Euthymius Zigabenus’ Commentary on the Epistles exists in 8 manuscripts, for which I want to eventually create a complete critical edition.
But besides making that critical edition, one thing that I need to do is to create an index (or a table of contents, if you will) of each manuscript, to be able to know at a glance what content each page of a given manuscript contains.
One of the difficulties that I’ve run into in my translation of the commentary is not being able to easily compare Nikiforos Kalogeras‘ edition (which is a printed edition of the 16th c. Biblioteca Casanatense 1395 manuscript) with the other manuscripts, if I hit a word or phrase that I either have doubts about or am really struggling with.
One instance, for example, where looking at another manuscript has been absolutely crucial is in the Commentary on Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians 2:21, where Biblioteca Casanatense 1395 lacks any commentary for the line that says “Οὐκ ἀθετῶ τὴν χάριν τοῦ Θεοῦ,” that is, in English, “I do not set aside the grace of God.” Kalogeras adds commentary in square brackets and has a footnote that says “Τὰ παρεντεθειμένα ταῦτα ἐλήφθησαν ἐκ τῆς ἑρμηνείας τοῦ Θεοφυλάκτου πρὸς συμπλήρωσιν τοῦ κενοῦ,” that is, in literal English, “These things in parentheses were taken from the commentary of Theophylact to fill in the blank.” (See Kalogeras’ edition in the link above, pg. 520)
For the above, I believe I consulted two other manuscripts (I can’t remember, since it’s been so long, but one of them would definitely have been Vat. gr. 1501, since it is easy to read) to see what they had as commentary for that part of Gal. 2:21. I used what I found there in my translation, which is “Τὴν διὰ τοῦ Χριστοῦ γεγενημένην εὐεργεσίαν, εἰς ἐμὲ τὲ καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην, ἐντρέπει δὲ αὐτοὺς ὁ λόγος, ὡς ἀθετοῦντας αὐτὴν τῷ ζητεῖν τὸν Νόμον,” that is, in English, “Which became through Christ a good work for both me and for the entire world. But the discourse puts them, who set aside grace by examining the law, to shame.”
[P.S. The word εὐεργεσία, in the commentary above, I find difficult to translate into English. In the LSJ, it has as definitions “well-doing” (a bit awkward in English, but I think I’ve used “doing good” before) and “kindness” or “good deed” (neither of which capture the real meaning/nuance of God doing eternally good things for us).]
This examination of multiple manuscripts to see what is missing or what differences exist between them is what creating a critical edition is for. But looking through hundreds of pages of handwritten Greek Minuscule to find a single verse takes a lot of time and energy, so I’ve decided to dedicate some of my free time each day (after my daily translation quota is satisfied) towards creating a complete index for each manuscript, so I can look up what page a given verse is on and flip to it immediately.
I’ve completed one index so far. It was the smallest one, so I did it first. You can find it on the Critical Edition page, here. Two of the manuscripts are going to be very difficult to work with due to either wear/damage or due to sloppy handwriting. More on that another time.
In the next week or so, I’ll probably add to that same Critical Edition page some practical things, like an explanation of what folios are, an explanation of how to read the manuscript citations, and maybe some other things like that.