Utrum in alterum abiturum erat? A Study of the Beginnings of Text Transmission in Church Slavic (The Prologue to the Gospel Homiliary by Constantine of Preslav, the Text On the Script and the Treatise On the Letters by Anonymous Authors)

William R. Veder

Texts handed down from generation to generation in manuscript form must be asked the fundamental question "Of two readings, which is more likely to have been corrupted into the other?" This question, which can be traced at least as far as Erasmus of Rotterdam's critical commentaries on the Gospels, examines directionality of change in text transmission, paramount to all other considerations in establishing texts. It guides the student to the fundamental accidents of manuscript transmission of texts and leads him to recognise such otherwise elusive phenomena as coincidental variation in unrelated manuscripts. Without a considered response to this question, no claim as to a text's authenticity can be validated. The study examines three texts, written by the second and third generations of Slavic literati, Constantine of Preslav's "Prologue" to the Gospel Homiliary (Pliska, before AD 893) and the anonymous texts "On The Script" and "On The Letters", based on the former (both Preslav, before ca. 935). It provides a computer&endash;aided reconstruction (described step by step) of the prehistory of 154 Cyrillic manuscripts (12th - 19th centuries), and distills from it the data furnished by 13–16 eyewitnesses to the originals, written in Glagolitic script. As the texts are initmately concerned with the Slavic alphabet, it also examines the evidence they provide as to its earliest reconstructible state and its subsequent development. At every juncture, the study shows which conclusions can and cannot be drawn from the comprehensive analysis of the history of the transmission of the texts. The inquiry presupposes nothing but fundamental reading skills of Church Slavic. It progressively builds up insight into both the Cyrillic renderings and the Glagolitic originals of the texts, as well as the problems of comprehension of their idiolects. All Church Slavic data are provided with English translations; wherever available, Greek sources, models or parallels are given in full. A comprehensive glossary and a detailed subject index make this a handbook for any student of Church Slavic language and literature, history of text transmission and acculturation. William R. Veder teaches Slavic linguistics at the University of Amsterdam. His publications include The Scaliger Paterikon (4 vols., English and Church Slavic, incl. facsimiles, Zug, 1976–1984), The Edificatory Prose of Kievan Rus' (English, together with A.A. Turilov, Cambridge 1994) and Church Slavic and Its Texts (Russian, together wirh A.S. Gerd, St. Petersburg 1999). For his achievements in Slavic textual criticism, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Veliko Turnovo.

Introduction 5
The Texts 7
Visions of Textology 9
Textology and Textual Paleontology 14
Searching for Compatibility 16
The Witnesses 16
Recording Testimonies 20
Sorting Testimonies 22
Identifying Variation 26
Establishing and Explaining Variants 32
Establishing Compatibility 36
Establishing Direct Filiation 40
Establishing Contamination 44
Establishing Incompatibility 50
Incompatibility in P and S 52
Reconciling Incompatibilities 56
The Edition 59
Text and Commentary The Prologue to the Gospel Homiliary 61
The Text On The Script and the Treatise On The Letters 88
The Reconstructed Texts P: The Prologue to the Gospel Homiliary 153
S: The Text On the Script 158
L: The Treatise On the Letters 159
The Three Alphabets 168
Conclusion The Dating and Localisation of the Works 179
The Beginnings of Transmission 182
The Development of the Text 186
The Transmission of the Language 189
Epilogue 191
Word Index to the Texts 193
Bibliography 229
Subject Index 235