Previous post: Epistle to Diognetus (Part I)
The previous post was on the introduction, which takes over 120 pages of the book. This post is on the edition Jefford supplies of the Greek text, the apparatus, and the translation.
Suffice it to say, Jefford has the most extensive look at the Greek text for Diognetus that I’ve ever seen. We have only ever known one manuscript of the Epistle to Diognetus, dated to the 13th-14th centuries, and it is lost. There are some transcriptions that date back to the late 16th century, and Jefford has examined all of those. Further, it appears that he has evaluated and transcribed almost every edition ever printed — by my count 41 editions. Jefford’s lists these editions in his apparatus, which is extensive. If you want to know the textual history from the editio princeps to modern time, then you need to evaluate Jefford’s work. I mean really — take a look at the apparatus:
Each two-letter abbreviation represents a different edition. The apparatus brings out emendations suggested by editors over the years, and even notes where editors have a preferred reading (using <<notation>>) that is not found in the early transcriptions. The <single bracket> readings are where the early transcriptions prefer a reading not in agreement with the original exemplar.
This is an immense amount of work, both in the actual collation but also in the tracking down of all of these editions. In thanks and gratitude, we all should buy Jefford an adult beverage of his choice the next time we see him.
The translation is serviceable. The major attraction here is the Greek text and apparatus. The translation is what it is. On the literal-dynamic scale — which isn’t really fair for Diognetus because if you translate it word-for-word literal, you end up with yoda-speak on drugs — it tends toward the dynamic, but not nearly so much as Ehrman’s translation. That said, the translation is readable and adequately reflects his Greek text.
Next up: Thoughts on the commentary proper, if I can ever get the gumption to finish it.