that without fit and just cause is my separation from your customs.’ These words are the literal translation of the opening sentence of the Oratio ad |72 Gentiles traditionally ascribed to Justin Martyr: [Greek]
When we compare the original Greek with the Syriac Version of this document, we find that in point of length they stand to one another exactly as do the Greek and Syriac forms of the Apology of Aristides: that is to say, in either case the Syriac is about half as long again as the Greek. Moreover, as in the case of our Apology, the variation begins to shew itself immediately after the first sentence, which I have quoted. For the Greek continues thus: [Greek]. But the Syriac replaces this by the following, as Cureton renders it: ‘For I have investigated the whole of your wisdom of poetry, and rhetoric, and philosophy; and when I found not anything right or worthy of the Deity, I was desirous of investigating the wisdom of the Christians also, and of learning and seeing who they are, and when, and what is this its recent and strange production, or on what good things they rely who follow this wisdom, so as to speak the truth. Men and Greeks, when I had made the enquiry I found not any folly, as in the famous Homer, who says respecting the wars of the two rivals, “for the sake of Helen many of the Greeks perished at Troy, far from their beloved home.” For first they say respecting Agamemnon,’ &c.
Here then we have a similar problem to that of the Apology of Aristides; and in this case we are not hampered by the consideration that the Greek may possibly have been abbreviated to fit it for incorporation into a religious novel. Few will be disposed to challenge the verdict of Otto4)fn4. Justini Opera, tom. 2, p. xxix., that the Syriac translator has so altered and amplified his original as almost to have produced a new work.
We may give one more illustration of the manner in which the translator has proceeded. We have seen already that he has paraded at the outset his independent acquaintance with Homer. |73 Where Ulysses is alluded to, later on, the Greek has a sentence full of satire and liable to be misunderstood. [Greek]. Corresponding to this we find in the Syriac Version: ‘But respecting the guile of Odysseus, son of Laertes, and his murders, who shall tell? For to a hundred and ten suitors in one day his house was a grave, and was filled with dead bodies and blood. And he it is that by his wickedness purchased praises, because by the excellence of his wisdom he was concealed: and he it is that, as ye say, sailed over the sea, and heard the voice of the Sirens, because he stopped his ears with wax.’
The translator then has first supplemented his author by introducing fresh details about Ulysses: and then he has totally missed the meaning of the Greek. He has obviously read it as if it were [Greek], ‘ through the excellence of his wisdom he kept himself in the dark.’ Then not seeing the point of [Greek], he simply tells us that ‘ he stopped his ears with wax.’ This of course” the hero did not do: and the translator has got the Homeric story wrong: nor shall we mend matters much by inserting with Cureton the word ‘not’ after ‘and heard.’ We see at any rate plainly enough what was this Syrian’s conception of a translator’s function when his author seemed obscure.
The parallel between the two Apologies is the more striking, because the line of argument in these Hypomnemata vividly recalls parts of Aristides, and the same illustrations of the misdemeanours of the gods frequently reappear in almost the same language. The satire of the so-called Ambrosius is a much keener weapon than the simple narrative of Aristides: but there is not the same intensity of moral earnestness. It is quite credible that the later Apologist had the work of Aristides before him when he wrote, and endeavoured to reproduce the same arguments in what he thought was a more telling manner. Thus he says: [Greek] (cf. infra p. 109, 1. 7). And again: [Greek]. |74 (cf. p. 106, 1. 24). And once more: [Greek] (cf. p. 105, 1. 18).
Enough then has been said to shew that a Syriac translator, finding an early Greek Apology and desiring to reproduce it in his own language, might have no scruple whatever in dealing very freely with his author, in expunging sentences which he was not able or did not care to translate, and in supplementing the original here and there out of his own resources. The Syriac translator of the Oratio ad Gentiles has clearly so treated his unknown author; and this fact removes any a priori objection to the supposition that the Syriac translator of Aristides has acted in a similar way.
