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Albert, Micheline, Penna (†), Angelo, in collaboration with Konrad D. Jenner, Dirk Bakker, and Chiemi Nakano[Eds.]
The Old Testament in Syriac according to the Peshiṭta Version, Part IV Fasc. 4. Ezra and Nehemiah – 1–2 Maccabees. Ed. on Behalf of the International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament by the Peshit.ta Institute, Leiden.
Leiden u. a.: Brill 2013. IV, XXIV, 58, LXII, 204 S. = Peshit.ta. The Old Testament in Syriac. Geb. EUR 103,00. ISBN 978-90-04-18430-5.
The research on text publications is collaborative research par excellence, hence the reference to specific collaborators in this instance. Jenner has done sterling work over several decades in this respect. This Peshit.ta project is a long-term endeavour. Ezra and Nehemiah were already submitted in 1978 (see xxii). The project is now gaining momentum. The next volume, the book of Jeremiah, is planned to be completed in time for the next congress of the International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament, which will take place 4–9 September 2016 at the University of Stellenbosch (www.iosot2016).
The publication is structured according to the usual categories, with appropriate exceptions. The first part deals with Ezra and Nehemia. The preliminary remarks show that 26 mss have been collated and, as is the general practice, a diplomatic text principle is followed. An emended version of codex Ambrosianus, 7a1 has been printed as point of departure. Emendations are used only if no mss up to and including the 12th century support the text of Ms B. 21 Inferiore. The reason for this decision is that there is a dearth of mss older than the 12th century. Usually the 10th century is the cut-off point.
The mss are categorized in three categories 1. Old mss.; 2. the Western tradition and 3. the Eastern Tradition. 1. Old mss. are 7a1, 8a1 and 8h5. In the Leiden edition mss later than the 10th century are not defined as old. The old mss of Ezra-Nehemiah are, more-over, not homogeneous. 7a1 represents an autonomous textual tradition, different from the other mss. It does, nevertheless, have most readings in common with 8h5. 7a1 (Milan) is written in three columns per page and is well preserved. The parchment is still in good condition. The consonantal text has been altered in some places, but a number of errors have not been corrected. Hence it was necessary to emend the text. There is a major controversy con-cerning the dating of 8a1 (Paris). Koster, for one, has argued that this ms was revised by an Eastern hand during the 14 th century. Others have argued that revisions took place in various stages. Ezra-Nehemiah belongs to a well-preserved part of the ms and, according to the editor, the author/later revisors have produced an accurate Syriac text. According to the editors, 8h5 (London) has been »wonderfully preserved«. It is set out in 1 column covering the whole page in a clear hand. The author worked meticulously, but some errors remained.
2. The Western text tradition is represented by 12a1, 15/14a1, 15a3, 16/9a1, 17a1–11, 18g2 and 19g6. There is a relationship between 12a1 (the Buchanan Bible) and later mss, including Ezra-Nehemiah and 1–2 Maccabees. However, there remains much uncertainty about the text-historical process of the Western textual tradition. Di Lella, for one, thinks that 12a1 and 16g6 should be linked to a »virtual« ms dating back to the 10th century. The development of the Western text of Ezra-Nehemiah was apparently analogous to 1–2 Maccabees. Various connections are demonstrated between the 17–19 th century mss. However, the textual links between the mss from the 15–17th centuries produce a complex picture of varying combinations in mss of Ezra-Nehemiah. 12a1 (Cambridge) is vulnerable to climate change and a considerable part of the text has already been lost. As far as 15/14a1 (Paris) is concerned, Koster has argued that it is the second half of a complete version of the Old and New Testament, and that 12a2 is the first half. 15a3 (Diyarbakir) has a complete text and is written on paper, placed in 4 columns per page, with some marginal notes. The folios of 16/9a1 (Florence) consist of supplementary material from the 16 th century, written on paper. It is unfortunately incomplete.
3. As is the case with 1 and 2 Chronicles, in the Eastern Tradition there are 5 mss: 16e1, 17e1.2, 18e1 and 19e1.2. According to the editor, 8a1fam is a text family. The introduction concludes with an Index Nominum.
