Thursday, July 4, 2019

Galatians 5:22-23: Have We Lost Some Fruit?

Gal. 5:22-23 in Codex Fuldensis.

            “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance:  against such there is no law.”  So reads Galatians 5:22-23 in the King James Version.  Practically all modern translations similarly translate the verse so as to contain a list of nine fruit of the Spirit – virtuous characteristics that the Christian whose life is rooted in the Holy Spirit will seek to express.
            In the ancient Latin Bible manuscript Codex Fuldensis, made in 536, there appear to be nine fruit in the list, but “Patience” is listed twice – once as “Longanimitas,” and as “Patientia,” which is written above the word “Longanimitas.”  The list looks like this:

English                                                Latin
The fruit of the Spirit is                      Fructus autem Spiritus est
Love                                                    Caritas
Joy                                                       Gaudium
Peace                                                   Pax
Longsuffering (Patience)                    Longanimitas (and Patientia, written above the line)
Kindness                                             Bonitas
Goodness                                            Benignitas
Faithfulness                                         Fides
Gentleness                                           Modestia
Temperance                                         Continentia                

            This sort of introduction of synonymous or almost-synonymous words resulted in the expansion of this list of fruit.   In the Vulgate – the Latin translation which served for over a thousand years as the de facto official text of the Christian churches in Western Europe – there are twelve fruit in this list:  the text of the 1582 Rheims New Testament lists “charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity.”
            Most Vulgate manuscripts list twelve fruit of the Spirit – with chastity as the final fruit.  For example, in the National Library of France, Latin MS 8847 lists twelve fruit of the Spirit:  (1) caritas, (2) gaudium, (3) pax, (4) longanimitas, (5) pacientia, (6) bonitas, (7) benignitas, (8) mansuetudo, (9) fides, (10) modestia, (11) continentia, and (12) castitas.  In the modern standard Vulgate text, these are the twelve fruit listed in Galatians 5:22-23, although in a different order.
            It is not surprising that early Latin translators would resort to translating one Greek word as two words in order to ensure the conveyance of the meaning of the Greek term.  What is surprising is that there is some Greek support for an additional tenth fruit in this list – not a lot, but some.  The addition of chastity is supported in the important early Greek-Latin manuscript known as Codex Claromontanus (06, the Latin text is known as VL 75).  In its Greek text, after ἐνκράτια [a corrector has inserted a small ε between τ and ι] – self-control – another word appears:  ἁγνία, that is, undoing an itacism, ἁγνεία, the equivalent of chastity.  Congruently, on the opposite page, in the Latin text of 06 (VL 75), after continentia – self-control – another word appears:  castitatis, which is also the equivalent of chastity. 
            Codex Claromontanus is generally assigned to the 400s or 500s – which means that it is among the oldest manuscripts of the Pauline Epistles.  Two other important Greek manuscripts – both of which present the text in Latin as well as in Greek – also support ἁγνεία as a tenth fruit of the Spirit:  the Greek manuscripts F (010, Codex Augiensis) and G (012, Codex Boernerianus).  The fruit in Codex Boernerianus are
(1) ἀγάπη / caritas (love)
(2) χαρά / gaudium (joy)
(3) ιρήνη / pax (peace)
(4) μακροθυμία / patientia (longsuffering)
(5) χρηστότης / mansuetudo (kindness)
(6) ἀγαθωσύνη / bonitas et benignitas (goodness)
(7) πίστεις / fides (faithfulness)
(8) πραότης / lenitas (gentleness)
 (9) ενκράτεια / continentia (self-control)
and (10) ἁγνεία / castitas (chastity).
            It seems that part of what we are seeing here is the result of a two-step process.  First, an early Latin translator did not feel obligated to translate a single Greek term as a single Latin term, and so he represented ἀγαθωσύνη as two terms:  bonitas et benignitas; he also translated ενκράτεια as two terms, continentia and castitas, attempting to capture the widest meaning of the term.  Μακροθυμία was sometimes rendered as patientia but sometimes as longanimitas, and then by both terms.  (Similarly, πραότης was represented in two different ways:  as lenitas or as modestia, but in this case, copyists chose one or the other.)  Thus what was expressed as nine traits in Greek was expanded into twelve traits in Latin.  (In theory, the three steps in which this was achieved might have been taken together, or individually.)
            Second, at the close of the list, someone who failed to perceive that two Latin terms continentia and castitas were intended to represent a single Greek term (ενκράτεια) retro-translated castitas into Greek, so as to produce the reading ἁγνεία.
            The Latin representation of a single fruit via two traits, so as to evoke its widest application, was very ancient.  Cyprian, a Latin-speaking bishop in the mid-200s, in his Treatise on the Lord’s Prayer, part 16, quoted Galatians 5:19-23a, finishing as follows:  “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, magnanimity, goodness, faith, gentleness, continence, chastity.”  His Latin text for verses 22-23 apparent contained the same loose expansion, in Latin, that eventually resulted in the reading ἁγνεία in a few manuscripts in which the Greek text was influenced by the Latin text that accompanies it.  
            So, if anyone compares the Vulgate to the Greek text of Galatians 5:22-23 and wonders, “Is the Greek text missing some fruit?” point him to the evidence:  multiple transmission-branches confirm that ενκράτεια (or εγκράτεια) is the last fruit on the list; these transmission-lines are represented by P46 A B C ℵ L (i.e., 020) 056 075 0122 33 88 205 323 945 1175 1424 1505 1611 1739 2147 2412 the Byzantine Text (hundreds of MSS) and the Peshitta.  The Greek text here has not lost any fruit; rather, the Latin text gained some fruit due to an early utilization of “dynamic equivalence” on the part of an early Latin translator or translators.    

Readers are invited to double-check the data in this post.

1 comment:

Wayne said...

Interesting. Thanks.