Studying the “Pelagius and Johannes” collection of Sayings of the Desert Fathers: Steps towards a new edition of the Latin reception

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Abstract

The sayings of the Desert Fathers had an important role in the monastic education and were very widespread. Originally written down in Greek, they were soon translated into all the main languages in the medieval Europe, and underwent transformations as they were copied. The sayings were organized in different ways, mainly alphabetically or according to themes, and as they were copied the repertoire was also changed in some way. In Latin mainly the systematically organized type of collections were translated from Greek. To this day, we lack a modern critical edition of the most widespread and important of the translated collections: the big systematical collection first translated into Latin by two Roman clerics, Pelagius and Johannes, in the middle of the 6th century. How should the scholar best proceed when deciding upon the best way to study, and possibly also edit this widespread collection, extant in hundreds of manuscripts? What options are there? In the present article, the results from a preliminary investigation of ten manuscripts containing the PJ collection are discussed. The manuscripts were chosen from the tentative groups of manuscripts made by Columba M. Batlle who published a catalogue of the contents of all manuscripts known to him containing this collection. A method for establishing the text to be edited is presented based on the collations made of four chapters of the PJ collection in the selected manuscripts.

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStudia Patristica
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages15
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020 Mar 16
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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