Errors in Cramer’s catena publication

I’ve made use of the medieval commentary published by J. A. Cramer for fragments of Eusebius, but some of the attributions have seemed a bit odd.  Quite by accident today I was skimming through volume 6 of the Journal of Theological Studies, when I came across an article by Claude Jenkins on p.113-116 about the Origen citations in the portion of Cramer from 1 Corinthians. 

The author notes that Cramer was dependent on copyists for access to the manuscripts, which he could not inspect himself.  Comparison of Cramer with his source, Paris Cois. gr. 204 (a copy of Vat. gr. 762, unknown to Cramer) reveals that Cramer’s text routinely assigns passages to Origen which are clearly assigned to Chrysostom in the manuscript.  The article assigns the blame for miscopying a very clear 16th century manuscript to the scriba Parisinensis whom Cramer was obliged to use.

Some of the fragments assigned to Eusebius in the catena on the gospels that I have had translated have looked very like portions of Chrysostom.  So this is probably a general problem.

What this means, of course, is that we cannot depend on Cramer.  We urgently need someone to correct the text and reissue it.

4 Responses to “Errors in Cramer’s catena publication”


  1. JohnLitteral

    I’ve heard that there are many errors with Cramer’s catena. It would be nice to have the whole collection translated into English, that way it would probably draw more interest to it. Most ordinary people have never even heard of it.

  2. Roger Pearse

    Cramer says as much himself. He trusted to a paid servant to transcribe material from manuscripts in Paris, and said lackey proceeded to do the work carelessly.

    I agree about translation. Mind you, translating a catena is hard, or so I have heard; all those out-of-context quotations, ‘adjusted’ to make a continuous narrative. But it ought to be done, I agree.

  3. JohnLitteral

    I’m working on the Glossa Ordinaria myself, and those condensed quotes are sometimes very hard for me to make sense of.

    As for Cramer’s Catena, do you know of any articles or info about Cramer and work? Thanks!

  4. Roger Pearse

    Quite understand.

    Nothing comes to mind – sorry!