Severian of Gabala (fl. ca. 398 AD) was the enemy of John Chrysostom. A popular preacher at the court of Constantinople, where he preached in a pleasant Syrian accent, and favoured by the empress, he was among the various people slighted or snubbed by John Chrysostom’s officials. In consequence he became an enemy, and was one of those responsible for driving Chrysostom into exile, and ultimately to his death.
His works, ironically, have been preserved under Chrysostom’s name. They consist of exegetical sermons. Most famous among them are the six – possibly seven – homilies on Genesis 1-3, in which he takes an odd position, later advanced by Cosmas Indicopleustes. I translated homily 1 and placed it on my site; but never got any further. His position is sometimes described as “extreme literalism”; whether this is really so seems doubtful to me.
I discovered today that an upcoming English translation by Robert C. Hill was in fact published back in 2010, and is available here, at a price that seems entirely reasonable by comparison with some volumes that I have seen lately. I hope to review this volume at some point.
It has been my ambition for some time to get some of his other homilies translated. In particular I have made a number of attempts to commission a translation of De pace, “On peace”, delivered after the end of Chrysostom’s first exile and at a time of reconciliation. I have this week made another attempt at this.
But it isn’t trivial simply to know what works Severian wrote. For my own reference, therefore, I have started a Word document with a list, basing it on the Clavis Patrum Graecorum. The file is here:
- Severian of Gabala – works (PDF)
- Severian of Gabala – works (DOCX)
UPDATE: Please use the versions here.
I will work on this some more and revise it and add more material.
But there are quite a few homilies there which are only 3-4 columns of Migne. Is there anyone interested in and capable of translating them for me, from Greek into English, for money? If so, please drop me a line, using this form here.