Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Grigory Kessel: New Manuscript Evidence for the 'Second Part' of Isaac of Nineveh (7th c.)

In 1983 Sebastian Brock was fortunate enough to identify a Syriac manuscript in the Bodleian Library (syr. e. 7) as containing virtually complete text of the so-called Second Part of Isaac of Nineveh (the finding was first announced at the 9th Conference on Patristic Studies in the same year). In 1995 thanks to the efforts of the same scholar were published chapters 4-41 of the Second Part (chs. 1-3 remain till today unpublished) based, besides the Bodleian MS, on three manuscripts (at least in their original form) containing complete Second Part and on seven other that contain only selected chapters.
A study of the manuscript collections of the Middle East (for some of which there exist till today no description at all) as well as of those Syriac manuscripts in the European libraries that remain so far uncatalogued has yielded new manuscripts containing the text of the ‘Second Part’.
A paper will present newly found and identified witnesses for the ‘Second Part’ (of both East and West Syriac provenance), evaluate their significance and discuss the evidence they offer for further study of the manuscript transmission of the ‘Second Part’ of one of the most well-known Syriac authors.

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