Archive for the 'From my diary' Category

Vatican Manuscript of the Chronography of 354 uploaded

Another discovery by the excellent J.-B. Piggin is that a crucial manuscript of the Chronography of 354 has been uploaded at the Vatican site.  This is purely illustrations; but then that was always the hard part of this text to get hold of.

In 354 AD a famous artist named Furius Dionysius Philocalus was commissioned to create an illustrated volume of texts for a Roman nobleman named Valentinus.  The original copy is lost, but copies were made during the dark ages.

The texts were mostly connected with time.  Some years ago I created a digital edition online of the work, with whatever pictures I could find.  So it is wonderful to find a manuscript online!  For more information about the manuscripts, there is an article by Richard Burgess here at

The manuscript is  It’s here!

Vatican manuscript with Grimaldi’s memories of Old St Peter’s in Rome uploaded

The digitisation of the Vatican manuscripts is a very good enterprise, but undertaken in a less than entirely satisfactory way.  The manuscripts are uploaded – but there is no indication of contents beyond the shelfmark.  Thankfully, and in the spirit of crowd-sourcing, J.-B.Piggin has been making notes on them as they appear, and publishing lists at macrotypography blog.  In doing so, he is discovering treasures!

In his latest post, Memories of Old St Peter’s, he draws attention to  This is a handwritten account of various monuments in the 4th century basilica of Old St Peter’s, before its demolition in the 16th century and replacement with the church we know today.  The book was written by the Vatican archivist, Giacomo Grimaldi, and is also illustrated with drawings!   (I do wish it could be downloaded as a PDF!!)

Ottavio Bucarelli tells me that there is an edition with notes of the work: G.Grimaldi, Descrizione della basilica antica di S. Pietro in Vaticano, a cura di R. Niggl, BAV, 1972.  But of course this is offline and inaccessible.  So the original is what we have to work with.

On f.152v-153r is an opening with a picture of the front aspect of the old basilica.  These motley buildings led into the atrium in front of the church.  Click on it to enlarge:

Ms Barberini lat. 2733. Grimaldi, Old St Peter's basilica, Rome. Facade

Ms Barberini lat. 2733. Grimaldi, Old St Peter’s basilica, Rome. Facade

There are a number of drawings.  Unfortunately the photographers didn’t try to mask the ink showing through from the other side. This is usually done by inserting a sheet of black paper behind the page.  So it can make it hard to read.

Much of the material is the opening of the graves of various popes, including Leo I, and a drawing of his shrouded body in his grave (!)

Here is another double-page opening, f.104v-105r, of the interior of the basilica, showing where various monuments were:

Grimaldi, Interior of Old St Peter's.  Barberini ms lat. 2733, f.104v-105r.

Grimaldi, Interior of Old St Peter’s. Barberini ms lat. 2733, f.104v-105r.

There are also colour pictures of the decoration, much of it under Pope Formosus.

On fol. 133v-134r is a picture of the atrium, inside the front buildings, with the nave in front of us:

Grimaldi, Atrium of Old St Peter's. Ms. Barberini latin 2733, fol.133v-134r.

Grimaldi, Atrium of Old St Peter’s. Ms. Barberini latin 2733, fol.133v-134r.

This is followed by an account of the atrium or “paradise”.

It’s delightful to think that this material is online!  More!

Shenoute: Apocalypse and Testimony, translated by Anthony Alcock

Anthony Alcock continues his programme of translations from Coptic with a couple of short texts, which profess to be the Apocalypse and the Testimony by Shenoute.  Whether these are indeed by Shenoute is not clear, but it is very useful to have this material in English!

Thank you!

“His blood be upon us”: The use of Mt.27:25 and Acts 4:10 in patristic writers

An email from a correspondent reached me earlier this week, asking an interesting question:

Lately I’ve been tackling arguments that passages like Matt. 27:25 (“his blood be on us…”) were a huge influence on later anti-Semitism. …

The key issue being: Just how influential were passages like Matthew 27:25, and Acts 4:10 (“Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.”) when it came to inspiring anti-Semitic sentiments among later writers?

If the question is being agitated, for whatever reason, then the first thing to do is to establish the facts.  A Google search on “Christ killer” – which is a term supposedly used by Christians about Jews – reveals copious invective but a remarkable lack of actual patristic data.

Books can be (and have been) written on the general relation of the early Church to the Jews, and it would be too big a subject for an article.  But a list of the places where these two verses specifically are used seemed like a useful thing to attempt.

Note that I am indebted to the marvellous BiblIndex site, where I performed a search on these two verses, to determine the references.  But even so, it has proven no small task to track down each passage, and I have not been able to do so in many cases.

Naturally context is everything, and quotations can distort.  But I thought that it is worth recording what sort of impression I received.

The first impression is that the early Christians were not, in the main, concerned with attitudes to Jews.  They were concerned with  their own identity, and how to understand the Old Testament, and relate it to themselves.  They were not concerned with demonising Jews, by race or religion, so much as with connecting themselves with OT prophecy.  Since, prior to 313 AD, they held no political power, any such attitudes would have meant nothing anyway.

We must never forget that the history of Israel in the Old Testament is that of the people with whom God is dealing, and the church does not reject the OT, but accepts it.  The sins and failings of Israel are a theme that any exegesis must deal with; and “Israel” in this context also means the church,  rather than an alien racial/religious group.

But while this approach persists, and is found copiously in the commentaries, a pronounced hostility to Jews as Jews does start to appear after the legalisation of the church, particularly towards the end of the 4th century.  It is clearest in Chrysostom’s Adversus Judaeos, where the tone is a bitter one.  Any reader of ecclesiastical histories will know that the same tone also appears towards heretical groups, together with an eagerness to identify opponents as “heretics” in order to demonise, marginalise, and extirpate.  Hate is becoming good politics; and expressing it has become a way to signal the speaker’s own virtue against those awful other people.   This evil habit of the Byzantine period begins during this time.

Much the most interesting reference is one in ps.Cyprian, which reveals that, rather than Christians taunting Jews as Christ-killers,  some Jewish polemicists were not above taunting the Christians with the fact that the Jews had put the god of the Christians to death!  Tertullian in his Apologeticum also records a debauched Jew parading wearing the head of a donkey, as an anti-Christian act.  No doubt while Christianity was illegal, and Judaism was not, such incidents did take place.  Once Christianity was legal, and favoured by emperor after emperor, the boot was on the other foot.

Here are the references, with the text of the passage in English.  Contributions are welcome!

Mt 27:25

  • Melito, De Pascha. [1]  (Not in BiblIndex, curiously)

80. … you sang songs, but he was judged; you issued the command, he was crucified; you danced, he was buried; you lay down on a soft bed, but he in a tomb and coffin.  81. O lawless Israel, why did you commit this extraordinary crime of casting your Lord into new sufferings–your master, the one who formed you, the one who made you, the one who honored you, the one who called you Israel?

  • Tertullian, Aduersus Iudaeos (Against the Jews),  8:18. [2]

… in the Psalms it is prophesied, “They exterminated my hands and feet.” [18] And the suffering of this “extermination” was perfected within the times of the lxx hebdomads, under Tiberius Caesar, in the consulate of Rubellius Geminus and Fufius Geminus, in the month of March, at the times of the passover, on the eighth day before the calends of April, on the first day of unleavened bread, on which they slew the lamb at even, just as had been enjoined by Moses.  Accordingly, all the synagogue of Israel did slay Him, saying to Pilate, when he was desirous to dismiss Him, “His blood be upon us, and upon our children;” and, “If thou dismiss him, thou art not a friend of Caesar; ” in order that all things might be fulfilled which had been written of Him.

  • Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem (Against Marcion), II. 15.[3]

… if the fathers’ blessing was also to be passed on to their seed, without any previous merit of theirs, why should not the fathers’ guilt also overflow upon their sons? … yet without prejudice to that decree which was afterwards to be made … that the father would not take upon him the son’s sin, nor the son his father’s sin, but that everyone would bear the guilt of his own sin: and thus, after Israel’s hardness, the hardness of the law might also be subdued, and justice no longer judge the nation but individuals. And yet, if you were to accept the gospel in its true form, you would learn to whom applies this judgement of God who turns the fathers’ sins back upon their children, namely to those who were, at a time then future, going of their own will to call down this judgement upon themselves, His blood be on our heads and on our children’s. So then God’s foresight in its fullness passed censure upon this which he  heard long before it was spoken.

  • Cyprian (pseudo), Aduersus Iudaeos (Against the Jews). [4]  Note that Cyprian, Ad Quirinum (Three books of testimonies against the Jews) (here) does not seem to make use of Matt. 27:25 at all.

