Arrangement 14: Levi


A complex arrangement containing 33 roundels. Dimensions: 6 wide by 8 tall. Liber Genealogus counterpart: section 30.

Levi arrangements in the manuscripts

The plots above are taken from Foigny (top left), Plutei (top right), San Juan (bottom left), and Roda (bottom right).

Levi reconstruction


Levi is not an ancestor of Jesus, and the basic features of his household have already been presented, at the left in the substemma of Leah, so why must the Levites be duplicated in a second network? The insight that this new section is an interval in the timeline, not a genealogy as such, illuminates the original chronographic aim of the Great Stemma. The Levi section lays out a chronological track which was of interest to early Christian historians. Those scholars were interested in measuring the elapse of time from the birth of Levi, via Kohath and Amram, to the settlement of the Hebrews in the Promised Land under Joshua following the death of Moses.

This span is highlighted graphically, in the Plutei manuscript (but hardly at all in the others), by a straight row of roundels showing the course of the Exodus events. The actors are flanked by wives above and children below.

Levite line

The Levi group is thus not attached to Filum A, but is suspended in the free space at mid-page. It was evidently so placed that it would begin with Levi in row 2 of the Great Stemma grid.

The abstract of this section in the Liber Genealogus G, which is a faithful guide to the ur-form of the Great Stemma, differs markedly from the graphic in the matter of Levi. The descendants of Levi and of Amram who do not belong to the immediate circle of Moses had evidently not yet been drawn into the Ω archetype, the Great Stemma in use in 427. The G version of the Liber also omits Elisaphat (Els), the wife of Aaron. This may be because she was not marked on the graphic, but one could also make a case that the G compiler might have left out Aaron's wife because the author had mentioned her (soror eius Elisafath) earlier in the record, in section 24, so she does not need to be mentioned a second time in this context.

Despite the omissions, there can be no doubt the LGG is observing depth-first traversal order, following the diagram, not the biblical text.

In the reconstruction, the left side of the pattern relies on the Epsilon version as a model, given its graphically clear stream through the Levite line as presented in the Liber Genealogus. For the rightward part of the arrangement, the manuscripts offer no united guidance. Moses's sister Miriam (Ma) has been moved to the foot of the column under the sons.

The yellow line in the reconstruction marks the reading order of the chronological flow, beginning at Levi and finishing at Moses before the chronology jumps to Joshua and the Judges.

A peculiarity is Finees— the high priest Phinehas (Exodus 6:25)— who was grandson of Aaron and son of Eleazer. None of the ancient GS recensions include Finees, so this name is excluded from the reconstruction. His insertion at some later point would appear to have disrupted the entire structure, since he would somehow have to be wedged in to the right of EZR where there is no space.[*]One might imagine there is a trace of this third distinction in the inclusion of a false Finees filius Aaron in the Beta recension, but this seems to be a miscopy of Abiut, or the result of some misleading instruction. Another error here is a phantom entry Core filius Isuar I. Closer scrutiny indicates this group of manuscripts has in fact been revised to follow the Vulgate - a roundel based on Eleazar filius Aaron accepit uxorem de filiabus Phutihel quae peperit ei Finees - is added nearby.

The roundels enclosed by the green-edged frame in the reconstruction represent those persons who are absent from the Liber Genealogus G text.

As discussed in the codicological section, it is believed there were multiple editions of the Great Stemma in circulation, and each version of the Liber Genealogus was newly compiled ab initio, probably by a different author as a standardized scholastic exercise, working from whatever version of the Great Stemma was available. The later Liber Genealogus L does fully develop the Levite line, and also does include Aaron's wife. Here, and in the three sections which follow, the present edition follows L and the Ψ hyparchetype inferred from it. The additions are marked green in the reconstruction above.

