St.Thomas

St.Thomas

Sunday, 8 April 2012

VATICAN SYRIAC CODEX: 22 – A reply to Nasrani.net

VATICAN SYRIAC CODEX: 22 – A reply to Nasrani.net

Happy to read ‘nasrani.net’ response to my post dated 03/04/12 named  VATICAN SYRIAC CODEX: 22 -ANOTHER MANIPULATION? The post in my blog was not an original but my post in Orkut  forum  (Indian Orthodox) answering an enquiry regarding ‘Mar Yacob ‘and ‘Vatican Syriac Codex22.’ After posting it in this blog I tried two times to give the details in ‘nasrani.net’ but the admin deleted it without any reason. I wonder why these educated people are afraid of discussions. Any way let me study his post.

There is no new information in the nasrani.net other than the repeated claims of its authenticity without answering my doubts. I have already given the link to the description about the Vatican Syriac Codex :22 By Katholic Scholar J.P.M VAN DER PLOEG O.P. in his famous book called THE SYRIAC MANUSCRIPTS OF ST.THOMAS CHRISTIANS (page187-189)in my earlier post . The Admin of NSC site copy paste (along with his changes ) it to prove the codex’s veracity. But the J.P.M. Van Der  Ploeg himself is contradicting in his book about the said Catholicos Yahballah V ( see  Page 4th and page 188). This I have clearly noted with quotes in my first post dated 03/04/12 in this Blog. The scholar himself is assuming that the boy scribe might have mistaken when he himself is not sure about what he writes. Even considering this as a mistake by the scholar won’t make the MSS authentic until and unless provided by some solid evidences because assumptions without circumstantial evidences will not make history!

