Draft translation of Chrysostom’s “Laus Diodori” now online

Regular correspondent IG has written to say that her translation of the Laus Diodori by Chrysostom (PG 52: 761-766 = CPG 4406) is now available online on Academia.edu here.  It’s just the bare translation, no commentary yet; but it’s there and it’s hot!

A bunch of Chrysostom and ps.Chrysostom now online in English

Sometime correspondent “Inepti Graeculi” has been working away on some of the untranslated works of Chrysostom, and also some of the mass of literature attributed to him in transmission.

This sort of work is excellent.  Voicu has estimated that there are around 1,500 texts which are spuriously attributed to Chrysostom.  They are, of course, works which lost their original author, but were considered sufficiently interesting to be preserved; which means that they deserve attention now.  These translations should do much to make that happen!

There’s a list of material recently translated by IG at the bottom; but coming soon also is…

Ps.Chrysostom’s In Parabolam Ficu (CPG 4588) – a popular work that argues against the notion that God rejected the Jews (versions found in Syriac, Ethiopic, translated five times into Arabic (!), also in a very important manuscript in Slavonic etc etc.  Wrongly ascribed to Severian of Gabala in the Armenian tradition. Voicu assigns this to an anonymous Cappadocian. The amazing Sever Voicu’s short outline of Chrystostom in the Oriental tradition is quite eye-opening.

I have also nearly finished Chrysostom’s Non Esse Desperandum (CPG 4390) which I very much enjoyed

Here are the recent releases!

Pseudo-Chrysostom

Title CPG Comment Version
In Jordanem Fluvuium 4548 Attributed to Severian of Gabala by Marx (1939) but this was rejected by Altendorf (1957). Calvin should have read this. 0.1 Link
De Cognitione Dei 4703 A short homily in which  the speaker relates that Christ’s advent brought the knowledge of god (θεογνωσία). He then briefly addresses neophytes and invites the audience to pilgrimage to the Jordan. Possibly delivered at Bethlehem on the night before the celebration of Christ’s baptism 0.1 Link

 

Precatio in Obsessos 4710 One of several prayers published by Montfaucon (and reprinted by Migne) as a supplement to the Liturgy ascribed to John Chrysostom. Montfaucon sourced this text from Goar, Rituale Graecorum, Paris, 1647, p. 783. It was not included in Savile’s or Fronto’s Chrysostom edition. This little prayer is still found in the liturgical books of Eastern Orthodox churches. 0.2 Link
In Ingressum sanctorum jejuniorum 4665 On fasting and drunkenness. Ascribed to Proclus (Marx, Le Roy, De Aldama) or an anonymous sophistic rhetor (Musurillo) 0.1 Link
In sanctum Stephanum 2 4691 One of several homilies on the Protomartyr Stephen among the Ps.-Chrysostomica 0.1 Link
Encomium in sanctos martyres 4759 Text: Aubineau (1975) 0.1 Link

How the church changed after Constantine

Seen on Twitter this week, via David Walsh:

Jesus: ‘If someone strikes you, turn the other cheek’.
Chrysostom in 387AD: ‘Slap them in the face!’
– something lost in translation there.

It is always good practice to verify your quotations, but this is entirely genuine.  The reference is to the Homilies on the Statues, 1, 32.  In the NPNF version this reads:

32. But since our discourse has now turned to the subject of blasphemy, I desire to ask one favor of you all, in return for this my address, and speaking with you; which is, that you will correct on my behalf the blasphemers of this city.

And should you hear any one in the public thoroughfare, or in the midst of the forum, blaspheming God; go up to him and rebuke him; and should it be necessary to inflict blows, spare not to do so.

Smite him on the face; strike his mouth; sanctify thy hand with the blow, and if any should accuse thee, and drag thee to the place of justice, follow them thither; and when the judge on the bench calls thee to account, say boldly that the man blasphemed the King of angels!

For if it be necessary to punish those who blaspheme an earthly king, much more so those who insult God. It is a common crime, a public injury; and it is lawful for every one who is willing, to bring forward an accusation.

Let the Jews and Greeks learn, that the Christians are the saviours of the city; that they are its guardians, its patrons, and its teachers.

