A note on the authenticity of Eusebius of Caesarea’s “Commentary on the Psalms”

In Rondeau’s account of ancient Christian commentaries on the psalms,[1] there is naturally a section on the commentary by Eusebius of Caesarea.  It contains an interesting footnote on the authenticity of the text.  But first, a few words about this little known item.

Eusebius is a writer whom we do not usually associate with exegesis.  But his extensive Commentary on Isaiah was rediscovered 60 years ago, and an English translation published in the last decade.  His Commentary on the Psalms has been less fortunate.  The portion devoted to Psalms 51-95, 3 has reached us, in a single manuscript, BNF Paris Coislin 44, which was edited by Montfaucon in the 17th century.[2]  The section on Psalm 37 was transmitted among the works of Basil of Caesarea.[3]

The remainder, however, is known only from extracts preserved in the medieval Greek bible commentaries.  These were composed of chains (catenae) of extracts linked together, with the author’s initial against each extract (but this initial was often corrupted).  Eusebius figures largely in the catenas and so there is a lot of material extant, if somewhat dubious.

Nobody has undertaken a critical edition of any of this material, and the portions derived from catenas are unreliable.  There is no translation of any of it, to the best of my knowledge, other than a translation of the section on psalm 51 made for this site by Andrew Eastbourne.

Now I’ve always had a soft spot for this huge but neglected work, and so I’ve started looking at Rondeau’s description, from which the above is mainly taken.  One of his footnotes caught my eye at once.

Dans la notice Eusèbe de Césarée de certaines encyclopédies, il est insinué que le texte du Coislin. 44 est non de l’Eusèbe authentique et pur, mais de l’Eusèbe caténal, interpolé ou remanié (E. Preuschen, dans Realencyclopädie für protestantische Theologie und Kirche 5, 1898, p. 615; E. Schwartz, dans PW 6, 1907, col 1435; J. Moreau, dans DHGE 15, 1963, col. 1446, et dans RAC 6, 1965, col. 1064). Notre expérience de l’ensemble de l’exégèse antique du Psautier ne confirme pas cette méfiance.

In the article Eusebius of Caesarea in some encyclopedias, it is insinuated that the text of Coislin. 44 is not direct from Eusebius himself, but rather the “Eusebius” of the catenas, i.e. interpolated or reworked. (E. Preuschen, in Realencyclopädie für protestantische Theologie und Kirche 5, 1898, p. 615; E. Schwartz, in PW 6, 1907, col 1435; J. Moreau, in DHGE 15, 1963, col. 1446, and in RAC 6, 1965, col. 1064). Our experience of the entire collection of ancient exegesis of the psalter does not confirm this suspicion.[4]

It is good to hear this.  To cast suspicion on the authenticity of a text is easy; to remove it hard.  The need for an edition and translation of this text is not helped by such suspicions.

UPDATE (17/8/16): There is a critical edition in progress of this work, at the BBAW, headed by Christoph Markschies.  This has been in progress for a while, but I enquired and he kindly wrote back and told me: “The project is still active and the three colleagues mentioned at the website (Bandt, Risch and Villani) are still working hard to produce the first volume (that will be a multi-volume edition …) the next year.”

Which is excellent news, of course.  Now all we need is a team of translators.

  1. [1]Marie-Josephe Rondeau, Les commentaires patristiques du psautier, vol. 1, 1982.
  2. [2]Reprinted as the whole of Patrologia Graeca 23; material on psalms 119-150, edited by Mai, appears in PG 24, cols. 9-76.
  3. [3]Edition in PG 29, columns 194-6 and 202.
  4. [4]Rondeau, l.c., p.64, n.137.

Euthymius Zigabenus, Commentary on the Psalms – edition and translation completed!

A few months ago I heard from John Raffan, who was industriously working on a translation of the immense Commentary on the Psalms by the 12th century Byzantine writer, Euthymius Zigabenus (or Zigadenus).  He had posted on his Academia.edu page a draft of the commentary for Psalms 1-75.

Today I hear from him that he has now posted a text and translation of the complete commentary in the same place.  It is here.

