patristics | manuscripts


Dan Batovici

TeTra Seminar on Thursday

Last month has started the Text and Transmission Joint Research Seminar hosted by Andy Hilkens (Gent) and myself. The next meeting is this Thursday; the details are in the image below. See some of you there!

TeTra February

The full program for the spring semester 2020 of the TeTra Research Seminar goes as follows, with meeting in Gent and Leuven:

January 16th | Leuven

Marion Pragt (KU Leuven)
Gregory of Nyssa’s Homilies on the Song of Songs and its Syriac Reception

Mircea Duluș (ICUB Bucharest)
New Evidence on the Transmission of Late Antique Polemics in Byzantium: the Monogenes of Makarios Magnes and the Homilies of Philagathos of Cerami

February 27th | Leuven 

Julie Van Pelt (Universiteit Gent)
Miracle or Magic? The Figure of the Magos in Byzantine Hagiography

András Mércz (Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest)
Translating Syriac in the 16th century. Andreas Masius’  translation of the Syriac Anaphora of St. Basil in the light of his correspondence with Moses of Mardin

March 26th | Gent

Giorgia Nicosia (Universiteit Ge​nt)
Prophecies of the pagan philosophers about Christ: Syriac collections and Greek sources 

Bert Jacobs (KU Leuven)
Dionysius Bar Ṣalībī’s Disputation Against the Muslims and the Reception of Qiṣaṣ al-Anbiyāʾ

April 30th | Leuven

Tamara Pataridze (University of Oxford)
Georgian translations of Byzantine texts in relation to Georgian-Byzantine relations

Flavia Ruani (IRHT CNRS Paris)
A Robber in Paradise: Luke 23:43 in Manichaean and Anti-Manichaean Exegesis

May 27th | Gent

Marianna Mazzola (Universiteit Gent)
‘We do not resemble the Gentiles’: Christian-Muslim Relations in Dionysius of Tell Mahre’s Chronicle

Pietro d’Agostino (KU Leuven)
The Notitia de locis sanctis transmitted in the Par. ar. 300: about the first Arabic guide to the Holy Places. A study and edition

June w/c 21st | Leuven

Sarah Parkhouse (Australian Catholic University)
Christian Appropriation and Recontextualisation of the Amphitheatre at Carthage

Nathan Carlig (Université de Liège)
Codex MONB.CP: a codicological reassessment of a late patristic collection from the White Monastery (12th cent.)

You are welcome to get in touch with the convenors at or

Gregory of Nyssa in Syriac and Late Antique Polemics in Byzantium

Quick note to announce a new monthly seminar, with two papers offered later this week, in Leuven. Pop in if you’re around.

Following two preliminary meetings at the end of 2019, a monthly joint seminar hosted by Andy Hilkens (Ghent) and Dan Batovici (Leuven) is set up for 2020. The first meeting will take place in Leuven, this Thursday with the following papers:

Marion Pragt (KU Leuven)
Gregory of Nyssa’s Homilies on the Song of Songs and its Syriac Reception

Mircea Duluș (ICUB Bucharest)
New Evidence on the Transmission of Late Antique Polemics in Byzantium: the Monogenes of Makarios Magnes and the Homilies of Philagathos of Cerami

Thursday, January 16, 10-12 am.
Location: MTC 02.13
(Maria-Theresiacolle​ge, Sint-Michielsstraat 4, Leuven)

Feel free to get in touch with the hosts at or

Apostolic Fathers in ancient translations conference report

Last year in May I organised in Leuven the conference “Versions of the Apostolic Past: Ancient Translations of the Apostolic Fathers.” There is now a report published of it, fresh off the oven, which you can find here.

Put very  briefly, the papers offered a series of updates on various aspects of the Apostolic Fathers transmission in Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Slavonic, Middle Persian, Ethiopic and Arabic and the proceedings—including further invited contributions on Ignatius of Antioch in Slavonic and on the Shepherd of Hermas in indigenous Ethiopian Literature—will be published as a 2021 thematic issue of Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses (ETL), which should be fun.

