Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Samuel Pomeroy: Epitomizing in Sixth-century Gaza: Shared Exegetical Traditions in the ‘Palestinian’ Catena on Ps 118 and the Epitome of Procopius

The best witnesses to the original catena of Ps 118 (K–L Type XI) suggest that this catenist worked with a methodology identical to that of Procopius of Gaza, namely the epitomizing of diverse sources into a ‘mutliple stage’ interpretation of the biblical text (Harl, I: 18–9; 39; cf. Devreesse; Richard). Apart from shared methodology, how this catena relates to its ‘Palestinian’ provenance has not been the subject of much discussion.From the limited perspective of Ps 118 (SC 189, ed. Harl) and Ecl. Gen. (GCSnF 22, ed. Metzler), I argue that the Palestinian Catenist and Procopius shared specific emphases in their conception of a spiritually attuned reading of the bible.After an introduction of the texts and their contexts (cf. Downey; Champion), I examine how the two epitomizers exploited a series of binary metaphors based on the same biblical texts: light and darkness, door and path, expansion and restriction, dew or frost and heat, day/truth and darkness/error, progression and yearning , body and soul.A crop of key terms emerges: ἀδολεσχῆσαι, δρόσος, στενοχωρία, προκόπτειν, ἡμέρα, etc. Bringing to the fore sources which expound the spiritual sense of these terms in similar ways (e.g.ἀδολεσχῆσαι = conversation with God; 118,15–Jn 14,6–Gn 24,63)), our two epitomizers develop their particular spiritual pedagogies. The physiognomies and overall directions of their exegesis go in slightly different directions. Yet, identifying these shared understandings contributes to outlining the salient exegetical features of the context from which our earliest Ps 118 catena witnesses derives.

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