1. Now, then, incline your ear to me, and hear my words, and give heed, you Jew. Many a time do you boast yourself, in that you condemned Jesus of Nazareth to death, and gave Him vinegar and gall to drink; and you vaunt yourself because of this. Come therefore, and let us consider together whether perchance you do not boast unrighteously, O Israel, (and) whether that small portion of vinegar and gall has not brought down this fearful threatening upon you, (and) whether this is not the cause of your present condition involved in these myriad troubles.  2. Let him then be introduced before us who speaks by the Holy Spirit, and says truth— David the son of Jesse. He, singing a certain strain with prophetic reference to the true Christ, celebrated our God by the Holy Spirit, (and) declared clearly all that befell Him by the hands of the Jews in His passion; …

  • Hippolytus (pseudo), In sanctum pascha, gives an exegesis of Exodus 12, seeing the sacrifice of the passover lamb as a prediction of Christ’s death.[5]

23.  The [passover] lamb is then slain “towards the evening”.  And in fact it is also at sunset that the Lamb sacred to God was put to death.  24.  “the whole assembly of the sons of Israel shall kill it.”  (Ez. 12:6) The unbelieving Israel in fact becomes responsible for this precious Blood, some then by pouring it out, the others until today in refusing to believe.  This is why the Holy Spirit witnesses against them and exclaims, “Your hands are full of blood.” (Is. 1:15)

  • Lactantius, Diuinae Institutiones (Divine Institutions), VII.1. [6]

… in this book we will relate His second advent, which the Jews also both confess and hope for; but in vain, since He must return to the confusion of those for whose call He had before come. For they who impiously treated Him with violence in His humiliation, will experience Him in His power as a conqueror; and, God requiting them, they will suffer all those things which they read and do not understand; inasmuch as, being polluted with all sins, and moreover sprinkled with the blood of the Holy One, they were devoted to eternal punishment by that very One on whom they laid wicked hands. But we shall have a separate subject against the Jews, in which we shall convict them of error and guilt.

For thus did we also fast, when our Lord suffered, for a testimony of the three days; and we were keeping vigil and praying and interceding for the destruction of the People, because that they erred and confessed not our Saviour. So do you also pray that the Lord may not remember their guilt against them unto the end for the guile which they used against our Lord, but may grant them a place of repentance and conversion, and forgiveness of their wickedness.

For he who was a heathen and of a foreign people [cf. Gosp. of Peter 1], Pilate [[190]] the judge, did not consent to their deeds of wickedness, but took water and washed his hands, and said: I am innocent of the blood of this man [Mt 27.24]. But the People answered and said: His blood be upon us, and upon our children [Mt 27.25]; and Herod commanded that He should be crucified [cf. Gosp. of Peter 1]; and our Lord suffered for us on the Friday. Especially incumbent on you therefore is the fast of the Friday and of the Sabbath; and likewise the vigil and watching of the Sabbath, and the reading of the Scriptures, and psalms, and prayer and intercession for them that have sinned, and the expectation and hope of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus, until the third hour in the night after the Sabbath. And then offer your oblations; and thereafter eat and make good cheer, and rejoice and be glad, because that the earnest of our resurrection, Christ, is risen. And this shall be a law to you for ever, unto the end of the world. For to those who have not believed in our Saviour He is dead, because their hope in Him is dead; but to you who believe, our Lord and Saviour is risen, because your hope in Him is immortal and living for ever.

Fast then on the Friday, because thereon the People killed themselves in crucifying our Saviour; and on the Sabbath also, because it is the sleep (p. 94) of our Lord; for it is a day which ought especially to be kept with fasting: even as blessed Moses also, the prophet of all (things touching) this matter, commanded. For because he knew by the Holy Spirit and it was commanded him by Almighty God, who knew what the People were to do to His Son and His beloved Jesus Christ, — as even then they denied Him in the person of Moses, and said: Who hath appointed thee head and judge over us? [Ex 2.14] — therefore he bound them beforehand with mourning perpetually, in that he set apart and appointed the Sabbath for them. For they deserved to mourn, because they denied their Life, and laid [[191]] hands upon their Saviour and delivered Him to death. Wherefore, already from that time there was laid upon them a mourning for their destruction.

  • Eusebius, Commentarii in Esaiam (Commentary on Isaiah). [8]  Both the text, and the English translation from IVP, are inaccessible to me.
  • Eusebius, Commentarii in Psalmos (Commentary on the Psalms)(in PG 23). [9]  These are explanations of the psalms, treating them as predictions of Christ.

On Ps.21:12-14. For tribulation is very near: for there is none to help me. Many calves have surrounded me, strong bulls of Bashan have surrounded me. You will not depart from the truth, if you say the bulls of Bashan means the leaders of the Jewish people; or the leaders of the priests, the scribes, and the elders…  They opened against him their mouths, just like a lion raging and roaring, saying, Away with him, away with him, crucify him.  His blood be upon us and our descendants.  But Aquila reads Just like the lion, seizing and roaring; Symmachus: Just like a lion, coming and roaring.  But those who were thirsting for blood, and procuring that their children be responsible for the blood of the Saviour, were no different from a roaring lion.

On Ps.34:23-26.  (I was unable to locate any reference here)

On Ps.54:7-12.  And obviously the gospels tell in what way the voices of the whole population of the Jews were open against him to Pontius Pilate.  Which is declared likewise in the 21st psalm saying…

On Ps.58:7-12.  (Same sort of material again, the “Jews” are not even mentioned)

Os Ps.58:13.  And I’m amazed at the accuracy of the prophecy of the Holy Spirit.  Because in the time of our Saviour, the Jews could not put to death, but it was by the hand of the Romans, when Pilate gave judgement, after the soldiers surrounded and arrested him, and nothing was done by the Jews.  By law they could not put to death, but only prosecute.  For the leaders of the Jews went into council, and conspired to kill him.  And false witnesses and sycophants, eager for their pay, stood in the sight of the Saviour.  And the whole people with their voices and lips demanded his blood upon them and their children.  Remember that by law therefore they could not put to death, what Pilate decreed, his soldiers carried out; but the conspiracy of the leaders of the priests, the testimony of the sycophants, and the voice against him of the multitude.  [Apologies for this terrible translation of col. 545]

  • Eusebius, Commentarii in Psalmos (Pitra 2). [10]  I was unable to find anything relevant, so suspect I have the wrong work.
  • Eusebius, De solemnitate paschali. Here. [11]

10. But he himself, before he suffered, ate the Pascha and celebrated the festival with his disciples, not with the Jews.  But when had celebrated the festival at evening, the chief priests came upon him with the traitor and laid their hands on him; … those who had become defiled already in soul and body by their bloodthirstiness against the Savior feared to come in under [Pilate’s] roof!  They, on the one hand, on that very day of the passion, ate the Pascha that was injurious to their own souls, and asked for the Savior’s blood—not on their own behalf, but to their own detriment; our Savior, on the other hand, not then, but the day before, reclined at table with his disciples and conducted the festival that was desirable to himself.  11. Do you see how from that time, he [i.e., Jesus] was separating himself from them and moving away from the Jews’ bloodthirstiness, but was joining himself with his disciples, celebrating the desirable festival together with them?  So then, we too ought to eat the Pascha with Christ, while purifying our minds from all leaven of evil and wickedness, and taking our fill of the unleavened bread of truth and sincerity, and having within ourselves, in our souls, the “Jew in secret” and the true circumcision, and anointing the doorposts of our minds with the blood of the Lamb who was sacrificed for us, to ward off our destroyer.

  • Eusebius, Demonstratio evangelicaVIII.3; IX.12 (or IX.11); X.3; X.8[12]  This is concerned with showing from the OT, verse by verse, how its prophecies have come to pass in the life of Christ.

VIII.3   … all this it says will come to pass because of the sin of the house of Jacob, and the transgression of the house of Israel. And it goes on to describe this sin and transgression, “They that defile judgment and pervert all that is right, who build Sion with blood and Jerusalem with unrighteousness.” With blood! Yes, this was the cause of their final misery, for that they pronounced the impious curse upon themselves, saying, “His blood be on us and on our children.” Therefore, it says this, “Zion shall be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall be as a storehouse of fruit,” a prophecy which was only actually fulfilled after the impious treatment of our Saviour. For from that time to this utter desolation has possessed the land…

IX.11   So, then, we that are the Gentiles know and receive the prophet that was foretold… while the Jewish nation, not receiving Him that was foretold, has paid the fit penalty according to the divine prediction which said, “And the man who will not hear all things whatsoever the prophet shall speak in My Name, I will exact vengeance on him.” Surely He has avenged on that people all the blood poured out on the earth, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, yea, even to crown all to the Christ Himself, Whose blood they called down not only on themselves but on their children, and even now they pay the penalty of their presumptuous sin.

X.3    And all this was fulfilled, when “The passers-by reviled him, wagging their heads and saying, He saved others, himself he cannot save.” And since, even now, the Jews draw down the curse of their fathers upon themselves, and are wont with blasphemy and impious words to anathematize our Lord and Saviour and all that believe on Him, He goes on to say:

“They shall curse, but thou wilt bless. May they that arise against me be ashamed, but thy servant shall rejoice. Let them who speak evil of me be clothed with shame, and be clothed in confusion as with a cloak. But I will confess the Lord with my mouth, and amid many will I praise him, for he stood by the right hand of the poor, to save my soul from the persecutors.”

