Saturday, 21 March 2015

T. B. Sailors: On Dispensing with the Claim of an Ostensible Additional Manuscript of the Armenian Fragment of the Second-Century Apology of Aristides

Aristides composed an apology in Greek (ca. a.d. 145) that, prior to the nineteenth century, had been considered lost. The late-nineteenth-century publication of a fragment in an Armenian translation, however, initiated the recovery of the work. This paper probes more deeply into subsequent claims of an ostensible additional manuscript of the Armenian fragment.
In 1878, the Venetian Mechitarists on the island of San Lazzaro published the first two chapters of the Apology from an Armenian manuscript in the monastery’s library. Today, this is known to be one of four Armenian manuscripts that preserve this fragment. Particular attention must be given the assertion by Geffcken (Zwei griechische Apologeten, 1907) that the translation of the Armenian into Russian by Ėmin ('Отрьвок из апологии Аристида христианскаго апологета', 1879) was based not upon the 1878 edition of the Mechitarists, but upon a purported additional Armenian manuscript – a notion later repeated by Vona (L’Apologia di Aristide, 1950) and most recently mentioned in Pouderon, Pierre and Outtier (Aristide: Apologie, 2003, 'Le prétendu cinquième manuscrit ... n’est pas autrement connu'). The suggestion that an Armenian manuscript containing the fragment was known to Ėmin was compounded with confusion (by none other than von Harnack) regarding the number of manuscripts on San Lazzaro containing the fragment. Clearly there have long been misrepresentations of the editio princeps and the publication by Ėmin. How is one to properly assess the evidence? Was there indeed, as is often alleged, an additional manuscript of the Armenian fragment to which Ėmin had access?

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