Bryn Mawr Classical Review 03.02.16


Nonno di Panopoli, Parafrasi del Vangelo di S. Giovanni. Canto XVIII. Introduzione, testo critico, traduzione e commentario a cura di Enrico Livrea. Speculum 9, Contributi di Filologia Classica, collana diretta da Antonio Garzya. Napoli: M. D'Auria Editore, 1989. Pp. 216. ISBN 88-7092-025-9.


Reviewed by Lee Francis Sherry, Dumbarton Oaks.

This handsomely bound book is the first modern commentary to treat the hexameter Paraphrase of St. John. It stems in part from research done by Livrea as a fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C. This first of twenty-one projected single chapter commentaries also introduces the basic background of the Paraphrase: chronology, the genre of paraphrase, Nonnian language, style and metrics, and the manuscript tradition. For illustration of some of these points and for a few textual problems Livrea deliberately seems to have decided to start with chapter eighteen. The Greek text follows the same format as Scheindler's 1881 Teubner edition: 1) separate numeration for the poem and the text of John; 2) critical apparatus; 3) an annotated text of John on the facing page (under the Italian translation) which stars the poet's use of Johannine textual variants and shows by a system of brackets omissions of three sorts -- deliberate omissions (!), ones deemed to be missing in the poet's text of John and undetermined omissions.

My few remarks will be restricted to the apparatus and Greek text.

Livrea's reporting of the interpolated lines of Nansius (369 lines from his 1589 edition) tells us about publishing history but does little more than point out where the text of the Paraphrase does not correspond to the text of John. There is some help in pointing out possible lacunae such as at lines 133-4 where Livrea takes credit for establishing a lacuna which Bordatus (editor 1561) had already seen fit to fill.

Livrea's textual changes are of the following sorts: (1) change of accent [FUTH/KOMON] line 8; (2) the sole emendation is at verse 54. The [H)=N] for [KAI\] which is suggested by the text of John does very little to improve the traditional text; (3) an emendation is considered at line 154, [H(ME/AS] for [H(MI=N]; (4) change of accent [E)PHBO/LON] line 185; (5) [EI(=LE] is assumed in line 94 from Hegendorf's 1527 Latin translation. This should hardly be reported as an emendation or alternate unless the Latin translation has been demonstrated to be an authority of a unique value.

The format of the Greek text is updated and improved with the use of quote marks. The changes in punctuation are minor. The major thrust of Livrea's work is to remove emendations and restore the vulgate readings. The text then is basically the vulgate text taken from Heinsius' 1627 edition = PG 43: 942-1227. The apparatus as shown above is only slightly fuller than Scheindler, and many of these reports of variants are insignificant.

For scholars and students of Greek Epic and Late Antiquity a handy one-volume Greek text of the Paraphrase with limited reporting of the textual variants (a more extensive report was done by Scheindler in WS 3 (1881): 219-252 and WS 4 (1882): 77-95) would be more valuable than a protracted series of one-chapter editions with commentary, when the Greek text is not significantly more improved than Heinsius' text printed in the Patrologia Graeca.