Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ancient Textual Scholarship: Pseudo Aelius Herodianus

The Partitiones contains orthographical and inflectional observations on Greek. A number of these words appear to come from the Greek Bible, both Old and New Testament, though the work in itself does not betray any ecclesiastical Christian connection. Under the initial syllable /i/, for example, the entry ιησους is glossed rather simplistically, as ο θεος. The work is ascribed to Aelius Herodianus (II AD), but apparently falsely so, according to the Neue Pauly. The Pinakes website lists his work under Herodianus Alexandrinus (also II AD), but I haven't seen any justification for this. A date of this work with its New Testament terms somewhere in the second century AD would be nice, but it is inherently unlikely that the writings of the New Testament (including Mark - Boanerges is mentioned) already had drawn attention from any grammarian. My own rule of thumb for dating anything is that if I don't have a clue it is likely to be fourth of fifth century AD.

Secondary literature on authorship, date or nature of the work seems absent (or at least I haven't found it; any help appreciated).

The Partitiones are potentially interesting because of some of the glosses and particular spellings, though these may have been influenced by liturgical influences or Byzantine linguistic updating. The explanation for Moses, μωσης is that it derives from μως (88.6), an explanation that would not work with the spelling μωυσης:
μῶς, τὸ ὕδωρ, ὅθεν καὶ Μωσῆς, κύριον.

There is clearly a relation with what Micheal Psellus (XI AD) writes:
53, 255-256
παρ' Αἰγυπτίοις γὰρ τὸ ‘μῶς’ ὕδωρ ἐστὶ σημαῖνον,
ὁ δὲ ληφθεὶς ἐξ ὕδατος Μωσῆς αὐτοῖς καλεῖται.

And possibly also with this passage from Joannes Zonaras (XII AD):
ἡ δέ “κάλεσον” ἔφη. καὶ παρήγαγε τὴν μητέρα, καὶ ἡ Θέρμουθις τὴν τοῦ παιδὸς τροφὴν ἔμμισθον αὐτῇ ἀνατίθησι, καὶ ἐκ τοῦ συμβεβηκότος ὀνομάζει αὐτό. τὸ γὰρ ὕδωρ μῶς καλοῦσιν Αἰγύπτιοι, ὑσῆς δὲ τοὺς σωθέντας ἐξ ὕδατος· ἄμφω γοῦν συνθεῖσα τὰ ῥήματα εἰς κλῆσιν αὐτοῖς τοῦ βρέφους ἐχρήσατο.

See also the spelling of Bethphage (accentuation as in TLG):
Πᾶσα λέξις ἀπὸ τῆς βη συλλαβῆς ἀρχομένη διὰ τοῦ η γράφεται· οἷον· Βηθλεὲμ, καὶ Βηθανία, Βηθεσδὰ, Βηθσαϊδὰ, καὶ Βηθσφαγὴ, ὀνόματα τόπων ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις·

The spelling Bethsphage is interesting and common in the later manuscript tradition. But is this an adaption, is there variation within the tradition of the Partitiones, or what? It seems that without a critical edition of the Partitiones and a good study on the contents there is little we can do as yet.

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