Re: Text of the Apostolic Fathers

From: Edgar M. Krentz (
Date: Mon Dec 04 1995 - 17:05:31 EST

Yoou wrote:
> I have two questions regarding the text of the AP. Is
>Lightfoot's version considered adequate for scholarly use
>(I hsve to prepare chapters to sight-translate) or do I need to get the Loeb
>edition? Also, can anyone explain to me why Lightfoot's version seems to use
>a font set that is so very different from what we see in printed Greek texts
>these days? It's taking some getting used to to read c as a sigma.
Question 2: I checked my copy of Lightfoot's five volumes (1889-1890) to
see what font he used. Cambridge University Press used a font based on
Roman era Greek inscriptions for citations (OT or otherwise) both in
Lightfoot's Apostolic Fathers and in Westcott and Hort's GNT. The lunar
sigma, in both rounded and squared shapes, is found often in these
inscriptions. If you are interested, get the volume on the excavations at
_Gerasa_, ed. by Carl H. Kraeling (New Hven: American Schools of Oriental
Research, 1938) and read C. Bradford Welles' section on inscriptions (pp.
355-616). Welles gives tables that show the different alphabets used there.
The lunar sigma was also used frequently in texts published in the last 100
years. One good example is the major work entitled _Poimandres. Studien zur
griechisch-aegyptischen und fruehchristlichen Literature_ by R.
Reitzenstein (Leipzig: B. G. Teubner, 1904).

One mark of scholarship in Greek is the ability to read various Greek fonts
and hands. Take a look at the plates in Aland's work on the NT text and see
how many interesting alphabets there are. Even better, get E. Maunde
Thompson's great work _An Introduction to Greek and Latin Palaeography
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1912), or the much slighter _Short Manual of
Greek Palaeograpny by B. A. van Groningen (Leiden: A. W. Siojthoff, 1955)
and work through his tables. Then reading different printed fonts or even
different modes of transliteration will be a breeze. Keep at it and you
will no longer find it strange.

Question 1, re critical texts of the Apostolic Fathers. As far as preparing
for translation examinations is concerned either Lightfoot or the LCL
edition (K. Lake) will do. Equally useful is the editio Minor, _Patrum
Apostolicorum Opera_, ed. O. v. Gebhardt, A. v. Harnack, and T. Zahn
(Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1920). If you are looking for a critical edition
of the texts based on the MSS, neither is up to date.

The standard one volume critical edition is _Die apostolischen Vaeter_,
3rd. ed. after the Funk edition by Karl Bihlmeyer (with addenda by W.
Schneemelcher) Tuebingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1970 (That is vol. 1 that covers
Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Papias, Quadratus, and the epistle of

_The Apostolic Fathers. Greek Texts and English Translations of their
Writings_, 2nd ed by J. B. Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer, edited and revised
by Michael W. Holmes (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1992) presents a text
with a very slight critical apparatus.

The best criticial edition at present, in my opinion, of Clement, Ignatius,
Polycarp, and Quadratus is _Die apostolischen Vaeter griechisch und
deutsch_, edited by Joseph A. Fischer (Muenchen: Koesel, 1956; also
Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft).

The second volume is titled _Dicache (Apostellehre) Barnabasbrief Zweiter
Klemensbrief Schrift an Diognet_, ed. Klaus Wengst Schriften des
Urchristentums II. (Darmstadt: Wissenschkaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1984).

If you are using the text only to prepare for a Greek examination, any one
of them will do. If you mean to cite the text in an historical or
theological argument, then either the Bihlmeyer or Fischer-Wengst editions
are musts.

One danger of asking a question like this is that you may get more
information than you wanted; it's a topic that clearly interests me--and
should interest anyone who wants to say something in textual criticism.

Peace, Ed Krentz

Edgar Krentz, New Testament
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Tel.: 312-256-0752; (H) 312-947-8105

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