Evangelical Textual Criticism

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Checking Patristic Citations

This morning I was asked a question and I wasn't entirely satisfied with my answer, so I thought I would ask it here.

Question: how do you track down the references to check on patristic citations cited in NA27?

My Answer: good question, I'm not familiar with any easy way to do this (and it is even worse in UBS4 which has expanded patristic support, but no indications of source material). [I have expanded my actual historical ipsissima verba answer with some things I have thought of in writing]

  • Basically if the passage is in the Catholic Epistles then the ECM gives references and supporting evidence.
  • If it is in Luke then the IGNTP gives references and page numbers in editions.
  • If it is in Matthew or Mark then Legg gives selections of texts with some reference (although it doesn't always seem complete).
  • Otherwise check Tischendorf 1869 (but you have to figure out his referencing system and then you may have to check an old edition of the cited work; and remember that not all patristic works have standard referencing conventions).
  • Also try Tregelles 1857-1879 (Tregelles aimed to collect all the patristic evidence of the first three centuries, the 'early Citations' 'with full references to the passages in the works themselves').
  • If none of these help (or are available) then start at the other end with the Biblia Patristica which indexes scripture citations in church fathers.
  • If it is a controversial passage references (and discussion) can often be found in the secondary literature (detailed commentaries of the type that discuss the text and/or journal articles etc.).
  • Remember that TLG is fairly well stocked with Greek patristic literature which can be searched for specific word combinations.
  • Further info, method discussion and bibliography check the essay in the Metzger Festschrift ed. Ehrman & Holmes.
What would you add to (or subtract from) this answer? Maybe there is a resource out there which does all this.

Bibliographical Up-date:

ECM = Novum Testamentum Graecum - Editio Critica Maior (Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung, Münster); Vol. IV Catholic Letters, ed. by Barbara Aland, Kurt Aland†, Gerd Mink, and Klaus Wachtel.
  • Instl. 1: James, Pt. 1. Text, Pt. 2. Supplementary Material, Stuttgart 1997; 2nd rev. impr., Stuttgart 1998, ISBN 3-438-05600-3
  • Instl. 2: The Letters of Peter, Pt. 1. Text, Pt. 2. Supplementary Material, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 3-438-05601-1
  • Instl. 3: The First Letter of John, Pt. 1. Text, Pt. 2. Supplementary Material, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-438-05602-X
  • Instl. 4: The Second and Third Letter of John. The Letter of Jude, Pt. 1. Text, Pt. 2. Supplementary Material, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-438-05603-8
IGNTP = The American and British Committees of the International Greek New Testament Project, eds. The Gospel according to St Luke Parts 1 and 2 (The New Testament in Greek, 3; Oxford: Clarendon, 1984-1987).

Legg = S.C.E. Legg, Novum Testamentum Graece, secundum textum Westcotto-Hortianum, Evangelium Secundum Marcum: cum apparatu critico nouo plenissimo, lectionibus codicum nuper repertorum additis, editionibus versionum antiquarum et patrum ecclesiasticorum denuo investigatis (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1935); and S.C.E. Legg, Novum Testamentum Graece, secundum textum Westcotto-Hortianum, Evangelium Secundum Mattheum: cum apparatu critico nouo plenissimo, lectionibus codicum nuper repertorum additis, editionibus versionum antiquarum et patrum ecclesiasticorum denuo investigatis (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1940).

Tischendorf 1869 = Novum Testamentum Graece Ad antiquissimos testes denuo recensuit, apparatum criticum omni studio perfectum apposuit commentationem isagogicam praetexuit Constantinus Tischendorf (Lipsiae: Giesecke & Devrient, 1869; 8th ed.) On-line (jpg images - menu driven): http://rosetta.reltech.org/Ebind/docs/TC/ (scroll down a bit)

Tregelles = S.P. Tregelles, The Greek New Testament, edited from ancient authorities, with their various readings in full, and the Latin version of Jerome (London: S. Bagster & Sons: London, 1857-79)
Biblia Patristica = Allenbach, J. ...[et al.]., ed. Biblia Patristica: index des citations et allusions bibliques dans la littérature patristique (7 vols; Paris: Éditions du Centre national de la recherche scient, 1975-2000).
  • v. 1 covers the first two centuries
  • v. 2 covers 3rd century, omitting Origen
  • v. 3 Origen
  • v. 4 Eusebius, Cyril of Jerusalem & Epiphanius
  • v. 5 Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa & Amphilochius
  • v. 6 Hilary of Poitiers, Ambrose of Milan & Ambrosiaster Supplement: Philo
  • v. 7 Didyme d’Alexandrie
    If you go here and scroll down there is a useful guide to the entries in BP.