The report is published in the latest issue of COMSt Bulletin (scroll down their page for all issues in open access).


This particular issue—5.2 (2019)—includes further conference reports, among which one by my colleague here Bert Jacobs, on Preliminary Considerations on the Corpus Coranicum Christianum. The Qur’an in Translation – A Survey of the State of the Art, Berlin, 5–7 December 2018, and that by Jeremiah Coogan, on The Material Gospel Conference, University of Notre Dame, 31 May 2019. Have a look.


Multiple-Text Manuscripts, in OA

There is a new volume out: The Emergence of Multiple-Text Manuscripts, edited by A. Bausi, M. Friedrich and M. Maniaci. As most volumes in the series (Studies in Manuscript Cultures) this too is open access.

MTM Em.jpg

It seems to be a follow-up of the 2016 programmatic volume One-Volume Libraries: Composite and Multiple-Text Manuscripts (ed. by M. Friedrich and C. Schwarke), which proposed a more rigorous terminology for what were (and still are) usually called ‘miscellaneous’ manuscripts and applied it in a number of cultures.

The current volume offers further case studies on the topic and, much like the previous one, keeps a comparative approach across languages and cultures by putting together contributions on Latin, Greek, Coptic, and Arabic manuscripts, as well as manuscripts from medieval China and from the languages of Jain traditions.

Particularly interesting is the article by Patrick Andrist, “Concepts and Vocabulary for the Analysis of Thematic Codices: The Example of Greek Adversus Iudaeos Books,” which closes the volume and offers further terminological discussion and basically applies in depth and develops upon the theoretical background of the volume La syntaxe du codex: Essai de codicologie structurale, co-authored with P. Canart and M. Maniaci (which I reviewed here).

Have a look!

Manuscripts and Rare Books at KU Leuven

There is a new volume out about the manuscripts and rare books held in Leuven at the Maurits Sabbe Library, which is the research library of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven. (The more general university library of KU Leuven is Artes University Library, which has its own holdings for manuscripts in its Special Collections.) Back to the new volume:

acover mic

Wim François, Lieve Watteeuw, and Leo Kenis (eds.), Manuscripts & Precious Books in the Maurits Sabbe Library – KU Leuven (Leuven: Peeters, 2019).

It contains brief introductions, illustrations and select bibliography for 45 peculiar books and manuscripts hosted in the Maurits Sabbe Library. The images are great, especially when zoomed-in details are offered.


Apart from Hildegard’s manuscript in the image above, featured in is the so-called ‘Anjou Bible,’ the illuminated Latin Bible produced in the 14th century in Naples for Robert of Anjou; an autograph manuscript with various works of Pope Adrian VI—successively former student, professor, rector, vice-chancellor in Leuven—of which some exegetical, written around the turn of the 16th century; a printed response to Luther by a Leuven professor of the 16th century, Jacobus Latomus; also, very interestingly, the lecture notes on the Pentateuch of Cornelius Jansenius, delivered in Leuven in 1631 and 1632, that later lead to the publication of his commentary on the Pentateuch.

Overall, the volume sits well with the notion of the history of the book, as a very nicely illustrated chapter of how the composition of a book repository is determined by, and intertwined with the latter’s history on the one hand, and on the other with its past and present aims and self-representations. Very nice.  Continue reading “Manuscripts and Rare Books at KU Leuven”

Fresh Open Theology DH thematic issue

I’ve received news that the thematic issue of Open Theology, “Digital Humanities in Biblical Studies and Theology,” edited by Claire Clivaz and Garrick Allen is now completed.

For my piece—on a Cambridge palimpsest leaf containing lectionary readings from Mark’s gospel—I had a good experience with this issue: I received two reviews each time for both my initial submission and revised article, all very helpful. They also published the articles as the process for each was completed, which is always good.