(2) We are fortunate in having an additional source of evidence in the Armenian fragment which contains the opening sentences of the Apology. The Armenian translator has clearly done what we have had some reason to suspect in the case of the Syriac translator. He has dealt freely with his original, adding words and even sentences, and introducing the stock phrases of a later theology. .But this, while it diminishes very considerably the amount of the evidence which can be produced from his version, does not materially affect its value as far as it goes. Phrases which are only found in the Armenian, or only found in the Syriac, may be dismissed as possibly the inventions of the respective translators: but there remains a considerable quantity of matter common to the two Versions, which therefore presupposes a Greek original. The question we have to ask is: What is the relation of this common matter to the Greek text now in our hands5)fn1. Notice sur le livre de Barlaam et Joasaph, Paris, 1886. A useful summary of the literature on ‘B. and J.’ is given by Krumbacher in Iwan von Müller’s Handbuch der alt. Wissensch. vol. 9, pt. 1, p. 469,
A preliminary point however demands attention: Is the Armenian translated from the Syriac, or is it an independent translation made directly or indirectly from the Greek itself?
A few instances in which the Armenian corresponds with the Greek against the Syriac will suffice to shew that it cannot come from the Syriac as we now have it.
In the opening sentence we have [Greek] and ‘ providentia ‘ (Arm.) against ‘goodness’ (Syr.). Immediately afterwards [Greek] and ‘ luna ‘ (Arm.), which the Syriac omits. Lower down ‘ rectorem’ |75 three times corresponds to parts of [Greek], but there is nothing to answer to these in the Syriac. In the Christological passage near the end of the fragment, ‘ una cum Spiritu Sancto ‘ (Arm.) answers to [Greek]: and here again the Syriac has no equivalent.
Moreover in the description of the Divine nature the Armenian Version says: ‘ Ei neque colores sunt neque forma,’ or as Mr Conybeare renders it ‘ Colour and form of Him there is not.’ This corresponds to the Syriac phrase: ‘ He has no likeness, nor composition of members.’ The Greek fails us here: but we may suppose that the -Greek word which has been variously rendered ‘ colour ‘ and ‘ likeness ‘ was [Greek], as in the passage quoted by Mr Harris from Justin (supra p. 54): [Greek].
We may conclude then that the Armenian Version is not made from the Syriac Version in its present form6)fn5. See however p. 90, where the fourfold division of mankind, common to Syr. and Arm., is further criticised.: and similar arguments could be adduced, if there were any necessity, to shew that the Syriac Version is independent of the Armenian.
I have mentioned already almost all the cases in which the Syriac fails to reproduce in any form matter which is common to the Greek and the Armenian. They scarcely make up between them more than a dozen words. The additional matter found only in the Syriac Version is more considerable.
First, there is the second title which introduces the name of Antoninus Pius, and so conflicts with the first which has the support of the Armenian7)fn6. Mr Harris inclines to accept this second title of the Syriac Version as the true one: see above, pp. 7 ff. But the course of the present argument tends to shew that the Syriac translator has introduced many arbitrary changes on his own account: and this makes me the more unwilling to accept his testimony against that of the Armenian Version, which has moreover the explicit statement of Eusebius to support it. The circumstances under which the Greek has been preserved to us necessitated the omission of the title altogether; so that no direct evidence on the point reaches us from that quarter..
Then we have the following phrases:
(a) Who is hidden in them and concealed from them: and this is well known, that… |76
(b) And in saying that He is complete, I mean that there is no deficiency in Him.
(c) And that which has an end is dissoluble.
(d) From man He asks nothing.
(e) Who begat…from whom was born…who begat.
(f) Of their religion (bis).
(g) And it is said that (in the Christological statement)… and clad Himself with…and they say that…who are well known.
I have taken no account of the many places in which the two Versions wander far from each other, and yet seem to have some common basis. Here the Armenian is obviously the worst offender, and its interpolations are far more numerous.
We now turn to the Greek itself in the passage covered by the Armenian fragment, in order to see first of all to what extent what we actually have faithfully represents the Greek words which underlie the Syriac and Armenian Versions.
(1) The first sentence which bears the appearance of compression is the following: [Greek]. This seems to bring together several more expanded phrases witnessed to by the two Versions, which however do not agree with one another sufficiently closely to allow us to make a certain reconstruction.
