Sunday, April 20, 2014

Towards a Theory of Pseudo-Isidore: Addendum on the Priority of the Hispana

Teaching and other sundry chores generally force my blog into hibernation during the school year. But I’m turning on the lights for just a moment to make a quick point about the Hispana and its relationship to the A2 recension of Pseudo-Isidore.

When Zechiel-Eckes discovered three manuscripts that had been used by the Pseudo-Isidorian excerptores, he also discovered that, in at least one place, A2 followed the (clearly original) readings of one of these source manuscripts more closely than any of the other early recensions. In his later work, Zechiel-Eckes expanded his case for A2 priority, ultimately claiming that A2 represented the earliest product of the forgers. On this blog and in my other work, however, I have repeatedly characterized the Hispana as the most fundamental Pseudo-Isidorian product.

This difference of opinion exists for a great many reasons. Among these reasons are differing views on the scope and contemporary significance of Pseudo-Isidore’s anti-chorbishop polemic—something readers of this blog have already had a taste of, and something they’ll have to wade through a lot more of, as soon as the school year ends. The chorepiscopate is a rare arena wherein Pseudo-Isidore engages the opinion of his contemporaries directly, and will therefore come to interest us enormously.

But I want to set all that aside right now, and present some haphazard philological evidence that inauthentic Hispana interpolations predate A2. What follows is not the result of any systematic investigation (which I don’t have time for at the moment), but rather a few points resurrected from my notes. In other words: This should by no means be read as the extent of the evidence for Hispana priority. Nevertheless, it is strong evidence that the Hispana interpolator worked before A2 was compiled.

In a previous post, I enumerated and described the fourteen especially clear instances of inauthentic interpolation in the Hispana uncovered by Maassen. In discussing these passages, we noted that the interpolator’s interests seemed orthogonal to the interests of the decretal forgers. Of the fourteen passages at issue, eleven do not recur in the decretal forgeries at all. That is to say, the Hispana interpolators revised these passages, but the decretal forgers never bothered to cite them. Only c. 13 of Arles I, c. 11 of Toledo VI and Innocent's letter to Victricius of Rouen attracted the attention of both  the decretal forger and the Hispana interpolator. Of these three highly interesting texts, c. 11 of Toledo VI cannot help us decide questions of priority: The decretal forgers use only the title of this canon, and the interpolator removed a clause from the main text. Only c. 13 of Arles I and Innocent’s decretal are dispositive.

In every instance that A2 decretals cite the relevant passages from Arles I and Innocent, they attest to Hispana interpolations. As far as I have been able to tell, the decretals never incorporate the original, uninterpolated, Gallican versions of these passages. Either their allusions are too loose to permit a determination, or they are close enough to reveal dependence upon the interpolated Hispana.

We begin with Arles I. I highlight the Pseudo-Isidorian modifications of c. 13:
 ...quoniam multi sunt, qui contra ecclesiasticam regulam pugnare videntur et per testes redemptos putant se ad accusationem admitti debere, qui omnino non admittantur, nisi, ut supra diximus, actic publicis docuerint omni se suspicione carere.
 And behold this passage from Ps.-Viginus, JK +35:
Criminationes maiorum natu per alios non fiant, nisi per ipsos, qui crimina intendunt, si tamen ipsi digni et irrepraehensibiles apparuerint et actis publicis docuerint omni se suspicione carere et inimicitia atque irrepraehensibilem fidem ac conversationem ducere.
The first half of this text (Criminationesintendunt) comes from another source, but from “actis publicis” the source is clearly Arles I, as interpolated by Pseudo-Isidore. 

And note the similar passage in Ps.-Lucius, JK +123:
...placuit, ut criminationes maiorum natu per alios non fiant, nisi per ipsos, qui crimina intendunt, si tamen ipsi digni et irrepraehensibiles apparuerint et actis docuerint publicis omni se carere suspicione atque inimicitia....
And again, in Ps.-Dionysius, JK +139:
Crimina vero, quae episcopis impingere dicis, per alios non sinas ullo modo fieri nisi per ipsos, qui crimina intendunt, si tamen ipsi digni et irrepraehensibiles apparuerint et actis docuerint publicis omni se carere suspicione ac inimicitia...
All the Pseudo-Isidore manuscripts that Schon has taken into account, including the A2 representatives, attest to each of these Hispana interpolations . Maassen notes that the first two Hispana revisions to Arles I (“...ecclesiasticam regulam...” and “ accusationem...”) recur in other, non-Hispana recensions of Arles I. Yet the requirement to prove (via the acta publica) that one is above all suspicion ("... omni se carere suspicione...") comes from the Hispana interpolator alone. The interpolated canon also recurs in Benedictus Levita, at 1.401.