This is an immensely worthwhile thing to do, which must have required real grit and determination.  Euthymius Zigabenus is a name that crops up in various places in discussion of biblical interpretation.  It is very useful indeed, therefore, to have an edition, and still more a freely available translation, of his work on the Psalms.  Thank you!

UPDATE: I had not known at the time of posting that in fact Dr Raffan has made the first complete edition of the Greek text.  He writes:

“I do not wish to make inflated claims for my edition of the Psalter Commentary, but I think it is more of a ‘first complete edition’ than a ‘fresh edition’. The edition reprinted in Migne 128 was incomplete (it did not include the commentary on the Biblical Canticles) and also thoroughly corrupt, being based on a single manuscript with lacunae and interpolations.

“My prime source for the edition is the 12th century ms. from the Moscow Synodal Library  (gr. 195), but this has been collated with a series of other  early manuscripts from Paris (Bibliothèque Nationale), London (British Library), Constantinople (Old Seraglio Library), Sinai (Saint Catherine’s Monastery Library), Florence (Laurenziana Library) and Munich (Bavarian State Library), many of which are now available on the internet in digital form. I have barely made any use of the Migne edition, which I found virtually unusable. On the top left corner of the Greek pages I have marked the folio numbers of the Moscow ms. and I also have marked the page breaks in the text. I will need to present all this information in an introduction, but I thought is would be helpful to make the text available even before I have completed writing the introduction.

“The mss. from Moscow, the British Library and Munich also contain the Dogmatic Anthology in varying states of incompleteness.”

Many thanks indeed for this – my mistake!

Euthymius is perhaps best known for his comment on the passage in John’s gospel, in his Commentary on the Four Gospels (PG129, col. 1280 C-D), about the woman taken in adultery, that it isn’t found in the best copies of his day, or is obelised.I discussed this myself in 2009 here. I posted a version of the translation into Wikipedia – it seems that I wrote the original version of that article – and this has circulated as follows:

But it is necessary to know that the things which are found from this place to that where it is said: Therefore Jesus again spoke of these things saying, I am the light of the world: in the more exact copies, these are either not found, or marked with an obelus, because they seem illegitimate and added. And the argument for this is because Chrysostom makes no mention anywhere of this; but for us we must also declare that this, because it is not without usefulness, is the chapter on the woman taken in adultery, which is placed between these.

I hope that we will get more of his works in English soon!  Dr Raffan has stated his intention to work on the Dogmatic Anthology next.  I asked about this, and he wrote:

The Dogmatic Anthology is not to be identified with the Dogmatic Panoply, which is indeed an anti-heretical work and perhaps the most widely-known of the works by Zigabenus, since it is one of the main sources for the Bogomil heresy. The Dogmatic Panoply was published in the early 18th century and reprinted as volume 130 of Migne’s Patrologia Graeca.

In the wake of the Bogomil debacle, Zigabenus was commanded by the Emperor Alexios Comnenos produce the Dogmatic Panoply to provide a compendium and refutation of all heresies. In her Alexiad, Anna Comnena states that Zigadenus was chosen by her father for this task because, in addition to his skill as a Grammarian and his prowess in Rhetoric, he ‘was unrivalled in his knowledge of doctrine’. His ‘grammatical’ and ‘rhetorical’ credentials are evidenced by his scriptural commentaries (on the Gospels, the Psalms and the Pauline Epistles), but the evidence for his unrivalled knowledge of doctrine has not hitherto been found.

A number of the mss. of the Psalter commentary, however, also include a Dogmatic Anthology, which has been described by cataloguers as ‘extracts from the Dogmatic Panoply’, and has never been published. I believe, however, that this Anthology predates the Dogmatic Panoply and explains Zigabenus’ reputation for doctrinal competence and hence his invitation to produce the larger work, which incorporates most of this earlier Anthology. The Dogmatic Anthology thus provides a link between the earlier tradition of Dogmatic Florilegia, as found in the well-known Doctrina Patrum, and the various ‘Panoplies’ that followed the work promoted by the Emperor Alexios. The Anthology displays Zigabenus’ skill in paraphrasing his beloved Chrysostomos and also later writers such as Photios.