(2) In the sentence, [Greek], a word, corresponding to ‘ praefatas ‘ (Arm.) and ‘ which we have spoken concerning Him ‘ (Syr.), has dropped out before [Greek]: and instead of [Greek] there must have been a verb in the original; ‘ ab eis erraverint ‘ (Arm.), ‘ have erred therefrom ‘ (Syr.). The difference is of course exceedingly slight in itself: but it is important from a critical point of view, when we are testing the faithfulness with which the author of ‘Barlaam and Josaphat’ has preserved to us the original Apology. We may probably trace in this sentence the influence of an almost identical one, which comes later on, after the preliminary descriptions of the four races have been given. As the Greek combines these descriptions with the fuller |77 accounts afterwards given, it brings the parallel sentences close together.
(3) The division of mankind into three races, and not four, has been already noticed8)fn7. See above, p. 70; and further remarks on p. 90..
(4) It is just at this point that the most serious divergence is found: viz., the omission of the preliminary descriptions of the races, as noted above. This was perhaps the result of the change in the method of their division, which rendered unsuitable the sentences which immediately followed.
Once more, we have to ask how much is there which can be shewn, by the united testimony of the Versions, to have stood in the original Greek, and which yet finds no place in the Greek which has survived.
(1) In the first line both Versions have ‘into this world,’ while the Greek has [Greek]: but the demonstrative may perhaps only be an attempt to represent the Greek article. The first real gap is eight lines lower down, where the Versions are very divergent9)fn8. The Syriac is untranslateable as it stands., but yet point- to some common original. It is probable that the Greek text at this point was difficult or corrupt, and so was omitted altogether by the author of ‘ Barlaam and Josaphat.’ The topic is the difficulty and uselessness of elaborate investigation concerning the Divine nature: and the conclusion is drawn ‘ that one should fear God and not grieve man ‘ (Syr.), ‘ utpote unum Deum nos adorare oportet: unumquemque autem nostrum proximum suum sicut semetipsum diligere ‘ (Arm.). To this the Greek has nothing to correspond.
(2) For the list of properties of the Divine nature we have in the Greek merely the compressed sentence, part of which was quoted above. The Versions agree in telling us more fully that ‘ God is not begotten, not made ‘; ‘ without beginning, because that which has a beginning has also an end’; ‘without name, because that which has a name belongs to the created’; ‘without likeness (Arm. ‘ colores,’ implying [Greek] in the Greek) and composition of members (Arm. ‘ forma ‘), for he who possesses this is associated with things created’ (Arm. ‘mensurabilis est, |78 limitibusque cogitur’); ‘neither male nor female’ (Arm. adds ‘quia cupiditatibus agitatur qui huic est distinctioni obnoxius ‘); ‘ the heavens do not contain Him: but the heavens and all things visible and invisible are contained in Him ‘; ‘ He has no adversary ‘ (in the reason for this there is fresh discrepancy); ‘ He is altogether wisdom and understanding.’ After this the Greek, as we have it, is again, for the next seven lines, obviously the same as that which lay before the translators.
(3) Now comes the new division of mankind, and the Greek has omitted the following: ‘ Now the Barbarians reckon—- and from Dionysus,’ about six lines.
(4) The preliminary accounts of the Jews and the Christians are found in the Greek later on, where they are amalgamated with the fuller descriptions. The account of the Jews agrees fairly well with that given in the Versions, especially in the Armenian. The additions in the Greek will be noticed presently. It adds at the close: [Greek].
(5) The Christological passage which follows is so important that it will be an advantage to have the three forms side by side.
The Christians then reckon the beginning of their religion from Jesns Christ, Who is named the Son of God most High; and it is said that God came down from Jieaven, and from a Hebrew virgin toot: and clad Himself with flesh; and there dwelt in a daughter of man the Son of God.
Christianorum tandem gentil a Domino Jesn Christo oritur. Ipse Dei altissimi est Filius, et una cum Spiritu Sancto reuelatus est nobis: de coelis descendit, ex Hebraea uirgine natus, ex uirgine carnem assumpsit, assumpta-qne humana natura semet-ipsum Dei Filium reuelauit.