Let the dissolute and the perverse also learn this; that they must fear the servants of God too; that if at any time they are inclined to utter such a thing, they may look round every way at each other, and tremble even at their own shadows, anxious lest perchance a Christian, having heard what they said, should spring upon them and sharply chastise them.

When I first read this, without considering the context, it looked like the utmost expression of arrogance, of the attitude of those in power.  But this is to ignore the circumstances.

In 387 the emperor Theodosius imposed an extraordinary tax on the city of Antioch, and the enraged citizens rioted and threw down the statues of the emperor.  The emperor then threatened to destroy the city, and negotiations took place between the emperors representatives and the townsfolk.

Paganism was still the official religion of the empire.  But it seems that pagans and Jews were taking advantage of the crisis to jeer at the Christians of the city, and perhaps even at the religion of the emperor.  This in turn couldn’t help the negotiations, when the survival of the city is at stake.   This is a reaction to a threat to everyone, not a gratuitous attack on unbelievers.  The citizens are appealing to the feelings of a Christian emperor – and, he reflects, these people are screwing it up!  Slap them in the face if they won’t pipe down.  It’s politics, in other words, and John Chrysostom speaks as the bishop of the city, almost in Byzantine terms as the ethnarch, rather than personally.

But Christ did not give his teaching conditionally.  Christians often feel a great deal of reluctance to endorse the actions of the church, post-Nicaea.  This is one reason why.  Here we have a popular preacher, and a gifted expositor of the bible, who, faced with a pagan reaction, incites his congregation not to turn the other cheek but instead to go out and do battle in the streets, for the benefit of the community as a whole.  It’s understandable; but somehow we are not in the same world any more.

Ps.Chrysostom, De Salute Animae, now online in English

A rather splendid Greek sermon appears in the Clavis Patrum Graecorum as entry 4622 (vol. 2, p.577-8), among the spuria of Chrysostom, with the title De salute animae (on the salvation of the soul).  Some mss. attribute it to Chrysostom, others to Ephrem Syrus.  It exists in two versions in Greek, and also in Coptic, Georgian and Arabic versions.

The content of the sermon is terrific!  It is an exhortation to Christians not to be led astray by the things of this world, but instead to strive to work out our salvation and to be what Christ wants us to be.  The writer points out how futile the distractions will look on judgement day.

Adam McCollum drew my attention to this obscure work, and he has kindly translated the two Greek versions for us.  The translation is given in parallel columns, so that the differences can be seen.  As is quickly apparent, this is one sermon that has been reworked by a secondary author.

Here it is:

Since the two are in parallel format, there’s only a PDF of this at the moment.  (It is also on Archive.org here)

As with all my commissions, I place this in the public domain.  Do whatever you like with it, personal, educational or commercial.

Chrysostom letters – translations at Academia.edu

I’ve mentioned this before, but “Inepti Graeculi”, who occasionally comments here, has been working away at translating the letters of John Chrysostom and posting draft translations at Academia.edu here.  An index of those letters translated is here.

There are some 240 letters, nearly all from Chrysostom’s second exile, from which he did not return.  Remarkably only a handful have ever been translated.

So far IG has completed and posted drafts of 30 of the letters, which is more than have ever been done before.  The project is attracting interest (naturally) from Chrysostom scholars.

The project is nothing to do with me, but I deeply approve.  This is the first time that I have seen academia.edu used in this way, as a way to get draft versions online for comment and to start a “virtuous circle” of involvement and interest.  It seems to work well if used that way!

From my diary

I’ve spent today driving up to Cambridge to visit the university library.  My object was to obtain some articles by R. Delmaire on the subject of Chrysostom’s letters.  For the most part I was able to obtain these; although I was disappointed to discover that the latest available volume of one serial was not shelved or accessible.  I’m reading into them at the moment.  R. Delmaire’s 1991 study examined the letters, and reordered them by date.  The order in the Benedictine edition (and the PG) isn’t even that of the manuscripts!

The Letters of Chrysostom project is not mine, so I won’t say a lot about this.  But I have also discovered a list of the opening words of all of the letters at the Sources Chretiennes site here (PDF).

