Canonizing Paul: Ancient Editorial Practice and the Corpus Paulinum Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Scherbenske, Eric W.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Religious Studies
  • This dissertation investigates the use of the Corpus Paulinum as a vehicle for transmitting interpretation of Paul's letters. By utilizing practices developed in antiquity for the preparation of an author's corpus, such interpretation was conveyed via three main channels: the text and contents of a corpus along with ancillary materials to this corpus. Among the three iterations of Paul's corpus studied here, one (Marcion's edition) derives from the second century and two from the late fourth to sixth century (the edition created by a certain Euthalius and the Vulgate revision of the Latin versions, codified respectively in the sixth century manuscripts Codex Coislinianus and Codex Fuldensis). These collections illustrate the ways in which interpretations of what constituted authentic Pauline doctrine affected, on multiple levels, the shape of the corpus itself. This issue of authenticity structured activities from textual correction or emendation to the selection and arrangement of Paul's letters included in his corpus. In addition to framing the text and contents of his corpus in light of their hermeneutic, Marcion, Euthalius, and numerous editors of Latin editions of Paul's letters also deployed ancillary materials before and around the text (e.g. prologues, introductions, chapter headings, and biographies of Paul), through which their interpretations were explicitly transmitted. While ancillary materials became increasingly deployed for shaping interpretation, textual alteration for the same purpose diminished. This deployment of ancillary materials underscores a shift away from textual manipulation in earlier editions of Paul's letters to introduction as a mode of shaping interpretation in the later editions investigated in this study. Not merely transmitters of the text, editions of Paul's writings incorporated interpretations that were codified both in the text and in paratexts situated before and alongside the text. This dissertation thus opens up new avenues for exploring the role of manuscripts in transmitting interpretation beyond textual corruption to other facets such as the selection, arrangement, and introduction of Paul's letters.
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  • Ehrman, Bart D.
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