The Text of the Apostolos in Athanasius of Alexandria by Gerald J. Donker;

By Gerald J. Donker;

This text-critical research of the Apostolos (all of the hot testomony except the Gospels) of the fourth-century Greek father Athanasius of Alexandria has goals in view: one analytical and one methodological. An preliminary evaluate of Athanasius s lifestyles and writings and a survey of the Alexandrian text-type precede an research of Athanasius s textual content to figure out its type in the significant New testomony text-types, and especially its suspected Alexandrian personality. The publication additionally compares the result of equipment routinely used at the texts of the fathers with using an alternate and complex procedure, multivariate research. not like quantitative and crew profile analyses, multivariate research makes use of not only a unmarried size however the complete dimensionality of the resource facts.

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Ernest, The Bible in Athanasius, 430� This however cannot necessarily be taken to imply difference of authorship� There is now almost no scholarly doubt that the writing Oratio IV contra Arianos listed as ‘Spurious’ in CPG (2230, PG 26, 468–525) is inauthentic and Brogan rightly criticizes Zervopoulos for having used it� See Brogan, “Text of the Gospels,” 58–59; also Geerard, CPG, 42; Quasten, Patrology, 27� 63 Ernest, The Bible in Athanasius, 429–430; Appendix G� 59 Athanasius of Alexandria and his Writings 21 a different provenance for the writing of Oratio III contra Arianos� The arguments supporting Athanasian authorship of Oratio III contra Arianos appear to have prevailed since at the close of his appendix on the matter Ernest notes that Kannengiesser himself, at the 2003 Oxford Conference, “stated in a presentation that he was no longer prepared to deny Athanasian authorship of CA III [Oratio III contra Arianos]�”65 With the claim for non-Athanasian authorship of Or.

I/i� Die dogmatischen Schriften. 2� Lieferung� Orationes I et II Contra Arianos. JTS 51, no� 1 (2000); Stuart George Hall, review of Karin Metzler, ed�, Athanasius Werke. I/i� Die dogmatischen Schriften. 3� Lieferung� Oratio III Contra Arianos.

