Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tselikas's Response to My Theory About the Zagoras Connection with Mar Saba 65

Another day, another twist in our investigation into the Mar Saba document.  We have been going through the manuscripts at the library of Zagoras in Greece following a lead originally developed by Morton Smith with respect to the origins of his mysterious manuscript.  We noticed the similarity between the the very cursive script associated with one of John Priggo's scribes and Mar Saba 65. I just asked noted paleographer Agamemnon Tselikas whether he thought this handwriting associated with John Priggos has any relationship with the text discovered in the Palestinian monastery. Here was his response through a friend:

Sorry to say that Memos (= Tselikas) does not agree that there is any resemblace between the Mar Saba manuscript and Prigos writing.

I am attaching two separate attachments: the Mar Saba manuscript and Prigos handwriting Memos says that it is certainly not the handwriting of the same person.

I am also attaching two pages from the Zagora Library catalogue with books sent by Prigos to Zagora: It is mentioned that one edition is London 1680 and another Geneva 1623, the book in Jerusalem Library is of Dutch edition of 1646.

So your assumption is that Prigos --who was a man of God and of a limited education--- copied a manuscript of doubtfull authenticity in another Ignatios edition that was sent to Mar Saba but was NOT listed in the catalogue of books sent by Prigos to Zagora. This is a most labyrinthal and highly improbable scenario.

His point about the handwriting is well taken.  After all he is an unparalleled expert in contemporary manuscripts.  Nevertheless, we have to consider for a moment that the 1646 is listed as being received by the library in its records:

Tselikas points to other Ignatius books being included in the list but not the 1646 edition.  Nevertheless it is well known that Priggos actually established not only the Library of Zagoras  (Βιβλιοθήκη τής Ζαγοράς) at this time, but also the great school at Zagoras (το Έλληνομουσεϊο στή Ζαγορά), a lower so-called 'school of common letters' (το Σχολείο τών κοινών γραμμάτων) and another library in a neigboring Magnesian city.  Priggos's friend the Patriarch Callinicus III (IV) organized where the books went and the selection of teachers.

Even Tselikas would have to admit that (a) the list is only a partial acknowledgement of the books that Priggos sent and (b) there were more than one copy of Ignatius being sent in this shipment.  The reason more than one collection of Ignatius was being sent in this shipment is because there was more than one place the books were actually being distributed.

I have counted all the book on the list and the number comes to exactly 253.  Here is a page by page breakdown of the shipment:

p. 1 = 20 books
3 = 7 books
4 = 14 books
6 = 15 books
8 = 23 books
9 = 2 books
12 = 18 books
13 = 25 books
14 = 5 books
16 = 13 books
18 = 17 books
20 = 8 books
22 = 2 books
24 = 3 books
26 = 7 books
28 = 15 books
30 = 1 book
32 = 17 books
34 = 3 books
36 = 5 books
38 = 4 books
40 = 1 book
42 = 11 books
43 = 17 books = 253 books

Yet Priggos is known to have actually have shipped well over 1000 books in total from Amsterdam.  Is it really that unlikely that Callinicus took the 1646 Voss edition which is recorded as being received by the library and send another Ignatius book elsewhere.

As my friend Harry notes, this is a most perplexing mystery, one which would never have existed if the book was discovered in a German monastery ...

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