Some information on the homilies of Severian of Gabala

Severian of Gabala, the enemy of John Chrysostom, has left around 60 homilies to us, some in Greek, preserved under his enemy’s name, and others in Armenian or other languages.  Much of this material is unpublished, and nearly all of it is untranslated.  Being rather obscure, it can be hard to get a handle on the material.

Today I found two articles by Robert E. Carter in JSTOR, which help quite a lot.  The first discusses the chronology of the homilies, and identifies 20 which can be dated to 400 or 401 A.D.[1]  This gives an overview of Severian’s life, and also a useful bibliography.  The reader is referred by Dr. Carter to an article by Sever Voicu for details of Severian’s life and works, and I wish it were accessible to me.[2]

But it also refers back to an earlier article, which sets out an index of scriptural references in Severian’s sermons.[3]  This also gives a list of Severian’s homilies on p.324-6, which is more up-to-date than the CPG list.  Some of the unpublished items listed in the CPG now seem to have appeared.

I’m not sure who without JSTOR access would find this list of raw texts useful, but perhaps a list of Severian’s works, modified for a more general readership, ought to appear online.

  1. [1] Robert E. Carter, The chronology of twenty homilies of Severian of Gabala, Traditio 55 (2000), p.1-17.  On JSTOR here.
  2. [2] Sever J. Voicu, “Severien de Gabala,” Dictionnaire de spiritualite 14 (Paris, 1990), 752-63.
  3. [3] Robert E. Carter, An index of scriptural references in the homilies of Severian of Gabala, Traditio 54 (1999), p.323-351.  On JSTOR here.

4 thoughts on “Some information on the homilies of Severian of Gabala”

  1. Has anyone ever explained how and why the texts of two adversaries (or one adversary and another) became juxtaposed? I think that would be a very interesting question. [edited derail]

  2. Shorter ancient texts usually come down to us in collections. This is particularly so for homilies. Collections of homilies tend to be made, arranged according to the liturgical year, so that they can be preached. The name of the original author is very secondary in such cases, and may be omitted anyway. In the case of Severian, Carter suggested that he may have been confused in the 6th century with Severus of Antioch, who was condemned as a monophysite. Once you have a sermon at the back of the collection of sermons by Chrysostom (who, by volume, is the largest author), which has no author attributed to it, most people will naturally presume that it too is by Chrysostom.

Leave a Reply