Here I have distinguished by spaced type or by italics every word, which having a double testimony may be referred to the original Greek. As regards omissions, the Greek omits only the epithet ‘ Hebrew ‘, which it replaces by the epithet agia, and the second reference to ‘the Son of God,’ where however there is a discrepancy between the two Versions. The Syriac omits [Greek], |79 The Armenian has no omission that can be certainly traced. The additions in each case may be seen at a glance. The Armenian has practically none; though a few lines further down the epithet corresponding to theotokos is applied to the Virgin. The most serious change is that in the Syriac, where the word ‘ God ‘ is inserted as the subject of the verbs which follow. The passage is one which was more likely than any other in the whole piece to tempt later writers to make changes of their own. It is to be noted that here the Greek in spite of its additions represents the original Apology much more faithfully than the Syriac does.
(6) In the words which follow next the Versions do not agree either with one another, or with the Greek, which has displaced the sentence and gives it a little lower down. But both the Greek and the Syriac appeal to a written Gospel, which the king might read if he chose.
(7) The repetition of the fourfold division of mankind is of course not found in the Greek, and with it has disappeared the problematical sentence: ‘ To God then ministers wind, and to angels fire; but to demons water, and to men earth.’ At this point the Armenian fragment ends.
What then is the result of our investigation of this opening passage, in which alone we have a triple testimony to the contents of the original Apology?
(1) There is one serious modification (if, indeed, we have not here the original) in the Greek, as it is preserved to us; but it was necessitated by the conditions of its reproduction in its new surroundings.
(2) There is one serious displacement in the Greek; but this was almost necessitated by the modification just mentioned.
(3) The description of the Divine nature is very much abbreviated in the Greek; but no word occurs in it which has not the support of the Versions.
(4) In the Christological passage which we examined in detail the Greek was seen to preserve the original statements, though with the addition of the later phrase |80
(5) The Syriac Version is often loose and inaccurate: it drops a phrase here and there; and it makes insertions by way of explanation or of supplement, and sometimes in such a way as to convey a wholly false conception of the original.
We learn then to expect for the remainder of the Apology that the Greek, as we have it, will as a rule give us the actual words of Aristides, except in the very few places in which modification was obviously needed. Where the Syriac presents us with matter which has no counterpart whatever in the Greek, we shall hesitate to pronounce that the Greek is defective, unless we are able to suggest a good reason for the omission, or to authenticate the Syriac from some external source10)fn9. Cf. infra, p. 90..
It is remarkable that this work, which at one time enjoyed such extraordinary popularity, should not have found its way into print in its original language before the present century. The Latin Version wrongly attributed to Georgius Trapezuntius, but really, as the MSS. of it prove, of a much earlier date, was printed, together with various works of S. John of Damascus, at Basel in 1539: but it was reserved to Boissonade to publish the Greek Text for the first time in the fourth volume of his Anecdota, which appeared at Paris in 1832.
Boissonade apologises for the meagreness of his apparatus criticus on the ground that an edition was expected almost immediately from Schmidt and Kopitar the librarian of the Imperial Library at Vienna. This edition, however, never appeared. Out. of seventeen MSS. preserved in the Library at Paris, Boissonade used throughout but two, 903 and 1128, which he refers to as A and C. He gives occasional readings from two others, 904 and 907, which he names B and D. In the portion of the book which specially concerns us, viz. the speech of Nachor, C is defective for about 10 of Boissonade’s pages, and the testimony of D is frequently |81 recorded. From time to time readings are also quoted from the Latin Version.
This very inadequate text has been reprinted in Migne’s Patrologia Graeca, tom. 96, in the third volume of the works of S. John of Damascus: but we have gained nothing by the reproduction except new blunders.
In the Wiener Jahrbücher für Deutsche Literatur (lxxii. 274, lxxiii. 176) Schubart has given some description of the Vienna MSS., and a list of the principal variants contained in them.
