« Prev VII. THE PLACE OF WRITING. Next »

VII. THE PLACE OF WRITING.

Tradition is silent as to the place from which the Epistle was written. No independent authority can be given to the subscription which is found in Α ἐγράφη ἀπὸ Ῥώμης. This, as in the case of similar subscriptions to the other Epistles, appears to have been a deduction from words in the Epistle itself (xiii. 23 f.). And so it is given in the words of the text and enlarged in later MSS.: e.g. P2, ἐγράφη ἀπὸ Ἰταλίας. Κ2, ἐγράφη ἀπὸ Ἰταλίας διὰ Τιμοθέου. Η,, Παύλου ἀποστόλου ἐπιστολὴ πρὸς Ἑβραίους ἐγράφη ἀπὸ Ἰταλίας διὰ Τιμοθέου. Nor again is there anything in the Epistle itself which leads to a definite conclusion. No argument can be drawn from the mention of the release of Timothy (xiii. 23), for nothing is known of the event to which reference is made; and the phrase ἀσπάζονται ὑμᾶς οἱ ἀπὸ τῆς Ἰταλίας (xiii. 34), which seems at first sight to promise more, gives no certain result. For the words admit grammatically of two opposite renderings. They may describe Italian Christians in their own country, or Italian Christians in a foreign land. The first sense is given by the translation (which is certainly possible), 'those in Italy send salutations from Italy,' xliii where the preposition is conformed to the idea of the verb (comp. Luke xi. 13 ό πατὴρ ὁ ἐξ oὐρανοῦ δώσει. Math. xxiv. 17 ἆραι τὰ ἐκ τῆς οἰκίας. Col. iv. 16 τὴν ἐξ Λαοδικείασ [ἐπιστολὴν] with Bp Lightfoot's note); and more simply by the translation 'those who belong to Italy,' the Italian Christians (comp. Acts x. 23 τῶν ἀπὸ τῆς Ίόππης. xii. 1 τῶμ απὸ τπης ἐκκλησίασ. xvii. 13 oἱ ἀπὸ τῆς Θεσσαλονίκης Ἰουδαῖοι); and in this sense a close parallel has been pointed out in Pseud.-Ign. ad Her. 8 ἀσπάζονται σε oἱ ἀπὸ ἐπίσκοποι...καὶ πάντες Φιλίππων ἐν Χριστ ὅθεν καὶ ἐπέστειλά σοι. But it is difficult to understand how any one could give the salutations of the Italian Christians generally (as distinguished from oἱ ἀπὸ Ῥώμης, or the like); so that it appears on the whole to be more natural to adopt the second rendering ('the Christians from Italy'), and to suppose that the writer is speaking of a small group of friends from Italy, who were with him at the time. So far the words seem to favour a place of writing in Asia, Syria, or Egypt. In any case, however, it is impossible to lay stress upon a clause which evidently had a particular and special sense for those to whom the message was sent.

The place of writing must then be left in complete uncertainty. Plausible conjectures unsupported by evidence cannot remove our ignorance even if they satisfy our curiosity.

« Prev VII. THE PLACE OF WRITING. Next »



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |