Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Africanus–Origen Correspondence and the Form of Greek Daniel

24
As often happens in research, while investigating one topic, one becomes distracted by another. In several of my pursuits, the book of Daniel keeps surfacing, and I keep blogging on it. In this post, I tie together a couple of loose threads on the textual form of the book of Greek Daniel.

Order of Sections in Greek Daniel

In a previous post, I noted different orders of the sections/pericopes of the book of Greek Daniel according to B, Q, and Syh. B and Q represent (though with different paratextual features) what appears to have become the dominant order in MSS: Sus–Dan–Bel et Draco, and Syh represented Dan–Sus–Bel–Draco, all set off with separate titles, even though the opening title of the book was “Daniel according to the Seventy” in this same MS. In a post from last week, I commented on Ra 967 in conjunction with my research on Esther but did note that the order of pericopes for Daniel are as follows: Dan–Bel et Draco–Sus, though we can’t be certain whether there were pericope divisions or titles since the joins between Dan–Bel and Draco–Sus in the MS are in lacunae. This MS appears to be the only one that has this order of the sections, and one wonders whether it was because the 2nd/3rd century scribe wanted to place Susanna next to Esther, but I speculate here.

Enter: The Africanus-Origen Correspondence

The Africanus-Origen correspondence probably occurred around 248 AD. This is not the place to launch into all the debates over certain matters in this correspondence (e.g. Origen’s views of the Seventy and Hebrew texts), but there are a couple of places where these letters appear to provide a clue as to the order of the sections of Greek Daniel. First, in Ep. Or. 7, Africanus says, “Now above all these, this pericope (περικοπή) [Susanna] together with the other two at the end (ἐπὶ τῷ τέλει) does not circulate in the [book of] Daniel having been received by/among the Jews.” He does not name Bel et Draco, but he knows of these pericopes at the end of the book and mentions “two other” pericopes–not one.

In his reply, Origen resumes this point (Ep. Afr. 3), “...concerning the other two sections (περικοπαί) at the end of the book, both concerning the affairs having been recorded about Bel (τὸν Βήλ) and the Dragon (τὸν δρακόντα), neither of them having been written/recorded in the Daniel of the Hebrews....” Why does the editor of the SC edition only capitalize Bel and not dragon, when two sections are specifically mentioned? Interesting. And again in sec. 4, he says, “And just as, (as you [Africanus] say), the forgery concerning Susanna and the final (αἱ τελευταῖαι) pericopes in Daniel were in both versions [Seventy and Theodotion], so also....” Origen notes that the pericopes of Susanna, Bel, and Dragon are in both the versions of the Seventy and Theodotion. Furthermore, he mentions that Bel and the Dragon are the final pericopes of the book.

The question is: where do Africanus and Origen picture the placement of Susanna in the book of Daniel? From these statements, the only option precluded is Dan–Bel et Draco–Sus, the order of Ra 967. It’s unclear from their statements whether they would picture Susanna before Daniel (e.g. B) or directly after Daniel (Syh). There may be a way forward, however, if we pay close attention to the colophon at the end of Syh, which locates the source for the Syriac translation ultimately in the Tetrapla. This colophon brings us near to the work of Origen and his associates after him (Pamphilus and Eusebius), and accordingly, it may also bring us to the form of the book of Daniel that Origen knew and discussed with Africanus: Dan–Sus–Bel–Draco. Both Africanus and Origen put Bel and Dragon at the end of Daniel and both mention them as two other pericopes. Syh Dan is the only MS of which I’m aware that puts them at the end and separates them with different titles and locates the origin of the textual transmission of the book in the Tetrapla.

Conclusion

Even if this hypothetical reconstruction is correct, it doesn’t mean Dan–Sus–Bel–Dragon is the oldest order of the pericopes of Daniel. But it would date this order to the middle of the 3rd century, about a century before B. One can explain how a scribe might alter this order to join Susanna to Esther as in Ra 967 by simply transposing Bel et Draco and Susanna; that is, they were already at the end of the book. One might also explain how B and/or his exemplar moved Susanna to the beginning of the book of Daniel because it contained material related to Daniel’s youth. It’s a little more difficult to explain how Susanna ends up directly after Daniel before Bel unless that’s the oldest order. One more possibility is that B contains the oldest order, but doubts about Susanna arose, and scribes began to copy it at the end of the book. But there’s little evidence for this doubt, except for Africanus and much later, Jerome. Of course, I’m speculating about all of this. I’m not certain we have sufficient evidence to put together the full picture of the form of Greek Daniel. But I probably haven’t looked at all of the earliest evidence either.

What do you think?

24 comments :

  1. Thanks John.
    You write:
    "But there's little evidence for this doubt, except for Africanus and much later ..."
    How many preserved places / discussions do we actually have from before Africanus (or between Africanus and 'much later') where such doubt could have been expressed? That is, are we talking about 'missed opportunities' in a discussion, or total absence of any discussion?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your question, Dirk. To my knowledge, most Christians cited the book as "Daniel," even if they were citing what we call Susanna, Bel, and Dragon. I do not believe Justin Martyr mentioned the differences in his Dialogue with Trypho but I should recheck that point.

      I say "little evidence," but this is mostly because I have not had the chance to follow up on a lead that one of our faithful readers and commenters, Teunis Van Lopik, sent me earlier this week. Apparently, Hippolytus of Rome's Comm. Dan. 15.1-2 says:

      15.1. To this Scripture says, “There was a garden adjoining his house and it happened as the people departed in the middle of the day, that Susannah entered and walked around in the garden of her husband, and the two elders watched her everyday and became lustful for her.”
      15.2. Therefore the chiefs of the Jews now want to mutilate these things of the book of Daniel, claiming that these things did not happen in Babylon, because they are ashamed at what happened under the elders at that time, and thus they fail to recognize the administration of the Spirit (T.C. Schmidt's translation).

      This would be the first time (ca. 202-235) (and the first commentary on Daniel) that a Christian exegete would explain the absence of Susanna in the Hebrew/Jewish copies as due to their shame over how the elders in the story were portrayed. In Ep. Afr. 9ff, Origen will make a similar, but more elaborate, point.

      So perhaps dispute over the section of Susanna was more widespread. But only Origen and Jerome would have been able to comment on the problem of the different texts from first-hand observation. I'm aware of no other discussions in Greek and Latin fathers other than these. Bradley Marsh is working on the Syriac version of the book in Jacob of Edessa (https://www.academia.edu/37143276/The_Old_Greek_Witness_in_the_Revision_of_Jacob_of_Edessa_s_Book_of_Daniel)

      Does this make sense?

      Delete
    2. Ah, yet another interesting "suppression theory" just as with Augustine on the PA:

      "Certain persons of little faith, or rather enemies of the true faith, fearing I suppose, lest their wives should be given impunity in sinning, removed from the manuscripts the Lord’s act of forgiveness toward the adulteress".

      Delete
    3. MAR: You need to talk with Teunis Van Lopik, who is working on the PA from this very angle, if I understand him correctly :-).

      Delete
    4. Jennifer Knust is clear: "The suppression theory should be abandoned". See her 'Taking Away From' in the Black/Cerone PA-volume, 2016, p. 87. On the debate Africanus-Origen, see pp. 81-83. There is no prove of Origen's accusation of Jews for suppressing Susanna's story nor for the PA's suppression.

      Delete
    5. Teunis, you weren’t persuaded, even a little, by the examples Origen gave in Ep.Afr. 9-13? He made me think a little more about the possibility of suppression of Sus than I had previously. I don’t know about the PA.

      Delete
    6. Yes, a little, but not enough.
      I do like Hippolytus' and Origen's thoughts that the Spirit saved the story. As Augustin said in De civitate Dei: Whatsoever is in the Septuaginta and not in the Hebrew text, it pleased the Ghost to speak it by those latter prophets, and not by these first, showing them both to be prophets. [Lib. XVIII, cap. XLIII: Quidquid vero est apud Septuaginta, in Hebraeis autem codicibus non est, per istos ea maluit quam per illos idem Spiritus dicere, sic ostendens utrosque fuisse prophetas.]
      And so we can also be happy with the addition of the Adulteress' story to John's Gospel.

      Delete
    7. Fair enough, Teunis. The argument from Providence in Ep. Afr. 8 is a strong one. Thanks for your thoughts on this thread.

      Delete
  2. No doubt, Hippolytus of Rome considered Susanna's story as God's scripture, and as such administrated by the Spirit. Jews omitted the story from the book of Daniel to protect their elders. (Comm. Dan. I; 15.1/2) Hippolytus'arguments are repeated 25 years later by Origen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Teunis. I just cited that bit of our correspondence. I hope that was okay :-).

      Delete
  3. "Why does the editor of the SC edition only capitalize Bel and not dragon, when two sections are specifically mentioned?"

    I think because Bel is a proper noun and dragon isn't. Origen isn't actually using either of these words as titles, but rather refers to them as "sections...concerning the affairs having been recorded about" the two characters then mentioned.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps. But see my point about Syh, which clearly presents two pericopes with two distinct titles, Bel and Dragon. There is a question about whether περι... functions as a title for these pericopes/works and Susanna in the OG version. Throughout the correspondence, Africanus and Origen appear to refer to them by titles. If that's true, then modern editions should follow suit in my opinion.

      Delete
  4. Of course, John, that is okay.
    I want to add that Hippolytus is following Theodotion's version and Susanna's story was in his exemplar in Daniel's beginning. He states (I; 5,2)": "And so this account (Susanna) occurs later, but is written before as the beginning of the book." Was he aware of copies with Susanna at another place?
    Hippolytus commented Daniel after Dan. 1.
    Origen saw and heard Hippolyt in his youth. Susanna's story was very popular in Rome. Susanna is painted in several early Christian catacombes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, of course, his version of Theod would have Sus at the beginning. It's possible that Origen's form of Daniel would reflect Hippolytus's, I suppose. But I'm not so sure given his emphasis on following the Seventy which appears to have these pericopes at the end.