Athanasius of Alexandria and his Writings 11 Scripture and the theological tradition of Alexandria�14 Brogan quotes from Gregory of Nazianzus’ panegyric of Athanasius (ca� 380) since it provides an important insight into the nature of Athanasius’ education and the impact that education had on his writings� Gregory states that, “He was brought up from the first in religious habits and practices, after a brief study of literature and philosophy, so that he might not be utterly unskilled in such subjects, or ignorant of matters which he had determined to despise�” (Oratio 21�6)15 After a review of the available evidence concerning Athanasius’ early education and a consideration of the focus of a typical secondary education in Alexandria, Brogan concludes that Athanasius had only a rudimentary knowledge of classical authors and his rhetorical skills were also basic but adequate�16 Athanasius also provides no evidence that he had imbibed the strong Alexandrian philological and text-critical tradition, most likely because in his limited secondary education, which focussed mainly on set pieces of classical literature, he was never exposed to the relevant techniques to any substantial degree and hence never developed such skills and personal interest� Where Athanasius shines however is in his study of Scripture itself, the focus of the famous ‘Alexandrian School’ where Athanasius was a pupil� Robertson notes that, “But from early years another element had taken a first place in his training and in his interest� It was in the Holy Scriptures that his martyr teachers had instructed him, and in the Scriptures his mind and writings are saturated� Ignorant of Hebrew and only rarely appealing to other Greek versions��� his knowledge of the Old Testament is limited to the Septuagint� But of it, as well as of the New Testament, he has an astonishing command”�17 Gregory of Nazianzus (ca� 330–389 C�E�) expresses unbounded admiration in his panegyric when he lauds Athanasius’ grasp of Scripture; “From meditating on every book of the Old and New Testament, with a depth such as none else has applied even to one of them he grew rich in contemplation, rich in splendor of life, combining them in 14 See Brogan, “Text of the Gospels,” 8ff� Sawirus states that it was Alexander “who educated him [Athanasius] quietly in every branch of learning� And Athanasius learnt the gospels by heart, and read the divine scriptures, and when he was fully grown, Alexander ordained him deacon, and made him his scribe, and he became as though he were the interpreter of the aforesaid Father, and a minister of the word which he wished to utter�” Sawirus , History, 408� It is entirely possible that Athanasius was educated in the catechetical school and (within that context) was also personally tutored by Alexander� 15 See Brogan, “Text of the Gospels,” 9� Also Charles Gordon Brown and James Edward Swallow eds� Select Orations of Saint Gregory Nazianzen (NPNF2 , 7:270)� 16 See Brogan, “Text of the Gospels,” 6–18� Brogan’s conclusions are largely based on Grant’s reconstruction concerning theological education in Alexandria; Robert M� Grant, “Theological Education at Alexandria,” in The Roots of Egyptian Christianity (eds� Birger A� Pearson and James E� Goehring; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1986)� For an analysis of Athanasius’ rhetorical method see George Christopher Stead, “Rhetorical Method in Athanasius,” VC 30 (1976): 125ff� 17 Robertson (NPNF2 4:xiv)� Coasert argues that to refer to the Alexandrian School as a catechetical training institution is incorrect at the time of Clement but allows that it may be applicable in the “more developed stage of the church hierarchy in the Alexandria after Clement had already left the city�” See Cosaert, Text of the Gospels in Clement, 7� 12 The Text of the Apostolos in Athanasius wondrous sort by that golden bond which few can weave”�18 Athanasius’ writings are saturated in scriptural quotations and these point strongly to the centrality of Scripture in his education� It is likely that he memorised large portions of scripture and this aspect bears directly on the methodology he used when quoting scripture in his writings�19 Nordberg claims that it is “obvious” that Athanasius’ method was to cite the verses or portions of scripture he wished to discuss by transcribing them directly from his biblical exemplar prior to developing his argumentation concerning the passages quoted�20 However, this is open to question� Certainly this is one possible scenario but the claim that it is “obvious” appears too ambitious� The process of transcribing the biblical text from an exemplar may not have necessarily occurred as a prior step but rather took place during the writing of his tracts�21 More likely Athanasius’ substantial memorization of Scripture allowed him to quote at will whether or not his biblical exemplar was available and easily accessible� This is all the more likely since Athanasius generally quotes short passages and only rarely, as noted earlier, extended passages that contain a number of verses� The accuracy of these longer quotations suggest that on such occasions he had access to an exemplar that provided the opportunity for direct transcription though even here it is not beyond the range of possibility that he is again simply quoting from memory� As Brogan notes, the impression that Athanasius generally quoted from memory rather than transcribed directly from an exemplar also makes it more likely that the characteristic of his text-type remained generally consistent despite his numerous exiles being the provenance for a good number of his writings� This is because he would be more prone to quote from a familiar text than to adopt the readings of different text-types that might have been available to him in various locations during his forced travels�22 18 Brown and Swallow (NPNF2 7:270)� So thoroughly has Athanasius imbibed Scripture that his writings are replete not only with specific quotes and interpretations of the biblical text but his basic narrative is also steeped in biblical language and imagery� In such a context there is a greater burden to delineate more carefully the genuine biblical quotations within