The Belgian Museum 16 (1912), pp.181-240






Professor at the University of Liége

It is known that the manuscript tradition1 of the Apologeticum differs from that of other works of Tertullian. This eloquent defense of Christianity, free of the Montanist heresy, had probably more readers and a larger and longer vogue than the other treatises. At all events, the three principal manuscripts ofApologeticum are:

1. The Codex Parisinus 1623 (P), which contains only the Apologeticum. It is in parchment and of a beautiful writing of the 10th century. On the first page, one reads: Claudii Puteanj. The title is: Apologeticum Tertulliani of ignorantia in Christo Iesu2.

2. The Codex Montispessulanus H, 54 (M), on parchment, of a very readable writing, but much less well looked after, of the 11th century. It is a big folio with two columns. There remain 1213 columns. After six other writings of Tertullian, the Apologeticum fills columns 1119 to 1213, but the end is lacking, after the words inculcationibus densamus of chap. 39, 3. At the head of the ms one reads: Tertulliani opera ex libris collegii Oratorii Trecensis (Troyes); on the last page, it carries these words: P. Pithoei. It thus belonged to Pierre Pithou and after the death of the famous jurisconsult (1596), it passed to the library of the town of Montpellier. At the head of the Apologeticum, one reads: Apologiticum Tertulliani Cap(ut) de ignorantia in Christo Iesu.

The first of these two manuscripts is much superior to the second for the correction of the text. Both belong to the same family of the manuscript tradition, because they resemble each other much, as one will see. This family included all the corpus of the writings of Tertullian3 (1), while the third ms, which we will describe, represents a special tradition of the Apologeticum.

3. The Codex Fuldensis (f) which we do not know any more except by the collation made in the 16th century by Modius. This ms differed so much from the preceding ones that one must admit that it derives from a completely different recension, older or at least better.

What is usually said of the collation of Modius is so inaccurate, that we must briefly reprise the history.

The philologist François de Maulde4, Flemish gentleman, was an ardent researcher and collator of manuscripts. From September to December 1584, he remained in Fulda to plunder the mss of the rich library of the monastery5 and in particular the ms which contained the Apologeticum and the treatise Adversus Iudaeos. His collation of these two writings is made according to the edition published into 1580 by Laurens de la Barre, in Paris. He did not make use of it, but from him during his life, it passed into the hands of Mr. Welser of Augsburg who communicated it to Gaspar Schoppius.

He sent it to Franciscus Junius who was occupied in printing a new edition of Tertullian and received it too late to profit it from it. He found in it such excellent readings he printed it in its entireity in an appendix to his edition which appeared in 1597 (Franekerae, 2 vols.)6. Thus it was preserved to us, and that is fortunate, because the mss of Fulda were dispersed and fruitless searches have been one made to relocate that of Tertullian.

The edition of Junius itself became rare: it is in vain that we sought it in Belgium and Mr. Callewaert had to refer some to the critical apparatus of Oehler to write the interesting study which we quoted above. It is because of this scarcity that the collation of Junius is often spoken about without having seen it and that errors made by others are repeated.

That is extremely regrettable, because it was necessary to solve the question of knowing if the tradition represented by this ms is better than the other, and to solve this delicate problem it was essential to have an exact idea of the codex Fuldensis7.

However here there is a serious error which has always been transmitted from one editor to another. The collation of Modius, such as one finds it in Junius, is regarded as giving only the variants drawn from the Fuldensis codex. This error would have been avoided if the foreword of Franciscus Junius had been attentively read8, which gives us the history of the collation of Modius. Because of its importance, we reproduce it here.


