Dan Batovici, «Eriugena’s Greek Variant Readings of the Fourth Gospel.», Vol. 26 (2013) 69-86
In a 1912 note of less than two pages, E. Nestle presented a number of instances where Eriugena mentions several readings of the Greek text of the Gospel of John which did not survive in our manuscripts and which where not mentioned by Souter or Tischendorf. He stressed that such an example ‘shews that even so late an author deserves the attention of an editor of the Greek New Testament’ (596), before asking where these would fit in the manuscript tradition of John. This article will follow Nestle’s suggestion and re-examine the variant readings offered by Eriugena – all explicit quotations – in light of the post-1912 developments in textual scholarship on both the Greek text of John and on Eriugena’s works devoted to the Fourth Gospel.
78 Dan Batovici
secured here both by its explicit character and also – as is the case for
all Greek readings in the commentary – by the fact that it appears in the
manuscript bearing Eriugena’s autograph.
Jn 3:27 ἐὰν μὴ ᾖ δεδομένον αὐτῷ ἄνωθεν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ
Comm. III. ix. [...] Respondit Iohannes et dixit: Non potest homo qvi-
cqvam accipere, nisi fverit ei datvm de caelo. In quibusdam codicibus
grecorum legitur: Nisi fverit ei datvm desvrsum de caelo.
‘John replied and said: A person cannot receive anything unless it was
given to them from heaven.’ In some Greek codices this reads: ‘unless
it was given to them from above from heaven.’
I believe it is rather clear from the examples at Jn 3:3 and 3:13 that
Eriugena has in mind ἄνωθεν. Nestle comments that “[f]or this ἄνωθεν
Tischendorf quotes only 13, 69, 129; Wettstein adds the Armenian
version.” To be sure, the “129” in Nestle’s article is probably a result of
homoioteleuton itself, as the third manuscript Tischendorf mentions is
124; this sets Eriugena’s variant in line with the best known exponents
of family 13: 13, 69, 124.30 Nestle’s question, “Have we here a trace of one
of its ancestors?” concerns only 69, but surely it should be extended to
the other two manuscripts, and to the whole family 13. However, this is
hardly sustainable since Eriugena does not seem to endorse in any way
the other variant all three manuscripts (13, 69, 124) have in the same
verse, namely the additional ἀφ΄ ἑαυτοῦ. Eriugena’s variant reading may
just as well be independent, given that no other points of contact with
this family than this variant are detectable.
Further data can be adduced: NA28 offers no variant here; the UBSBTJ
electronic edition offers, for the variant ἄνωθεν, the 9th century majuscule
manuscript 038 (as does the CNTTS apparatus) and a lectionary, L253;
in both these witnesses ἄνωθεν comes last, transposed as compared to
Eriugena and 13, 69, and 124: ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἄνωθεν;31 UBSBTJ also
list L638, L1075 where the ἄνωθεν is the variant of ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ; this
substituted version also appears in two Vetus Latina manuscripts:32 in
For the variant ἄνωθεν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, K. Aland et al., Text und Textwert der
griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments V. Das Johannesevangelium: 1
Teststellenkollation der Kapitel 1-10, Band 1,2 (Arbeiten zur neutestamentlichen
Textforschung 36; Berlin/New York: De Gruyter, 2005), 61, further lists the following
manuscripts: 788, 826, 828 (these three of the same family 13), 852, 1410C1, 2106, 2511.
A recent survey of scholarship on family 13 is available in D. Lafleur, La Famille 13 dans
l’évangile de Marc (NTTS 41; Leiden: Brill, 2012) 5-92.
For the variant ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἄνωθεν, Aland et al., Text und Textwert V. 1,2, at 61,
lists 511 748 9991039 1791 2223 2790.