Lastly, Zotenberg11)fn10. Notice sur le livre de B. et J., pp. 3-5. has made a useful list of about 60 MSS., and has constructed a critical text of certain passages of special interest. Nothing however has been attempted as yet in the way of a genealogical classification of the MSS.; a work which will involve great labour, but which is essential to the production of a satisfactory edition.
In editing the Remains of the Apology of Aristides I have used three MSS., which were kindly placed at my disposal in Cambridge. I have recorded their variants with a greater completeness than is necessary for my present purpose, in order to aid a future editor of the whole treatise in assigning them without further trouble to their proper families.
(1) I have to thank Miss Algerina Peckover of Wisbech for kindly sending to the University Library a MS. in her possession, which apparently belongs to the beginning of the eleventh century. This Codex is specially interesting for the pictures which a later hand has drawn in the margin, sometimes in ink and sometimes in colours. It is unfortunately defective at the beginning and at the end. It commences with the words [Greek] (Bois. p. 48), and ends with [Greek] (Bois. p. 357). Unhappily it has been corrected very largely throughout, and it is frequently impossible to discover the original readings: those which are obviously by a later hand I have marked as W2.
(2) The authorities of Magdalen College, Oxford, with a like generosity allowed me to use their codex, Gr. 4, side by side with |82 the Wisbech MS. in our Library. This bears the date 1064. It contains besides: a Life of S. Basil, a tract on Images, the Martyrdom of SS. Galaction and Episteme, a tract on Penalties, and a work of Anastasius Sinaiticus. It has remained for the most part uncorrected.
(3) In the Library of Pembroke College, Cambridge, there is a MS. of the 17th century, the readings of which are of sufficient interest to be recorded for the present in spite of its late date;
In my apparatus criticvs these MSS. are referred to by the letters W, M and P respectively. I have now and then recorded readings from the Vienna MSS. collated by Schubart, using the signs V21, V102, &c., where the figures correspond with Schubart’s numbers. Wherever I have differed from the text of Boissonade, I have recorded his readings, and sometimes I have expressly mentioned his MSS., A, C and D. I have given in the margin of the Greek text the reference to Boissonade’s pages. Where it seemed desirable I have recorded readings of the Latin Version, taking them from the Basel edition of 1539 mentioned above.
There are but few references to the Books of Scripture in the Apology of Aristides, which thus stands in striking contrast with the works of Justin. On two occasions the Emperor is referred to Christian writings. In the first case a written Gospel is distinctly implied, as the matter in hand is the outline of our Lord’s Life; the words in the Greek are12)fn11. For the Syriac see above, p. 36 fin. ‘This is taught from that Gospel,’ &c.: [Greek] (p. 110, 1. 21). The second reference is more general, and possibly includes Books outside the Canon: [Greek] (p. 111, l. 24; cf. Syr. supra p. 50 fin.). There are no direct quotations from the New Testament, although the Apologist’s diction is undoubtedly coloured at times by the language of the Apostolic writers.
(1) The opening sentence recalls the words of 2 Macc. vii. 28: [Greek] |83
(2) p. 100, l. 11. [Greek]. Cf. Col. i. 17, [Greek] (cf. [Greek] in i. 16).
(3) p. 101, l. 6. [Greek]. This is clearly based on Rom. i, 25: [Greek]. The addition of [Greek] is interesting. The Syriac translator renders: ‘ and they began to serve created things instead of the Creator of them’; he is probably led to make the change by the recollection of the Syriac Version (Pesh.) in this passage, where the word ‘ Creator ‘ has the suffix of the fem. plural.
(4) p. 104, l. 2. [Greek]. Cf. Rom. i. 22: [Greek].
(5) p. 107, l. 12. [Greek]. These words are a kind of echo, although in a different sense, of Rom. vii. 8: [Greek].
(6) p. 109, l. 12. [Greek]. Hère again we seem to feel the influence of the same chapter; Rom. vii. 12, 16, [Greek] (cf. 1 Tim. i. 8).
