Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Possession is Nine Tenths of the Law

I am very frustrated with the roadblocks that have been placed in my research into possible candidates for the authorship of Mar Saba 65. I mean, I realize that things don't work in Greece the way they do in the rest of the world. That is part of this country's amazing charm - a living link to antiquity. However, I simply want to investigate all the possibilities with respect to who might have penned this amazing document.

The bottom line for me is that despite all the difficulties that Agamemnon Tselikas has demonstrated exist with this document, the Jerusalem Patriarchate must think that the Voss edition is theirs. After all, they wouldn't let Quinton Quesnell test the book or the manuscript when he had them in his possession in June, 1983. They apparently also won't let us carry out any scientific investigations into what remains of the book today.

Who ever heard of such a thing? This is the most obvious sign that the book does indeed belong to the Patriarchate. If I picked up a woman hitchhiking on the street and she left her purse in my car and the police stopped me a couple of days later and asked if they could examine this as evidence - who in their right mind would claim the purse now belongs to them and refuse to part with it?

It's all so stupid and utterly obvious that the monastery must accept on some level that the Voss edition really belonged to them. It's not like anyone living today ever remembers where most of the books in their libraries ever came from originally. didn't exist back then.

I wonder whether anyone has ever done a check of the catalogues of the other libraries in the Jerusalem Patriarchate to see if the book was ever listed there. All the arguments are utterly worthless in favor of 'proving' anything with respect to a foreign provenance.

For instance, with respect to the question of why someone would write to Theodore into this particular book, it has been said that the Voss book makes no sense given that the text just deals with the writings of Ignatius. Yet the reality is that the Epistle of Barnabas is also included and Barnabas is universally understood to have written from Alexandria. If the book originated in some other library under the control of the Jerusalem Patriarchate (i.e. St. Catherines, Holy Cross etc) where no other edition of Clement of Alexandria's writing was present, it might have been only natural to use this as the place to inscribe the Letter to Theodore.

The point is that we are not omniscient. Life is full of surprises and that what makes being alive so interesting. To delude oneself into thinking that because there are 'a curious set of circumstances' associated with this document, it must be a fake is denying the overarching mysterious and intriguing qualities that make waking up each day in this world so utterly worthwhile and enjoyable.

I don't have all the answers with respect to how the Letter to Theodore ended up being written into the 1646 Voss Ignatius book. There are a number of possible candidates for its authorship - many of which haven't even been determined because scholars remained locked in a meaningless debate with respect to Morton Smith.

Its been over fifty years since Smith found the text and nothing compelling has been discovered to identify him as the author of the text. The possibility will always be out there as long as we fail to look at other candidates and maybe that's why so many of the people who promote the hoax hypothesis do so very little to carry any serious investigating into other possibilities.

Morton Smith is a convenient scapegoat to avoid the implications of the document.

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Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
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