Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Witold Witakowksi Traces the Tradition of a Council Against Heresy at Ancyra During the Reign of Hadrian to Something Called 'X724' and 'the List'

Witold Witakowski, a Polish researcher now working in Sweden went through the Zuqnin Chronicle line by line attempting to trace the original source material. Here is his reference to its Hadrian story:

L(em)m(a) 2132:C (PD 1,124,1-9/93): the heresy of Sabellius, to deal with which the synod in Ancyra gathered — a List of synods, such as the one copied by the author of X724 (150,12-17/116; non-Eusebian part) and the one used by MS (106a, 9-1 from the bottom/1,173) for the corresponding entry. Historically the lemma seems to be placed here erroneously since Sabellius lived in the early third century. The List, as known from X724, places him however in the reign of Hadrian. [Witold Witakowski, Source of Pseudo-Dionysius of Tel-Mahre in After Bardaisan p. 343]

Of course the ultimate question comes down to - what is X724 and perhaps also what is 'the list'?  The answer comes a little earlier in Witakowski's work apparently:

The two historiographical works of Eusebius relevant here are known to have been translated into Syriac. The Church History (henceforth: EusHE) was translated very early, most probably at the beginning of the fifth century, and has been been preserved, though with lacunae (EusHES)15. The Syriac translation of the Chronicle (henceforth: EusX) on the other hand has not been preserved in an independent manuscript tradition, but we know much of its material thanks to its being copied into some Syriac chronicles, among them the Chronicle of P(seudo)D(ionysius = Zuqnin Chronicle)

Establishing that a lemma of PD is based on EusHE is relatively simple, as both the original and its Syriac translation are extant. This is however not the case with EusX, of which neither the Syriac translation nor the Greek original has been preserved. Therefore the comparison of PD's lemmata would have to be made with the Chronicle to the year 724 (henceforth: X724), since it seems to contain the largest set of Eusebius's entries from the spatium historicum preserved in Syriac, and those moreover are not interspersed with lemmata from other works. This source is however marred by the fact that its anonymous author copied Eusebius's lemmata without their respective dates, which were provided in the fila regnorum of EusX, perhaps simply because he could not convert them into the Seleucid year count. Consequently PD's lemmata and dates will be checked in the first place against those preserved in the anonymous Armenian translation of Eusebius's Chronicle (henceforth: Arm) and the Latin translation made by Jerome (henceforth: Hier). The Armenian translation was, to be sure, made from the Greek Vorlage but, as J. Karst noted20, it was later revised against the Syriac version, and is thus also an important witness of the Syriac. As the dates from these two witnesses of EusX most often differ, both will be provided, except for cases where they agree, which will be marked by the abbreviation EusX only, without additionally specifying whether the date comes from Arm or Hier. [ibid p 332]

And what is 'the List'?  Witakowski theorizes that the chronicles must all depend on a 'list of councils.'  Yet as we shall demonstrate in our next post, even this isn't certain by any means.

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