The Three Recensions of Eriugena’s Versio Dionysii

The Three Recensions of Eriugena’s Versio Dionysii

Budde, Timothy

Journal of Medieval Latin, Vol.17 (2007)


The state of the question: The Versio Dionysii (that is, John Scottus Eriugena’s translation of the four treatises and 10 letters of Dionysius the pseudo-Areopagite) was lasted edited by Joseph Heinrich Floss in 1853, and published in the Patrologia Latina, volume 122. Within the last 150 years, Floss has been severely criticized for failing to recognize the manipulations to which the Versio was subjected during the Middle Ages. The textual tradition of the Versio is, in the words of H. Dondaine, extremely ‘plastic’. In 1886, L. Traube attributed this plasticity to the interfering hand of Anastasius Bibliothecarius.

Eriugena began his translation of the Dionysian corpus some time between 860 and 8624. Shortly after this, Anastasius Bibliothecarius translated the Dionysian scholia of John of Scythopolis and Maximus Confessor, and appended them to a copy of the Versio, which he sent to Charles the Bald, Eriugena’s patron, in 875. In the letter to Charles which accompanied the Versio Anastasii, the papal librarian noted that, where he found descrepancies between the translation of Eriugena and the lemmata of the scholia, he noted them, adding a very few notes of his own.

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