Great to see new ground being broken!

NOTE: 11/6/16.  I have updated this post with additional information supplied by Dr Raffan, for which I am very grateful.

Eusebius on the Psalms – a project for a new edition in Germany

I heard this week about a new edition of the Eusebius Commentary on the Psalms.  It’s very good news!

This monster work has survived in a rather curious fashion – the section on Psalms 51-100 has been transmitted directly, which is pretty unusual for an ancient biblical commentary.  But the sections on the other psalms are recovered from medieval Greek biblical commentaries – catenas – and the status of these is often very suspect.  The Patrologia Graeca edition by Montfaucon is not reliable.

The new edition is a project under the august auspices of the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften.  It is being undertaken by a large team of scholars directed by Prof. Christoph Markschies. In theory it is a ten year project and the edition is not to be completed before 2021. My guess is that it will run late!

A short description can be found here, at the top of a page dedicated to a series of projects (including an edition of the homilies of Severian of Gabala, scheduled for 2022-2032!).

Another Matthew 27:25 reference in Theodoret on the Psalms?

The next reference in the Fathers to Matthew 27:25 – “His blood be upon us and our children” – is to be found in Theodoret.  The Biblindex site gives the reference simply as “Theodoret, Interpretatio in Psalmos. PG 80, 857-1997″ which is notable for the lack of a precise column number.  Oh dear.

Today I started the tedious process of flicking through the pages of a downloaded PDF of the PG80.  It’s more fun than a boy should have, I can tell you.  Only another 500-odd clicks to go.  Whee!

This evening, overcome by nagging doubt, I recalled the existence of an index volume by Cavallera.  Sadly, even on a smartphone, I quickly verified that it wouldn’t tell me where or whether Matt.27:25 was used in the text.

My next thought was whether an English translation existed of the Interpretatio in Psalmos.  And … one does!  A two volume “Commentary on the Psalms” is published by Catholic University of America Press in the Fathers of the Church series.  Furthermore there is a quite generous preview accessible via Google Books, from which I learn (on p.4) that the PG text is indeed the one translated.  This is useful in view of the tendency of ancient commentators on scripture to go round the ground more than once.  The translator writes:

Today’s reader of this work by Theodoret enjoys the advantage of its rich manuscript tradition, direct and in the catenae, while suffering the limitation of lack of a modern critical text. What is to hand is the eighteenth-century edition by J. L. Schulze that appeared a century later in J. P. Migne’s Patrologia Graeca 80.857-1998 with a Latin translation by Antonio Carafa. Study of the Commentary is further complicated by its survival in two forms, long and short, the latter better attested to by more ancient witnesses, yet the long form being cited by the Palestinian catena and thus in existence since the sixth century. Schulze  adopts the short form of the text for his edition, but—without obvious rationale—also incorporates excerpts of the longer form that would puzzle readers did he not acknowledge their inclusion, and that deepen the sense of urgency of need of a critical edition …

It is rather fun, this, chasing down the reference to an ancient text of which I knew nothing before this evening.  The Indiana Jones instinct is alive and well!

But the next stage is to lay hands on this translation.  And this is, of course, not so straightforward.

The FoC series now numbers over 127 volumes.  There is a reasonable possibility that Cambridge University Library will have the volumes in question: and a drive over there will supply me with the reference more easily than paging through 1000 columns of Migne.  Of course I’d rather have a PDF on my own machine, if I could obtain one.  After all, if they sold them at $5 a pop as ebooks, I’d buy just copies and think no more of it.  Maybe even at $10 a pop.

The world is changing, in this regard.  For instance computer manuals such as Spring in Action, sold by Manning, now come bundled with a copy of the eBook version as well.  They enclose a key in the book, and you unseal it and download it.  I have bought a number of their manuals, precisely because I got both (and wanted both).

