The Presence (and Absence) of Nomina Sacra in To Theodore

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StephenGoranson
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Re: The Presence (and Absence) of Nomina Sacra in To Theodore

Post by StephenGoranson » Wed Dec 23, 2020 7:04 am

Secret A. wrote: “Trump is a profoundly dishonest man.” I agree with that.
Now, if we can get back to the “Letter to Theodore,” if I understand correctly (correct me if I am mistaken), you (S.A.) are claiming that the letter was penned in a time before a particular abbreviation in it was in use, but do not consider that a difficulty in your dating of the ms?

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Secret Alias
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Re: The Presence (and Absence) of Nomina Sacra in To Theodore

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Dec 23, 2020 7:45 am

Here is what I am saying (it is quite comprehensive):

1. to Theodore is written in a handwriting style which fits late 18th century the best but could be as late as the early nineteenth century.
2. most of the academics who've weighed in on the manuscript lack the expertise to address dating including Morton Smith who basically sent off a few letters and received the same dating I have.
3. most scholars treat the TEXT of to Theodore as Patristic MS and have ignored or passed over in silence the situation with the nomina sacra
4. Smith on p. 291 I think makes reference to the two nomina sacra (KU and ANWN) but makes no reference to the kou
5. Carlson makes reference to the same situation but does not know the kou is kos is a modern Greek abbreviation notes the writing out in full of Jesus, God, David etc.
6. Tselikas makes reference to the 'unusualness' of the kou and the writing out in full of divine names but doesn't reference (I don't think, I can't check my wife is stirring upstairs wanting to pick up Xmas eve dinner and I have to tell her we have to come back in time to wake up my son to be picked up for snowboarding) to the ku.
7. The fact that no one except Tselikas knows that kou is kos is a modern Greek abbreviation mentions it makes it likely to me no one knew.
8. the kou alongside other facts makes it unlikely Smith transcribed the Greek (I can get into this later)
9. the kou along with the KU and ANWN and the writing out in full of nomina sacra and the hurriedness of the handwriting is best explained by a copyist living in an age where kos was used as an abbreviation for kurios slipped into kou 3 times and faithfully rendered the ku once. That doesn't preclude the possibility of a modern Greek copyist working off a 'script' written by someone else (or himself). Which is more likely is yet to be determined.
10. I have traced the use of kos to the influential Ionian Academy 1805 - 1818. It is unlikely that they invented the abbreviation as it appears without explanation. Anyway 1805 - 1811 is good enough to explain the kou as natural for the late eighteenth century/early nineteenth century style of the handwriting.
11. all the evidence I have seen is freely available on Google or the internet. This should not mean that 1818 is the earliest witness. It just means that an author writing an article in the late 19th century decided to include a payment schedule from the Ionian Academy in his/her study. I was lucky. But - and here is an important thing - we should expect the list was written as shorthand (i.e. handwriting). The earliest PRINTED (i.e. typeset) example of kos comes in a newspaper during the Greek War of Independence (something like 1830 I think). This would suggest to me that the kos emerged as a kind of shorthand used by someone at the Ionian Academy (i.e. I am assume THE WIDESPREAD USAGE of the kos, it's acceptance in later modern Greek has something to do with the influence of the first Greek university). I don't know how far back this goes but I am the worst person to determine this as (a) most attention in Greek libraries digital copying goes to documents from the Greek War of Independence (I assume for Patriotic reasons) (b) there are a lot of B & W scans of documents I've seen for the period 1770 - 1800 but these were done early in the days of digital scanning at low resolution and they can't be read by someone like me from home (I think they were done to preserve the basic image/cataloging but not to be studied in detail (c) on top of this difficulty IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO MAKE OUT THE CURSIVE SHORTHAND. When someone compiles a list like the 1818 one they are written for the author but not for general consumption (d) I am terrible at picking out some of the ligatures (e) variation exists between writers and between eras. For that reason we need a specialist in this era and I have went to extraordinarily lengths to find one IN ORDER TO GO BACK AND DETERMINE THE USE OF KOS IN THE PERIOD 1780 - 1800.

My wife left without me.

Also (f) I don't know how many documents survived from the Ionian Academy. It is really hard to figure ANYTHING out and (g) many or most Greek scholars only speak modern Greek.

With all of that said the Ionian Academy seems to have been established with British assistance (hence the modern Freemason's link with Freemasonry I suspect). There was an English teacher with a British name on the teachers list in 1818. The newspaper(s) that used kos in 1830 are connected with French and Italian 'philohellenic' individuals. At a glance it would seem to make sense that either the Ionian Academy or the newspapers located in Italy or France (or even Vienna for that matter) would have been able to procure Voss's Ignatius book easier than the monastery. They didn't, as you know have Amazon back then. So I am wondering if again the book was brought from the outside.