      Delete
  5. Thanks, John. The 10th c. Rahlfs 88 (the Chigi ms), the only other LXX ms of Daniel, has Daniel followed by Hippolytus’s commentary, followed by the Theod Daniel. Both copies of Daniel in this ms have the order Dan, Sus, B&D. Also, the LXX copy has after Daniel proper (before S; B&D) a subscription stating that it was made from an antigraph which had the subscription “written from the Tetrapla, from which it also was compared (? παρετέθη)”. As to the “pericopes” of B&D, B(03) has the work in two distinct sections, each beginning with an ekthetic line and chapter number. P88 even separates Bel from the Dragon by a decorative colophon. On the other hand, my impression from Origen (Afr. 2) is that Sus preceded Dan in LXX and Theod mss he had. Maybe Origen rearranged the Danielic books in the Hex/Tetrapla, perhaps to coordinate the beginnings with the Hebrew (and Aquila?)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Professor Hill, these are great observations, some of which I have in my notes also, especially regarding Ra 88. I guess I missed the ekthesis in B. The chapter number would be a later addition, correct?

      I went back and reviewed Ep. Afr. 2 and can't see where you think Origen indicates that Sus was before Daniel in LXX and Th MSS he had. He doesn't group Sus with the final pericopes of Bel and Dragon, but I understood, therefore, that he was then saying Sus could appear directly after Daniel or before Daniel, both orders being attested in MSS. But I suppose if one puts weight on LXX as equal to Theodotion in this section (which is mainly about the addition in Dan 3), and thinks Theodotion had Sus-Dan-Bel-Drag, then one could interpret his statement that way. But our earliest MS of Theodotion is B, correct?

      I have wondered whether we could attribute the order Dan-Sus-Bel-Drag to Origen's Hexapla or Tetrapla. It's definitely a possibility for the reason you mention. But he may have already known of other orders such as Ra 967 which already had these pericopes at the end, albeit in a slightly different order and transposed them.

      Thanks again for your comments on this problem.

      Delete
    2. Thanks John. On what Origen implies about the order of the books, that was just the opinion I had, and wrote down, when I looked at the question a while ago. But that could be wrong, and I don't have the Greek text with me right now. (Is it anywhere online, anyone?) He may be too ambiguous to tell. But yes, I do believe B(03) is our earliest ms of Theod Daniel. On the chapter numbers, I'm among the minority who think the early set are original to the manuscript (a defense forthcoming, I hope). But in any case the ektheses are the work of the scribe, and they, along with Ra 88 and Syh, correlate with Origen's and Africanus's mention of plural pericopes.

      Delete
    3. Thanks for your follow up comment, Prof. Hill. I'll be interested to read your work on chapter numbers in B. From comments of others on this thread, Hippolytus's comments confirm that the order of the pericopes in B (Theodotion), Sus-Dan, would go back at least as far as the early third century. Maybe Origen had the same order of texts in his Theodotion MSS. But it's not completely clear, to me anyway, what his LXX-Dan looked like. I found his comment ambiguous, but let me know what you think when you have a chance to look at it again.

      Delete
  6. T. C. Schmidt9/12/2018 8:59 pm

    Hippolytus also mentions the ordering of the book of Susanna:

    1.5.1. For Scripture says, ‘And there was a man living in Babylon whose name was Jehoiakim and he took a wife, whose name was Susannah, daughter of Hilkiah. She was exceedingly beautiful and feared the Lord, and her parents were righteous and taught their daughter according to the law of Moses.’ 1.5.2. Now then, this account took place later on, but it is written earlier in the beginning of the book. For it was the custom of the scribes to place many things in reverted order in the Scriptures.

    Tom

    ReplyDelete
  7. Quite interesting! I am not an expert in textual criticism, so it is possible that my question is not very clever, but why would Theodotion (as a Jewish scholar) include Greek additions to Daniel in his translation?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a big question. First, Jews would have written/translated the additions to Daniel in the first place. Christians adopted the text because it was the text associated with the Seventy translators. Second, the question is why would Jewish revisers continue to transmit the longer version? We still wonder whether Theodotion is responsible for the Daniel version bearing his name, but still some Jewish tradition (now referred to as the kaige tradition) transmitted the longer version early on. But that longer version ceased being transmitted in Greek with the revision of Aquila (fl. ca. 130) because it did not align with the Hebrew. So only later Jews rejected the additions to Daniel. Earlier Jews composed/translated them in the first place and the early attempts at revision continued to include them.

      Does this quick and messy answer help? :-)

      Delete
    2. Yes, it is very helpful! BTW, thank you for your's and Edmon L. Gallagher's book on canonical lists. I work on my BA and the topic is the formation of the Old Testament canon, so your book is among the most important resources I use. :-)

      Delete
    3. Glad to hear it! Also, happy to hear the canon lists book is helpful to your research.

      Delete