Quum hoc Septimii Tertulliani opus totum iam adornatum esset, commode scripsit e Noricis iuvenis eruditissimus et horum studiorum amantissimus Gaspar Schoppius Francus ad me, et se instituto meo faventem praebuit officiosissime. Misit enim opportune accessionem huius operis non contemnendam, quam cum meis notis et observationibus publico iuri addicerem. Est autem haec accessio, variantium lectionum in Apologeticum et librum adversus Iadaeos indiculus, quas ex MSS. membranarum collatione ante complureis annos praesertim ex MS. Fuldensis symbole, vir doctissimus Franciscus Modius Brugensis observaverat. Habuerat eas apud se vir amplissimus M. Velserus Augustanus Consularis et Annalium scriptor accuratissimus perdiu. Et ne semper iacerent otiosae, cum Schoppio antiquitatis scientissimo amice communicaverat. Horam itaque fide, Christiane Lector, visum est variantes lectiones illas reliquo operi nostro adtexere, et suo auctori reddere : quod officium nec illis ingratum confido fore a quibus oblatum est nec inutile Reip. litterariae nostrae. Habet enim hic Indiculus variantes lectiones sanequam optimas et quae auctoris stilum tam sapiunt quam quod maxime. Id quidem verum est collationem fuisse factam cum eo exemplari quod Renatus Laurentius Lutetiae Parisiorum anno MDLXXX Barraeo auctore ediderat. Quod exemplar multis modis superavit Pamelianae editionis fides, quae post biennium ferme sequuta est. Atque hinc factum, ut auctoris verba ad quae variae lectiones adscribuntur, Parisiensi illi editioni respondeant. Sed haec res adiumento potius Lectori diligenti, quam impedimento futura est. Sic enim videtur magis publico commodatum esse, quum et Barreanae lectionis habentur rudera, et Pamelianae emendationis (quarum multae praerogativo suffragio optimi illius MS Fuldensis et auctoritate firmantur) ante oculos sunt, et multae etiam longe meliores utraque illa ex ms. proferuntur. Nolim gravissimo auctori rem suam, Schoppio nostro et aliis per quos res haec collata est laudem suam, pio Lectori fructum suum interverti : cum iuris praeceptum commune sit, IUS SUUM CUIQUE TRIBUERE. Tu itaque, Christiane Lector, his feliciter utare et Vale.

It is necessary to note these words: Varantium lectionum in Apologeticum and librum adversus Iudaeos indiculus, quas ex MSS membranarum collatione handle complureis annos praesertim ex ms Fuldensis ******, vir doctissimus Franciscus Modius Brugensis observaverat.

It is all that we know of the variants of Modius: they come from the collation of the mss of Tertullian and especially of the ms of Fulda, says Junius, therefore not only from the Fuldensis codex, as was believed until now.

From where did this fatal error come? Perhaps from Junius himself who speaks only about one ms at the end of the same foreword and which, in the indiculus, gives as source of each alternative only the manuscript or a manuscript (ms). The distinction which is made initially is however so plain and so clear that we do not have the right to hesitate: the variants of Modius are drawn from more than one source. If Junius, after Modius undoubtedly, abstains from specifying in his indiculus, if he always repeats ms, as if all the alternatives were drawn from the same codex, this fact could not prevail against the sentence quoted above. They are thus each time one ms and not the ms. There is certainly there a strange defect of method, ascribable to Modius: he should have distinguished the mss collated by him and indicated the source of each reading. It is a misfortune that he did not do this, but there is no reason not to believe the statement of Junius.

It is thus wrongly that one always allots to the Fu1densis codex all the lessons preserved by Modius and it is undoubtedly the cause for which one could not resolve the value of this ms. Concurrently with excellent readings, of obvious authenticity, Modius noted obviously false readings.

Will it ever be possible to separate what comes from the Fuldensis and what belongs to the other mss of Modius? Undoubtedly not, unless we allot to the Fuldensis what is obviously good and to the others what is obviously bad. But it would be a vicious circle, because that would be to declare in advance that Fuldensis is an excellent ms, the best mss of Tertullian and that is precisely the question at issue.

If this is so, it will be necessary to continue to be eclectic, as one did up to now, and to judge value of each alternative separately.

But we do not intend to discuss here this so significant question for the establishment of the text of the Apologeticum ; we want only to put under the eyes of the reader the elements which we have to solve it. There is, on the one hand, the text even of the collation of Modius that more than one friend of Tertullian will be happy to see reprinted because of the scarcity of the edition of Junius; there is, in addition, a complete collation of the two manuscripts which we described, from the best tradition common to the corpus Tertullianeum. We took for base the recent edition of Rauschen, much superior to all the others, and we noted only the differences that both mss present with this edition9.

Without wanting to enter the discussion, we will make an observation. It often happens that Parisinus l623 and Montispessulanus H, 54, on the one hand, present a very acceptable reading and that on the other hand the very different reading from Fuldensis would be just as easily appropriate. The difference between the two equally good readings is not tiny: it often relates to several words at the same time. Can one believe that such large differences come from a scribe or from an editor? or should not it be wondered rather whether Tertullian, who revisited his writings and translated them into Greek, did not produce himself a re-examined and corrected edition, from which the codex Fuldensis would derive? For the moment, we do not want to pronounce either way.

