Friday, September 30, 2011

A Valentinian Inscription

Love it when the new picks this kind of thing up (60 years later...). Here is a CBS Live article on an old Christian inscription found in Rome in the 1953, NCE 156. Gregory Snyder has recently published a updated analysis of it in the Journal of Early Christianity in which he argues (with additional evidence) for a 2nd century date and Valentinian provenance. His translation is as follows:
To my bath, the brothers of the bridal chamber carry the torches,
[here] in our halls, they hunger for the [true] banquets,
even while praising the Father and glorifying the Son.
There [with the Father and the Son] is the only spring and source of truth.
Synder, according to CBS, thinks that it is the oldest Christian object we possess.

Professor Synder is working on series of articles on Christian teachers and their schools in Rome. He plans to publish a book on the subject. Looking forward to it.


Robert said...

Why does he regard it as Valentinian?

Alin Suciu said...

I don't understand why is this presented as a new discovery since the inscription found in the Via Latina has been already connected with 2nd century Valentinians by other scholars (e.g. Peter Lampe or Ismo Dunderberg).

April DeConick said...

It's not a new discovery. It is just that the media finally picked it up, 60 years of so later!

dfoote said...

Snyder essentially added more evidence to Guarducci's theory. He analyzed a 1968 catalog of more than 1,700 inscriptions from Rome called "Inscriptiones graecae urbis Romae." He found 53 cases of Greek inscriptions with classical letterforms.

"Not one case is to be found in which, in the judgment of the [catalog]editors, an inscription with the classical letter forms found in NCE 156 can be securely placed in the mid-third or fourth century," Snyder wrote in his paper.
In addition, Snyder analyzed an inventory of inscriptions from nearby Naples, published in a series of two volumes in the 1990s called "Iscrizioni greche d'Italia." He found only two examples that might date into the third century. "In sum, Guarducci's case for a second-century date for NCE 156 is stronger than ever," he wrote.