Here’s the ToC. All articles are open access. There are very interesting manuscript projects in there, so do have a look. Continue reading “Fresh Open Theology DH thematic issue”

A Latin-Greek Index to the NT and Apostolic Fathers

This is a peculiar volume. It is not as much an index of Latin equivalents for Greek words in the two corpora, but specifically an inverted index to two Greek concordances that also give, among other things, Latin equivalents: A. Schmoller’s Handkonkordanz zum griechischen Neuen Testament and H. Kraft and U. Früchtel’s Clavis Patrum Apostolicorum.

The new volume sends therefore to the pages of the Handkonkordanz and of the Clavis and not to the texts themselves. I find that a bit counterintuitive, as it requires a used to employ three books at the same time, for one search. It goes without saying that this tool would fare a lot better as a searchable database, especially one with full referenced added.

I just finished a review of this book for, here.


Hermas in Ethiopic: new book out

The other day I received, through the kindness of the author, a newly published volume on the Shepherd of Hermas in Ethiopic: Massimo Villa, Filologia e linguistica dei testi geʿez di età aksumita. Il Pastore di Erma (Studi Africanistici/Series Etiopica 10; Napoli: Unior Press, 2019).

Ethiopic Hermas is a peculiar AnTrAF item, as our current editions of the Greek text use for this version the text and the accompanying Latin translation published in 1860. Since then, several other Ethiopic witnesses have emerged—a fourth one will be published by the end of the year in this volume (the ToC is available here)—so a new edition is sorely needed. Until then, Massimo Villa’s contribution is an important, book-length, step in that direction.

The successive chapters introduce the text and its textual tradition (ch. 1), the Ethiopic context (ch. 2), offer an initial assessment of the Greek Vorlage (ch. 3), describes the extant witnesses and the stemma (ch. 4) and the indirect tradition (ch. 5 and 6), which are followed by an assessment of the Ethiopian reception of the Shepherd (ch. 7), a series of philological case studies (ch. 8) and finally, to whet our appetite, a critical edition and annotated Italian translation of the Third Vision of the Shepherd (the longest of the five).

With regard to the question of reception, Massimo Villa’s assessment (ch. 7) is (rightly) based on the distribution of witnesses, further information in manuscripts, mentions of the Shepherd in book inventory lists and the indirect tradition, described in the previous chapters. He concludes that the circulation of this text cannot be linked satisfactorily to just one centre and context—the dissident Stephanite movement at the Gunda Gundē monastery in Aksumite times—and then proposes a number of reasons for the eventual decline of the Shepherd in the Horn of Africa after the 15th century, some ‘mechanical’, some historical.

You can find the ToC on the page of the author, here.


Apostolic Fathers in Italian editions and commentaries

If you happen to find yourself wondering what are the Italian critical editions and commentaries of the Apostolic Fathers, as one does, here’s one for you:


Emanuela Prinzivalli and Manlio Simonetti, Seguendo Gesù: testi cristiani delle origini, volumes 1 & 2 (Scrittori greci e latini; Milan: Mondadori, 2010 & 2015). You can find ToCs on the page of E. Prinzivalli.

The editors dispense with the “Apostolic Fathers” designation, which they find—not only artificial and modernly constructed, but also—ideologically loaded (p. xiv), and use a descriptive title, “Following Jesus,” which in a sense made the contents of the volume less obvious.

In terms of contents, this collection is minimalist: it contains the Didache, 1 Clement, Ignatius of Antioch’s seven letters (in vol. 1), and the Letter of Polycarp, the Letter of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas (in vol. 2). As such, it does not include 2 Clement, the Martyrdom of Polycarp, the fragments of Papias or Quadratus, or Ad Diognetum (which would have made a nice third volume!).

In the Italian space—where there is a long standing tradition of text editing, commenting, and of the study of languages in general—there are of course also individual volumes, as these below, in the Paoline series Letture cristiane del primo millennio. Among them, the volume on Papias by Enrico Norelli is particularly important.


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