Barnabas' Isaiah Text and Melito's Pascal Homily
by Robert A. Kraft (University of Pennsylvania).
[Publication History: appeared first as a "Critical Note" in the Journal of Biblical Literature 80
(1961) 371-373 when the author was an Assistant Lecturer at the
University of Manchester (England); revised and expanded for electronic
distribution in September 1993 (keyboarded by Ellen Shevitz).
Subsequently some evidence has been added on the basis of TLG
electronic searches (December 2006).]
In JBL 79 (1960), pp. 336-50,
I tried to point out some of the peculiarities which are found in the
quotations from Isaiah as used by the Epistle of Barnabas. Since
the publication of that study, it has come to my attention that the
recently recovered Homily on the
Passion (Περι Πασχα) attributed to Melito of Sardis\1/ contains
three references to Isaiah which shed added light on the corresponding
quotations in Barnabas.
\1/ There are two extensive MSS
of the Greek text: (1) Chester
Beatty-University of Michigan Papyrus 12, ed. by C. Bonner in Texts and Documents 12 (1940), with
photographic facsimiles published by F. G. Kenyon (1941); and (2) Papyrus Bodmer 13, ed. by M. Testuz
(1960). Smaller fragments of the Homily exist also in Greek, Latin,
Syriac, and Coptic; for the relevant literature, see the footnotes in
Testuz. For the most part, obvious scribal errors and
insignificant orthographic peculiarities in these MSS of the Homily have not been noted below.
[[@@ need to update bibliography on editions and translations; e.g.
Perler, Hawthorne, Hall]]
1. Isa 3.10a, with no significant variation from LXX/OG MSS, is
found in Barn 6.7 = Peri Pascha 72 (a shorter quotation than in Barn).
It is interesting that Barn = Peri Pascha = LXX MSS here read εἰπόντες· Δήσωμεν τὸν δίκαιον... in
contrast to the following variant forms of these words attested by some
other patristic quotations:
(1) λέγοντες Δήσωμεν ...
is found in the Dialogue of Papiscus and Philo (12; ed.
McGiffert, p. 69),\2/ while its Latin equivalent ("dicentes alligemus ...") is given
by Jerome as the LXX/OG reading in his Commentary on Isaiah, ad loc. Possibly λέγοντες also lies behind the
reading of Barn\L/ 6.7 (see below, variant item 3), qui dicunt.
\2/ Compare the Dialogue of Timothy and Aquila (f.
85v; ed. Conybeare, p. 71) -- λέγοντες· δεῦτε καὶ δήσωμεν
..... Note also that the quotation from Jer 11.19 in Peri Pascha 63 has
where all other witnesses to the OG have λέγοντες -- there may well be a
reciprocal influence between Peri Pascha 63 and 72 with their similar
(formulaic?) phraseology "reckoning evil upon me, they said...."
(2) εἰπόντες· Ἄρωμεν ... is
attested by Justin Martyr (Dial.
136.2 and 137.3, along with δήσωμεν -- see further below),
and the ἄρωμεν also is found in
Hegesippus (apud Eusebius, HE 2.23.15) and Clement of
Alexandria (Strom. 5.108.2,
followed by ἀφ’ ἡμῶν, as also in Eusebius, Prep Evang 13.13.35; cf also Basil
of Caesarea, Homilia adversus eos
qui irascuntur 31.372.13);\3/ the Latin equivalent to ἄρωμεν,
"auferamus," occurs in Tertullian (Adv.
Marcion 3.22) and in Rufinus' translation of Eusebius, ad loc. Later authors who
attest the ἄρωμεν reading include Cosmas Vestitor (Orationes
de translatione corporis mortui Joannis Chrysostomi 2.217; followed
by ἀφ’ ἡμῶν)
and George Syncellus (Ecloga
\3/ Apparently Clement here is quoting
from his hellenistic-Jewish School tradition, which goes back (at
least) to Aristobulus. On this problem, and on early quotations
of Isa 3.10 in general, see N. J. Hommes, Het Tesimoniaboek (1935), pp. 178
f. and 187-95.
