• Welcome to Christian Forums
  1. Welcome to Christian Forums, a forum to discuss Christianity in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

  2. The forums in the Christian Congregations category are now open only to Christian members. Please review our current Faith Groups list for information on which faith groups are considered to be Christian faiths. Christian members please remember to read the Statement of Purpose threads for each forum within Christian Congregations before posting in the forum.
  3. Please note there is a new rule regarding the posting of videos. It reads, "Post a summary of the videos you post . An exception can be made for music videos.". Unless you are simply sharing music, please post a summary, or the gist, of the video you wish to share.
  4. There have been some changes in the Life Stages section involving the following forums: Roaring 20s, Terrific Thirties, Fabulous Forties, and Golden Eagles. They are changed to Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Golden Eagles will have a slight change.
  5. CF Staff, Angels and Ambassadors; ask that you join us in praying for the world in this difficult time, asking our Holy Father to stop the spread of the virus, and for healing of all affected.

Greek dating (as in chronology) question

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by dzheremi, Jul 4, 2020.

  1. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

    +10,087
    Oriental Orthodox
    Private
    Hi all,

    I'm not sure where else to put this, but I figured I'd try it here first, since you EO are probably a lot more familiar with 'Greek stuff' than I am.

    I've recently acquired a rather antiquated (1913) collection of English translations of Syriac-language writings concerning the Syriac Orthodox from 8th-10th centuries, primarily commentaries on the liturgy by George, Bishop of the Arabs (d. 724) and Moses Bar Kepha (d. 903). One of the documents in this collection is a copy of what is known as The Book of Life, a kind of alternative diptych for the departed that used to be said after the kiss of peace in the Syriac Orthodox liturgy in Moses Bar Kepha's time, but had fallen out of use by the time of Dionysius Bar Salibi (12th century).

    For what is essentially just a very long list of names, it is a fascinating little book, so I'm trying to date it properly, but the only thing I have to go by is the colophon that appears on the outside of the cover of the original manuscript, which reads "This Book was written by the command of Mar Ignatius, Patriarch of Antioch of Syria, who is Simon, in the year of the Greeks 1959."

    Seeing as how the book it is contained within was itself published in 1913, it obviously can't be talking about 1959 AD. I tried to cross reference it with the list of Patriarchs of Antioch found on Wikipedia, but the only Patriarchs I could find with that name don't really match up with the other information about when it was in use, seeing as they're either after Bar Salibi (d. 1172), as in the case of Baselius IV Simon (d. circa 1444) and Ignatius Simon (d. 1653), or were rivals to the men who were then considered legitimate patriarchs, as in the case of one Simeon who apparently attempted to usurp the patriarchate c. 837, during the time of Patriarch Dionysius of Tel Mahre (r. 818-845).

    So does anyone here have some idea as to when 1959 "of the Greeks" would have been relative to any of these potential time periods (prior to the 12th century AD), or where I might find that information? Thank you.
     
    We teamed up with Faith Counseling. Can they help you today?
  2. Andrewn

    Andrewn Well-Known Member CF Ambassadors Supporter

    +942
    Canada
    Anglican
    Married
    Most Syriac manuscripts written at the end of the 19th century still gave the date in the end-note using the "year of the Greeks" (Anno Graecorum = Seleucid era). For example:

    "In the year of the Greeks 462 (151 AD) the King of Kings Arsaces Vologases, son of Mithridates king, led a military expedition into Mesene against Mithridates king, son of previous ruler Pacorus, and after king Mithridates had been expelled from Mesene, became the ruler of all of Mesene and of this bronze statue of the god Heracles, which he himself transported from Mesene, placed in this Sanctuary of the god Apollo who guards the Bronze Door."

    So, 1959 AG would be 1648 AD +/-.

    Meredates of Characene - Wikipedia
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2020
    • Informative Informative x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • List
  3. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

    +10,087
    Oriental Orthodox
    Private
    Ah, so the "Year of the Greeks" is relative to the reign of the Seleucids? I did not know that. Thank you. So year 1 AG would be around 311 BC, making 1959 c. 1648 AD. That is during the reign of Patriarch Ignatius Simon (r. 1640-1653), but far after the Book of Life is said to have fallen into disuse. Strange.

    Thank you! :)
     
  4. Andrewn

    Andrewn Well-Known Member CF Ambassadors Supporter

    +942
    Canada
    Anglican
    Married
    It looks from the following article that Dionysius Bar Salibi wrote a commentary on the Book of Life. upload_2020-7-4_21-17-7.gif
     
  5. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

    +14,259
    United States
    Eastern Orthodox
    Married
    now that's interesting, thanks!
     
  6. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

    +10,087
    Oriental Orthodox
    Private
    Yes, but it was not still part of the liturgy by his time, which is why I was originally confused by the dating. Connolly and Codrington (1913:7), which reference that same commentary at source, write: "The Book of Life was employed at one period as an alternative to the regular diptychs (or 'canons') for the departed. It was still in use in the time of Bar Kepha (saec. IX); it was obsolete in the 12th century, when Bar Salibi wrote."

    I'm wondering if that isn't in fact what we're seeing here: just as bar Salibi wrote a commentary on it after it was obsolete (to use Connolly and Codrington's word), perhaps Ignatius Simon commissioned it to be copied in his day not because it was still used in the liturgy, but because it would be useful to keep it alive in the manuscript record so as to make sense of earlier commentaries and other writings that reference it (as bar Kepha's excellent commentary on the liturgy does). Just in a practical sense, it helps to be able to know what people are talking about when they mention this or that portion of the liturgy.

    Anyway, thank you. I think I'll try to track down a copy of that 1911 issue of JTS. It's probably easier to find that than to learn to read Latin and get the corresponding volume of CSCO! (Besides, I'm still feeling burned after buying a few too many volumes of that series on sale that Amazon incorrectly listed as being in English, only to find that they were actually in French, Latin, or Syriac...no wonder they were so cheap!)
     
  7. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

    +10,087
    Oriental Orthodox
    Private
    By the way, should anyone feel that this topic should be moved from the EO board to the OO board, I would not object. I don't particularly mind it either way, it just turns out that this actually has less to do with you guys as a Church than I thought it would. It makes sense, as the Seleucids were Hellenistic, but their empire also ended in 63 BC, so I didn't presume that the Syriacs would still be using that dating system some 1,700 years later. Oops. :doh:
     
  8. buzuxi02

    buzuxi02 Veteran

    +2,077
    Eastern Orthodox
    Single
    I learned something new today.
     
Loading...