And it is quite clear, even now, to what evils they that invoke curses in their synagogues have grown accustomed, never at all being able to recover from those same times, while He offers to His Father in the midst of many nations the praise of His new Covenant, having the Father working with Him, Who sits at His own right hand.

X.8   The dogs that surrounded Him and the council of the wicked were the rulers of the Jews, the Scribes and High Priests, and the Pharisees, who spurred on the whole multitude to demand His blood against themselves and against their own children. … For when it was their duty, even if they could not acquire the character of shepherds, to protect like good sheepdogs their Master’s spiritual flock and the sheep of the house of Israel, and to warn by barking, and to fawn upon their Master and recognize Him, … they preferred like senseless dogs, yes, like mad dogs, to drive the sheep wild by barking… And all who even now conduct themselves like them in reviling and barking at the Christ of God in the same way may be reckoned their kin; …. Yea, all who to-day insult the Body of Christ, that is the Church, and attempt to destroy the hands and feet and very bones, are of their number…

  • Eusebius, Generalis elementaria introductio (Eclogae Propheticae.). [13]  This quotes the passage among others indicating how the prophecies of the messiah were ignored by the Jews.
  • Eusebius, Laudatio martyrum omnium (Encomium on the martyrs). Here[14]  I was unable to locate any reference to the passage in this text.
  • Athanasius, Epistulae festales (Festal Letters) 1-7 ; 11-14 ; 17-20 (syr.), PG 26 (1857), 1360-1397 ; 1403-1432. § 5 (p.1406).  Syriac translation Here.  But I was unable to find any reference to Matt.27:25 in these letters.
  • Basil of Caesarea, Enarratio in prophetam Esaiam. [15]  On Isaiah 1:15.

37. You hands are full of blood.  This is the reason why God turns away his eyes, when they extend their hands, because their supplications themselves are the cause of his anger.  For if someone kills the beloved son of another, and then extends hands still stained with blood to his father, … will not the blood of the son itself exasperate the father?  In the same way today the prayers of the Jews, if they extend their hands, they recall to God the Father the wicked crime against his only-begotten son, and every extending of hands reveals those hands full of the blood of Christ.  For although in their blindness they continue, they are the heirs of the paternal murder.  “For his blood,” they said, “be upon us and our children.”

  • Gregory Nazianzen, Oration 41: For the day of Pentecost, ch. 17. [16]  This seems to be a an exposition from the biblical text.

The captivity in Egypt and at Babylon was for a limited space and had long been ended by the return. That caused by the Romans had not yet taken place, but it would come, being a punishment for the audacity of the Jews against the Savior.

  • Gregory Nazianzen, Oration 4 (Against Julian). [17]

68.  … You’re a persecutor like Herod, you’re a traitor like Judas, except you haven’t killed yourself like he did to show he repented; you’re a murderer of Christ like Pilate; you’re an hater of God like the Jews!

  • Gregory Nazianzen, Oration 6: On peace among the monks. Ch. 17.[18]  The quarrels of Israel drew on them their misfortunes.

But when these men began to be ill, and quarrelled, some against the others, and divided themselves into numerous factions, when the cross reduced them to extremities, and their foolish temerity towards our God and Saviour, since they did not recognise God in man, and so drew on themselves the rod of iron which was threatening them from afar – I mean that authority and realm which actually had power – what happened, and what were their misfortunes?

  • Gregory of Nyssa, In luciferam sanctam Domini resurrectionem. GEBHARDT E., Gregorii Nysseni opera, 9, Sermones, Leiden 1967, 315-319. p.317, l.3
  • Epiphanius, De duodecim gemmis (On the 12 gems) (georg., arm., copt. fgt). [19]  This is a narrative about those of the dead who rose and went into Jerusalem when Christ rose from the dead.

Those who had risen made reply: «Know you not that the earth quaked and the abysses gaped and the nethermost depths of hell were destroyed? What was it you did on that day, or what was this matter?» Then these [of the tribe of Israel] remembered and said : «We seized a certain deceiver called Jesus and crucified him.» Those who had risen, however, lifted up their voices and said : «Woe unto you! He it was Who came unto us; He destroyed the walls of hell and severed the bonds of death through His might and caused us to rise up from our biers». The saying was fulfilled in which it is said : «Let the dead rise and let all be exalted, who have dwelt on the biers», and the Lord of Life shall show that He has by his power severed the bonds of the souls who were confined in Hades, thanks to His descent into hell…

  • Didymus, De Spiritu sancto. (On the holy spirit[20]  The punishment of Israel by God predicted by the OT:

219. Indeed, although they rushed into madness, to the point of killing Him who had been sent because of them, saying, “His blood be on us and on our children”, however, God raised Him from the earth, in which he remained for three days and three nights – as shepherd of his sheep, since the text continues: “who made the earth bring forth the shepherd of the sheep.” [Is.63:11]  220.  That our Lord Jesus Christ was the shepherd of the sheep that the text of the prophet mentions here…

  • Didymus, Fragmenta in Psalmos. [21]  This is not accessible to me.
  • Chrysostom, Against the Jews, homily 1, c.5; homily 6, 1:7  [22]  There are multiple references in homily 6 to the Jews killing Christ.

Hom. 1, c.5:  But I must get back again to those who are sick. Consider, then, with whom they [Judaizing Christians] are sharing their fasts. It is with those who shouted: “Crucify him, Crucify him”, with those who said: “His blood be upon us and upon our children”. If some men had been caught in rebellion against their ruler and were condemned, would you have dared to go up to them and to speak with them? I think not. Is it not foolish, then, to show such readiness to flee from those who have sinned against a man, but to enter into fellowship with those who have committed outrages against God himself? Is it not strange that those who worship the Crucified keep common festival with those who crucified him? Is it not a sign of folly and the worst madness?

Hom. 6, 1:7.  … it could be that they [the martyrs] will derive great pleasure from my conflict with the Jews; they might well listen most intently to a discourse given for God’s glory. For the martyrs have a special hatred for the Jews since the Jews crucified him for whom they have a special love. The Jews said: “His blood be on us and on our children” the martyrs poured out their own blood for him whom the Jews had slain. So the martyrs would be glad to hear this discourse.

2:9-10.  (9) If he turns away from you now because of your sins, he should have done so all the more in those days. If he put up with you when you were living lives of ungodliness, he ought to put up with you all the more now that you venture no such enormities. Why, then, has he not put up with you? Even if you are too ashamed to give the reason, I will state it clearly. Rather, I will not state it, but the truth of the facts will do so.  (10) You did slay Christ, you did lift violent hands against the Master, you did spill his precious blood. This is why you have no chance for atonement, excuse, or defense. In the old days your reckless deeds were aimed against his servants, against Moses, Isaiah, and Jeremiah. Even if there was ungodliness in your acts then, your boldness had not yet dared the crowning crime. But now you have put all the sins of your fathers into the shade. Your mad rage against Christ, the Anointed One, left no way for anyone to surpass your sin. This is why the penalty you now pay is greater than that paid by your fathers. If this is not the reason for your present disgrace, why is it that God put up with you in the old days when you sacrificed your children to idols, but turns himself away from you now when you are not so bold as to commit such a crime? Is it not clear that you dared a deed much worse and much greater than any sacrifice of children or transgression of the Law when you slew Christ?

  • Chrysostom, Contra eos qui subintroductas habent uirgines, [23]
  • Chrysostom, Homilia dicta in templo s.Anastasiae (Novarum hom. 8), PG 63, 493-500., p.500, l.10
  • Chrysostom, Homiliae 1-90 in Matthaeum (Homilies 1-90 on Matthew), homily 87. [24]  “They” is sometimes Jews, and sometimes Romans, in what follows.

For as though they were afraid lest they should seem to fall short at all in the crime, having killed the prophets with their own hands, but this man with the sentence of a judge, so they do in every deed; and make it the work of their own hands, and condemn and sentence both among themselves and before Pilate, saying, “His blood be on us and on our children,” and insult Him, and do despite unto Him themselves, binding Him, leading Him away, and render themselves authors of the spiteful acts done by the soldiers, and nail Him to the cross. and revile Him, and spit at Him, and deride Him. For Pilate contributed nothing in this matter, but they themselves did every thing, becoming accusers, and judges, and executioners, and all.

  • Chrysostom, In principium Actorum homiliae 1-4 (4 homilies on the start of Acts).[25] Note these are not the same as the series of 51 homilies on Acts.