(3) A further alternative form of this text in early Christianity
rests on the use of Isa 3.10 by Wisd 2.12 -- ἐνεδρεύσωμεν
(δὲ) τὸν δίκαιον...
-- and is found in Hippolytus (Adv.
Judaeos 9; ed. Lagarde, p. 67), Eusebius (Eclogae propheticae 174.23),
Epiphanius (Testimonia 46.2),
Paschal Chronicle (170.12), Dialogue of Timothy and Aquila
(10.32), George Cedrenus (Compendium
1.385.21), and George the Monk (Chronicon 390.26 = breve 110.460.49;
see also Philotheus Coccinus, Vita
Sabae iunioris 20.45); while the Latin equivalent ("circumveniamus ...") is attested by
the ancient Latin version of Barn 6.7, by Cyprian (Test. 2.14), Lactantius (Div. Inst. 4.16 = Epitome 40, and Evagrius' Dialogue of Simon and Theophilus
(2.4; ed. Bratke, p. 36). [[p.372]]
Of special interest is the fact that Justin Martyr explicitly
identifies ἄρωμεν as the reading of "the
LXX," but claims that δήσωμεν
was preferred by the Jews whom Trypho represents (Dial. 137.3; Justin
in Dial. 17.2 and 133.2). Nevertheless, no existing MS of the LXX reads
2. Section 101 of the Homily
contains a noncanonical hymnodic speech by the resurrected Christ which
begins with an allusion to Isa 50.8 -- τίς ὁ κρινόμενός πρός
(ἐ)με; ἀντιστήτω μοι. As I noted
in the previous article, p. 346, patristic references to Isa 50.8-9 are
extremely rare, and the quotations of this passage in Barn =
Irenaeus\4/ differ strikingly from all other known texts.
Melito's allusion, brief though it is, provides a hitherto unattested
variant in reading πρός
(ἐ)με\5/ instead of μοι (as in
all other witnesses except LXX/OG MS 36 and Iren., which lack μοι).
In lacking ἅμα
after ἀντιστήτω μοι, however, Peri
Pascha agrees with Barn = Irenaeus and the Syro-Palestinian version
(Irenaeus and Cyril\lemma/ also lack μοι
here). Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing whether the
author of Peri Pascha also was familiar with the interesting variations
which occur in the remainder of the quotations in Barn = Irenaeus.
\4/ For the texts, see JBL
, 79, p. 346. This and two
other striking correspondences between quotations in Barn and Iren also
are treated by L.-M. Froidevaux, "Sur trois textes cite/s par Saint
Ire/ne/e," Recherches de Science Religieuse
44 (1956), pp. 408-21.
\5/ Bonner's restoration of the lacuna here in the Chester Beatty text,
, has been proved correct by the Bodmer MS (πρός
), and is, indeed, a normal LXX/OG
construction with κρίνεσθαι
-- cf. Judg 21.22; Job 31.13; Jer 2.35 and 32.31; Sir 42.8. On the use
of ὁ δικαιούμενός μοι
(Barn = Iren) instead of ὁ κρινόμενός μοι in the last part of Isa 50.8,
see also "Dissertatio contra Judaeos" (TLG) 1.463, 499, 6.159 and
LXX/OG MSS 26 407 410 (see also 88).
3. Most significant, however, is the minute variation of word
order in Isa 53.7b which is attested by Peri Pascha 64, Barn 5.2, Acts
of Philip 78, and Ps-Chrysostom's Peri Nesteias 6 (twice):
| LXX MSS of Isa 53.7b
| ἐπὶ\6/ σφαγὴν ἤχθη
|καὶ ὡς ἀμνὸς ἄφωνος\7/
|καὶ ὡς ἀμνὸς
| τοῦ κείραντος\8/ αὐτόν
|| τοῦ κείροντος αὐτόν\12/
|οὗτος\9/ οὐκ ἀνοίγει\11/
| τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ
\6/ Instead of ἐπὶ σφαγὴν, the Chester Beatty
MS has ΕΙΣΦΑΓΗΝ, which Bonner corrected to εἰ<ς>
Since the initial ΕΙ
could originate as well from the Π dropping out of ἐπὶ as from
copying only one of two consecutive sigmas, there is no necessity to
accept Bonner's correction. The Bodmer text has ἐπὶ σφαγὴ [sic] ἤχθην [sic]. Note, however, that the
parallel material in Peri Pascha 4 (Bodmer) has εἰς
(Latin ad ...).