(7) p. 109, l. 26. [Greek]. The first part of this sentence has affinities with Heb. xi. 8, 9, [Greek]. And the whole may be compared with Acts xiii. 17, [Greek]. The second part of the phrase however is not attested by the Syr. and Arm. Versions, and may possibly have been introduced by the author of ‘Barlaam and Josaph.it’ from Ps. cxxxvi. 11, 12.
(8) p. 110, l. 2. [Greek]. This is a combination of words found in S. Matt. xiii. 17, [Greek], and S. Matt, xxiii. |84 37 (cf. S. Luke xiii. 34) [Greek]. But here again we cannot be sure that we have the words of Aristides himself. This last remark applies also to the phrase, [Greek] (p. 110, 1. 9), which comes from Rom. x. 2.
(9) p. 110, l. 19. [Greek] clearly comes from Heb. ii. 9; but the Syr. simply has ‘He died,’ and the Arm. has nothing at all to correspond. Hence we cannot be certain that these are the words of Aristides. They probably have replaced the statement preserved in the Syr. ‘ He was pierced by the Jews.’ Throughout this great Christological passage it is worth noting how the actual phrases of the N. T. are not introduced.
(10) p. 111, l. 30. [Greek]. With this we may perhaps compare 1 Thess. ii. 13, [Greek]
A source from which our author has drawn part of his description of the life and conduct of the Christians is the Two Ways, though it may well be doubted whether he knew it in the form preserved to us in the Didaché. […] |85
When we turn to the Epistle of Barnabas we find there the same parallels which have been quoted from the Didaché, […] |86
It is possible then that here we have a witness to the earlier Two Ways, which has been variously embodied in the Didaché and the Epistle of Barnabas.
Some support may be given to this view when we observe that the wording of the negative form of the Golden Rule in our Apology has a greater affinity to the. famous interpolations in Codex Bczae than to the clause in the Didaché. This appears partly from the position of the first negative, and partly from the use of [Greek] rather than [Greek].
Let us bring the various texts together: […]
It is hardly possible therefore to believe that Aristides can have drawn this precept directly from the Didaché in the form in which we know it.
At the close of the Apology Aristides challenges the Emperor ‘to examine the writings of the Christians, from which he declares that the materials for his defence are drawn: p. 111, l. 23: [Greek]: or, as it is more fully said in the Syriac Version: ‘ Take now their writings and read in them, and lo ! ye will find that not of myself have I brought these things forward nor as their advocate have I said them, but as I have read in their writings, these things I firmly believe,’ &c.
We have seen already that he refers to a written Gospel for his statements as to the life and work of our Lord. We have also seen that he has drawn part of his description of the conduct of the Christians from the ‘ Two Ways.’ Moreover the Book of |87 Wisdom seems to have influenced his method and his language, in several parts of his work.
The following investigation will tend to shew that he owes a still greater debt to a work now lost, which exercised a considerable influence upon the writings of the second century.
The Preaching of Peter ( [Greek]) is classed by Eusebius (H . E. in. 3) together with his Acts, his Gospel and his Apocalypse as outside the Canon of writings accepted by the universal Church ( [Greek]). He goes on to say of these four books that none of the early writers or of his contemporaries used quotations from them. This statement is however incorrect: for Clement of Alexandria again and again quotes from both the Preaching and the Apocalypse, as authoritative works. The Preaching of Peter then was one of those books which, like the Didaché, the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hennas, at one time claimed a place in the Canon; though its claim was disallowed, even more emphatically perhaps than the claims of these other competitors.
We must in the first instance gather together all the fragments which can be assigned with certainty to this work13)fn12. Hilgenfeld (N. T. extra Can. pp. 56 ff.), to whose work I need scarcely acknowledge my indebtedness, has brought together under the head of [Greek], various fragments of the Didascalia Petri, &c. The fact that these find no parallels in Aristides will give a new reason for keeping them separate.. For the sake of clearness I have arranged them in the order in which it will be most easy to compare them with our Apology.
Clem. Al. Strom. VI. 39 ff. [Greek] |88 |89
Ibid. 128. |90
I have given above in full (with one exception; Clem. Strom. i. 182, [Greek]) all the indisputable fragments of the Preaching of Peter 1: and the parallels adduced from the Apology of Aristides shew that there is an intimate connection between the two documents.