They say, “Are you trying to lay on us the blame for this man’s blood?” (Acts 5:28)  Well if he was just a man, why are you worried about his blood?  You killed many of the prophets, and cut the throats of many of the just, O Jews, nor did you shrink from the blood of any of them.  So why do you shrink now?  Truly the crucified frightened them, and they could not hide their fear, … Indeed until they crucified him, they shouted saying, “His blood be on us and on our children”; so they despised his blood.  But after his passion, when they saw the brightness of his power, they were afraid, and worried, they said, “Are you trying to blame us for this man’s blood?”  But if he was a deceiver, and an enemy of God, as you say, O wicked Jews, why are you afraid of his blood?  If this was so, his murder should be a cause to glory in.  But since it was not such, they trembled.

  • Theodoret, Interpretatio in Esaiam. [26]

On Isaiah 1:15.  They [Israel] are not accused of worshipping idols, nor of committing adultery, nor of giving into greed, but of staining themselves with a murder: more difficult to support than any impiety or every iniquity was their act of folly against the Lord.  In fact to them belongs the saying, “His blood be upon us and our children”.  This blood has deprived them of the blessings of others, it has made them the accursed of the world.  All the same in His goodness He has given them a glimpse of the way of salvation, saying: 16. “Wash and be clean.”

On Isaiah 4:4.  The Lord will wash away the filth of the sons and daughters of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire.  Again he [Isaiah] refers to blood and purification.  By “blood” he means that which they brought on themselves and their children by crying, “His blood be on us and our children.”  By “purification” he predicts that which produces the bath of regeneration.  However, this done, he says, “by a spirit of judgement and a spirit of fire.” because as gold is purified by being dipped in fire, those who receive baptism lay down the poison of their sins.  The blessed John the Baptist said in his turn, “he will baptise you in the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

On Isaiah 5:7.  Then he explains what he just said allegorically.  The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the nation of Israel, and the people of Judah are the vines he delighted in. … Then he explains clearly the harvest and the thorns: And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.  This passage allows us to recognise clearly that it is because they exercised their madness against the saviour that they were stripped of the divine grace.  It is by the “cries” that this madness is visible.  But the narrative of the holy gospels teaches precisely that they shouted as loudly as possible in turn with cries of “Put him to death! to death!” crucify him!” and “His blood be upon us and our children!”  The prophet condemns still other injustices….

  • Theodoret, Interpretatio in Psalmos. PG 80, 857-1997. ?
  • Hilary, Commentarius in Euangelium Matthaei I-XIII. DOIGNON J., SC 254 (1978). § 6 (p.98, l.5).  Inaccessible to me.
  • Hilary, Commentarius in Evangelium Matthaei XIV-XXXIII. DOIGNON J., SC 258 (1979). § 1 (p.248, l.7    Inaccessible to me.
  • Hilary, Tractatus mysteriorum. [27]  The SC editor heads this section: “The crime of Cain prefigures the passion of Christ.”

The blood of Abel thus is claimed by those who, as had been prefigured in Cain, have persecuted the just and are accursed by the earth who, opening her mouth, has received the blood of his brother.  In the body of Christ, in fact in which are the apostles and the church, it is the blood of all the just that their race and their entire posterity has taken upon their own heads, crying “His blood be upon us and on our sons.”

  • Hilary, Tractatus super psalmos I – XCI. ZINGERLE A., CSEL 22 (1891), 3-354 ; 544-870. § 12 (p.45, l.21) & § 9 (p.103, l.24)
  • Ambrosiaster, Quaestiones Veteris et Noui Testamenti (numero CXXVII). SOUTER A., CSEL 50 (1908), 3-416. § 3. p.188, l.20
  • Jerome, Commentarii in Danielem (Commentary on Daniel). Here[28]  This discusses the chronology of the “weeks” in Daniel.

And then, after our Lord’s passion, the sacrifice and offering ceased in the middle of the week. For whatever took place in the Temple after that date was not a valid sacrifice to God but a mere worship of the devil, while they all cried out together, “His blood be upon us and upon our children” (Matt. 27:25); and again, “We have no king but Caesar.” Any reader who is interested may look up this passage in the Chronicle of this same Eusebius, for I translated it into Latin many years ago.

  • Jerome, Epistulae 121-130. LABOURT J., Saint Jérôme, Lettres, t. 7, Collections des Universités de France, Paris 1961. p.165, l.26
  • Jerome, In Hieremiam prophetam libri VI. REITER S., CCL 74 (1960). § 2 (p.71, l.18 & § 3 (p.162, l.20 & § 3 (p.181, l.14
  • Cyril of Jerusalem, Catecheses ad illuminandos 12-18Lecture 13[29]

21. The beginning of signs under Moses was blood and water; and the last of all Jesus’ signs was the same. First, Moses changed the river into blood; and Jesus at the last gave forth from His side water with blood. This was perhaps on account of the two speeches, his who judged Him, and theirs who cried out against Him; or because of the believers and the unbelievers. For Pilate said, I am innocent and washed his hands in water; they who cried out against Him said, His blood be upon us: there came therefore these two out of His side; the water, perhaps, for him who judged Him; but for them that shouted against Him the blood.

  • Cyril of Jerusalem, Epistula de aedificando templo. [30]

12. This event took place on Monday at the third hour, and partly at the ninth hour of the night. There was great loss of life here. (It was) on 19 Iyyar of the year 674 of the kingdom of Alexander the Greek. This year the pagan Julian died, and it was he who especially incited the Jews to rebuild the Temple, since he favoured them because they had crucified Christ. Justice overtook this rebel at his death in enemy territory, and in this the sign of the power of the cross was revealed, because he had denied Him who had been hung upon it for the salvation and life of all.

  • Procopius of Gaza, Catena in Esaiam, PG 87 2, 1817-2718. § 1 (p.857); § 2 (p.352); § 2 (p.600)
  • Procopius of Gaza, Commentarii in Octateuchum, PG 87 1, 21-1220. (p.252); (p.491, l.46); (p.919); (p.923); § 1 (p.41)

Acts 4:10

  • Origen, Contra Celsum, “SC 132, 136, 147, 150, 227. p.308, l.27″.  Biblindex does not specify the volume of the SC edition; the index of that edition doesn’t reference Acts 4:10 and no reference is given in Chadwick’s translation.
  • Eusebius, Commentarii in Esaiam. [31]  Inaccessible to me.
  • Athanasius, De sententia Dionysii (On the opinion of Dionysius), Here[32]

But if they accuse the blessed man [Dionysius] (for the arguments of the Arians about him are in fact accusations against him) simply for writing thus, what will they do when they hear even the great and blessed Apostles in the Acts, firstly Peter saying (Acts ii. 22), `Ye men of Israel hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God unto us by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves know: Him, being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by the hand of lawless men did crucify and slay;’ and again (ib. iv. 10), `In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Whom ye crucified, Whom God raised from the dead, even in Him doth this man stand here before you whole;’ and Paul, relating (ib. xiii. 22) in Antioch of Pisidia how God,`when He had removed Saul, raised up David to be king;…

  • Epiphanius, Ancoratus. HOLL K., GCS 25 (1915), 2-149 ; y compris les lettres de Matidius et Palladius. § 1. p.51, l.12.  Eng. tr. Fathers of the Church 128.  Preview.
  • Chrysostom, In Acta apostolorum homiliae 1-55 (55 Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles). [33]

Homily 10. C.2. … What then says Peter? “Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel.” Mark the Christian wisdom of the man; how full of confidence it is: he utters not a word of insult, but says with respect… “By what means this man is made whole: be it known unto you all, and to all the people Israel; that by the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth:” – this is what would vex them most. For this was that which Christ had told the disciples, “What ye hear in the ear that preach ye upon the housetops. – That in the name of Jesus Christ,” he says, “of Nazareth, Whom ye crucified, Whom God raised from the dead, even by Him doth this man stand here before you whole.” (v. 10). (Matt. x. 27.) Think not, he says, that we conceal the country, or the nature of the death. “Whom ye crucified, Whom God raised from the dead, even by Him doth this man stand before you whole.”

10, 3. … Do you observe too (in point of rhetoric) with what dignity they express themselves? Even in the use of words they were becoming expert by practice, and henceforth they were not to be beaten down. “Be it known unto you all,” etc. (v. 10.) Whereby he shows them that they rather do, in spite of themselves, preach Christ; themselves extol the doctrine, by their examining and questioning. O exceeding boldness – “Whom ye crucified! Whom God raised up” – this is bolder still! Think not that we hide what there is to be ashamed of.

I was unable to locate the precise reference for homily 13.

  • Ambrose, Expositio de Psalmo CXVIII. PETSCHENIG M., CSEL 62 (1913, réimpr. 1962). § 43, p.64, l.20.

No doubt there are more to be found![34]

UPDATE 26/05/2015: I’ve translated a few more of the passages.  One in Gregory Nazianzen does, I think, strike the authentic note of anti-Semitism.

