A modern instance of Homoioteleuton

Homoioteleuton is one of the many daunting words of textual criticism.  Fortunately, the word’s meaning is less daunting than its form.  Greek for “like ending,” it simply refers to a scribe skipping over a line (or more) while copying a manuscript, due to similar line endings.  I found an example this morning while working on the Origen manuscript: in my own transcription!

As I was reading back over my transcription, I came upon the following lines

μήποτε γὰρ κ’ἄν ἐξωβάλλει
ἀλλὰ εἶδός τι αὐτοῦ.

 

Something seemed amiss, (ἐξωβάλλει belongs in the subjunctive, for one) so I opened up the PDF of manuscript to the corresponding page.  Sure enough, I had made an error:

image

 

The three lines read,

.. θεόν, μήποτε γὰρ, κ’ἄν ἐξωβάλλῃ

τὸν φόβον, οὐχὶ ὅλον αὐτὸν ἐκβάλλει,

ἀλλὰ εἶδός τι αὐτοῦ. οἶδα γὰρ καὶ…

“[the question is] whether, when [love] casts

out fear, it does not cast it out entirely,

but only one form of it.  For I know that…”

[brackets merely provide context]

Sure enough, what I had as ἐξωβάλλει was actually in the subjunctive: ἐξωβάλλῃ.  Because the first two lines end in similar fashion (ἐξωβάλλῃ/ἐκβάλλει), it looks like I conflated the two readings to produce ἐξωβάλλει, and cut the intervening line.  The result didn’t make very much sense, and as a result I caught the error when reading over it. 

This was a humble reminder to me that I’m just as susceptible to all the various “scribal phenomena” as those who wrote the manuscripts I’m reading!  Textual work, then, as now, requires a careful hand and a careful eye if we’re to minimize errors like this one.

ἐν αὐτῷ,

ΜΑΘΠ

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