New Testament Studies


Textual Evidence of Tatian's Dependence upon Justin's 'AΠOMNHMONEYMATA

William L. Petersena1

a1 University Park, Pennsylvania, USA

Because of their early date (mid-second century) and interesting variants, the gospel citations of Justin Martyr — he almost always refers to his source as άπομνημονεύματα τν άποστόλων (‘memoirs of the apostles’), and only rarely as a ‘gospel’ — have long attracted scholars’ attention. It is self-evident that the citations contain numerous variant readings and are frequently harmonized; the dispute has been over what best explains this phenomenon. Semisch and Zahn said that the variant readings and harmonizations were due to lapses of Justin's memory. Credner argued that Justin's non-standard citations were the result of his reliance upon extracanonical gospels. Bousset opined that Justin had access to presynoptic traditions; this explained both the similarities and the differences between Justin's text and the later (revised) synoptic text. Von Engelhardt suggested that Justin used a post-synoptic gospel harmony. This position found support in the researches of Bellinzoni, who investigated the ‘sayings of Jesus’ genre in Justin. He noted passages cited more than once in exactly the same harmonized form, suggesting a written document, and passages paralleled in other early Christian sources in very similar harmonized form. Bellinzoni interpreted this as indicating that Justin had used a gospel harmony, which was also used by other early Christian writers. He noted that Justin's variant citations and harmonizations seemed especially close to those found in the Pseudo- Clementine Homilies and Recognitions. Bellinzoni concluded that this harmony was post-synoptic, excluded John, and ‘had great influence on the later manuscript tradition of Matthew, Mark and Luke’. In the last paragraph of his book, Bellinzoni speculated that the harmony used by Justin might have links with the Diatessaron: ‘Tatian was a pupil of Justin, … It is now apparent that the concept of a gospel harmony did not originate with Tatian.’