additional notes on Song of Songs rubrications and Sinaiticus late Latin features

Steven Avery

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Steven Avery

To Jay Curry Treat (Facebook messenger, check email)

Lost Keys: Text and Interpretation in Old Greek "Song of Songs" and Its Earliest Manuscript Witnesses



Greetings !
Related to your "Lost Keys" book, a friend from England, Rohan Meyer, was looking at the Song of Songs in Alexandrinus and Sinaiticus ... at least at the beginning the connection is very strong as to how the speaking titles are given and indented. Do you know if this has been commented upon in the scholarship of the Songs? (I can send this over in email, if that is the best way.)
Thanks! Steven Avery Dutchess County, NY (347) 218-3306

(There is also the fact that Sinaiticus does not usually have a 2-column format and the line lengths are, surprisingly, almost identical.)

Oh, I sent an email
IM here not needed

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Steven Avery

Notice especially how the circular 4th century theory forces the Sinaiticus features to be done on the fly by the Sinaiticus scribes.

Chapter 2 The Septuagint in Codex Sinaiticus Compared with Other Sources

While the Christian Odes are lacking in Codex Sinaiticus, in one detail, that manuscript may well be more Christian than the other sources, such as in the identification of the supposed speakers written in the margins in the Song of Songs text of Sinaiticus and other sources. These identifications were sometimes necessary in the translations and not in the original Hebrew, in which the genders are clearly indicated.43 These notes in Sinaiticus, in rubrics written with red ink, present the content of the book as an ancient drama, for example,44 before 1:1b ‘the bride’ is added to identify the speaker; before 1:4 ΕΙΣΗΝΕΓΚΕΝ ΜΕ Sinaiticus adds, ‘The bride tells the maidens the things about the groom that he gave to her’; before 1:4 ΑΓΑΛΛΙΑΣΩΜΕΘΑ Sinaiticus reads,‘While the bride was talking to the maidens, they said’.45 In one case, the speaker is identified in Sinaiticus and not in the other sources as ΠΡΟΣ ΤΟΝ ΝΥΜΦΙΟΝ Χ̅Ν (1:7). It is unclear whether the Christian element in this rubric derived from the scribe of Sinaiticus or should be ascribed to his source.46

46 According to Treat, these notes derived from ‘a non-Christian, non-allegorical narrative’. Treat investigated ‘its oldest ancestor and its other relatives: the Old Latin, Jerome’s two versions, and what turned out to be the oldest non-Hebrew manuscript of the Song, a translation of the Old Greek into a rare Fayyumic form of the Coptic language’ (Treat, ‘Lost Keys’(1996), p. xv). These rubrics occur in Codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Venetus and 161, and not in Vaticanus, Ephraimi, etc. The most basic form of the rubrics is in Codex Alexandrinus where they occur as Η ΝΥΜΦΗ, Ο ΝΥΜΦΙΟΣ, while Codex Sinaiticus contains an elaborate group of dramatis personae, and those in Codex Venetus are even more elaborate. Comparing the rubrics in Codices Alexandrinus, Sinaiticus, Venetus, 161 and in Origen’s Homilies and Commentaries, Treat suggested that the elaborate text of Sinaiticus is the oldest Greek witness, but it does not represent the earliest form of these rubrics. That earliest form, not preserved, must have been similar to the short text of Alexandrinus, but is not that text itself (Treat, ‘Lost Keys’ (1996), pp. 406–07). The form of Codex Sinaiticus is closely related to the rubrics in some early sources of the Old Latin, namely Stuttgart HB II 35 (eighth century) and Fribourg L 75 (thirteenth century), both transmitted in manuscripts of the Vulgate. According to the analysis of de Bruyne, ‘Les anciennes versions latines du Cantique des Cantiques,’ Revue Bénédictine, 38 (1926), 118–22, the tradition of the Latin sources, though translated from Greek, is closer to the original form of the rubrics (‘the proto-Sinaiticus form’) than to the one in Codex Sinaiticus. On the other hand, according to Treat, ‘Lost Keys’ (1996), pp. 481–90, the Greek form of Sinaiticus reflects the earlier tradition, though not Codex Sinaiticus in its present form, but a reconstructed source of that manuscript. The Latin rubrics then form a later development. Treat reconstructed this ‘proto-Sinaiticus form’ by removing from the text of Codex Sinaiticus all the details that have no parallels in the Latin tradition. In this way, interestingly enough, the Christian references among these rubrics are lacking. Thus, these rubrics were added by the scribe of Codex Sinaiticus himself. In 1:7, ΠΡΟΣ ΤΟΝ ΝΥΜΦΙΟΝ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΝ appears in the earlier text only as ΠΡΟΣ ΤΟΝ ΝΥΜΦΙΟΝ (ad sponsum sponsa).



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Steven Avery


προϲ τον νυμφιον χν
απαγγειλον μοι · ον ηγαπηϲεν
η ψυχη μου
που ποιμαινειϲ που κοιταζειϲ
εν μεϲημβρια
μηποτε γενωμαι · ωϲ περιβαλλο
μενη επʼ αγελαιϲ ετερων ϲου ·

ο νυμφιοϲ προϲ την νυμφην
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Steven Avery

The Songs of Songs Edited as a Dramatic Peom
William Walter Cannon

6. The persons of the Poem.

Having arrived at the conclusion that this poem is a unity, and that it is dramatic in character we may now proceed to examine who are the persons represented in it. There is no direct indication in the piece itself of the persons to whom the various speeches or narrations are to be assigned, although in most cases there is not really much difficulty in ascertaining the speakers. In many Greek MSS. an attempt is made to supply this deficiency though without much real help being given to the interpreter, as they generally follow the exegesis of Origen and divide the speeches between his four characters'. The most detailed and interesting of these attempts is found in