  1. [1] On the Passover – Melito of Sardis – Kerux 4:1 (May 1989)
  2. [2] KROYMANN Aem., CCL 2 (1954), 1339-1396. § 18 (p.1364, l.144)
  3. [3] KROYMANN Aem., CCL 1 (1954), 441-726. § 3 (p.492, l.25)
  4. [4] DIERCKS G.F., CCL 4 (1972), 265-278., § 5 (p.269, l.20).  Quasten says that this is ANF 5, 219, the “Expository treatise against the Jews”, attributed to Hippolytus.
  5. [5] NAUTIN P., SC 27 (1950)., (p.151, l.19), who was the first editor.  An article on the text here.  Translation from the French by me.
  6. [6] BRANDT S., CSEL 19 (1890), 1-672. § 25 (p.585, l.24)
  7. [7] CONNOLLY R.H., Didascalia apostolorum…, Oxford 1929., p.190, l.2
  8. [8] ZIEGLER J., GCS (1975).. § 29 (p.23, l.8) & § 48 (p.362, l.20).
  9. [9] PG 23 (1857), passim 76-1393. (cols.208, 209, 313, 480, 541, 545, 744, 857). 208-209; “Vers. 12-14. Quoniam tribulatio proxima est, quoniam non est qui adjuvet. Circumdederunt me vituli multi, tauri pingues, obsederunt me. Nequaquam a vero aberraveris, si tauros pingues, principes Judaici populi; sive principes sacerdotum, scribas et seniores significare dixeris. Hujusce rei mentio habetur in sexagesimo septimo psalmo bis verbis : Increpa feras arundinis : congregatio taurorum in vaccis populorum. Hic porro populos, vaccas, populi duces, tauros nuncupavit. In praesenti item psalmo, illius loco. Circumdederunt me vituli multi, Symmachus sic habet, Juvenci tauri pingues saginati, circumplexi sunt me, inquit, et circumdederunt me; secundum Aquilam vero, Potentes Basan in spectaculum traduxerunt me; queis adumbratur militaris Pilati manus, Basan nuncupata, quae coronam spineam complicatam, diadematis loco, capiti ejus imposuit. Aperuerunt super eum os suum, sicut leo rapiens et rugiens, clamantes, Tolle, tolle, crucifige eum. Sanguis ejus super nos et super liberos nostros.  Aquila vero, Sicut leo, inquit, capiens et rugiens; Symmachus, Sicut leo venans rugiensque. Nam qui sanguinem sitiebant, suosque liberos Salvatoris sanguine reos esse procurabant, a leone rugiente nihil differebant.” “Et sane cujusmodi voces ad Pontium Pilatum totus Judaeorum populus contra eum ediderit, narrant Evangelia. Quod item in vicesimo primo psalmo declarabat dicens:…” 13. “Et mirari subit praedictionis sancti Spiritus accurationem. Quia enim tempore Salvatoris nostri, non Judaei ipsi mortem intulerunt, sed Romanorum manu id peractum est, judicium Pilato ferente, militibus comprehendentibus et abducentibus eum, et a Judaeis nihil eorum actum est; jure illis non ipsum necis actum ascribit, sed causam.  Principes namque Judaeorum concilium ineuntes, nullam non machinam moverunt, ut eum perderent; falsi testes autem et sycophantae, eorum gratiam aucupantes, in conspectu Salvatoris steterunt ; totusque populus vocibus labiisque suis sanguinem ejus super se et super filios suos expetierunt : jure ergo non necis facinus, quam decrevit Pilatus, perpetrarunt milites ejus, memorat; sed principum sacerdotum conspirationem, sycophantarum testimonium, contra ipsum acclamantis multitudinis vocem.” 744 and 857 do not appear to have relevant material.  Hasty translations by me from Migne’s Latin.
  10. [10] PITRA J.B., Analecta sacra, 3, Venetiis 1883.  (Here?)passim 204-515. P.415, l.5.
  11. [11] PG 24 (1857), 693-705., § 10 (p.705)
  12. [12] HEIKEL I.A., GCS 23 (1913), 2-496.  Here.   § 8 (p.393, l.6);   § 14 (p.430, l.6);   § 20 (p.460, l.16);  § 82 (p.487, l.4)
  13. [13] PG 22 (1857), 1021-1261 ; 1272-1273.  The reference is col.1073B.
  14. [14] HARRIS COWPER B., The Encomium of the Martyrs, The Journal of Sacred Literature, N.S. 6 (1865), 129-133. § 2 (p.132, l.21)
  15. [15] PG 30, 117-668. col.192: ”

    37. “Nam manus vestrae sanguine plenae”. Hoc est causae, quod Deus oculos avertat, cum extenderint manus, quod ipsa supplicationis symbola ad irritandum illum sint occasiones. Quemadmodum si quia dilectum alterius filium occiderit, ac manus suas adhuc ex caede cruentatas ad infensum sibi patrem exporrigat, dexteramque efflagitet amicitis, exposcatque veniam; nonne sanguis filii in ipsius interfectoris manu apparens patrem injuria affectum acrius exasperate? Nunc ejusmodi sunt Judaeorum preces; siquidem cum extendunt manus, admissum in Unigenitum Filium scelus Deo et Patri revocant in memoriam, atque per singulas extensiones suas ipsorum manus sanguine Christi plenas ostendunt. Enimvero qui in sua caecitate perseverant, caedis paternae sunt haeredes. “Sanguis enim ejus, inquiunt, super nos, et super filios nostros.””

