Teilungshypothesen and Cicerobriefe according to Peter Arzt-Grabner, Hans-Joseph Klauck, and Thomas Schmeller (Paulus Handbuch Series)

Paulus Handbuch (ed. Friedrich W. Horn; Mohr Siebeck, 2013; see here and PDF).

In my second Paulus Handbuch Series post, I looked at Peter Arzt-Grabner‘s section on the text of the Corpus Paulinum, focusing on his interpretation of ΙΟΥΝΙΑΝ in Rom 16:7. In today’s post, I turn to Arzt-Grabner’s discussion of the collection of the Corpus Paulinum, a subsection that is divided into three parts: Beginning of the Collection and Redactional Reworking (2.1), First Editions of the Letters of Paul (2.2), and The Oldest Preserved Witnesses (2.3). Today’s key quotation on Teilungshypothesen is taken from section 2.1.

As usual I will begin with the English translation so that the (selective) grammatical commentary directly follows the German text.

English Translation and German Original

English translation (wmc): But the question of a possible fitting together of originally multiple letters into larger unities has experienced an especially extensive discussion – or put otherwise – the question of whether the canonical form of individual letters of Paul is to be divided into multiple original letters (partition theories) … Hans-Joseph Klauck (Klauck 2003 c [here or here]) and Thomas Schmeller (Schmeller 2004) have lifted the discussion to a new level insofar as they have drawn on the extensive collection of Cicero’s letters for comparison with Paul’s letters and thus attempted for the first time to study the nature and scope of the compilation processes that can be shown with reference to this letter collection. The investigations show that no efforts were made to smooth over inner-textual contradictions that may have arisen during the compilation, but that these were evidently not experienced as overly disturbing. Stringing together of original letters arose, whereas interpolations in the framework of a redactional compilation process cannot be shown.

Paulus Handbuch (p. 12 and p. 13): Eine besonders ausführliche Diskussion hat aber die Frage einer möglichen Zusammenfügung von ursprünglich mehreren Briefen zu größeren Einheiten erfahren oder – anders gesagt – die Frage, ob die kanonische Form einzelner Paulusbriefe auf mehrere ursprüngliche Briefe aufzuteilen ist (Telungshypothesen). … Hans-Joseph Klauck (Klauck 2003c) and Thomas Schmeller (Schmeller 2004) haben die Diskussion insofern auf eine neue Ebene gehoben, als sie die umfangreiche Sammlung der Cicerobriefe zu einem Vergleich mit den Paulusbriefen herangezogen und somit erstmals versucht haben, Art und Umfang der an dieser Briefsammlung nachweisbaren Kompilationsprozesse zu studieren. Die Untersuchungen zeigen, dass es keinerlei Bemühungen gegeben hat, die bei der Kompilation eventuell entstandenen innertextlichen Widersprüche zu glätten, sondern dass diese offenbar nicht als übermäßig störend empfunden wurden. Aneinanderreihung der ursprunglichen Briefe entstanden, wohingegen Interpolationen im Rahmen eines redaktionellen Kompilationsprozesses nicht nachweisbar sind.

Select grammatical analysis

ausführliche hard to capture well: I usually go with “detailed”, “extensive”, or “in-depth”. aber often comes relatively late in a German sentence: I often translate it as “but” and move it to the beginning of the sentence, though it sometimes works better to retain its placement and translate it with “however”. The main verb is hat … erfahren (as usual hat is in the second position and the rest of the verb moves toward the end of the sentence). The direct object Eine … Diskussion has been placed at the beginning of the sentence. Die Frage + gen phrase + von-zu phrase forms the subject of the verb. aufzuteilen ist = “is to be divided into” or “must be divided into”. als sie introduces a subordinate clause, so haben moves to the end of the sentence: it goes with herangezogen and verucht. I wasn’t sure how to render Art und Umfang, but I opted for “nature” rather than “type” or “kind” as a rendering of Art and for “scope” rather than “extent” for Umfang. zu studieren complements the meaning of versuchen: attempted to study. The genitive der … Kompilationsprozesse modifies the direct object Art und Umfang. The concern is with compilation processes that are nachweisbaren (provable/demonstrable/can be demonstrated-shown-verified) an dieser Briefsammlung (on this letter collection, in relation to this letter collection, with reference to this letter collection, using this letter collection as an example). As elsewhere, the translation of “an” is difficult to capture. Bemühungen … zu glätten (= efforts to smooth over). die … Wiedersprüche is the object of glätten. bei der Kompilation eventuell entstanden, is difficult to render but hopefully “that may have arisen during the compilation” captures the intended sense. As usual, it needs to be transformed into a definite clause rather than kept as a participial modifier. nicht nachweisbar sind = cannot be shown/demonstrated/documented.

Substantive analysis

Like many scholars, I am often at a loss with regard to how to assess the numerous partition theories that have been advocated in the history of scholarship. At times, I find that exegetical observations call such hypotheses into question (e.g., in relation to the unity of 1 Cor 8-10), but at other times, I certainly feel the weight of the phenomena that move others to propose them (e.g., with respect to 2 Corinthians). What I like about this key quotation is that it shows how this discussion has indeed been lifted to a new level by looking at Cicero’s letters with an eye to determining what they can teach us about how ancient editors worked, since this has the potential of bringing us much further than our own assumptions about how an ancient editor would supposedly have had to work. Beyond this, I also found this quotation meaningful at a more personal level, because it reminded me of one of the last emails I received from my friend and teacher, the late Friedrich Avemarie (see herehere, and here), who wrote to me with great enthusiasm about this precise area of research in August 2011. For me at least, this is a great testimony to the importance and promise of this line of questioning.

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German Mondays: Thank you for making it to the end of this blog post! In an effort to provide a sense of regularity and predictability for this blog’s readership, I plan on writing a new post each Monday. So hopefully I will ‘see’ you again in a week’s time. Best, Wayne.