Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tselikas's Flawed Study of Mar Saba 65

Another of Tselikas's assertions is plainly false. The library at Mar Saba was not properly catalogued. The librarian did not have an accurate understanding of what books were in his possession. We see this not only by the fact that an outsider - Smith - was allowed to carry out the work at this library (why would this have been allowed if there was no need for such an inventory) but also by the situation we find at other libraries.

Tselikas should know this very well given his involvement in carrying out an inventory at the Greek Patriarchate library in Alexandria. Tselikas was brought in after the librarian of the Alexandrian librarian was literally carried away in a straight jacket leaving the books disorganized and uncatalogued in a place swarming with rats and a general state of disarray. These 'libraries' can be the furthest thing from organized collections. To argue that the Voss book didn't belong at Mar Saba is simply nonsense. It reflects what can be seen as a consistent policy of the Greek Patriarchate in Jerusalem to distance itself from the discovery.

Clearly Tselikas also ignores the fact that the were once other manuscripts of Clement at Mar Saba which have long since disappeared. Perhaps the same state of affairs led to the disappearance of the original manuscript of which Mar Saba 65 is a copy.

The manuscripts in which “Quis dives salvetur” is preserved are rare, and it has generally been thought that they are only two in number, one of the eleventh century preserved in the Escurial Library in Spain (Class-mark H, III. 19), and a copy of it made in the sixteenth century, and preserved in the Vatican Library at Rome (Vat. Gr. 623).

In fact, there was another copy, a ninth century copy of Quis dives salvetur which was at Mar Saba until the mid-19th century (now listed as ms 23 of the collection of the Monastery of the Holy Cross). Interestingly, someone in Jerusalem was interested in the manuscript at the end of the 17th century, and it was copied into a manuscript now numbered as ms No. 414 of the collection of the Holy Sepulchre.

Then many of the Mar Saba manuscripts were damaged in a fire in the early years of the 18th century.

If the paleographers that Smith consulted were correct, it was only about 50 years later that the letter of Theodore was copied into the Voss edition. Again, I can't possibly fathom why it is that Tselikas ignores all this evidence to make his strange arguments in the recent BAR study. The only thing that I can surmise is that he is taking his lead from the Patriarchate itself who literally want the manuscript to disappear and with it all the interest in what it says as well.

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