  16. [16] Orationes 38-41. MORESCHINI C., GALLAY P., SC 358 (1990). § 17, p.352, l.11: “17. Et puisque c’est «aux juifs les plus pieux habitant Jérusalem, aux Parthes, aux Médes et aux Élamites, aux Égyptiens et aux Libyens, aux Cretois et aux Arabes, aux Mesopotamiens et aux Cappadociens», mes compatriotes, que les langues s’adressaient, ainsi qu’aux juifs qui venaient «de toutes les nations qui sont sous le ciel», et qui – s’il plait a quelqu’un de penser ainsi – s’etaient reunis la, il y a lieu de voir qui ils etaient et de quelle captivite ils venaient. La captivite en Egypte et a Babylone etait limitee dans l’espace et avait depuis longtemps pris fin par le retour. Celle due aux Romains n’avait pas encore eu lieu, mais elle devait venir, etant une punition de l’audace des juifs contre le Sauveur. Il ne reste done qu’a songer a celle qui eut pour auteur Antiochus et qui n’etait pas anterieure de beaucoup a ces evenements. Si l’on n’accepte pas cette explication, si on la tient pour trop subtile car la captivite en question n’etait pas ancienne et il n’y avait pas eu dispersion en beaucoup de pays et si l’on cherche l’explication la plus convaincante, il vaut peut-etre mieux penser que souvent et par le fait de multiples ennemis le peuple avait ete chasse, comme le rapporte Esdras, et que certaines tribus avaient ete rendues a leur patrie, tandis que d’autres etaient restees au loin : ainsi, vraisemblablement, des individus appartenant a des tribus disseminees en maintes nations se trouvaient alors la et participaient au prodige.”
  17. [17] BERNARDI J., SC 309 (1983). § 68 (p.178, l.10): “Tu te fais persécuteur à la suite d’Hérode, traître à la suite de Judas, mais sans te pendre comme l’a fait celui-ci pour montrer son repentir? Tu te fais meurtrier du Christ à la suite de Pilate et ennemi de Dieu à la suite des Juifs?”
  18. [18] Orationes 6-19. PG 35, 721-1064. § 17 col.744; but also in SC 405, p.165: “Mais lorsque ces hommes commencerent a etre malades, s’emporterent les uns contre les autres et se diviserent en de nombreuses fractions, quand la croix les eut reduits a l’extremites, ainsi que leur folle temerite vis-a-vis de notre Dieu et Sauveur, puisqu’ils avaient ignore Dieu en l’homme, et lorsqu’ils attirerent sur eux la verge de fer qui les menacait de loin – je veux parler de cette autorité et de ce royaume qui domine actuellement – qu’arrive-t-il et quels sont leurs malheurs?”
  19. [19] BLAKE R.P., DE VIS H., Epiphanius De gemmis, The Old Georgian version and the fragments of the Armenian version and the Coptic-Sahidic fragments (Studies and documents 2), London 1934, 99-193.  Here. P.163, l.13.
  20. [20] DOUTRELEAU L., SC 386 (1992). § 219 (p.340, l.2): “219. En effet, bien qu’ils se soient précipités dans la témérité au point de mettre à mort Celui qui avait été envoyé à cause d’eux, en disant : « Que son sang retombe sur nous et sur nos enfants», cependant, celui-là, Dieu l’a fait se relever de la terre, au sein de laquelle il était resté trois jours et trois nuits,  — en pasteur de ses brebis, puisque le texte poursuit ainsi : « qui fit sortir de la terre le pasteur des brebis».”
  21. [21] MUHLENBERG E., Psalmenkommentare aus der Katenenüberlieferung, 2 (Patristische Texte und Studien 16), Berlin – New York 1977. § 583 (p.16, l.15); and § 717 (p.81, l.27)
  22. [22] Aduersus Iudaeos et Iudaezantes sermones 1-7 et in eos qui prima Pascha ieiunant homilia. PG 48,843-942., col.850, l.20; col.905, l.16.
  23. [23] DUMORTIER J., Saint Jean Chrysostome: Les cohabitations suspectes, p.53, l.23
  24. [24] MIGNE J.-P., Sancti Joannis Chrysostomi Commentarius in sanctum Matthaeum evangelistam, PG 58 (1862)., p.769, l.50
  25. [25] PG 51, 65-112. col.110, l.37; col.111, l.1: “Vultis, inquiunt, inducere super nos sanguinem Hominis istius (lb. 5. 28 )? At enim si nudus homo est, cur ejus sanguinem pertimescis? quam multos prophetas occidisti, quam multos justos jugulasti, Judaeae, nec ullius illorum sanguinem reformidasti? cur igitur hic reformidas! Vere conscientiam terrebat illorum crucifixus, suamque formidinem cum occultare non possent, vel etiam inviti suam coram inimicis imbecillitatem fatentur. Ac dum illum quidem crucifigerent, clamabant dicentes, Sanguis ejus super nos, et super filios nostros (Matth. 27. 25); adeo sanguinem ejus spernebant. Post passionem autem cum effulgentem illius virtutem intuentur, pertimescunt et aestuant, dicuntque : Vultis inducere sanguinem hominis istius super nos ? At enim si seductor erat, et adversarius Dei, prout dicitis, scelesti Judaei, quam ob causam sanguinem ipsius timetis ? Etenim si talis erat, illius etiam fuerat caede gloriandum. Sed quoniam talis non erat, idcirco tremunt.”
  26. [26] MOEHLE A., Theodoret von Kyros Kommentar zu Jesaia, Mitteilungen des Septuaginta Unternehmens 5, Berlin 1932.  p.8, l.21; p.22, l.15; p.25, l.13.  Also SC274, p.171, On Isaiah 1:15: “15. Lorsque vous étendrez vos mains vers moi, je détournerai mes yeux de vous ; même si vous multipliez les prières, je ne vous écouterai pas : car vos mains sont pleines de sang. Après cet exposé détaillé qui concerne notamment l’abrogation de la Loi et la destruction du Temple, il a enseigné la nature du péché qui leur a valu de subir toutes sortes de châtiments. Il ne les accuse ni de rendre un culte aux idoles, ni de commettre l’adultère, ni de céder à la cupidité, mais de se souiller d’un meurtre : plus difficile à supporter que toute impiété et que toute iniquité fut leur acte de folie contre le Seigneur. Elle leur appartient en effet la parole : « Son sang sur nous et sur nos enfants. » Ce sang les a privés de l’heureux sort d’autrefois, ce sang a fait d’eux les métèques du monde.  Néanmoins dans sa bonté, il leur fait entrevoir le chemin du salut : 16. Lavez-vous, devenez purs.”  On Isaiah 4:4. “4. “Parce que le Seigneur lavera la souillure des fils et des filles de Sion et purifiera Jérusalem du sang jailli du milieu d’eux au souffle du jugement et au souffle de la brûlure.” Il fait, de nouveau, mention de sang et de purification ; par « sang », il entend celui qu’ils ont fait couler sur eux-mêmes et sur leurs enfants pour avoir crié : « Son sang sur nous et sur nos enfants », par « purification », il prédit celle que produit le bain de régénération. Or, cela s’accomplira, dit-il, « au souille du jugement et au souffle de la brûlure » ; car, tout comme on rend l’or de bon aloi en le fondant au feu, ceux qui reçoivent le baptême déposent le venin de leurs péchés. Le bienheureux Jean-Baptiste à son tour l’a dit : « Lui vous baptisera dans l’Esprit-Saint et dans le feu. »”  On Isaiah 5:7 (p.237): “Puis il explique ce qu’il vient de dire de manière figurée : 7. Eh bien ! le vignoble du Seigneur Sabaoth, c’esl la Maison d’Israël, et l’homme de Juda, c’esl son jeune plant bien-aimé. Il a mis en accusation toutes les tribus, car il appelle « Maison de Jacob » tous ceux qui sont issus de cet ancêtre. Quant à la tribu de Juda, en vertu du fait qu’elle détenait la Bénédiction de la Promesse et qu’elle avait le Temple pour ornement, il l’a nommée « jeune plant bien-aimé ». Puis il explique clairement ce que signifient la vendange et les épines : J’ai espéré qu’il produirait le droit, mais il a produit l’iniquité; au lieu de la justice, des cris. Ce passage permet de reconnaître clairement que c’est pour avoir exercé leur folie furieuse contre le Sauveur qu’ils ont été dépouillés de la grâce divine : c’est par les « cris » qu’il a fait voir cette folie. Or, le récit des saints Évangiles précisément apprend qu’ils vociféraient au plus haut point, tour à tour aux cris de : «A mort! à mort! crucifie-le! » et de « Son sang sur nous et sur nos enfants ! »” 
  27. [27] BRISSON J.P., SC 19 bis (1967), 72-162. § 7 p.90, l.17:  “Le sang d’Abel ainsi est reclame a celui qui, d’apres ce qui avait ete prefigure en Cain, a persecute les justes et a ete maudit par la terre qui, ouvrant sa bouche, a recueilli le sang de son frere. Dans le corps du Christ, en effet,en qui sont les Apotres et l’eglise, c’est le sang de tous les justes que leur race et leur posterite tout entiere a pris sur elle selon leurs propres cris : « Que son sang soit sur nous et sur nos fils!””
  28. [28] GLORIE F., CCL 75A (1964), 769-950. p.876, l.372
  29. [29] RUPP J., S. Patris nostri Cyrilli Hierosolymorum archiepiscopi opera quae supersunt omnia, 2, Monaci 1860 (Hildesheim 1967), 2-342. § 21, p.78, l.19.
  30. [30] BROCK S.P., A letter attributed to Cyril of Jerusalem on the rebuilding of the Temple, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 40 (1977), 267-286. § 12 p.276, l.19.  JSTOR.
  31. [31] ZIEGLER J., GCS (1975). § 28 (p.293, l.13
  32. [32] § 7 (p.50, l.19) OPITZ H.-G., Athanasius Werke, 2,1, Berlin-Leipzig, 1935, 46-67.
  33. [33] PG 60 (1862) 13-384.  Col.86, l.30 (=Homily 10, 2); Col.88, l.36 (Hom 10, 3); Col.107, l.49 (Hom.13, 3)
  34. [34] Some information may be found in Jeremy Cohen, Christ Killers: The Jews and the Passion from the Bible to the Big Screen. Preview; David Berger, History and Hate: The Dimensions of Anti-Semitism, Preview.  See also a passage in Fulgentius, Selected Works (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 95), ed. Robert B Eno, Preview, where the Christ killer is Judas, rather than the Jews.

Chrysostom quote: “How is it that you come to be rich?”

Today I saw an interesting quotation attributed to John Chrysostom, which reads as follows:

John Chrysostom, a fourth-century preacher and bishop of Constantinople, wrote, “Tell me then, how is it that you are rich? From whom did you receive it, and from whom did he transmit it to you? From his father and his grandfather. But can you, ascending through many generations, show the acquisition just? It cannot be. The root and origin of it must have been injustice. Why? Because God in the beginning did not make one person rich and another poor, He left the earth free to all alike. Why then if it is common, have you so many acres of land, while your neighbor has not a portion of it?”

Searching on the first words, “Tell me then, how is it you are rich?”, the source appears to be Shane Claiborne &c, Common Prayer: A liturgy for ordinary radicals, for May 14 – annoyingly the pages are unnumbered.[1]  But the authors give no source for this supposed quotation.  The quote has now started to appear in Twitter, and will doubtless circulate.

A Google Books search reveals earlier use of those words; e.g. in 1978 by Mary Evelyn Jegen & ‎Bruno V. Manno, The Earth is the Lord’s: Essays in Stewardship, p.40.  Unfortunately all the results listed are in snippet form only.

It sometimes helps to use later words in a quote, so I did a search on “The root and origin of it must have been injustice”, and … bingo!  It appears in the 1843 translation of the homilies of Chrysostom on Timothy, Titus and Philemon, published in the Oxford Movement Library of the Fathers series, on p.100: in homily 12, on 1 Timothy.  This reads, in the NPNF series of homily 12:

Tell me, then, whence art thou rich? From whom didst thou receive it, and from whom he who transmitted it to thee? From his father and his grandfather. But canst thou, ascending through many generations, show the acquisition just? It cannot be. The root and origin of it must have been injustice. Why? Because God in the beginning made not one man rich, and another poor. Nor did He afterwards take and show to one treasures of gold, and deny to the other the right of searching for it: but He left the earth free to all alike. Why then, if it is common, have you so many acres of land, while your neighbor has not a portion of it?

