Presentation Title

Codex Fuldensis Translation

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Keywords

Latin Codex Fuldensis Capitula Translation Vulgate Diatessaron Tatian Gospel Harmony

Department

Religion

Major

International Studies (Political Science)

Abstract

In the second half of the second century, Tatian (an Assyrian Christian writer and former pupil to Justin Martyr in Rome) created a gospel harmony, in which he combined the four gospels into a single narrative. This work, which was originally composed in either Greek or Syriac, has become known as the Diatessaron, or “through the four.” It was popular in some church circles and rejected in others. In 546 CE Victor of Capua discovered a Latin translation of the Diatessaron and commissioned a copy to be made. This copy became known as Codex Fuldensis, and today it is the oldest complete surviving version of the Diatessaron.

There is much mystery surrounding this manuscript. Scholars would like to use Codex Fuldensis to reconstruct the wording of Tatian’s original Diatessaron, but as it currently stands, the Latin of Codex Fuldensis reads like Jerome’s Vulgate, a translation Jerome made in 383 CE, long after Tatian’s Diatessaron. Scholars have long assumed that the Diatessaron once existed in an older Latin form that predated Jerome and that Codex Fuldensis contains clues to this Old Latin version. Our work calls that assumption into question.

Investigating the capitula (similar to a table of contents) in Fuldensis and comparing them to other known capitula—and to the text of the harmony itself—suggests there never was an Old Latin Diatessaron. Instead, we propose that the first time Tatian’s Diatessaron was translated into Latin it was put into Vulgate form, as represented in Codex Fuldensis.

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Nicholas Zola

Funding Source or Research Program

Academic Year Undergraduate Research Initiative

Presentation Session

Session D

Start Date

23-4-2021 4:15 PM

End Date

23-4-2021 4:30 PM

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Apr 23rd, 4:15 PM Apr 23rd, 4:30 PM

Codex Fuldensis Translation

In the second half of the second century, Tatian (an Assyrian Christian writer and former pupil to Justin Martyr in Rome) created a gospel harmony, in which he combined the four gospels into a single narrative. This work, which was originally composed in either Greek or Syriac, has become known as the Diatessaron, or “through the four.” It was popular in some church circles and rejected in others. In 546 CE Victor of Capua discovered a Latin translation of the Diatessaron and commissioned a copy to be made. This copy became known as Codex Fuldensis, and today it is the oldest complete surviving version of the Diatessaron.

There is much mystery surrounding this manuscript. Scholars would like to use Codex Fuldensis to reconstruct the wording of Tatian’s original Diatessaron, but as it currently stands, the Latin of Codex Fuldensis reads like Jerome’s Vulgate, a translation Jerome made in 383 CE, long after Tatian’s Diatessaron. Scholars have long assumed that the Diatessaron once existed in an older Latin form that predated Jerome and that Codex Fuldensis contains clues to this Old Latin version. Our work calls that assumption into question.

Investigating the capitula (similar to a table of contents) in Fuldensis and comparing them to other known capitula—and to the text of the harmony itself—suggests there never was an Old Latin Diatessaron. Instead, we propose that the first time Tatian’s Diatessaron was translated into Latin it was put into Vulgate form, as represented in Codex Fuldensis.