Below is the L text, organized by lemmata and definitions, based on Lagarde's version of 1892:

Redeamus ad Exodum et proferimus generationes Leuuitarum. Leuui enim genuit: Chat Gesson et Merarii qui Chat genuit: Ambram [*] Qui dicitur dilectio et Issar [*] Qui dicitur fortis ad fortem et Cebron [*] Qui dicitur amicus aeternus et Odiel [*] Qui dicitur fortis deus qui Odiel genuit: Elisa [*] Qui dicitur visitatio et Masiel [*] Qui dicitur petitio dei et Soseri [*] Qui dicitur absconsus Gesson vero filius Leuui secundus [*] Qui dictus est inquilinus genuit: Lobon [*] Id est lac et Semei [*] Qui dicitur auditio Merarii autem tertius filius Leuui genuit: Moolli [*] Qui dicitur mutatio et Omousi [*] Qui dicitur fons meus Ambram vero filius Chaat genuit: Aaron Moysem et Mariam [*] Quae dicitur dominatrix ex Iocabeth [*] Que dicta est dignitas domini, filiam fratris patris sui. Isaar autem filius Cath secundus genuit: Chore [*] Qui dictus est nudus Hic Chorae genuit: Assyr [*] Qui dicitur rogans et Helchana [*] Qui dicitur zelus et Abiasar [*] Qui dicitur pater meus Hii sunt filii Chorae, ex quo genere fuerunt illi qui temporibus David ante arcam testamenti psallebant cum ceteris Levitis et sacerdotibus sortium viginti quattuor cum Asaf, Iditum, Eman et Etan. Secundus vero filius Issar Nafeth dictus est [*] Qui interpretatur impietas et tertius Zecris [*] Qui dicitur dilectio et quartus Misael. [*] Qui dicitur misit deus Aaron autem, [*] Interpretatur arca videns aut visio altissimi hic Aaron genuit: Nadab [*] Qui dicitur concupiscentia et Abiud [*] Qui dictus est amicus dei Mortuus est autem Nadab et Abiud dum offerrent ignem alienum ante dominum deum in deserto Syna. Et facta sunt ex numero eorum XX tria milia, omnis masculus ab uno mense et supra: non enim considerati sunt in medio filiorum Israel, quia non datur illis hereditas in medio eorum. Ignem alienum quod dicit, ex communi utique non divino de caelo venientem. Eleazar vero tertius filius Aaron [*] Qui dictus est deus adiutor meus genuit Finees [*] Qui dictus est sectator ex filiabus Fuiziel Hic est Finees de quo in macchabeicis libris Matathias locutus est dicens Finees dum aemulatur legem, adeptus est sacerdotium Quartus vero filius Aaron Itamar dictus est [*] Qui dicitur rancidus Hos genuit ex Elisafat [*] Que dicta est gratia domini Moyses autem filius Ambram secundus genuit: Gersam [*] Qui dicitur hospes et Eleazarum [*] Qui dicitur dei virtus ex Seffora [*] Que dicta est visitatio formonsa filia Iotor de Madia sacerdotis. Gersam vero genuit: Ionathan Ipse et filii eius erant sacrificantes in tribu Dan usque ad diem transmigrationis terrae.

A matter of interest here is the position taken up by Zechri (Zi in the reconstruction). The Septuagint Exodus 6:21 names the three sons of Isaar (Ie) as Kore - Napheg - Zechri. In the LGL, this order is intact, but a stranger, Misael, is added as a fourth son. In all the old recensions of the Great Stemma two other changes appear: Napheg (Na) appears higher in vertical order than Kore (Co), and Zechri (Zi) has been thrust to the bottom of the column and has had his parentage changed to Zincria filius Chore. One therefore suspects that an entirely different arrangement once existed at this point.

In the reconstruction, Zechri remains on his own as a tail-end at the bottom of his column. This "tail-end sibling" (TES) solution is similar to that employed for the sister of Beriah in the Zilpah substemma.

The L text above contains one peculiarity, an uncanonical fourth son of Issar named Misael. It has been decided not to include this Misael in the reconstruction as there is no graphic evidence for it.

Another point to note is that the later Levite priests who are listed in Liber Genealogus L section 34 are nowhere to be found in the diagram. One could imagine the priests being presented in one version of the diagram in list form as a show of erudition. It is hard to conceive of any layout format more useful than a simple list, since there is neither a ramifying nor a time-coordinated aspect to this table of priests. The priests were evidently not arranged in roundels. Since it is all but impossible to reconstruct their layout, they have been omitted from this edition.

Next: The Family of Eli

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