Before going further into the interesting problem of the reconstruction of the Preaching, let us inquire what light these parallels throw upon the relation of the Syriac Version to the Greek text of the Apology.
(1) Several passages of the Syriac Version, quoted above in the notes, which are wanting in the Greek as we now have it, are authenticated by their similarity to portions of the Preaching.
Of these the most important are:
(a) the worship of angels attributed to the Jews;
(b) the description of the Christians as a ‘ new people ‘;
(c) the confession of the converted heathen;
(d) the attribution of our Lord’s sufferings to the Jews, Especially valuable are (a) and (c), as giving us ground for believing that the great closing section of the Syriac Version, which is so curtailed in the Greek, is substantially the writing of Aristides himself.
(2) On the other hand, the division into three races, which we find in the Greek, has the support of the famous [Greek] of the Preaching. The fourfold division of the Syriac and Armenian Versions (Barbarians and Greeks, Jews and Christians) comes therefore under grave suspicion: and the more we examine it, the less primitive it appears. For to the Greek mind the Jews were themselves Barbarians: see, for example, Clem. Strom, vi. 44, [Greek]: and Orig. c. Cels. i. 2, [Greek]. Moreover there seems to be no parallel to this fourfold classification of races in early Christian literature.
The Preaching of Peter is quoted by Heracleon (Orig. Comm. in Joan. xiii. 17), and we shall see that possibly it was used by |91 Celsus. It seems also to have been in the hands of the unknown writer of the Epistle to Diognetus. Moreover in the Sibylline Oracles we have several passages which seem to be based on it. Some of these are especially interesting, as shewing coincidences with our Apology, though not with the existing fragments of the Preaching14)fn13. The Gnostic Acts of Thomas are frequently indebted to the Preaching of Peter, as may be seen by the following passages: c. 1, [Greek]: C. 15, [Greek]: c. 28, [Greek]: C. 36, [Greek]: C. 38, [Greek]: C. 55, [Greek]: c. 56, [Greek] (see too the argument from prophecy in the same chapter)..
Now if three or four extant works can be shewn to have drawn materials from a document, which is known to us now only by a few fragments, there is obviously a possibility that the lost document may be to some extent critically reconstructed by a consideration of common matter found in any two of the works, which may accordingly have been taken from the document in question. To attempt to do this fully for the Preaching of Peter would be beyond our present scope: but we may fairly consider here what contributions to such a reconstruction are afforded by our Apology, which has apparently made so free a use of it.
Let us begin with those passages which either the Preaching or the Apology have in common with the Sibylline Oracles. I shall not attempt a. discrimination between the various writings which are gathered under the name of the Sibyl, but shall simply give references to Alexandre ‘s edition of 1869. Prooem. 7 ff. […] |92 |93 |94 |95
With regard to the second passage, there is a still more striking parallel in c. xvii., preserved to us only in the Syriac Version. ‘ The Greeks then, O king, because they practise foul things in sleeping with males, and with mother and sister and daughter, turn the ridicule of their foulness upon the Christians; but the Christians are honest and pious,’ etc.
These coincidences are worth noting even if we are not prepared, with our present knowledge, to suppose that they send us back for their explanation to the Preaching of Peter.
Next let us turn to the Epistle to Diognetus. As soon as the Armenian fragment of Aristides was discovered, it was observed that it had points in common with this anonymous Epistle. The coincidences have multiplied greatly with our larger knowledge of the Apology. Several of them have been quoted by Mr Harris in his notes, but it is necessary for our present purpose to bring them together again under one view. I shall do this in the briefest possible form, giving in the footnotes references to such parallels in the Apology as have not already been quoted above. […] |96 |97
We cannot account for these parallels by merely supposing that Aristides had the Epistle to Diognetus before him: for there are many points in common between Aristides and the Preaching of Peter, such as the worship of angels ascribed to the Jews, which do not appear in the Epistle. Nor will the converse hypothesis hold good. For, to take one instance out of several, the phrase in the Epistle [Greek] is directly parallel to [Greek] in the Preaching; but it has no counterpart in form in the Apology.