\7/ The ancient Latin version of Barn has no equivalent for ἄφωνος
("sine voce" or "mutus" in the Latin fathers and
versions), and the abridged Latin versions of the Homily (see H. Chadwick, "A
Latin Epitome of Melito's Homily on the Pascha," JTS 11 , pp. 76-82) places "sine voce" in its usual LXX
position. But the related passage in Peri Pascha 4 (see also above,
n.6) seems to have the possibly formulaic ἀμνὸς ἄφωνος
(see the similar forms in 44 and 71), which as a standard designation
might well have influenced the order of the wording in the quotation --
see also this terminology in Gregory Nazianzenus Peri Huiou/Orat 29 (PG 20.20f). A
similar conflating of the terminology of Jer 11.19 ἀρνίον
ἄκακον with Isa 53.7 πρόβατον ... ἀμνὸς
... ἄφωνος appears (in often
homiletic contexts) in a number of Christian authors including Origen,
Eusebius, and Ps-Ignatius (based on a search of the TLG electronic
\8/ Act Phil and Ps-Chrys, with many LXX/OG witnesses, have κείροντος, and the
second quote in Ps-Chrys has ἐνώπιον for ἐναντίον -- a
frequent variant pattern in the Old Greek materials. The reading
of Barn/Peri Pascha also has extensive LXX/OG and patristic support
(see Ziegler's edition of Isaiah in the "Goettingen LXX" on this and
other LXX/OG variants mentioned).
in some LXX/OG witnesses and also in the Bodmer MS of Melito.
\10/ The Greek MSS of Barn [cp. Act Phil] end the quotation with
but the ancient Latin version agrees with Peri Pascha in including the
words "sic non operuit os suam."
is lacking in several LXX/OG MSS and in the quotations in Clement of
Rome (16.7); Justin M. (Dial.
114; but cf. Apol. 50);
Tertullian (De Carn. Res. 20;
but cf. Adv. Jud. 9 and 13);
Cyprian (Test. 2, 15; but cf. Epistle 4.4 [to Rogatian];
Lactantius (Div. Inst. 4,
18\var/); Origen (Homily 10.1 in Jer.; but cf. Comm. on John 6.273 and 28.166),
Eusebius (Dem. 1.10.15; 9.4.4;
10 [Proem.4]; 10.8.32); and Jerome (Comm.
on Isa, ad loc.).
In Barn, this section forms the conclusion to a longer quotation which
begins with phrases from Isa 53.5 (as in LXX/OG); in Melito and Act
Phil (ed. Lipsius and Bonnet II, 2, p. 30; cf. pp. 96f., where the
material from Isa 53 is lacking), this begins a quotation which is
completed by a phrase which comes from the middle of Isa 53.8 -- τὴν (δὲ) γενεὰν αὐτοῦ τίς διηγήσεται.\12/
\12/ The abridged Latin version of Peri
Pascha also includes the initial phrase of Isa 53.8.
The unique position in which ἄφωνος is
found in Barn/Melito/Act Phil adds strong support to the hypothesis
that popular quotations ("testimonies") circulated among early
Christian authors in various textual forms. It is not impossible
that such "peculiar" variations ultimately may have been derived from
Greek MSS of Jewish scriptures which now are lost to us; nevertheless,
it is reasonably clear from the respective contexts that none of the
writings in question took the quotation directly from a MS of Isaiah
(notice the short, "proof text" quotations associated with Isa 53.7 in
Peri Pascha and Act Phil). On the other hand, there is no reason
to suggest that there was any direct, literary relationship between
Barn, Melito, and Act. Phil. One thing is clear -- their
agreement in such a detail cannot be coincidental, and serves to
illustrate the complexity of the situation which is liable to be
encounted in any examination of the use of Jewish scriptures in early