his writings� 19 So Brogan concludes� “Text of the Gospels,” 17� 20 Nordberg provides no further justification for this claim� Nordberg, “Bible Text of St� Athanasius,” 121� 21 This is not to suggest that Athanasius would not at least have had in mind a clear conception of the various disputed or contentious passages which he intended to discuss prior to developing the structure of his arguments� 22 Brogan claimed that in his review of the Gospels data he found no variability across Athanasius’ writings that might otherwise suggest Athanasius had used different text-types at various stages throughout his career� Brogan, “Text of the Gospels,” 20, n� 30� Athanasius’ apparent disinterest in philological concerns makes it more likely he would avoid the potential complication of such issues in his writings by maintaining a preference for his own familiar text� Ernest makes reference to “development across Athanasius’ writings” but has in mind here the issue of theological development throughout Athanasius’ career as well as his ability to use different approaches (genre) for his writings dependant on various contexts (rhetorical settings) in which he found himself� Ernest, The Bible in Athanasius, 14� Athanasius of Alexandria and his Writings 13 The above discussion leads to the conclusion that Athanasius’ rudimentary classical and (lack of) philological training meant that these aspects were not significant or influential factors in the development of his writings� While he does make some references to classical authors, they are rare and form no major component of his writings� Philological concerns and related text-critical comments, so evident in earlier Alexandrian Fathers, are conspicuous by their absence in Athanasius’ writings� We find almost no discussion or argumentation concerning preferences for certain wording over against others and none for the ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’ nature of various readings�23 Rather, his training and immersion in Scripture became the decisive element that shaped his writings, wherein biblical quotations along with their interpretation and elucidation constitute a significant component of the overall content� AThAnASiuS’ hErmEnEuTiCS While classical and philological aspects of his educational background cannot be considered significant influences in his writings, Athanasius’ hermeneutical approach is certainly more important, coming as it does out of his ministerial focus and ecclesiastical context� Indeed it was the centrality of his pastoral concerns that formed the primary motivation for Athanasius to write�24 An earlier generation liked to claim that Athanasius had eschewed the unashamedly Alexandrian tradition of allegorical exegesis in favour of the Antiochene emphasis on a literal interpretation� Pollard mitigates this somewhat by describing Athanasius as a ‘moderate literalist’ over against the ‘extreme literalist’ tendencies of the Arians since Athanasius does occasionally betray the influence of an Alexandrian allegorical tradition�25 23 Brogan, “Text of the Gospels,” 16� Weinandy argues that the primary theological motivation for Athanasius was soteriological� Weinandy, Athanasius, vii� Ernest notes that “the exposition of a central pastoral concern in Athanasius’ anti-Arian dogmatic writings is well established and crucial to understanding those works�” [emphasis his]� Ernest, The Bible in Athanasius, 3� Commenting on the pastoral imperative as the primary motivation for Athanasius’ writings, Robertson states that; “Athanasius was not an author by choice� With the exception of the early apologetic tracts [Against the Heathen and The Incarnation of the Word] all the writings that he has left were drawn from him by the stress of theological controversy or by the necessities of his work as a Christian Pastor�” Robertson (NPNF2 4:lxvi)� 25 Pollard, “The Exegesis of Scripture and the Arian Controversy,” 419� Athanasius’ approach is clearly in contradistinction to the (earlier) allegorical methodology of Origen (ca� 185–254 C�E�) which was the “single most significant influence” on Patristic biblical interpretation in Alexandria and elsewhere� See Joseph W� Trigg, Biblical Interpretation (Message of the Fathers of the Church 9; Wilmington: Michael Glazier, 1988), 26� Athanasius’ rejection of the allegorical method in favour of a literal one, probably under the influence of Alexander and Peter before him, makes all the more surprising his appointment of Didymus the Blind (313–398 C�E�) to lead the Alexandrian catechetical school since Didymus faithfully perpetuated Origen’s allegorical method to the extent that both their works were condemned together in 553 at the Second Council of Constantinople� See Ehrman, Didymus, 17; Trigg, Biblical Interpretation, 27� 24 14 The Text of the Apostolos in Athanasius It is also generally acknowledged that Athanasius was not an exegete though Ernest agrees with this verdict only “insofar as ‘exegesis’ implies deliberate exposition of continuous biblical text”�26 Ernest goes on to note that while the Clavis Patrum Graecorum does include a category of Exegetica, the writings listed there are mostly spurious�27 Even the possible major exception that could be classified as exegetical, the Expositiones in psalmos, is generally now seen as inauthentic�28 To say that Athanasius was not an exegete as the word is commonly understood does not mean that he fails to use exegetical principles� Rather his exegesis is subsumed by his hermeneutical imperative� As Ernest notes, “Athanasius is more fundamentally a pastor than a theologian�”29 Therefore while Athanasius does engage in dogmatic-polemical and historical-polemical argumentation, it is his pastoral motivation which is central� Indeed a danger is that because the dogmatic-polemical aspect dominates in some of Athanasius’ major works such as the Orationes contra Arianos III it tends to tip the scale away from a more balanced perspective of his pastoral approach that may be evident in other non-polemical works such as Vita Antonii�30 What then are the implications for the character of the Apostolos text as found in Athanasius’ writings?

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