Friday, July 11, 2014

Codex Fuldensis and the mulieres taceant passage

Still in Vienna after a wonderful SBL conference, I started looking into some loose ends. One of those came up after Alesja Lavrinovica’s presentation on “First Corinthians 14:33b and Its Implications for the Text-Critical Problem of 14:34-35.” The importance of such research is obvious: the passage of Paul silencing the women is exegetically and text-critically problematic, and many have proposed that it is actually not by Paul.

Alesja looked (and still does so) into the paragraphing of the manuscripts and asked whether this aspect can shed any light on the textual problem. In the discussion almost inevitably the double dots in Codex Vaticanus were mentioned (more on those at another occasion), as well as the role of the so-called Codex Fuldensis.

Afterwards we wondered whether the latter manuscript had been digitized and put available online. A quick search turned up a 2006 posting by one of my ETC friends, but even the comments there do not really bring you further than a helpful reference to Ernst Ranke’s 1868 edition. Which is: Ernst Ranke (ed.), Codex Fuldensis. Novum Testamentum Latine interprete Hieronymo ex manuscripto Victoris Capuani edidit, prolegomenis introduxit, commentariis adornavit ... (Marburg etc.: Elwert, 1868). It is available as a Google Book, and can be most conveniently consulted at (with 1 Cor 14:33-36 here on p. 226).

It should be mentioned in passing that “Codex Fuldensis” ("Fulda book”) is just as myopic a term as “Codex Vaticanus”, for such designations only make sense within the narrow context of New Testament manuscript scholarship. Surely the Vatican Library has more books than just one, and so does the Hochschul- und Landesbibliothek Fulda (formerly Hessischen Landesbibliothek Fulda, but anyway abbreviated as HLF). A library shelf mark is needed, and that is “100 Bonifatianus 1” (also known as the “Victor-Codex”).

And that concludes the prelude to a happy result, as it turns out the HLF already put more than a hundred manuscripts online, among which the one we were looking for. A link to a DFG viewer can also be found there, but PDF aficionados will still be a bit disappointed. Important as well is Regina Hausmann’s description in Die Handschriften der Hessischen Landesbibliothek Fulda. The link provided on the HLF page brings you to a wrong page of vol. 1 (Die theologischen Handschriften der Hessischen Landesbibliothek Fulda bis zum Jahr 1600); the correct pages are 3-7. In practice the description is essential if you want to find your way around in the 1015 available images of the manuscript (“thou shalt provide an index”).

Alesja and others will surely want to see the page with 1 Cor 14:33-36; according to Hausmann's description the text of 1 Corinthians is found on ff. 226r-251r; so here is f. 246v with 1 Cor 14:27-37:

And a closer look at the bottom of the page:

The remarkable feature here is that this note at the bottom contains (what is now commonly referred to as) verses 36-40 (“an a vobis ... secundum ordinem fiant”), to be placed before verse 34 (“mulieres in ecclesiis taceant ...”), even while the manuscript already contained the same passage as part of the main text and at its common location after verse 35.

I happily leave the interpretation of this state of affairs to others. Let it just be said that according to me every proposal to omit verses 34-35, alone or together with verse 33b and/or verse 36 is a conjectural emendation, somewhere between interesting and plausible, but still a conjectural emendation, no more and no less, irrespective of any text-critical signals such as transpositions, notes and dots.