Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Trinitarian Redactors, Novatian and Origen


Here is something I posted on another forum. At the end of this message, you'll find a reference to Studer's work.


One of the most important works on the Trinity
doctrine is Novatian's _De Trinitate_. This work has
been admired in the western church and became somewhat
of a VADE MECUM in ancient times. In English, we
usually call Novatian's treatise _On the Trinity_.
However, one wonders whether Novatian himself appended
the word "Trinity" to the title of this document?
Alternatively, is it possible that early copies of the
text were edited or redacted and the word "Trinity"
was added to Novatian's work?

Russell J. DeSimone (in his translation of _De
Trinitate_) points out that we do not know the
original title of what is now known as _De Trinitate_.
He suggests that the "correct title" of the work
appears to have been _De regula veritatis_ or _De
regula fidei_ (DeSimone 23). The latter title may be
more likely in view of what Novatian writes in _De
Trinitate_ 21 regarding the general thesis of his
work. In any event, Novatian the Presbyter never
utilizes the term "Trinity." DeSimone thus notes that
an amanuensis living after 381 probably altered the
title in view of what transpired in 325 and 381 CE at
the ecumenical councils (DeSimone 23).

Joseph M. Hallman (_The Descent of God_, page 70)
similarly observes that _De regula fidei_ may have
been the original title of _De Trinitate_. Again, the
possible work of a redactor is acknowledged.

One may also find evidence for Trinitarian redaction
in the Latin versions of Origen's _Peri Archon_. See
Basil Studer's _Trinity and Incarnation_, page 84.



Edgar Foster said...

This information was already on the blog. But I'll leave it here for a few days before deleting it since it's redundant.

Matt13weedhacker said...

Thanks Edgar.

My computer died a couple of weeks ago and I was not able to post any responses to your comments.

Very interesting indeed.

Jerome and Rufinus both comment on Novation in their respective Apologies in defense of their translations of Origen. Rufinus ascribes it to Cyprian and Jerome points out it is in fact Novation's work.

I was going to post comments and extracts from them on my blog, until my daughter decided to do some dusting and clogged the CPU fan and fried my computer.

There is another extensive work on Novation and the successive changes made even by modern copyists in the 1500's. I cannot remember the name off hand, it is on my old computer and when I recover the files (if possible) from it's hard drives I will give you the references.

Have a great day.

Matt13weedhacker said...

Hi Edgar

I found that reference I was talking about.

“Between Two Thieves”
The Christology of Novatian as “Dynamic Subordination,” Influenced by His Historical Context, and His New Testament Interpretation.
By James Leonard Papandrea Ph.D. Dissertation, 1998, Northwestern University.


It can be found on the web.

I will get the link when I can.

It is excellent reading and shows how badly his writings have been tampered with. It gives examples of the changed texts and translations along with it.


Matt13weedhacker said...

Hi Again

Heres Chapter 4 on PDF

Its great stuff.

Like to hear your opinion sometime.

See ya.

Anonymous said...

Hi Edgar

Apologies the link above was not the one I thought it was.

Here (below) you can download the whole thesis:

Chapter 3 has the history of the text which was the article I wanted to point you to.

I have not read the rest. It appears he does try to argue for a Trinitarian explanation of Novation.

He has a full translation in two pdf's, one has a reconstrution of the last three chapters that were tampered with in the 15th Century.

Edgar Foster said...

Thanks for posting these links. I actually used portions of this dissertation for my own research about 2 years ago, but I had forgotten the URL for this study. Good stuff, although I disagree with his conclusions.

yahoel said...

I was reading your Christology book on

I noticed you quote Origen's Commentary on John, specifically where it says that 'made by the Logos' [bk 2, sec 6], If you check the Greek Text (PG 14), It uses "dia", so it seems there's a little 'Christological redaction' on the part of ANF

Your Brother,