TLG = The Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG®) is a comprehensive digital library of Greek literature from Homer to the fall of Byzantium in AD 1453. See: Luci Berkowitz and Karl A. Squitier, Thesaurus Linguae Graecae Canon of Greek Authors and Works (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990; 3rd); On-line: http://www.tlg.uci.edu/ (needs subscription, institutional or individual)


UPDATE 2013 (TW):

Here are two additional resources for patristic citations:

1. International Greek New Testament Project: Bibliography on work on the NT text of Greek authors

Recently, IGNTP committee members Rod Mullen and Mike Holmes, both involved in the SBL series The New Testament in the Greek Fathers, took the initiative to compile a bibliography of work on the New Testament text of Greek authors.


The list "keeps track of recent work on establishing the biblical text in patristic writers. It includes the volumes published in the SBL New Testament in the Greek Fathers series, as well as a list of work in progress."




2. Biblindex

The Biblindex = Index of Biblical Quotations and Allusions in Early Christian Literature is maintained by Laurence Mellerin et al. of the Institut des Sources Chrétiennes. It includes all the 270.000 references in the published Biblia Patristica volumes, and an additional ca. 130.000 references on Athanasius of Alexandria, John Chrysostom, Theodoret of Cyrus, Procopius of Gaza, Jerome and more. Access to data is free, after registration. This is a real treasure trove.  

23 comments:

  1. What is TLG?
    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "If none of these help (or are available) then start at the other end with the Biblia Patristica which indexes scripture citations in church fathers."

    It seems to me that this step is the one that's liable to get the most payoff in one swipe. I would put it first. Though I haven't actually tried it before. Are there some egregious limitations to Biblia Patristica that made you place it down the list?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Peter,

    the list is excellent. If the enquirer is crazy (like me), you could add that one can go through the indexes of passages in as many patristic editions as possible. In a library, these are sometimes conveniently placed together in series (GCS, CCSG, etc).

    One can also search the footnotes in works that have been electronically published like: http://www.ccel.org/fathers.html

    After I had done this for Jude, I ended up with many more citations than those cited in the ECM in my files.

    ER: Are there some egregious limitations to Biblia Patristica that made you place it down the list?

    It is incomplete—a limited number of church fathers, and sometimes incomplete data for those covered thus far in the first is it five volumes, but this is one of the first places to go when conducting a thorough investigation.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have added some bibliographical details for each of the things I refer to.

    Somewhere there must be files of the research behind the NA27 and the UBS4. Presumably these files could supply all the references (and probably citations) from the fathers cited in the editions.

    I think Biblia Patristica is useful, but a bit cumbersome (I don't actually own a copy, I have to walk downstairs to find them).

    Tommy is of course correct to say that one can track these down by checking all the scripture indexes in all the church fathers. That will be necessary for proper research into various things, but not necessarily for just checking where the church fathers cite some passage (I guess in checking we might be especially interested in early fathers and in fathers who explicitly discuss textual variations).

    I suspect TLG will also turn up new evidence.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Don't forget Burgon's 16 vols in the British Library. If they were scanned and therefore publicly accessible, they would provide a very good source of data. From what I remember there really was a lot in there.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I nominate this post for the best of ETC list, perhaps in a new category for bibliography or research advice.

    ReplyDelete
  7. PH: "Somewhere there must be files of the research behind the NA27 and the UBS4."

    Yes, I have seen them in Münster. They are typically written by hand or type-writer on paper cards stored in boxes. Fee produced similar cards for the IGNTP—I think he really "redeemed" the IGNTP in that part of the project, because the person responsible for the citations had not done his job.

    If one is interested in Latin fathers (the ECM edition does no include them), the Vetus Latina institute (and now also ITSEE in Birmingham) has similar cards, which have been scanned and can be subscribed from their database (www.brepolis.net).

    Read more here:
    http://itsee.bham.ac.uk/vetuslatina/vetuslatina.htm

    As in the case of the TLG database, one will find additional citations if searching the Patrologia Latina database (which I did for Jude, and ended up with even more citations).

    ReplyDelete
  8. Eric, I've added a section called 'advice' on the sidebar.

    The IGNTP are well advanced in the process of transcribing Fee's 19,000? cards.

    ReplyDelete
  9. PJW: "I've added a section called 'advice' on the sidebar."