We move on to Innocent’s decretal to Victricius, JK 286. The third chapter, with Hispana revisions in bold, reads as follows:
Si quae causae vel contentiones inter clericos vel inter laicos et clericos superioris ordinis qam etiam inferioris fuerint exortae, placuit, ut secundum synodum Nicaenam congregatis omnibus eiusdem provinciae episcopis iudicium terminetur nec alicui liceat, sine praeiudicio tamen Romanae ecclesiae, cui in omnibus causis debetur reverentiam custodire, relictis his sacerdotibus, qui in eadem provincia Dei ecclesias nutu divino gubernant, ad alias convolare provincias, aut aliarum prius provinciarum episcoporum iudicium expeti vel pati. Quodsi quis forte praesumpserit, et ab officio cleri submotus et iniuriarum reus ab omnibus iudicetur. Si autem maiores causeae in medium fuerint devolutae, ad sedem apostolicam, sicut synodus statuit et beata consuetudo exigit, post iudicium episcopalte referantur.
As Maassen first noted, the Isidorus Mercator preface itself cites this same passage from Innocent’s decretal, complete with Hispana interpolations:
Legitur et in epistola Innocentii papae Victricio Rotomagensi episcopo directa ita: “Si quae causae vel contentiones inter clericos et laicos vel inter clericos tam maioris ordinis quam etiam inferioris fuerint exortae, placuit, ut secundum synodum Nicenam congregatis omnibus eiusdem provinciae episcopis iudicium terminetur,” et reliqua.
Maassen was particularly intrigued by the fact that the clericos/laicos interpolation did not exactly correspond with the enhanced Hispana text. In fact, though all Pseudo-Isidorian versions of this passage attempt to insert a reference to the laity where the original decretal discusses only clerici, they all do so in slightly different ways, as if a graphically confusing interlinear addition gave  rise to several diverse interpretations (all of which, however, have identical force). Isidorus Mercator’s citation, of course, also picks up the tell-tale “placuit” and “omnibus” retouchings: This is a clear citation from the interpolated Hispana.

The A2 recension includes Isidorus Mercator’s preface, and as was the case with Arles I, all the manuscripts Schon collated attest to these readings. You might object, however, that Isidore's preface does not, strictly speaking, belong at the head of A2. The preface describes the full, three-part Pseudo-Isidorian collection, but in A2 only the decretals from Part I and the start of Part III follow. The preface could be a later accretion to A2; I have, myself, raised this possibility in print. It is therefore fortunate to have Ps.-Marcellus, JK +160, from the body of A2, to confirm the anteriority of the Innocent interpolations:
Nec cui liceat sine praeiudicio Romanae ecclesiae, quae in omnibus causis debetur reverentia custodiri relictis his sacerdotibus, qui in eadem provincia Dei ecclesias nutu divino gubernant, ad alias convolare provincias vel aliorum provinciarum episcoporum iudicium expeti vel pati, sed omnibus eiusdem provinciae episcopis congregatis iudicium auctoritate huius sedis terminetur...
Once again, all the codices Schon has collated, including all A2 representatives, confirm the presence of the bolded Hispana interpolations.

A fuller investigation is necessary to establish whether and to what extent the decretal forgeries also attest to the benign revisions and corrections that constitute the majority of the Pseudo-Isidorian activity at the level of the Hispana. But this much is undeniable: In those rare instances where the decretals in A2 incorporate Hispana passages that have been supplied with inauthentic content by the Hispana interpolator, they always attest to the Hispana interpolations.

Brief remarks on what I think that means, and what I think it does not mean:

1) The Hispana was manifestly not interpolated to facilitate work on the decretal forgeries. As we have seen, the vast majority of the revised passages are never used by the decretal forger at all. The interpolator's views are not necessarily at odds with ideas advanced in  the decretal forgeries, but his opinions are less extreme and embrace a broader variety of issues, as we will see as soon as the summer finally, finally arrives.

2) Revisionary work on the Hispana began before work on the decretals of A2. Key passages had already been interpolated when the decretal forgers set to work. As far as I have been able to tell (but prove me wrong!), the decretal forgers used only the interpolated versions of these passages. In many cases, particularly with the Innocent decretal, their allusions are too loose to permit textual conclusions. But whenever they get close enough for us to tell, it turns out that the interpolated recension is the source. The clericos/laicos variants might even suggest that our decretal forgers worked from a manuscript wherein some of these interpolations existed as interlinear or marginal additions—the interpolators' working copy.

3) Future posts in this series will discuss an issue I have so far studiously avoided (for reasons that will become clear): Our sole complete witness to the interpolated Hispana, Vat. lat. 1341 (V1341), carries two decretal forgeries in the name of Damasus (text available here and here). One of these also recurs in A2 (see Schon's text); the other is taken up only in A1 and A/B (again, Schon's text). I am not at all convinced that the priority of the Hispana interpolations can be used to assert the priority of either of these Damasus forgeries, solely on the grounds that interpolations and forgeries reside alongside one another in V1341. We need to distinguish clearly between the interpolated Hispana, which was once available in as many as seven medieval manuscripts, and which was expanded with many decretal forgeries to yield the full three-part collection of Isidorus Mercator; and V1341, which is but one mid-century, possibly idiosyncratic witness to this complex text. We must be open to the possibility that the two decretal forgeries in Damasus’s name were added to V1341 well after the Hispana had been revised and interpolated (but before the specific sub-version in V1341 had come to be blended with the other decretal forgeries). The arguments that these two Damasus forgeries advance are markedly different—markedly more extreme and much more focused on the problem of episcopal accusations—than the views of whomever was responsible for revising the Hispana.

To be continued...

Back to Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart V or Part V Addendum.


  1. Interesting, and quite persuasive, as far as it goes.

  2. I really enjoy reading your blog. I wish I understood the Latin. Thank you for writing this.


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