In a pilot study I checked the Leiden Peshit.ta edition against the facsimile edition of codex Ambrosianus and could find no conspicuous errors. A small difference in Nehemia is that verse 73 in the facsimile of chapter 7, is verse 1 in chapter 8 in the edition.
The second part deals with 1–2 Maccabees. The introductory remarks explain, that the text of 1–2 Maccabees is taken from codex Ambrosianus, 7a1, which was reproduced in a facsimile edition by A. M. Ceriani (1876–1883). 28 mss have been collated, of which some contain only parts of 1–2 Maccabees.
The mss each have their own peculiarities, but from the colla-tion three types of text emerged, as in the case of Ezra and Nehe-miah: 1.Old manuscripts; 2. the Eastern text tradition and 3. the Western text tradition.
1. Old mss are 7a1, 7h1.7, 8a1 and 11/10g1. Mss 7a1, 7h1.7 stand apart because of their antiquity. 8a1 foreshadows the Eastern tradition and 11/10g1 tends towards the Western tradition. As far as 7a1 is concerned, the part containing 1Mc xiv 26–2Mc xv 39 is taken as the basic text and does not differ from the rest of the ms. 7a1 raises no problem and the writing is clear. In the part of 7a1 which is taken as diplomatic text, readings were emended in some instances, when they were: a) obvious errors; b) peculiar to the ms only; c) supported only by some mss dating from later than the 12th century. The editor has avoided emendations based on orthographical details. In the first part of 7a1, which is not taken as diplomatic text, but printed in small print on the left page, the ms shows basically the same characteristics as in the 2nd part. In this edition obvious errors have been corrected. 7h1 has been corrected in part only by a later hand, who in general adds numerous readings from the Western tradition in Serta. It, moreover, agrees with 7h7 and tends to agree more frequently with the Eastern tradition. On an orthographical level the initial alaph euphonicum is less common than in 7a1 or 7h7. 7h7 contains only 1 and 2 Maccabees and is well written. The part of the ms taken as diplomatic text has been changed 104 times. However, only a small number of emendations were introduced to remove mechanical errors or improbable or wrong variants. Generally this ms agrees more with 7h1 than with any other ms. 8a1 generally agrees with 7a1, or with 7h1 and 7h7. Where it disagrees with these mss, it usually follows the Eastern tradition.
2. The Western Tradition is represented (19/)16e1, 17e1.2, 18e1, 19e1.2 and 19g3mg. All the mss have a similar omission and share the same orthographical traits. Because of the rather small number of mss up to and including the 10th century, 15/14a1 and 15a3 have been placed into app II, contrary to the standard approach of taking the 10th century as cut-off point. Large parts of the microfiche containing 12a1 were damaged in the Indian climate. Nevertheless, this ms represents the oldest document of the Western tradition. Finally, the ms was probably corrected by different scribes.
3. Eastern Tradition mss are 7h1mg, 12a1, 13k1, 15/14a1, 15a3, 17a1–11, 18g2, and 19g3. The Eastern tradition’s mss are all written in the East Syriac Script. They are also distinguished by their pre-ferences in the spelling of proper names and for the introduction of the matres lectionis.
List of mss later than the 12th century are 13k1, 15/14a1, 15a3, (19/)16e1, 17a1–11, 17e1, (19/)17e2, 18e1, 18g2, 19e1.2 and 18g3.
The volume concludes with an Index Nominum (21 pages), an Index Orthographicus (13 pages), an Elenchus Errorum (one page) and an Elenchus Omissionum (one page).
Again I checked a small number of chapters of 1–2 Maccabees against codex Ambrosianus and found no conspicuous discrepancies. A small difference in 1 Maccabees is that verse 53 in the facsimile of chapter 13, is verse 54 in the edition.
To conclude: This volume in the series The Old Testament in Syriac represents the meticulous research executed by the Peshit.ta Institute in Leiden. In a recent development this Institute was moved to the Free University of Amsterdam. There is no reason to think that the same standards will not be upheld. The editor and co-workers should be thanked for this publication. It will serve as an indispensable tool for primary research.