Here again then we are guided to the hypothesis that the Preaching lies behind both of these works. Can we gain anything further in the way of its reconstruction? […] |98
Mr Harris has collected (pp. 23 ff.) several instances of contact between the Apology of Aristides and the True Word of Celsus; and he has suggested that Celsus may have had the Apology in his hands when he wrote his attack upon Christianity. We are now in a position to see that most of the coincidences which have been pointed out would be accounted for by the supposition that it was the Preaching of Peter itself, and not our Apology, which, like ‘ Jason and Papiscus ‘ and other apocryphal writings, supplied the materials of his attack.
It will be more satisfactory to present the evidence in full as we have done in the previous cases, even at the risk of some repetition. I shall follow the order of Origen’s reply. […] |99
It is not easy on the evidence here collected to say whether it was the Preaching of Peter or the Apology of Aristides which lay before Celsus, but we can hardly doubt that it must have been one or the other. The statement that the world was made for the sake of man does not find a place in the recognised fragments of the Preaching; but we have given good reasons for believing that it was contained in it. On the other hand, the Apology gives no starting point for the attack of Celsus on Jewish prophecies about the Messiah, whereas the Preaching laid great stress on this point (see above, p. 89).[…] Absent pages 100 – 117…
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||fn1. Notice sur le livre de Barlaam et Joasaph, Paris, 1886. A useful summary of the literature on ‘B. and J.’ is given by Krumbacher in Iwan von Müller’s Handbuch der alt. Wissensch. vol. 9, pt. 1, p. 469,|
|2.||↑||fn2. A small fragment (below, p. 104), which is omitted from its proper place in Nachor’s speech, is embodied in an early part of the book (Bois. p. 49). We thus see that the writer had the Apology before him at the outset of his work, and designed his plot with the definite intention of introducing it.|
|3.||↑||fn3. See, however, below, p. 90; where reasons are given which tend to shew that the Greek has preserved the original triple division, as against the Syriac and the Armenian.|
|4.||↑||fn4. Justini Opera, tom. 2, p. xxix.|
|5.||↑||fn1. Notice sur le livre de Barlaam et Joasaph, Paris, 1886. A useful summary of the literature on ‘B. and J.’ is given by Krumbacher in Iwan von Müller’s Handbuch der alt. Wissensch. vol. 9, pt. 1, p. 469,|
|6.||↑||fn5. See however p. 90, where the fourfold division of mankind, common to Syr. and Arm., is further criticised.|
|7.||↑||fn6. Mr Harris inclines to accept this second title of the Syriac Version as the true one: see above, pp. 7 ff. But the course of the present argument tends to shew that the Syriac translator has introduced many arbitrary changes on his own account: and this makes me the more unwilling to accept his testimony against that of the Armenian Version, which has moreover the explicit statement of Eusebius to support it. The circumstances under which the Greek has been preserved to us necessitated the omission of the title altogether; so that no direct evidence on the point reaches us from that quarter.|
|8.||↑||fn7. See above, p. 70; and further remarks on p. 90.|
|9.||↑||fn8. The Syriac is untranslateable as it stands.|
|10.||↑||fn9. Cf. infra, p. 90.|
|11.||↑||fn10. Notice sur le livre de B. et J., pp. 3-5.|
|12.||↑||fn11. For the Syriac see above, p. 36 fin. ‘This is taught from that Gospel,’ &c.|
|13.||↑||fn12. Hilgenfeld (N. T. extra Can. pp. 56 ff.), to whose work I need scarcely acknowledge my indebtedness, has brought together under the head of [Greek], various fragments of the Didascalia Petri, &c. The fact that these find no parallels in Aristides will give a new reason for keeping them separate.|
|14.||↑||fn13. The Gnostic Acts of Thomas are frequently indebted to the Preaching of Peter, as may be seen by the following passages: c. 1, [Greek]: C. 15, [Greek]: c. 28, [Greek]: C. 36, [Greek]: C. 38, [Greek]: C. 55, [Greek]: c. 56, [Greek] (see too the argument from prophecy in the same chapter).|