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Title: How Coherent is the Ignatian Middle Recension?
Subtitle: The View from the Coptic Versions of Letters of Ignatius
Author(s): GIVEN, J. Gregory
Journal: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
Volume: 98    Issue: 3   Date: 2022   
Pages: 481-502
DOI: 10.2143/ETL.98.3.3290973

Abstract :
Over the past century and a half, most scholars have presumed that the earliest Greek text of the letters of Ignatius is a seven-letter collection known as the 'Middle Recension'. This article aims to trouble the three-recension model of the textual transmission of the Ignatian letters, which undergirds this consensus. First, the article presents an overview of the manuscript witnesses to the 'Middle Recension', illustrating the diverse texts collected together under the umbrella of this purportedly singular 'recension'. Then the article takes a close look at the two extant Coptic versions of the letters of Ignatius, which present unique selections and arrangements of the collection unaccounted for by the three-recension model. These versions also contain distinctive textual variants that evince interpretive engagement and further illustrate the model’s heuristic limitations. Instead of interpreting the Coptic versions as mere witnesses to the Greek text, the article argues that the Coptic texts represent valuable evidence for the processes by which the memory of the earliest period of Christianity was re-crafted to constitute a usable past in late antique and medieval Egypt.

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