--------The MS is the oldest one known to have been copied in Kerala. Levi della Vida remarks that it was rebound in “legatura europea” of the 16th century (op. cit., p. 176). On the first leaf, of the same time as the binding and added to the book, mention is made of Portuguese personalities, whereas a European hand of the 16th century wrote in Italian an indication of the contents : “The epistles for the Sundays of St Paul for the whole year in Chaldean characters and language.” This is followed by a note in small ES script, attributed by L.d.V. to Mar Joseph (op. cit., p. 526 ; see also tavola X, 2). The note indicates the readings of Genesis and Isaiah for the 1st Sunday of sûbara (= Advent ; Gen 17, 1 ss. ; Is 42, 18 ss.). This is followed in somewhat thicker characters by the Portuguese name Gela Fonseca, the pronunciation of which is secured by the addition of an Arabic gim under the g and fa under the p.-------- this is from J.P.M VANDER PLOEG’S Book (the link is already given)
What do you understand from this explanation? It is Levi Della Vida attribute the small ES script to Mar Joseph (it is his opinion and what is the basis of that opinion?). There is Italian scripts denoting content information and a Portuguese name Gela Fonseca using Arabic gim under  g and fa under the p. What does it mean? The writing (manipulation) is done by some one who knew the Middle east languages. Now what is the difference in script noted by the said Mar Joseph and the Original script? Who is this great man called Gela Fonseca? We have to do a lot of home work before claiming anything based on a document (forged?) hidden in Vatican.
---------According to J. P. M. van der Ploeg, this book may have been in the hands of the Portuguese. It was given by “Gela Fonseca” to Mar Joseph Sulaka who took it with him on his last journey to Rome. Mar Joseph Sulaka, is the brother of Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Simon VIII Sulaqa ( 1551-1555). Mar Joseph Sulaka was consecrated as the Bishop of India by Chaldean Catholic Church Patriarch Abdisho IV( 1555-1571) in 1557 or 1558.Mar Joseph died in Rome in 1569.3  (from Nasrani.net)-------
Now see what J.P.M Vander pleog exactly says in his book . -----The book may have been in the hands of the Portuguese and given by the pious Gela to Mar Joseph, who took it with him on his last journey to Rome.------(Page 188) this is an opinion of J.P.M.V. PLOEG based on the assumption of Levi Dell Vida that the small E.S. script might have the work of one Mar Joseph. This is the way in which our desperate Syriac Church Historians create history!
Question of the Syriac script used in the Codex.
Which is the script used by scribe to copy the codex? Are there more than one script used to copy the codex? Whether the script used by the scribe is in Estrangelo or East Syriac (Madnhaya)? Without answering this we will not be able to find the truth behind the so called Codex:22. As I stated earlier in my previous post if any mixing of script will indicate a forged origin of this codex. So far no linguist has done any thorough study about the script used in this codex.
Yes I am aware that the J.P.M.V. states in bracket –Estrangelo- but later uses E.S to denote the script and also interesting to note that he uses E.S. for majority of later day MSS. See in the case of codex 17------Vat.syr17. A volume of 480ff.(478+2)15x10 1/2cms 1col21-23 lines E.S.-----(page186),---vat. Syr.4.A volume of 285ff,20x15 1/2cms,1col.,21-24 lines;6 pages are blank E.S.----- (page 186).He uses W.S. whenever West Syriac is applicable.
Now let me consider another option that the said codex is written Estrangelo in east syriac dialect(Whole portion) then it can be proved genuine provided that the other objection like the church mentioned, lack of information and record about Mar Yacob(with Malankara & COE) , contradiction about the  Mar Yahballah V, question about the liturgy of the church of Kokhe, lack of information in contemporary historians of  Madnhayo syriac orthodox as well as Nestorian, the  mortal remains of the said Mar Yacob etc. That is why I think it is the work of an over enthusiastic Propagandist church historians(or a group) whom are eagerly looking for evidences to prove their Church allegiances. 
There is another information from J.P.M.VAN DER PLOEG Book regarding Yahballah V (page 8)-------the first of these was Mar Joseph, brother of the deceased Patriarch SimonVIII sulaqa,who had died as a martyr for the union of his church with Rome(1551-1555).he has been  succeeded by AbdishoIV maron(1555-1571),former bishop of Gazarta .His successors were Yahballah V(1578-1580) and simon IX(1581-1600). All of them lived in union with Rome. ---------- Things are pretty clear now!
I wonder why Vatican keeps these types of MSS secretly without allowing any secular scholars to study and research on it.
----------There are scores of evidence from extant manuscripts associating many East Syrian prelates with India and the hierarchical relationship Church of India shared with Patriarch of Seleucia- Ctesiphon of the Church of East. There are references about David of Basrah ( ca.295 AD), John of Persia and Greater India ( 325 AD), Mar Komai ( 425 AD), Ma’na of Riwarddasir ( Persia) ( 470 AD), a Persian bishop whose name is not known ( 535 AD),  Patriach Sabrisho I ( 6/7th century), Bishop Thomas ( 8th century), Mar Sabrisho and Mar Peroz ( 9th century), Mar Jacob (14th Century).Precise evidence is available in the letters of two East Syrian Patriarchs, Mar Ishoyahb III ( 647/8 or 650/1) and Mar Timothy I ( 780-823 AD). Patriarch Thimothy in 8th Century calls Archdeacon ( Arken), head of faithful of India. -----------(nasrani.net)
Detailed discussion is there revealing the truth about the so called east Syriac connection in this link
-----According toBishop Francis Roz ( 1604 AD) who succeeded Mar Abraham , based on a Chaldean book he has read, there were three Churches in Cranganore. One was dedicated to the Apostle Thomas, another one to Saint Kuriakose, and  the third one was dedicated to Our Lady.-------  (nasrani .net)
Which is the book and where are these churches now? Did any one do any study or excavations to find those three Churches? People have memory or created myth about our so called 7 ½ churches but forgot about 14th century headquarters of Metropolitan who ruled the church of Malankara. Today many of the secular historians attribute the presence(considerable) of Nazranies in Kodungalur later than 14th  century.
 A Case study.
There is a strong chance that this MSS most probably a forged one because the respective church historians has a habit of doing this to prove their side.
Have you heard a historian called Alphonse Mingana?
Alphonse Mingana; was an Assyrian theologian, historian, orientalist and a former priest who is best known for collecting and preserving the Mingana Collection of ancient Middle Eastern manuscripts at Birmingham. Like the majority of Assyrians in Zakho, his family belonged to the Chaldean Catholic Church. This “ Katholica Katha Nayakan” in 1907 started the publication of series he called “Sources Syriaques” of which only one volume appeared in two parts .The first part contain the so called chronicle of Arbela that Mingana attribute to MISHIHA ZKHA.
The Chronicle of Arbela or Mshiha-Zkha (1907)
The so-called 'Chronicle of Arbela' is one of the enigmas that Mingana buried with him in the tomb. I am not sure we can make full sense of it, but I will try to give as much information as possible, interpreting the facts we possess.
i) A modern manuscript made old and Its success
In 1907, Mingana started the publication of a series he called 'Sources Syriaques', of which only one volume appeared, in two parts (271 + 204 pages) (52). The first part contains the so-called 'Chronicle of Arbela' that Mingana attributed to Mshiha-Zkha. He published the Syriac text with a French translation (p 1-168).
This text became very famous. On the 21 October 1907, that is to say immediately after the publication of the document by Mingana, the Preussische Staatsbibliothek of Berlin acquired the MS for 3500 French Francs (plus the expedition expenses), on the assumption that it was from the 10th century.
In fact, an expert examination done in the 1960s established that the MS was written in our century, and was deliberately made to look older by means of fire, wax etc. The copyist is even known: he was the priest Abraham Shakwana of Alqosh (52b), who told a friend how Dr Mingana taught him to make the MS 'older' by putting it in the oven and so on. Mingana was clever enough to let people think that the MS was from the tenth century, although he did not assert this clearly.
The text was translated into German in 1915 by Eduard Sachau (53), and into Latin in 1927 by Franz Zorell (54). The most famous orientalists and Church historians studied it, among them A Allgeier, Adolph von Harnack, Anton Baumstark, J B Umberg, H Dieckmann, Giuseppe Messina, Ignazio Ortiz de Urbina (55), Julius Assfalg (56), Nina Viktorovna Pigulevskaja, Arthur Vööbus, M L Chaumont, Wilhelm de Vries (57), Jean-Maurice Fiey (58). Recently, in 1985, Peter Kawerau reedited the text with a German translation (59).
ii) Forgeries by Mingana?