So what about CUA?  A look at their website shows that they do offer ebooks, and well done them.  The pricing however, is less forward-thinking:

FOC_ebook_priceYour eyes do not deceive you, dear reader.  CUA do indeed want $40 for the paper book, and exactly the same for the ebook. Oh dear.  But as I say, at least the ebook does exist.  Not every publisher has got this far.  So … it’s progress of a sort.

Meanwhile, browsing Theodoret’s preface to the commentary I find an interesting snippet, relevant to my quest for patristic references to Matt.27:25, on p.41, complete with interesting footnote:

In my opinion, it is for a wise man to shun the extreme tendencies of both the former[Jews] and the latter[Christians]: the things that are relevant to stories of the past should be applied to them even today, whereas the prophecies about Christ the Lord, about the Church from the nations, the evangelical lifestyle, and the apostolic preaching should not be applied to anything else, as Jews with their proclivity to malice love to do and contrive a defense for their disbelief.[11]

11. This edge against the Jews can be found in other churchmen in Antioch, of course.

It will be interesting to see whether my survey of the use of Matthew 27:25 bears this last comment out.

Now I was going to leave it there: but these previews are such useful tools, particularly when a publisher is generous and allows a good portion of the book to appear (and, in honesty, you can’t read a book in a preview but you can find it is of use).  I remembered that the previews have a search box on them. So I thought that I’d try a search for “blood”.

And … it worked!  On p.338 and p.340 I found my reference, which is on cols. 1308 and 1312 of Migne’s Patrologia Graeca 80, it seems.  Theodoret is commenting on Psalm 59, which he reads as David foreseeing how the Jews would show their fury against Christ.

You, O Lord God of hosts, God of Israel, take the trouble to survey all the nations (v. 5). Perceiving sinlessness to belong to him alone who came from him in the flesh, and foreseeing in the Spirit the fury directed against him by the Jews who were of the same stock, he begs the Lord of’ hosts and God of Israel to leave the Jews to their own devices and transfer all his providence to the nations, illuminating them with the light of the knowledge of God. Now, in announcing this to the nations, he predicts the Jews’ punishment: Have pity on none of the workers of iniquity. Since with the eyes of inspiration he saw the cross, you see, he seemed also to hear [1308] the Lord of glory saying, “Father, forgive them their sin: they do not know what they are doing.” Loathing the extraordinary degree of their impiety, he prays that they enjoy no pardon.

(6) Then he prophesies the dearth of spiritual nourishment about to affect them. In the evening they will return, they will be as hungry as dogs, and will go around the city (v. 6). Just as dogs are in the habit of prowling around the streets of the cities at night, he is saying, forced to do it by an empty stomach, in like manner these people will be devoid of all spiritual provender; not enjoying the charism of inspiration, they will be completely bereft of high-priestly attention. Like a dog they will continue their meandering, not accorded the right to share even the scraps falling from their master’s table, as the Gospel saying has it.

(7) Then he teaches more clearly the cause of the punishment. Lo, with their own mouth they will speak out, and a sword on their lips, saying, Who has heard? (v. 7). With their tongue they cause slaughter, he is saying, giving forth their words like some dagger and sword, and events bear out their words. They crucified their Lord with their tongue, crying aloud, “Away, away with him, crucify him! His blood be on us and on our children!” They put their words into action with the aid of Pilate’s troops, and nailed the Savior to the gibbet. The inspired word said this, too: With their own mouth they will speak out, and a sword on their lips, saying, Who has heard? Because the words they utter they use in place of swords. Now, they do this, he is saying, as though no one were watching; the phrase saying, Who has heard? indicates this: they are so bold as though no one were watching or listening to what happened or requiring an account. Symmachus brought out this sense, in fact: in place of saying, Who has heard?he put “as though no one were listening.”

(8) Perceiving this attitude of theirs ahead of time, therefore, David adds the words, You, O Lord, will mock them (v. 8): [1309] though they are so bold, in other words, you are listening and watching and mocking their futility. You will set all the nations at naught: it is easy for you to prevail not only over them but over all the nations as well. The divinely inspired Isaiah said this, too, in his efforts to bring out the extraordinary degree of the divine power: “If all the nations were considered to be like a drop in the bucket, like a tilt in the scales and like spittle, and will be so considered, to what did you compare the Lord? By what comparison did you compare him?”