We owe to Mr. H. Hoppe the knowledge of one ms from the Stadtbibliothek of Bremen, C, 48, which contains a significant fragment of the collation of Modius, chap. 1 to the end of chap. XIV10. This ms does not differ much from Junius, but it differs from it too much to be copied from the edition of 1597. It is probably a copy made from the autograph of Modius, because it cannot be the beginning of the autograph itself, as thinks iLehmann, who says (p. 80) that the ms of Bremen is in the hand of Modius. We will indicate by B the alternatives of the ms of Bremen, that the librarian of the city agreed to send to us at the University of Liége. These alternatives, although not very many, are enough to prove that Junius did not always reproduce completely correctly the manuscript notes of Modius and this observation does not lack importance.

Finally let us say that we do not note the many spelling-mistakes of M, such as reddarguimus (I, 5), hoderunt (ib.), condempnat (1, 6), caessant (ib.), estimationem (1, 8), inquid (1, 10).

1. p.181 n.1. On the mss. of Tertullian, see. Mr. Schanz, Gesch. DER roem. Literatur, III2 (1903), p. 549-550, where one will find quoted work of Klussmann, Kroymann, Callewaert, etc.

2. p.181 N 2. The words of ignorantia in Christo Iesu should form the title of the first chapter.

3. p.182 n.1. The tradition common to the corpus is represented by another ms, which unfortunately does not contain the Apologeticum : it is codex Parisinus l622 or Agobardinus, older (9th century), and more correct than the others.

4. p.182 n.2 François de Maulde or Modius was born in Oudenbourg in Flanders on August 4 1556. He died in Aire, where he was a canon on January 22 1597. See L Roersch in the History of Oudenbourg (Bruges, 1878) by E Feys and D. Van de Casteele, t.l, p.595-600; A. Roersch, note in the national Biography, T XIV. col. 921-935; The library of François Modius (192nd delivery of Bull hist. Company of the Antiquarians of Morinie, 1900); Adventures of a Flemish gentleman (General Review, Brussels, May-June 1907); Characteristics relating to Modius (Belgian Museum, January 1908, with portrait of Modius). This last article is a supplement with the significant work of Paul Lehmann, Franciscus Modius als Handschriftenforscher (Munich, C H. Beck, 1908. 152 pp.), in Quellen und Untersuch. zur latein. Philology of Mittelalters hrsg. von L Traube, II1, 1). Also see: C Callewaert, the Fuldensis Codex the best ms of Apologeticum of Tertullian (Revue hist. et de litt. relig., vol. VII, 1902, Nos 2 and 3).

5. p.183 n.1. The bibl. royal of Munich has one ms autograph of Modius (Codex Gallicus 399), where he says himself: Id. Sept. veni Fuldam, ubi excussi bibliothecam illam nobilem usque 12 Decembris 1584. See Lehmann, p. 68; Callewaert, p. 324.

6. p.183 n.2 Modius had died on January 22 of the same year, at 40 years of age. A. Roersch in the Belgian Museum, 1908, p. 83.

7. p.183 n.3. On this problem, see the article of C.Callewaert, city p. 182, N 1, and the Foreword of G Rauschen, in its edition of the Apologeticum. According to Callewaert, the Fuldensis Codex is the best ms of the Apologeticum; it is free from intentional corrections. Rauschen admits that the Fuldensis Codex is superior to the others, but not that it is free from intentional corrections; according to him, it is thus necessary to make a choice among the variants.

8. p.184 n.1 On the title page, this appendix is not mentioned.

9. p186 n.1. the edition of the Apologeticum, that Mr. H. Hoppe is reparing for the Corpus scriptorum eccl. lat. from Vienna, will undoubtedly give us the principal alternatives of all the mss. While waiting for it to appear, we believe we will render service by publishing our work.

10 p.187 n.1. This ms is 17 cm. high and 10 wide. It contains variants of Paul Diacre, S. Cyprian, Tertullian, etc. It is of a beautiful regular writing, of 16th century humanistic style. Pages 131-146: Alternatives lectiones in Tertulliani Apologeticum adversus gentes and Librum adversus Iudaeos ex manuscripto Fuldano skirts optimo. Collatus is autem ille scriptus codex cum editione Renati Laurentii Paris. ao 80. - This copy of Bremen was not made from Junius; it differs too much from it. It is not the autograph of Modius either, because it is incomplete and one reads at the end (p. 140): Cetera empties in editione Iuniana. The copyist thus seems to have copied directly from the ms of Modius; arriving at page 140, he appears to have realised that his work was useless, the ms of Modius having been printed by Junius, and he refers to that for the remainder.

[collation follows - omitted pp188-240 - does anyone want this?]

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