    We could add posts such as "Coptic Digital Resources" to that section as well.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Excellent list. Two or three remarks.
    1. The scope of this post is much larger, I hope, than just seeing what is behind NA. BTW, I prefer not to reflect too much an the exact form of the patristic research files at INTF. Perhaps they resemble the Nestle research files on the Greek text such as Kurt Aland found them in the fifties (for the books not covered by ECM).
    2. Tischendorf's Octava on Ebind is not PDF but jpg (menu-driven).
    3. TLG is only online for those who happen to have a subscription.

    ReplyDelete
  11. JK: "BTW, I prefer not to reflect too much an the exact form of the patristic research files at INTF. Perhaps they resemble the Nestle research files on the Greek text such as Kurt Aland found them in the fifties (for the books not covered by ECM)."

    There was possibly a basic material to start with. Then of course various people, mainly students, have worked through the boxes during the years, in order to update and add cards with new citations, always on the search for for the latest editions. There have been at least two people constantly updating the files, at least in the last decade. They are now working in Acts I think.

    One can add that the new director, Holger Struthwolf is expert in this field. Interestingly, he has written an article in some old issue of the Hermann-Kunst Stiftungsbericht (perhaps someone can dig it out), where he in some way defended the PG editions. I remember browsing it, but I don't remember the details.

    ReplyDelete
  12. As the person who was the one who actually asked Peter the question to begin with... may I register my thanks. I'd just like to add Tregelles 1857 to the list (perhaps after looking up Tischendorf); I've noticed that there are some Fathers' references that he has which are not in Tischendorf (at least, for the particular variant I'm looking at). Plus, since this is "Evangelical T C Blog" it would be nice to give some credit to this old (Plymouth?) Brethren.

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  13. Of course, we should always check Tregelles. Tregelles aimed to collect all the patristic evidence up to 300, the 'early Citations' and 'with full references to the passages in the works themselves'. [Perhaps we could note that after the first fascicle Tregelles had regular notes on patristic citations from Hort which he used in all the later fascicles (and further such evidence is included in the addenda and corigenda to the first and other fascicles, as edited by Hort after Tregelles' death]

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  14. Tregelles was converted into the Plymouth Brethren, and contributed to Brethren hymnody, eschatology and wrote on various internal disputes (of which there seems to have been many). Although he lived in Plymouth his association with the Brethren seems to have faded; it seems he may have seen the light and have become a Presbyterian towards the end of his life.

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  15. More recently, from a different perspective, see Ben's post:
    http://dunelm.wordpress.com/2008/07/09/patristic-biblical-citations/

    He refers also to: Steven R. Harmon, “A Note on the Critical Use of Instrumenta for the Retrieval of Patristic Biblical Exegesis,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 11:1 (2003), 95–107.

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  16. Biblia Patristica is now available online: see the BIBLINDEX project at http://www.biblindex.mom.fr!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hello,

    Maybe is my Patristic Citation Finder of interest for you, it can be found on: http://theologicallibraryportal.yolasite.com/patres.php.

    With kind regards,
    JN Mouthaan MA
    info.theologicallibraryportal@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. PJ.

    "Don't forget Burgon's 16 vols in the British Library. If they were scanned and therefore publicly accessible, they would provide a very good source of data. From what I remember there really was a lot in there."

    Can you help me with how to get access to these? I once contacted the British Museum (It was referred to as the location of these volumes in a citation) to ask about them, but nobody seemed to know what I was talking about. Sorry to be dumb, but I'm on another continent...are the British Museum and the British library part of the same organization? (ie have the volumes been moved to the library since the citation I read was published?)

    Would appreciate any info on this.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Clayton,
    Burgon's 16 volumes are in the British Library, not the British Museum. I think I just ordered volumes 1 and 16 to look at them, and they were (to my memory) about 5 inches thick each. The curator commented to me that they were rarely ordered!

    These volumes form a signficant part of the data on which Burgon makes his claim that Church Fathers who died before AD 400 support the Traditional Text (= TR with modifications) by 3 to 2 (see Miller, Preface to Burgon Traditional Text, pp. ix-x). Burgon thought that the TR of Matthew was wrong in about 150 places (Traditional Text, p. 5), which I guess might suggest that he would have at least 1000 such amendations to the TR over the whole NT.

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  20. It's some years since I looked at them. I seem to remember that they are organised by Father rather than by biblical text. However, my memory is hazy and I would have only ordered these volumes up for interest while I was consulting a Greek or Syriac manuscript.

    ReplyDelete