At some point somebody modernised these words – not too arduous a task, since the original translator seems to have abandoned his thee’s and thou’s after the first couple of sentences, and reverted to the English of his own day in which he no doubt actually first wrote his translation – and that modernised version has been quoted and requoted.

So there we have it.  It is from Homily 12 of Chrysostom’s Homilies on 1 Timothy.

  1. [1] Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Enuma Okoro, Common Prayer: A liturgy for ordinary radicals, Zondervan, 2010.

Religious tests, profligate wretches, and the tricks of memory

Many years ago – indeed in my last summer at Oxford – I formed a high opinion of the pre-WW1 essays of Augustine Birrell.  This opinion was not founded on any great study.  On the contrary: I was going punting, and looking for a book to take with me.  In a shop I found a copy of the Everyman Century of English Essays.  It was very cheap, for its cover was gone, and had been replaced by some careful person with a cover of brown paper.  Anyway it was clearly not valuable, and so ideal for the risky environment of the punt.

The volume contained a couple of essays by Birrell, and this led me to buy some collections of his essays, and then to venture to look at some of the literary works which he discussed.  Notable among these was Boswell’s Life of Johnson.  This I acquired somewhere, in a two-volume Everyman, and had a local bookshop – the Amberstone bookshop in Ipswich, long since vanished alas – cover the battered dustwrappers with plastic.  Consequently Birrell and Boswell have been long allied in my memory.

The reign of Charles II was not a happy one in Britain, and Johnson looks back to it often.  The main consequence of that reign was to exclude by law half of England from any share in the government, if they failed to “conform”; that is, to swear oaths of their allegiance to the Church of England.  The Act of Uniformity, the Test Act, and other detestable pieces of legislation were devised, not to promote national unity, but in order to push the puritans and presbyterians out of the church, thereby allowing the revenues of many valuable benefices to fall to their enemies, and allowing the latter to use the state to harass, imprison, and otherwise abuse those they hated.  This process created “non-conformity”, a parallel state, which continued to exist for more than a century and a half, until the laws were entirely removed in the 19th century.

Many people will perhaps suppose that this was religious persecution, from the language used by the oppressors.  But I learned yesterday that the judge who worded the Act of Uniformity of 1662, John Keeling, was himself an atheist.  The Archbishop of Canterbury, Gilbert Sheldon, who drafted the material and was in the forefront of the persecutions, is recorded by Samuel Pepys a few years later as a wencher.  These were not religious men.

In fact laws that strain mens’ consciences invariably produce governments full of liars and scoundrels.  Honest men say what they mean, and so are at the mercy of wretches who will say anything, and are quite happy to draw up “tests” which will exclude those more honest than themselves.  The Act of Uniformity was of this character; for it involved swearing that the Book of Common Prayer was in full accordance with scripture, when in fact almost no copies had even been made available for examination.

For many years, I was under the impression that Birrell referred to one of the drafters of these nasty pieces of legislation in the following terms: “that the wretch who drafted it boasted that it would damn one half of the country and starve the other half.”  I always wondered who precisely the “wretch” was, and where Birrell found the statement.

This evening I took advantage of the digitisation of Birrell’s works at the Internet Archive to do some searches.  And I found … that the words are not Birrell’s, but are found in the footnotes (by either Boswell himself, or by Malone, an early editor).  The footnote is to a remark about the non-jurors, clergymen who declined to swear to William III in 1688, on the basis that they were already sworn to James II, and so were deprived of their livings.

This was not merely a cursory remark ; for in his Li/e o/ Fenten
he observes, ‘ With many other wise and virtuous men, who at that
time of discord and debate [about the beginning of this century] con-
sulted conscience well or ill informed, more than interest, he doubted
the legality of the government ; and refusing to qualify himself for
public employment by taking the oaths required, left the University
without a degree.’ This conduct Johnson calls ‘ perverseness of

The question concerning the morality of taking oaths of whatever kind, imposed by the prevailing power at the time, rather than to be excluded from all consequence, or even any considerable usefulness in society, has been agitated with all the acuteness of casuistry. It is related that he who devised the oath of abjuration, profligately boasted that he had framed a test which should ‘damn one half of the nation, and starve the other.’ Upon minds not exalted to inflexible rectitude, or minds in which zeal for a party is predominant to excess, taking that oath against conviction may have been palliated under the plea of necessity or ventured upon in heat, as upon the whole producing more good than evil.

At a county election in Scotland many years ago, when there was a warm contest between the friends of the Hanoverian succession and those against it, the oath of abjuration having been demanded, the freeholders upon one side rose to go away. Upon which a very sanguine gentleman, one of their number, ran to the door to stop them, calling out with much earnestness, ‘Stay, stay, my friends, and let us swear the rogues out of it!’ [1]

It is indeed hard not to be cynical about those who draft laws about what opinions may or may not be held or expressed.  They are invariably rogues who seek only their own advantage by turning the natural desire of all men to do what is right into a means to harm those who possess it.

So this relates to a later oath than I had imagined.  But who was the man who “profligately boasted” of the harm he had done his country?

I do not know the answer.  But a search produces more information.

In Thomas Carte’s A full answer, 1742, p.87[2] I find the following:

I am no great Friend to Tests, but all Governments have thought it proper to take such Precautions for their Security. Thus we have seen in our Times seven excellent Bishops, and near 1000 Clergymen of the Church of England, and the whole Body of the Clergy (almost to a Man) of another Kingdom, now united to ours, turned out of their Freeholds, because they could not comply with such Tests, though their former Conduct had been in all Respects irreproachable. There have been some invented, which a Son of one of the Trustees for the Charities to the Bartholomew Divines, has been laid to glory in contriving so, as to damn one half of the Clergy and starve the other.

The “Bartholomew Divines” were the clergy ejected in 1662 by the Act of Uniformity, which took effect on St Bartholomew’s Day – itself cunningly chosen, as Bishop Burnet informs us, just before Michaelmas, when the rents for the year past were due, so that the incoming appointees could enjoy the profits for the year just gone, rather than those who had earned them.  The charities, then, must be funds raised for those clergy.  The reference again is to the Oath of Abjuration (of 1702), and evidently a son of one of those trustees had decided to revenge himself on the (conforming) clergy who had benefitted from those expulsions.

That the culprit was indeed a non-conformist appears also in a pro-conformist tract, written by Samuel Butler, the author of Hudibras, called The assembly-man.  A 1715 3rd edition is here, and on p.109 we find the following description of the non-conformists:

But the Assembler‘s deepest, highest Abomination, is his Solemn League and Covenant, whereby he strives to damn or beggar the whole Kingdom, out doing the Devil, who only persuades, but the Assembler forces to Perjury or Starving. And this (whoever lives to observe it) will one Day sink both him and his Faction : For He and his Oath are so much one,that were he half hang’d and let down again, his first Word would be Covenant! Covenant!

This, of course, is at a time when the times have changed.  The evil men who created conformity were all strong supporters of James II; and after his overthrow, had a test inflicted upon them in turn by the nonconformists, then in favour with the Whig party.

So I find that I am mistaken, and that the phrase in fact refers to the nonconformists’ revenge on the conformists, and not the evil of 1662!  I still can’t put a name to the man, tho.

But so it goes in life.  The wrong that you do to others will one day be done to you, and it will be justified, over your protests, by the precedents that you created.

These events are perhaps forgotten today.  One can’t help wishing that they were better known.

  1. [1] Life, 1775, p.172.
  2. [2] Thomas Carte, A Full Answer to the Letter from a By-stander, &c: Wherein His False Calculations, and Misrepresentations of Facts in the Time of King Charles II are Refuted. And an Historical Account is Given of All the Parliamentary Aids in that Reign, from the Journals of the House of Commons, the Ancient and Modern Power of the Crown, and the Excessive Height to which it is Risen of Late, are Clearly Represented. And Reasons Offered for Restoring to the Freeholders of England Their Ancient Right of Chusing High Sheriffs and Justices of Peace in the County Courts, as a Proper Means Towards Restoring the Ballance of Our Constitution, and Putting a Stop to the Progress of Corruption, 1742.

A couple more drawings of the Vatican rotunda

A couple more drawings have come my way of the Vatican Rotunda.

I have blogged before about this.  It appears that a couple of circular tombs were built in the 3rd century AD in what had been the Circus of Gaius and Nero, just down the slope from where Constantine was to build the basilica of Old St Peter’s.  The two tombs were incorporated into the structure as attached buildings, used as chapels.  The western one was demolished when the new basilica was built, but the other remained until quite modern times, and was known as the Vatican rotunda.

The first image is from the Met Museum, and is a drawing by Antonio Tempesta of 1645.  In fact it forms part of a map of Rome.  Here it is:

A. Tempesta, 1645. Map of Rome.

A. Tempesta, 1645. Map of Rome.

This shows new St Peter’s, but without the colonnades.  Instead the steps of Old St Peter’s are still there.  The Vatican rotunda is in the middle of the south side of the basilica.