Once again the problem is that of the authenticity of the Syriac original.
The first to question the authenticity of this Chronicle, for historical reasons, was Paul Peeters SJ, a famous orientalist (60), in 1925. Since the publication of his article, most orientalists have expressed their doubts regarding the authenticity of the text, although some (like Peter Kawerau) still consider it an important historical document (61).

Mingana's argument in attributing this work to Mshiha-Zkha (an unknown Syriac historian, mentioned 'en passant' by 'Abdishu of Nisibis in his 'Catalogue of Syriac Authors') lay in the fact that the title and the name of the author were written in the margin of one of the folios, in an old stranghelo writing. But Father Vosté OP revealed, in 1941, that these Syriac words were written by a monk from Alqosh at the request of Qass Alphonse (ie Mingana) (62). This marginal note ('Book of Ekklesiastike of Mshiha-Zkha') can be seen today on folio 27 verso of the Berlin manuscript, and has been reproduced twice by Julius Assfalg (63).

In 1967, Father Fiey OP revealed the name of the copyist: Thomas son of Hanna, of the Battota family from Karamlaiss, a Chaldean monk from Our Lady of the Seeds, easy to identify through his handwriting (64).

These two incidents in the life of Mingana, which remain partially unclear, prove that, for some unknown reason, he did not publish the Syriac texts faithfully. This fact is indirectly admitted by a great scholar and a friend of Mingana, his only Oriental friend, the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Aphram I Barsaum. In the last page of his 'History of Syriac Literature', after having sharply criticised many Orientalists (65), he adds: 'Nevertheless, we have found some of them who were moderate, like Brooks, Haase (66), Sprengling (67), Graham (68), Mingana at the end of his life (69), and Gustave Bardy' (70).

At the end of his studies, Father Fiey, a well-known historian of the Syriac Oriental Church, concludes by saying that the real author of the Chronicle of Arbela is... Alphonse Mingana (71). My own opinion is that this conclusion may go too far.
It therefore appears that Qass Alphonse made two blunders. TO my knowledge, he never repeated this kind of textual manipulation. But it was too late, and, as we will see, some Orientalists will never forgive him these youthful mistakes.

 ALPHONSE MINGANA (1878-1937) And his contribution to early Christian-Muslim Studies  by  Samir Khalil Samir SJ
From another author
-----------In 1937, Mingana died, but his “Chronicle” still remained accepted by many eminent scholars, though the voice of doubt continued to be raised. In 1966, J. Neusner, discussing the “reliability of the Arbela tradition”, found himself on the horns of a dilemma. The confusion of names and dates in the “Arbelan Chronicle” forced him to use such phrases as “if the lives are sound”, or “this fact does, however, pose difficulties”, and so on. He could not entirely reject the “Chronicle’s” information for there was no way of checking it, some of it covering the period for which no other version of Parthian history is available.

At last, an article published in 1967, by J. M. Fiery in L’Orient Syrien XII. summarized in no uncertain manner the full evidence, proving beyond doubt the falseness of Mingana’s “discovery”.

Fiery told how even the very paper upon which the Chronicle was written, copied in a modern monastery by an old monk, was bought in Baghdad and then burnt to make it appear authentically antique.]-------
------------Internal evidence was also overwhelmingly on the side of the accusers. Mingana had ignored the “Diptychs of Arbela”, and contradicted their known data, AD. 362. The old monk’s grammar was not always correct and did not conform to sixth century usage, the doctrines incorporated into the teaching of the bishops, was Nestorian and the script used was Estrangela. There has been no further sign of the “original manuscript” for Mingana himself wrote that, nor did Mshiha Zkha exist – he was, in reality, Thomas, son of Hanna, a monk of the convent of Notre Dame des Moissons, where Mingana went to write the manuscript Thomas copied. Fiery noticed that the chronicle possessed a style which resembled greatly that of the Professor of Syriac at the Seminary of St. Jean between 1902 and 1907, and declared: “Je crois de moins en moins à l’existence de ce manuscript hypothétique.” To bolster his Church-history, Mingana had also to provide possible historical events in his crucial period, and this necessitated the manufacture of kings as well as of martyrs and bishops, a task he took in his stride. ------------

A Question Concerning Certain Views of Parthian History Dr. B. G. Zichy-Woinarski,   
Now please understand majority of the Syriac church historian’s bed time stories regards with our Persian/Nestorian history is based on this forgery. I am sad great men like our Philosopher Bishop Paulose Mar Gregorios (my sincere apologies to his great soul) take evidences from Chronicle of ARBELA to prove our relations with church of Fars. Then what to talk about our historical MURI-VYDIANMAR?
But still I think there exist enough evidences (circumstantial or documented) to believe that an independent church at the shore of MAALE. Its origin and development can be traced with the help of world maritime  trade history. But please do not make it laughable by forging documents and claiming unreasonable Episcopal hierarchy.





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