Friday, 8 May 2015

Bo Holmberg: The Early Syriac Reception of the Sayings tradition

The printed texts of the Syriac versions of the Apophthegmata Patrum (AP) made by Paul Bedjan (1897) and by A. W. Budge (1904) reflect later compilations of monastic texts collected by the monk Enanisho in the 8th century. Several Syriac manuscripts containing collections of AP and dated to the 6th century have come down to us. By studying these older manuscripts knew insights may be gained with regard to the early Syriac reception of the Sayings tradition. They are among the earliest preserved testimonies of the AP found in any language. At least two different recensions may be discerned and neither of them is strictly alphabetic or thematic. Like the later compilations of monastic texts, these manuscripts also juxtapose apophthegmatic and non-apophthegmatic materials. The order of sayings and the identity of the non-apophthegmatic texts may throw new light on one of the earliest attested receptions of the Sayings tradition.

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