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Wort- und Formenvielfalt

Festschrift für Christoph Koch zum 80. Geburtstag. Unter Mitarbeit von Daniel Petit


Edited By Anna Jouravel and Audrey Mathys

Die Festschrift ehrt Christoph Koch, Professor für Vergleichende und Indogermanische Sprachwissenschaft an der Freien Universität Berlin. Zu seinem 80. Geburtstag vereint der Band wissenschaftliche und persönliche Beiträge von Kollegen, Schülern und Freunden. Sie umfassen verschiedene Bereiche der historischen und modernen Sprachwissenschaften wie der Indogermanistik, der Byzantinistik, der Slavistik oder Baltistik, greifen kunsthistorische und editionsphilologische Fragestellungen auf und spiegeln somit das breite Spektrum der Interessens- und Forschungsgebiete des Jubilars wider.

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To Pass a Rope Through the Eye of a Needle: The Influence of Byzantine Catenae and Homiliaries on the Greek, Church Slavonic, and Old Romanian Readings of Matthew 19,24

Adrian Pirtea


The “camel passing through the eye of a needle” is one of the most famous parables of Jesus in the synoptic Gospels (Mt 19,24, Mc 10,25, Lc 18,25). While the overwhelming majority of New Testament manuscripts attest the reading κάμηλος (“camel”) in these verses, a small group of Greek witnesses, together with the early Armenian and Georgian translations, attest the variant κάμιλος (“thick rope”). Some Patristic and Byzantine authors even understood the first term, κάμηλος, as a type of nautical rope. Although clearly secondary, this interpretation led to some interesting exegetical elaborations in later Christian literature. This paper intends to retrace the history of this alternative reading in the New Testament manuscript tradition and discuss its reception in Patristic authors and in the Byzantine and post-Byzantine periods. In particular, I will focus on a few hitherto overlooked examples of this reception: the Slavonic translation of Methodius of Olympus’ De lepra (CPG 1815), and the Slavonic, Greek and Old Romanian versions of Neagoe Basarab’s Teachings to his son Theodosius (ca. 1520).

The translation of the term κάμηλος in Mt 19,24 (cf. Mc 10,25, Lc 18,25) as “thick rope” or “nautical rope” has been met with criticism and even scorn from very early on in the history of Christian exegesis. Already the anonymous Pelagian treatise De divitiis, written between 408 and 414, calls the interpretation of camelus as “nautical rope” (nautico quodam fune) a lame argument (miserrimum argumentum), invented by rich people who wished to weaken the radicality...

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