(9) I shall watch for you, my strength, because you are my support, O God (v. 9). I have you as supporter and guardian of my power, he is saying; I continue to enjoy your providence. My God, his mercy will anticipate me (v. 10): you always anticipate my petitions, O Lord, and in an excess of loving-kindness you do not wait for supplication. My God will show it to me among my foes. The inspired author considers his foes to he the same as the Savior’s foes. Then he predicts to them the future: Do not kill them lest they forget your Law (v. 11). I beg you, he is saying, not to let them undergo complete ruin: there are many among them who are being cured by the remedies of repentance. “In death there is no-one to remember you, after all; in Hades who will confess to you?”So what penalty does he intend to exact of them? Scatter them in your power and bring them down, O Lord, my protector. Scatter them throughout the whole world, he is saying, and make them exiles and refugees since they were involved in a wicked conspiracy against you.

(10) Now, what that conspiracy was he informs us: A sin of their mouth, a word of their lips (v. 12). This also concurs with what was said before: above he had said, Lo, with their own mouth they will speak out, and a sword on their lips, and here in turn he accuses them of a sin of the mouth, a word of the lips, teaching us in every case that they will pay [1312] a penalty for that statement which they uttered in concert, undermining Pilate’s just verdict. While he intended, in fact, to release him as an innocent man, they cried aloud, “Away, away with him! Crucify him! His blood be on us and on our children.” Symmachus, on the other hand, rendered this more clearly: instead of, Scatter them in your power, he said, “Drive them out in your power and destroy them, O Lord, our protector, in the sin of their mouths, the word of their lips.” Make them fugitives, he is saying, and turn them from free men into slaves on account of the sin of their mouth and the word of their lips. Likewise in the case of the construction of the tower he dissolved their evil concert in discord, and to the ailment of the damaging harmony he applied the antidote of division of languages.

Which is what we’re looking for.  Thank you CUA and Google Books!

I did look into the preview of volume 2 as well, but there are no references.

As a bonus, I found a footnote referring to Origen’s Commentary on Matthew, not mentioned in Biblindex, but giving a reference to I, 384 (although what that reference is I don’t know).

58. New Testament scholar Raymond F. Brown, The Death of the Messiah, ABRL (New York: Doubleday, 1994) traces this attitude back to the NT and the early Fathers, quoting Origen on Matt 27.25: “Therefore the blood of Jesus came not only on those who existed at that time but also upon all generations of Jews who would follow afterwards till the endtime” (I, 384).

And a search in the Ante-Nicene Fathers produces a result here, although not obviously the same one.  So I have more to do here: and this also casts doubt on the completeness of Biblindex.  Hum.  But what fun!

A catena fragment of Eusebius on Psalm 29:7

John Literal has sent me a translation made for him by Peter Papoutsis of a catena fragment discussing Daniel, and attributed to our old friend Eusebius.  He has kindly allowed me to post it here.  The biblical passage being commented on is Psalm 29:7.

Εὐσεβίου Καισαρείας ῥητοῦ προκειμένου, Φωνὴ Κυρίου διακόπτοντος φλόγα πυρός.

