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Kirchengeschichte: Alte Kirche, Christliche Archäologie
Hansen, Günther Christian [Hrsg.]
Berlin: Akademie Verlag 1995. LXXII, 501 S. gr.8° = Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten Jahrhunderte, N.F., 1. Pp. DM 320,-. ISBN 3-05-002546-8.
Stuart George Hall
This splendid edition completes the project begun in 1902 by the Kirchenväterkommission der Preußischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, to produce critical editions of the Greek Church Historians. Previously we were dependent for the text of Socrates upon Valois (1668) and derivatives such as PG, and Hussey (1853) and his derivative Bright. All of these were limited in quality by the manuscript base and scientific research available.
Hansen has now thoroughly explored the Greek copies, of which two (F and M) are fundamental and one (A) erratic but useful (ein Chamäleon unter den Handschriften, XXII); the others are all copied from these and rarely significant. Besides these, the extracts in Theodoros Anagnostes and Greek texts parallel or derived from Socrates are relevant to establishing the true text. So is the Latin of Cassiodorus. All of this material is researched and is now clearly presented. But by far the most significant development is the use of the Old Armenian translation. In this Hansen is aided by Manja Sirinjan, who presents evidence which transforms our understanding of its significance. The Armenian is not, in her view, the work of Pilon Tirakaci, as generally supposed. Rather, he compiled the short and popular edition of the Armenian version about AD 696, making it more readable, more edifying and relevant to the theological disputes of the day. His work was based on the older long edition, now perceived to have been made in Constantinople by the philhellenic school of Armenian scholars earlier in the 7th century. The long editions pedantic imitation of the Greek grammar and wordorder, which must have made it unreadable to the Armenian public, makes it precious to modern scholars. It represents a Greek archetype far superior to any of the Greek manuscripts still extant. While this version has still not been fully explored, since important manuscripts were not accessible to the present researchers, and no critical edition exists, enough is available to correct and supplement the Greek text on almost every page of Hansens edition. In a number of places whole lines of 21-22 Greek characters were plainly lost from the archetype of our Greek texts, and these can now be restored. At times intruded glosses can be struck out of the Greek, as with the whole sentence at I 8,2. Such evidence as can be assembled of the fragmentary Syriac version is listed and used too.
In the Einleitung Hansen surveys the numerous sources which Socrates used, and these are listed as Quellen und Paralleltexte at the foot of each page of the text. The same applies to the users of Socrates, though with the important proviso: "Grundsätzlich ist es nicht immer leicht zu entscheiden, ob ein einschlägiger Text in die Rubrik der Benutzer gehört oder, mit dem Vermerk vgl. versehen, im Quellenapparat aufgeführt werden sollte, weil sein Verfasser neben oder statt Sokrates etwa dessen Quelle herangezogen hat" (XXXIV). The study of these complications not only does credit to the editor, but reveals the respect in which the work of Socrates as Church Historian should be held. No less than his modern counterparts, he sought out sources, compared and evaluated them, correcting their mistakes and making some of his own. Following the precedent set by Eusebius, he presents whole documents and comments upon them. He revised his work after it was complete, giving the modern editor problems where two versions occasionally survive, and in one place they have to be printed in parallel (VI 11,8-20). Hansen has an illuminating section on Sokrates und seine Kirchengeschichte (LV-LX). One has a sense that a common purpose and dedication nourishes the workers in this field, ancient and modern alike. One should take note of the Indices. There is a full Stellenregister, divided into appropriate sections. There is also an interesting and unusual Grammatikalisches Register, from which the forms used and the syntax characteristic of Socrates can be observed, and a complete Wortregister. The Namenregister deserves special praise because of the detailed subheadings: the career of (for instance) Athanasius, as Socrates presents it, is clearly set out with the references.
By way of criticism one can say little at this stage. Time will tell. I find the printed text not quite as clear and easy to read as some earlier volumes in the same series. I regret that Winkelmanns example in the Leben Kaiser Konstantins was not followed, where he distinguished the documents from the historians own text by a different typeface.
Occasionally the abbreviations in the apparatus criticus are not easy to identify: 365 on page 56 does not appear in the Quellen, Benutzer, or Hss. listed on that page, nor is it findable with the Siglen usw. (LXIf.), nor picked out with a marginal note where the Life of Constantine in BHG 365 is described (XXXVII). One sometimes disagrees about the text adopted. At p. 60,8 f., for example, Hansen finds a doublet in Socrates text, and eliminates a clause, where I believe that the reading hosai me instead of hoti me hosai would account for the textual evidence and allow both clauses to stand. If hoti me were written in error for hosai me, and hosai added as an interlinear or marginal correction, it is easy to see how the Greek texts might read hoti me hosai, and the Armenian simply hosai. I am also puzzled (p. 365,23) when a supplement, rightly made on the basis of the Armenian, is cited in one Greek form in the apparatus, and in a different form in the text. While the argument for omitting the Capitula as inauthentic is correct (LX), some kind of subdivision and headings would be helpful; perhaps the German version (see below) will fill that need. In such varied ways there may be room to improve details of Hansens work. But his achievement is to be warmly praised. Readers, especially German readers, will look forward eagerly to the publication of the German version with commentary being prepared by the Institut für klassische Philologie der Universität Bern, as Hansen says, "ein dringendes Desiderat" (XLIII).