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On the Migration of MSS from Ancient Monasteries (Egypt to Mar Saba back to Egypt)

Posted: Thu Sep 09, 2021 12:28 pm
by Secret Alias
From Roger Pearse today ... alimpsest/
The ancient manuscript of the Hieroi Logoi from which these sheets come was written in Egypt in the 5-6th century AD. But in the 10th century it was recycled, the pages erased and turned into blank parchment. A text of more use to the owners, an Arabic text of the lives of the Palestinian saints, was written on the pages at the monastery of Mar Saba. (I have not seen any information on which text precisely this is). The new volume was originally some 300 pages. It migrated to Sinai, where it was reduced to fragments by the removal of leaves, sold to European libraries. The remains now have the shelfmark Ms. Sin. ar. NF 66. The relevant leaves are f. 2v + frg. 7v + frg. 8r, and presumably their reverse.
Again, the Letter to Theodore might well be a forgery. But there simply is no firm evidence that would prove that assumption. If it were confirmed it would simply be attributable to a 'lucky hit' where a 'gut feeling' or prejudice was borne out.

Re: On the Migration of MSS from Ancient Monasteries (Egypt to Mar Saba back to Egypt)

Posted: Fri Sep 10, 2021 7:39 am
by Secret Alias
I also note, beyond the movement of manuscripts from Egypt to Mar Saba back to Egypt (Sinai) the breaking up of leaves of paper which would account for the brevity of to Theodore quite nicely. That doesn't mean THIS IS WHY Mar Saba 65 takes its particular form. I am not a dogmatic religious person who imagines that I possess 'the mind of God' viz. that my imagination comprehends the totality of possibilities on any question. I am just saying that there are always explanations to phenomena that aren't immediately considered by lazy academics walking around in dirty clothes and unwashed bodies drinking bad coffee and writing papers for career advancement.

The point is simply this. Andrew Criddle's paper and any stylometric analysis aside, the idea that there is a grudge match between two sides over whether it is possible the document is authentic is incredible. Of course it is possible to set up a scenario where some MS was passed back and forth or just back or forth between Egypt and Mar Saba and where a leaves were broken apart (for whatever reason) and/or a particular leaf was recopied in the blank pages of a printed book which passed back and forth or back or forth between Egypt and Mar Saba. None of this has been demonstrated to be a falsehood.