Tuesday, September 19, 2017

“Daniel” in Select Codices

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I have written elsewhere on the (in)significance of the codex for determining the boundaries of an ancient’s canon of Scripture. Probably, historical anachronism has occurred, and we have foisted the significance of our modern, printed Bible on to the ancient codex. So what is the value of the MSS for such studies? They do help in determining a wide range of contents of religious literature as well as provide context for the various orders of books, neither of these aiding in determining a canon.

Though the MSS probably did not help the ancients concretize the canon, they do visualize for us what an ancient scribe or church father meant or conceptualized by the title of a certain book. This may not be a big deal for New Testament studies, but for the Greek Old Testament, we need to take this point to heart. The contents of books such as Jeremiah, 1-2 Esdras, Esther, and Daniel are not very straightforward. Let’s use “Daniel” as a test case by touring some select MS images of the book to see whether our vision of the contents improves. As is well-known, the book of Daniel in Greek was transmitted in quite a different form from the Protestant Bible, taking the form of Susanna-Daniel-Bel and the Dragon in most of the early MSS. We will consider briefly Daniel in Codex Vaticanus (IV), Codex Marchalianus (VI), and Codex Syro-hexaplaris (VIII/IX).

Vaticanus

Page 1206; Susanna under the title “Daniel”

Page 1209; Daniel begins at top of left column
with no new title or break

Page 1232; Bel and the Dragon begins on bottom left
with no new title or break

In the fourth century, this Christian scribe and probably his exemplar reveals one title of the book, “Daniel,” which is integrated with two other works. This text shows that the third century Origen-Africanus correspondence over this matter was not widely known or heeded, but that is another story.

Marchalianus

Page 761; Susanna under the title of Daniel
 according to Theodotion


On the left is p. 768 and it contains the end of Susanna with almost half the page left blank. Daniel begins at the top of p. 769, which is pictured on the right. Clearly, this shows slightly less integration of Susanna with Daniel than we saw in the fourth-century Vaticanus.

Page 827; No division between end of Daniel and Bel and Dragon

Syro-hexapla

The Prophet of Daniel according to the version of the Seventy
End of Daniel; Beginning of Susanna












In this MS (a Syriac translation of a Greek MS), Susanna is clearly separated from Daniel. It has a new title and a space with a decorative border.

End of Susanna; beginning of Bel













End of Bel; beginning of Dragon



Bel and the Dragon are set off as independent compositions as well by separate titles and spaces.

Conclusion

Almost all of the early references to “Daniel” are to Sus-Dan-Bel and the Dragon. That conclusion is not immediately obvious from canon lists or quotations from the book of Daniel (only Origen-Africanus and Jerome clarify the issue in late Antiquity). However, the early MSS clarify that “Daniel” had other works included with it. It is not until later that Greek scribes began to distinguish these works. Codex Venetus (VIII) clearly separates Daniel from Susanna-Bel and the Dragon, though the latter works are still entitled Daniel. The Syriac Peshitta (7a1; Ambrosianus) also demarcates these works from around 600 AD. The Syro-hexapla is interesting because it is from the Version of the Seventy but it clearly has a different set of paratextual features than the earlier Greek MSS. Therefore, the conceptual is enhanced by the material but not on the level of concretizing a canon. Rather, the MSS further contextualize the conceptual by giving concrete visuals of the actual contents of books that are listed and quoted as canon or authoritative scripture. 

19 comments :

  1. Interesting. I live in a protestant tradition that holds Daniel for canonical, but Susanna and Bel and the Dragon, not so much. But clearly, there are good reasons why Roman Catholics (and most other non protestant denominations) would consider these books as part of their canon. As a layman, I never realised that.

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  2. "taking the form of Susanna-Daniel-Bel and the Dragon in most of the early MSS"

    John,

    if my memory serves me right (don't have my notes with me to check this) Rahlfs 967-968 lacks the critical parts of the leaves where each of the books end and the next begins, so we don't know if the MSS has titles for each book, but the sequence of the leaves in the 2nd-3rd century codex is Daniel - Bel - Susanna.

    Is the sequence that differs from the later uncials significant to your views?

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Matthew. Variants are always significant, but I can't remember the status of these papyri. Are the works represented as an integrative whole or were there features such as titles and spaces between them that demarcated them? I guess we need to check the sources again to see.

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  3. P967 (usually dated to late 2nd or early 3rd c. CE) is one of the few mss of Daniel that carries the LXX, instead of Theodotion as in B, A, and Q. It has breaks between the chapters (or visions) consisting of several blank lines with only a chapter number in the blank (ch. 1 is missing the no.). Kurt Treu, probably correctly, surmised that the numbers mark the ends of chapters, not the beginnings. In P967 Daniel comes first, then B&D, then Susanna, but the transitions between each are lost. We do have the end of Susanna, though, and there is no number, just a final subscription "Daniel." Since the chapter numbers apparently mark the ends of the chapters, the lack of a number at the end of Susanna could suggest that it (and perhaps B&D) were not given numbers in P967 - but of course, we can't say for sure.

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    1. This is great information. I'm not sure what to make of it yet. Seems like S and B+D could be less integrated with Daniel than the later MSS. Thank you for sharing.

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    2. It took me some time to find this, so I thought it might be helpful to share: Images this portion of Ra 967 can be found at http://www.uni-koeln.de/phil-fak/ifa/NRWakademie/papyrologie/PTheol2.html.

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  4. How important do you really think the Codex format is here, aside from the fact that the examples you use happen to be codices? It seems to me that scrolls on which Daniel and the additions to Daniel were copied would have been susceptible to the same variation between either distinguishing or not distinguishing them from Daniel.