Equally useful, I have discovered a list of the works of Chrysostom at the same site, with the Clavis Patrum Graecorum number for them all, here (PDF).

I’ve also received from the Lebanese typist the next 10 pages of the transcription of al-Makin’s world history.  This is taken from the 1625 Erpenius edition, which has the merit of being printed.  Once we get to the end of this – for Erpenius died before he could complete editing the text – I shall have to try the typist on a PDF of a microfilm manuscript.

An email has arrived today from the Bibliothèque Nationale Français, containing an estimate for reproductions of two manuscripts of al-Makin.  They require 50 euros each, plus 10 euros for “shipping” (why?) plus M. Hollande’s tax on top of that, totalling around 130 euros, or nearly $190!  Quite a bit for 2 PDF’s!  Worse still, they propose to supply me with scans from microfilms — at least, I hope these are scans, for the estimate says only “microfilm”.  And these will be black and white, and quite possibly unreadable.  I have a lot of time for the BNF, but this is shameful.  For that price they could at least photograph the things with a consumer digital camera and supply me with some decent images!  I shall have to pay the blackmail – it is, at least, less than the Bodleian is demanding – but it is a salutary reminder, in these days of digitisation, how bad things were and still are in some places.

Onward!

Some Chrysostom, ps.Chrysostom, ps.Athanasius in translation at academia.edu

I’ve just discovered a group of English translations available online here.  All of them are of previously untranslated texts.   Most excitingly (for me), the translator has started on Chrysostom’s letters.

The translations are a work in progress; but very welcome!

More!

Untangling the homilies of Chrysostom “on the resurrection”

A correspondent has written to me, enquiring about “9 homilies on the resurrection”.  He’s been trying to find a text, and getting confused by what he finds, which includes spuria.

Looking at the Clavis Patrum Graecorum vol. 2, that list of the works of Chrysostom, is always a pleasure.  One day I must make a list of all Chrysostom’s works and place it online, for not even Quasten’s Patrology deals with more than a handful.

Two editions of Chrysostom are listed in the CPG.  Monfaucon’s edition, as reprinted by the Patrologia Graeca; and Henry Savile’s edition.  Both can be found online.

  • CPG 4340 is De resurrectione mortuorum.  This is found in PG50, 417-432; and Savile 6, 703-713.  It begins Περὶ δογμάτων ὑμῖν ἔμπροσθεν διελέχθημεν (Peri\ dogma/twn u(mi=n e!mprosqen diele/xqhmen).  An Armenian version also exists.
  • CPG 4341 is De resurrectione domini nostri Iesu Christi.  This is PG50, 433-442, Sav.6 581-587. Incipit: Ἀπεθέμεθα τῆς νηστείας τὸ φορτίον (A0peqe/meqa th=j nhstei/aj to\ forti/on).

The importance of Chrysostom is so great, in Greek manuscripts, that a great number of writings have acquired his name in the process of transmission, among them works by Severian of Gabala, his enemy, and of course very many sermons.  The Migne and Savile editions differ in what they include, each having material omitted by the other.

Among the spuria and dubia the CPG lists the following:

  • CPG 4526 is In triduanam resurrectionem domini.  PG50, 821-4. Sav.5, 592-5.  Incipit: Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ … Ὁ κύριος ἐκ νεκρῶν. (Xai/rete e)n kuri/w| … O( ku/rioj e)k nekrw=n).
  • CPG 4673 is In resurrectione domini.  PG62, 753-756; Sav.7, 500-502.  Incipit: Σφοδά μοι καὶ νῦν, ὡς ἀεὶ κρατεῖ τῆς διανοίας. (Sfoda/ moi kai\ nu=n, w(j a)ei\ kratei= th=j dianoi/as).  Attributed to Proclus by Marx (Procliania, n.76, p.70 f.).
  • CPG 4740 is In resurrectionem domini.  Incipit: Θεία τις ὡς ἔοικεν ἡ παροῦσα πανήγυρις (Qei/a tij w(j e!oiken h( parou=sa panh/gurij) See C. Baur, Traditio 9 (1953), p.116-9.  Edited by M. Aubineau, Sources Chretiennes 187, 320-325.
  • CPG 4853 is unpublished, found only in Ms. Jerusalem Saba 103, fol. 109v-111.   Incipit: Ἀναστάσεως ἡμέρα  (A0nasta/sewj h(me/ra). This is In resurrectionem domini.
  • CPG 4996 is two unpublished homilies In resurrectionem domini. These are apparently discussed in C. Datema and P. Allen, Text and tradition of two Easter homilies of Ps. Chrysostom, in JÖB 30 (1981), 87-102, esp. 94-7.  Incipit for 1: Πάντοτε μὲν χαίρειν πάρεστι τῇ καθ ἡμᾶς τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐκκλησίᾳ (Pa/ntote me\n xai/rein pa/resti th=| kaq h(ma=j tou= Xristou= e0kklhsi/a|).  Incipit for 2 is very like that for #1, but not given in full in CPGS.

And that’s our lot.  There is no group of 9 homilies on the resurrection among the works of Chrysostom.

So where does our reference come from?

A set of 9 homilies on the resurrection appears in volume 3 of the 1546 Paris edition (“apud Guillielem Roland”) of Chrysostom’s works.  In the table of contents here the item appears.  On p.192 is a heading: “Divi Ioannis Chrysostomi episcopi Constantinopolitani de resurrectione homiliae novem”.  According to this,[1] it seems as if the Latin translation is by Erasmus himself!  The opening words of the first homily are “De fidei nostrae placitis, deque gloria unigeniti filii dei”.

But what about the text, the 9 homilies on the resurrection?  I confess that I am beaten.  Anybody got any ideas?

UPDATE (5/12/13): The real objective here, if I understand it, is to locate the origin of “dies dominicus, alii diem panis, alii dicunt diem lucis” which appears in a Google search in homily 5 in a 1687 reprint of the 1547 edition here.  The search on the words “Nox bonae”, also found in homily 5, finds several witnesses.

Both phrases appear in a homily by Augustine here, in  Angelo Mai, “Nova Patrum bibliothecae”, vol. 1, Rome, 1852, p.344 f.  This volume contains a collection of new sermons of Augustine, found in Vatican mss.  Homily 152, on the resurrection of the Lord, published from ms. Vaticanus Latinus 1270, folio 4v, is the same material as “Chrysostom” in the 1546 edition.

If the early editor was printing bits of Augustine under Chrysostom’s name, clearly it is futile to look for any such work as Chrysostom.

The item publication postdates Migne, of course.  Being Latin it will probably be listed in the Clavis Patrum Latinorum (CPL), which I don’t have access to at the moment.  There is probably a CSEL publication, and a CCSL publication, which should be our reference of choice.

But of course the question then arises; is Mai right?  Or is this spuriously attributed to Augustine?  I learn from Google that most of these new sermons in Mai were not generally accepted as authentic.

UPDATE: The incipit for the “homily 5” is “Fratres, quam preciosa et grata hodie ecclesia nobis inclaruit”.

  1. [1] J. Glomski, Annotated catalogue of early editions of Erasmus…, p.111.

Editing Chrysostom – an SC volume appears

Nathalie Rambault has undertaken the task of editing some works by John Chrysostom for the Sources Chretiennes series.  Just to list the manuscripts of Chrysostom takes many volumes, so we may admire her courage!

The first volume (of two) is now out, I believe, and includes homilies on the resurrection, ascension and Pentecost.  6 pages of the book – the covers and the tables of contents – have been placed online here.  The second volume is due Jan-Feb 2014.

Chrysostom, De terrae motu (on the earthquake) now online in English

Bryson Sewell has kindly translated for us all the short homily by John Chrysostom, De terrae motu (on the earthquake; CPG 4366, PG 50 713-6).

It’s here in HTML form.  I have placed the PDF and Word forms at Archive.org here.

The translation is public domain: use it freely for personal, educational or commercial use.

If you’d like to support me in commissioning translations of previously untranslated patristic material, you can buy a CD here, or make a donation using the button on the right.