Monthly Archives: August 2014

Origen and the First or Second Psalm

Most of the examples of Origen’s text-critical observations occur in the Gospels, but I have found one in Acts. In commenting on Acts 13:33, Origen notes that Acts attributes Psa 2:7 to the first psalm (ὡς γὰρ γέγραπται φήσιν ἐν πρώτῳ ψαλμῷ) as does Codex Bezae (D),[1] however, all other extant MSS of Acts refers to the second psalm (καὶ ἐν τῷ ψαλμῷ γέγραπται τῷ δευτέρῳ). After pointing out this discrepancy, Origen discusses the different numbering systems used by the Hebrew OT, in which Psalms 1 and 2 are considered separate compositions, while Acts 13:33 (apart from D) knows Psalm 1 and 2 as a single psalm (τὰ Ἑλληνικὶ μέντοι ἀντίγραφα δεύτερον εἶναι τοῦτον μηνεύει. τοῦτο δὲ οὐκ ἀγνοητέον ὅτι ἐν τῷ Ἑβραϊκῷ οὐδενὶ τῶν ψαλμῶν ἀριθμὸς παράκειται πρῶτος εἰ τύχοι ἢ δεύτερος ἢ τρίτος).[2] While this is one of the few places where Origen agrees with D alone, Origen’s comment gives evidence that at Acts 13:33 “ἐν πρώτῳ ψαλμῷ” was present in some Greek MSS in the early third century.

[1] PS.CAT – 1099/1100, D2 is a catena and as such may not necessary reflect the exact text of Origen. 05 reads τω πρωτω ψαλμω γεγραπται.

[2] The Latin is “… verum exemplaria Graeca hunc secundum esse indicant illud autem non ignorandum est in Hebraieis exemplaribus nulli psalmo numerum apponi sive primus sive secundus sive tertius sit.” On the numbering of Psa 1 and 2, see Peter C. Craigie, Psalms 1–50 (WBC 19; Waco: Word Books, 1983), 18–19, who misreads the case when he writes, “The evidence from the early Christian tradition is found in Acts 13:33. The writer, Luke, gives a quotation from Ps 2:7, but introduces it as coming from the first psalm; the corrections, both in the early Greek text and in modern English versions, to read ‘the second psalm,’ are appropriate given the change in the conventional system of numbering the Psalms. Nevertheless, the oldest Greek text of Acts provides evidence for the early Christian view that the first two psalms were considered to be a single unit.” Actually, only D among extant Greek MSS, has ἐν πρώτῳ ψαλμῷ.

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Origen and the Text of Acts

It has been a while since I have posted here. Largely  because I have been busy working on my dissertation on Origen’s text of Acts. In fact, it was my work on Origen, that caused me to name this blog Stan’s Σχόλια (scholia) since Origen left many scholia, or marginal notes, or catenae, and also fragments preserved by other writers.

As I complete the dissertation, I can begin to share some of my findings, saving the ultimate findings for the dissertation itself.

To get to this point, I have collected every citation and allusion in Origen’s extant writing to the text of Acts. Though I will only use the Greek materials for the reconstruction of Origen’s text of Acts, I have collected everything–and some of it is remotely related to the text to which it is suppose to allude.

As scholars have known, not a great deal of Acts survives in Origen and this will create some challenges in being confident about the overall nature of the text or texts of Acts used by him. However, since a comprehensive collection and analysis of what is available has not been done (at least not recorded), then it is worth the work. Even the incidentals on particular texts of Acts have been enlightening.

At this stage I’m currently  analyzing Origen’s text against representative MSS of what has been traditionally called text-types: Alexandrian (primary and secondary), the ‘Western,’ namely Codex Bezae (D), and the Byzantine tradition.

MS 1739 is getting a lot of attention since previous scholars have shown that it has some affinity with Origen, especially the text of Romans in it. Some have thought that 1739 might also be close to Origen in Acts.

It has been interesting to revisit Tom Geer’s work on 1739. Tom was one of my professors at ACU. Tom showed that 1739 was a secondary Alexandrian text in Acts.

So if you are interested in this type of stuff, follow along.

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Filed under New Testament, Textual Criticism