Now here’s the other, also from the Met Museum.  Giovanni Battista Falda (Italian, 1643–1678). Veduta di Tutta la Basilica Vaticana (…), from Il Nuovo Teatro (…), 1665–1669:

Falda, 1665-9.  New St Peter's with Vatican Rotunda.

Falda, 1665-9. New St Peter’s with Vatican Rotunda.

Note the rotunda, in an unusual view, end-on, at the left-hand end of the colonnade.

Further notes on the “Cura Sanitatis Tiberii”

Yesterday I wrote some notes on this curious Latin apocryphal text.  There is a whole cycle of medieval texts about what happened to Pilate after the gospels, often attached to the Gospel of Nicodemus in Latin versions, of which the Cura Sanitatis Tiberii is one.

Today I discovered a few more bits of information, especially that Z. Izydorczyk’s The Medieval Gospel of Nicodemus: Texts, Intertexts and Contents in Western Europe (1997) is online here.  It contains some interesting information.

Given the absence of concern for textual integrity and definitive textual boundaries in manuscript culture, it is hardly surprising that the Gospel of Nicodemus provided both a source and a point of gravity for a host of minor, often derivative compositions. Known collectively as the cycle of Pilate, those texts are quite diverse in form and content, and include private and official letters, reports, narratives, and legal pronouncements. What links them all is the emphasis on the person of Pilate, textual and thematic links to the GN, and frequent co-occurrence with the GN in manuscripts (in fact, they are sometimes fully integrated with it). Most of them were originally written in crude Greek or Latin and later translated into various Eastern and Western languages.

The notion of the cycle of Pilate is rather loose and has never been unambiguously defined. There is no absolute agreement as to which texts should be included in it and which should not, but there is a general consensus that the cycle constitutes the immediate textual milieu for the AP. Since the Pilate cycle will occasionally enter the discussions of the apocryphon in this book, it may be worthwhile to mention its main texts here….

He then gives a useful list, with a short summary of the contents of each.  He indicates that his list is derived from Mauritius Geerard, Clavis apocryphorum Novi Testamenti, Corpus Christianorum. Series Apocryphorum (Tumhout: Brepols, 1992), no. 64 onwards.

Cura sanitatis Tiberii: Tiberius is miraculously healed by an image of Christ, Peter confirms the truth of Pilate’s report on Jesus, and Nero exiles Pilate, who commits suicide. The work was composed in Latin, possibly in northern Italy, between the fifth and the eighth centuries.

A more detailed discussion appears on p.57-9, in which the date of the piece is given as between the 5-8th centuries; the latter being the date of the first extant manuscript, while the former is the date of the Latin translation of the Gospel of Nicodemus, to which the Cura is “textually indebted.”

The CANT indicates that the Cura is CANT 69 (BHL 4218-4220), that there are two recensions, and the edition is by Dobschutz, as we saw yesterday.  I learn from Izydorczyk that an Old Czech version of the Cura exists; and Old English, Middle English, and German versions.  A google search informs me of a volume of Old French and Middle French versions of Pilate texts, including the Cura.[1]

It is curious, tho, that no modern translation exists.  It seems clear that a volume which edits the entire cycle, with translations, would be very useful to have.  Would it be so hard to do?

  1. [1] A.E. Ford (ed.), La Vengeance de Nostre-Seigneur, 1993. ISBN: 978-0-88844-115-7. Info from Brepols here.

The death of Pilate: a text and some notes on the “Cura Sanitatis Tiberii”

A correspondent enquired whether I knew of a translation of a text named the Cura sanitatis Tiberii.  Never having heard of this text, I looked into it.  Here is what I found.

In the medieval Greek and Latin manuscripts, there are preserved a whole cycle of fictional stories known as the Gospel of Nicodemus, the Acts of Pilate, and various other texts connected to Pilate, including letters, and accounts of his death.  Both J.K. Elliot in his Apocryphal New Testament[1] and W. Schneemelcher[2] group this material together, rather hopelessly; and those who read through it, to get an overview of the corpus, will find their patience strained.  The texts were all published originally Tischendorff[3] and both Elliot and Schneemelcher refer to the pages of his edition using abbreviations like “Ea.”

The literature contains three different accounts of the death of Pilate, taking different views of his attitude to Christianity.  All are medieval.  Schneemelcher mentions them on p.530 and 532-3.

The first of these is the Paradosis or Handing over of Pilate (text in Ea. pp. 449-455), which is found appended to another text, the Anaphora, which itself is an appendix to the Acts of Pilate.  The Paradosis treats Pilate as a saint, and has an eastern origin.  It is translated by Schneemelcher (p.530-532), and Elliot (p.208-211) with an extensive list of other translations.

The next account is the Mors Pilati or Death of Pilate (text in Ea. pp.456-458).  In this the Emperor Tiberius is sick.  He sends out an envoy, Volusianus, and is cured by the Veronica.  Pilate is punished.  This is a very late western text, based by Tischendorff on a 14th century manuscript.  Elliot (p.216-7) gives only a summary plus a list of editions and translations.  The English translations are: Cowper, 415-19[4]; Walker, 234-6[5]; Westcott, 131-5.[6]

The final account is, so Schneemelcher says, the Cura sanitatis Tiberii or Cure of the illness of Tiberius (text in Ea. 471-486), and summarises it (p.532-3).  But at this point confusion creeps in.  For there are two texts involved here, related but different.  For Schneemelcher also refers to the Vindicta Salvatoris or Vengeance of the Saviour, as if it was the same text.  This is also discussed by Elliot, but without reference to the Cura.  Elliot gives a summary and translation of the Vindicta (p.213-6), and lists the modern translations as Cowper, 432-47; Walker, 245-55; Westcott, 146-59; and M.R. James, 159-60 (summary).

A real modern critical edition of the Latin Cura sanitatis Tiberii is to be found in E. Dobschütz, Christusbilder: Untersuchungen zur christlichen Legende (Leipzig, 1899)[7], in the second volume with the curious page numbers 157**-203**.  Examining this, it is clear that the text translated by Walker is not the same work as that published by Dobschütz.

The text edited by Dobschütz is based on a range of manuscripts, from th 8-15th centuries.  He dismisses the 14th century date – for obvious reasons – and suggests that this text is in fact the earliest witness to the legend of the Veronica, the piece of cloth with which Christ wiped his face while carrying his cross.  He states that the Vindicta is not the same text; and that Tischendorff simply ignored the Cura, in favour of the Vindicta and the Mors, which he discovered and described as older.[8]

An edition of the Cura was given by Schoenbach in Anzeiger für deutsches Altertum II 1876 (= Zeitschrift XX) p.173-180, based on a younger manuscript.  Dobschütz sneered at this edition for using a smoothed, modern text, rather than grappling with the difficulties of 8th century Latin and reproducing its orthography.  (I confess, after OCRing Dobschütz’s effort, so that I could read what the text said, I found myself short of sympathy for his point of view).

I thought that I would end by giving the Latin text, as best I could, from Dobschütz, stripped of his apparatus.  Here it is:

Anybody fancy making a translation?

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that a paper on the Cura sanitatis Tiberii and the Vindicta Salvatoris is accessible online: Remi Gounelle, « Les origines littéraires de la légende de Véronique et de la Sainte Face: la Cura sanitatis Tiberii et la Vindicta Saluatoris », dans A. MONACI CASTAGNO (éd.), Sacre impronte e oggetti « non fatti da mano d’uomo » nelle religioni…., Turin, Edizioni dell’Orso, 2011, p. 231-251.  It’s good stuff!

  1. [1] J.K. Elliot, The Apocryphal New Testament, Oxford, 1993.  The “Pilate cycle” begins on p.164.  See esp. p.216.
  2. [2] W. Schneemelcher, Tr. Wilson, New Testament Apocrypha, vol. 1, 1991.  The material of interest to us begins on P.501 ff.  See esp. p.530, 532.
  3. [3] C. Tischendorff, Evangelia Apocrypha, Leipzig, 1876.
  4. [4] B. H. Cowper, The Apocryphal Gospels and Other Documents relating to the History of Christ (Edinburgh and London, 1867).
  5. [5] A. Walker, Apocryphal Gospels, Acts and Revelations (Edinburgh, 1870) (= A. Roberts and J. Donaldson (eds.),Ante-Nicene Christian Library 16).  This is the ANF translation.
  6. [6] A. Westcott, The Gospel of Nicodemus and Kindred Documents (London,1915).
  7. [7] Online here.
  8. [8] Giving as reference the Ea., 2nd edition, 1876, p.LXXXII and seq.

Severian of Gabala bibliography – minor update

I came across an article by Alin Suciu on the Coptic ps.Severian homily In Apostolos, and thought that I had better update the bibliography.  It is, as ever, far from comprehensive – I am no compiler of bibliographies – but merely a tool for my own purposes.

This replaces the files uploaded here.