Monday, June 20, 2011

Important Breakthrough - I Can Prove Callinicus III (the guy who's handwriting closely resembles the handwriting of Mar Saba 65 and who wrote things related to the Church Fathers into countless books printed in Amsterdam) Knew and Used Voss's 1646 Critical Edition of the Writings of Ignatius

I can remember when I first came across those claims that Morton Smith forged the contents of the Letter to Theodore and wrote them into a first edition of Isaac Voss's Epistolae Genuinae S. Ignatii Martyris. They tried to make it seem as if 'the only reason' why we should find Byzantine monastic handwriting in an old book is because Morton Smith must have smuggled a book into the monastery. Now we have discovered that an eighteenth century Patriarch of Constantinople - Callinicus III (IV) - deposited handwriting samples into literally hundreds of books that were shipped to him from Amsterdam by his friend John Piggos.

But can we connect Ignatius to the Voss edition of Ignatius? I received a number of emails from the staff at the Zagora library where many of those books are still kept which have informed me that not only did Skouvaras (i.e. the scholar who first alerted Morton Smith to the similarity between the handwriting of Mar Saba 65 and Callinicus) publish a small portion of the original list, but the library had recently placed the original list on line:

I have looked through Skouvaras' list myself, but Vossius's edition does not seem to be listed (at least not in any identifiable form) among the other books of the list. However, the catalogue was transcribed by Skouvaras from manuscript 136 of our library which has been digitized and is accessible via the Internet. If you think you can cope with Prigos' handwriting in Greek, we can give you directions that will facilitate your access to it. On the other hand, the handwritten catalogue in question includes only a number of the books sent by the owner to Zagora (probably about a third of the total number of volumes despatched). However, you will find (as Skouvaras did before us) that part of the original catalogue is no longer legible.

Lists of books sent by Prigos survive in other printed volumes he sent, and though Skouvaras gives a lead to some of them, his references are not always accurate with the result that it would take some time for us to spot the correct volumes and see whether the copy of Vossius's edition can be found in the lists they contain.

So can we still connect the Voss book to Callinicus? I certainly think we can. All we need to do is recognize that Callinicus repeatedly cites from the fullest possible collection of writings of Ignatius, a collection that could only be Voss's 1646 edition:

The Latin version of this recension was published first by Ussher (Polycarpi et Ignatii Epistolae etc, Oxon. 1644) from two mss discovered in England ; the original Greek two years later by Isaac Voss {Epistolae Genuinae S. Ignatii Martyris, Amstelod. 1646 from a Medicean ms, with the exception of the Epistle to the Romans, which was published afterwards by Ruinart (Acta Martyrum Sincera, Paris 1689) from a Colbert MS. The Armenian version was first printed at Constantinople in 1783. [Lightfoot Apostolic Fathers p. 73]

As we shall see the only Greek edition that Callinicus could have cited from at the end of his
Εγχειρίδιο κατά αιρέσεων ή κατά άναβαπτιστών (Handbook Against Heresies or Against the Anabaptists) where he cites Ignatius's Epistle to Hero verbatim is that of Voss's 1646 edition.

It is Linaritakis in his 1996 who alerts us to the citation in a work that Callinicus apparently wrote shortly before his exile in Sinai c. 1757:

Κλείνει το έργο του ό Καλλίνικος με τη νουθεσία τοϋ αγίου 'Ιγνατίου τοϋ θεοφόρου, οπού με επιστολή του γράφει προς τον άγιο Πολύκαρπο Σμύρνης "ό λέγων παρά τα διαταγμένα καν αξιόπιστος ή, καν νηστεύη, καν παρθενεύη, καν σημεία ποιη, καν προφητεύη, λύκος σοι φαινέσθω έν προβάτου δορά προβάτων φθοράν κατεργαζόμενος".

Callinicus closes the work with the admonition of Saint-Ignatius of Antioch, where he writes a letter to St. Polycarp of Smyrna as saying "every one that teaches anything beyond what is commanded, though he be worthy of credit, though he be in the habit of fasting, though he live in continence, though he work miracles, though he have the gift of prophecy, let him be in your sight as a wolf in sheep's clothing, labouring for the destruction of the sheep." [p. 365]

There is absolutely no doubt that Callinicus can only be citing the exact text of Ignatius's Epistle to Hero which at the time Ignatius was writing was only available to him from Voss's text. The original manuscript was in Venice and his citation is so exact it can only be from the original Greek. Here is the link to Voss's original text and Migne's critical edition:

Ἐπιστολὴ (24) Θεοκτίστῳ Μαγίστρῳ, PG 99, 988A-Β. Πρβλ. καὶ τὴ (θεωρούμενη νόθο) ἐπιστολὴν Ἁγίου Ἰγνατίου Ἀντιοχείας, Πρὸς Ἥρωνα Διάκονον Ἀντιοχείας 2, PG 5, 912Α.Β. «Πᾶς ὁ λέγων παρὰ τὰ διατεταγμένα, κἂνἀξιόπιστος ᾖ, κἂννηστεύῃ, κἂνπαρθενεύῃ, κἂνσημεῖα ποιῇ, κἂνπροφητεύῃ, λύκος σοι φαινέσθω ἐν προβάτου δορᾷ, προβάτων φθοράν κατεργαζόμενος».

Linaritakis, not Callinicus, mistakenly assigns the reference as a letter to Polycarp (which appears in the original work as an anonymous citation).

We have made an important breakthrough today, my friends.  I may have lost an important client but the Gospel Hoax has been effectively debunked.

Email with comments or questions.

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