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    1. Eric, do we have evidence in scroll format? I don't think we do. So all we have is the codex and hypotheses, correct? These codices provide some window into how early Christians conceived of the title "Daniel." There is some flux in the ordering of the material, the matter is not entirely stable in terms of order. However, it seems that most, if not all Christians, envisioned a Daniel+ to the shorter Daniel of the later Jewish codices. The question I now have is how many Christians perceived the distinction between Daniel and Daniel+? Origen-Africanus and Jerome, but were there other scribes that did so as well?

      Thanks for your question.

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    2. I agree. But it's highly likely that Daniel in the Old Greek did circulate on scrolls before codices. Is it not? I asked because the way you worded the opening sentence of your blog post suggested to me that you thought the phenomena you described were somehow related to the codex format.

      In this reply, when you say " most, if not all Christians, envisioned a Daniel+ to the shorter Daniel of the later Jewish codices," are you just referring to most Christians of a certain time period that doesn't go back to the first century? Origen and Africanus are quite a bit earlier than the great uncials. If one were to extrapolate what you said about most Christians back to the first century, I would have a hard time seeing that just from the evidence you give.

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    3. The other reason I brought up scrolls and wanted to see how important you see the codex format being was something that I thought I'd wait to see your answer before mentioning. But it's this.

      The writing of Daniel + additions without separations seems to me to parallel the way most Hebrew Bible scholars seem to conceive of canonical Isaiah as a combination of an original Isaiah with the later books they call 2nd and 3rd Isaiah added to it. I think the fact that is uniformly preserved as a single book without distinguishing those parts is a point against that. But the parallel case of Greek Daniel that you describe seems to show a similar process of copying an early work along with later additions to it as a single unit. Of course with Isaiah, it has to be posited that such a process would have to have happened with the Hebrew text on scrolls centuries earlier than what you're talking about here.

      This is a rabbit trail, and I don't expect you to want to go down it. Just something you got me thinking about.

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    4. Thanks for these questions, Eric. My opening remark about the codex wasn't intended to make some special point about this format over the scroll. It's all we have for this particular problem. Sorry for the confusion.

      I'm not sure how far back the evidence of this format goes. Chuck Hill has already mentioned the evidence of P967, and its unfortunate lacunae at the seems of Daniel and Daniel+. So we don't have any earlier evidence than codex B. I'm thinking more about the evidence of Syh and its possible sources. Though the MS is 8C, it's Vorlage may go back quite a ways earlier. I need to think more on it.

      Regarding your point about Isaiah. I would say that a better example is the scroll XIIMur, where the 12 Prophets are included on one scroll but there is a system of three blank lines that separate the individual oracles of the 12. This system appears to recognize that these works were indeed distinct at one point and then brought together to make one scroll at a later date. Does this make sense? So yes, it is tantalizing to ponder whether the Jews ever separated Daniel from Daniel+ with spaces on one scroll in either Hebrew or Greek.

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    5. Yes, that makes sense. I see that according to The Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls, by Ulrich, 4QXIIb and 4QXIIg also have blank lines the separate prophets of the Twelve. So those are all examples of the individual works of the Twelve being distinguished by breaks in the text. But if I understood correctly what you said about Vaticanus, at least in that case, there are no such breaks, but just what appears to be a single undivided book.

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    6. Eric, right about Vaticanus, which shows that it was perceived to be one, single, undivided book under the one title "Daniel."

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  5. (Disclaimer: I'm not very well acquainted on this subject, so please pardon any naivete on my part, and feel free to correct anything I get wrong.)

    If we're permitted to fast-forward a few centuries, could we glean something from the tenth-century minuscule Rahlfs 88 (Vatican Library, Chis. R. VII 45, http://digi.vatlib.it/view/MSS_Chig.R.VII.45)? This manuscript appears to contain two versions of Daniel: The first (starting on image 148) has the inscription δανιηλ κατα τους ο ("Daniel according to the seventy," similar to the Syro-hexapla), and the second (starting on image 202) has the inscription το ειρων αγρυπνον δανιηλ. If I'm not missing something and these are two different versions of Daniel, then it would seem that other scribes were aware of a difference even as late as the tenth century.

    I haven't looked in detail at the texts in this manuscript, but there appear to be a good number of markings in the text and marginal notes that might be worth looking at more closely.

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    1. Joey, thanks for drawing our attention to Ra 88. The colophon to the first version of Daniel is on image 180 and basically says this version of Daniel is from the Tetrapla (hence its similarity to the Syro-hexapla and also the signs and marginal readings within it). The second version is that of "Theodotion" Daniel. The latter nearly replaced the former entirely in early Christian circles, but Ra 88 is one of the rare witnessed to it. It preserved both versions of the book as you pointed out. Thanks again.

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  6. Thanks for this fascinating look the internal divisions of the Greek Daniel material.
    "Jeremiah" offers a similar phenomenon in Late Antique and medieval manuscripts. Not only Jeremiah as printed in modern Bibles, but also Baruch, the Epistle of Jeremiah, and (in Syriac) the Epistle of Baruch could be included together within the running heads and colophons of "Jeremiah", with various degrees of makred separation between the textual units.
    In a sense, of course, the Twelve are also a similar book-in-multiple parts for most manuscript traditions.

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    1. Indeed, as I also noted above. The Twelve are similar, but it seems most recognized this 12 in 1 matter from an earlier time. The extent of Jeremiah and Daniel appears to have posed more of a mystery well into late antiquity. Thanks for noting this matter.

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