Again, I can't prove that the manuscript was written in 1780 - 1800 by someone associated with the Ionian Academy. Not yet. Maybe not ever. But the handwriting resembles one example I found associated with the Ionian Academy from 1820 I think. Not an exact match of course (I've been way too enthusiastic in the past). But more similar than Tselikas's examples. Nevertheless at the very least if I can make the case that the kos + the late 17th century handwriting (possibly as late as 1800 - 1820) makes that scenario MORE LIKELY than Smith:

1. writing out a manuscript in ancient Greek with typical nomina sacra
2. commissions/hires/procures a monk living in the 1950s to copy out the material into Voss with a forged late 17th century hand and in copying the monk 'slips back' into his native modern Greek and quickly writes out ku as kou and the nomina sacra as 'Jesus,' 'David' etc.
3. has that monk smuggle that book into the library

I don't know why we have to go to that incredibly wild conspiracy theory. A better conspiracy theory would be that Freemason-inspired Greek teachers at the Ionian Academy 'invented' a Patristic text as part of their 'justification' for involving themselves with British occultists. An even better explanation is that the document was written out by someone in the late eighteenth century even early 19th century EXACTLY AS IT APPEARS. Again none of this can be proved, but I don't see why we can't see the cigar as a cigar. Sometimes the cigar is just a cigar.

NOTE: an earlier version of this post mistook 'seventeenth century' for eighteenth. I have a real problem translating numerical dates (1770) into 'centuries' (= eighteenth). Andrews caught me making this mistake in other threads on other subjects too. Constantly slip up with that.
Last edited by Secret Alias on Wed Dec 23, 2020 8:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Secret Alias
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Re: The Presence (and Absence) of Nomina Sacra in To Theodore

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Dec 23, 2020 8:15 am

Oh, another factor getting in the way of my research. Not only Covid but Xmas. I learned Greece (likely because of the EU) is shut down from December 21 - January 7. I thought they'd be working because irregularities in their calendar. But I guess those are irregularities in their religious calendar. The secular Greek world runs on 'normal time' with an extra week to 'make up' for the religious calendar.

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Secret Alias
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Re: The Presence (and Absence) of Nomina Sacra in To Theodore

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Dec 23, 2020 8:25 am

And if you'd like I can post some images of handwriting samples I think are pretty close to to Theodore from 1770 - 1800.

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Re: The Presence (and Absence) of Nomina Sacra in To Theodore

Post by Secret Alias » Mon Dec 28, 2020 1:38 pm

I finally made contact (on Facebook) with the man said to be the only expert in Greece who can trace the origins of κος. He seems to be favorable to uncovering its origins. Will update this thread as soon as I hear anything definite.

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Re: The Presence (and Absence) of Nomina Sacra in To Theodore

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Dec 29, 2020 7:03 am

Dear Mr Huller



Emails duly received. I don't want to rush to judgment, so I will think it over for a while.



All the best for a happy New Year

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Secret Alias
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Re: The Presence (and Absence) of Nomina Sacra in To Theodore

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Dec 29, 2020 3:11 pm

A colleague points to one purported instance of κου before the Byzantine period. It appears on p. 18 of Paap. I have gone through the images of the Shepherd of Hermas many times, I don't see it.

https://quod.lib.umich.edu/a/apis?q1=P. ... st;start=1

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The Presence (and Absence) of Nomina Sacra in To Theodore

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Dec 29, 2020 3:52 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Tue Dec 29, 2020 3:11 pm
A colleague points to one purported instance of κου before the Byzantine period. It appears on p. 18 of Paap. I have gone through the images of the Shepherd of Hermas many times, I don't see it.

https://quod.lib.umich.edu/a/apis?q1=P. ... st;start=1
It is on this page: top right peninsula of the fragment, which is from page 33. But I bet ΚΟΥ is just a slip on the part of the scribe. This is what Bonner says about it:

Bonner, Page 83.png
Bonner, Page 83.png (238.43 KiB) Viewed 1850 times
Last edited by Ben C. Smith on Tue Dec 29, 2020 3:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Presence (and Absence) of Nomina Sacra in To Theodore

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Dec 29, 2020 3:55 pm

The text comes from Parable/Similitude (67) 8.1.1, which has ἐν ὀνόματι κυρίου. It looks to me, though, as if Bonner may be right, and the scribe may simply have started to misspell the word:

In the Name of the Lord.png
In the Name of the Lord.png (411.86 KiB) Viewed 1849 times

That omicron is not very impressive, though of course we need to bear in mind that an online image may not be the best to go from. But it looks like it could easily be a mistake.

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Secret Alias
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Re: The Presence (and Absence) of Nomina Sacra in To Theodore

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Dec 29, 2020 5:06 pm

You are amazing. Thank you!

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