Friday, 3 April 2015

Marco Quircio: A Philological Note to Basil of Caesarea's Second Hexaemeral Homily

In the second of his hexaemeral homilies, Basil of Caesarea, while explaining Gen 1,6, describes the life-giving activity of the Creator and clarifies, in order to prevent anthropomorphic representations of God, that, when referred to the Lord, such terms as "voice", "word" or "command" take on a peculiar meaning, since God does not need human means to communicate His will.

The three words mentioned by the preacher (φωνή, ῥῆμα, πρόσταγμα) are listed as if they had already been pronounced: the passage seems to come up as a necessary clarification of what Basil has hitherto told. Nonetheless, in the previous lines (p. 60, ll. 21-28 ed. Naldini), the first and the last terms (φωνή, πρόσταγμα) can be found in the critical editions, while the second one is missing. However Giet and Naldini, in their editions, while accepting the lectio ἐμφθεγξάμενος (p. 60, l. 24 ed. Naldini), include in the apparatus the variant ἓν φθεγξάμενος ῥῆμα, given by Par. Graec. 959 (XVI sec.), manuscript that Amand de Mendieta - Rudberg exclude from the number of eleven codices (dated IX/X sec.) used for their edition. It is true that Par. Graec. 959 is a recentior, but a wider analysis of the tradition of the homily shows that it is not the only manuscript with this variant, which restores a better and more coherent text, giving the whole triad φωνή - ῥῆμα - πρόσταγμα in this order and within a few lines, just before the explanation of the passage.

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