[00003] Διεκόπη μὲν ἐν τῇ Βαβυλῶνι ἡ φλὸξ τοῦ πυρὸς διακοπεῖσα τῷ προστάγματι τοῦ Θεοῦ· [00004] ἐδέξατο ἐν αὐτῇ ἡδίστην ἀναπνοὴν καὶ ἀναψυχὴν, ὥσπερ ἐν σκιᾷ τινι φυτῶν ἐν εἰρηνικῇ καταστάσει παρεχομένη τοῖς παισίν· [00005] ἐγένετο γὰρ, φησὶ, ὡσεὶ πνεῦμα δρόσου διασυρίζον. [00006] γʹ. [00007] Ὡσεὶ Υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου. [00008] Εὐσεβίου Καισαρείας. [00009] Σαφῶς ἡγοῦμαι δηλοῦσθαι τὴν καθόλου κρίσιν, ὅτε πάντες οἱ ἐξ αἰῶνος ἄνθρωποι παραστήσονται τῷ βήματι τοῦ Χριστοῦ· [00010] μετὰ δὲ τὴν τῶν τετελευτηκότων ἀναβίωσιν, καὶ μετὰ τὴν κατὰ πάντων κρίσιν, ὁ ἑωραμένος τῷ Δανιὴλ Υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου ἐπιστήσεται ἐπὶ νεφελῶν, τὴν κατὰ πάντων τῶν λαῶν καὶ φυλῶν ὑπὸ τοῦ Πατρὸς ἐξουσίαν, τὴν καὶ βασιλείαν ἀγήρω καὶ ἀτελεύτητον παραληψόμενος· [00011] ὡς καὶ αὐτὸς ὁ Σωτὴρ ἡμῶν περὶ ἑαυτοῦ διδάσκει λέγων· [00012] Ὅτε δὲ ἔλθῃ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ, καὶ πάντες οἱ ἄγγελοι μετ’ αὐτοῦ, τότε καθίσει ἐπὶ θρόνου δόξης αὐτοῦ, καὶ συναχθήσεται ἔμπροσθεν αὐτοῦ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη, καὶ τὰ ἑξῆς· [00013] συνᾴδει γοῦν ταῦτα ταῖς ἐν χερσὶν μαρτυρίαις τῆς τοῦ Δανιὴλ προφητείας, καθ’ ἣν λέλεκται· [00014] Καὶ ἰδοὺ μετὰ τῶν νεφελῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ὡς Υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου ἐρχόμενος ἦν· [00015] καὶ, Ἕως τοῦ Παλαιοῦ τῶν ἡμερῶν ἔφθασεν· [00016] καὶ προσηνέχθη αὐτῷ, καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτῷ ἡ ἀρχὴ καὶ ἡ τιμὴ καὶ ἡ βασιλεία, καὶ τὰ ἑξῆς. [00017] δʹ. [00018] Αὐτῷ ἐδόθη ἡ ἀρχή. [00019] Εὐσεβίου. [00020] Οὐ μόνον τὴν τοῦ Υἱοῦ ἀνθρώπου βασιλείαν ὁ προφήτης θεσπίζει, ἀλλὰ καὶ πλείονα, περὶ ὧν φησι. [00021] εʹ. [00022] Καὶ παραλήψονται τὴν βασιλείαν. [00023] Εὐσεβίου Καισαρείας. [00024] Συμβασιλεύοντες δηλαδὴ καὶ αὐτοὶ τῷ Θεῷ. [00025] Τίνες δ’ ἂν εἶεν οὗτοι, ἢ οἱ κληρονόμοι τοῦ Θεοῦ, συγκληρονόμοι δὲ Χριστοῦ; [00026] οἷς καὶ ἐπήγγελται, τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν, βασιλείαν ἐπιστησομένην τὴν μετὰ τέσσαρας βασιλείας, τὰς τῷ προφήτῃ ἑωραμένας, περὶ ὧν ὡς ἐν βραχέσιν ἀρτίως διειλήφαμεν. [00027] Ἐντεῦθεν οἶμαι τὸν ἀπόστολον Παῦλον [24.528] ὁρμᾶσθαι περὶ τῆς δευτέρας ἀφίξεως τοῦ Χριστοῦ γράφοντα τοιάδε· [00028] Ὅτι αὐτὸς ὁ Κύριος ἐν κελεύσματι, ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου καὶ ἐν σάλπιγγι Θεοῦ καταβήσεται ἀπ’ οὐρανοῦ, καὶ τὰ ἑξῆς. [00029] Ὁδ’ αὐτὸς ἀπόστολος καὶ τὴν ὑστάτην τοῦ Ἀντιχρίστου ἄφιξιν τὴν καὶ ἀπώλειαν, καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τὴν τοῦ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν ἔνδοξον παρουσίαν ἀκολούθως τῇ προφητείᾳ παρίστησι λέγων· [00030] Μήτις ὑμᾶς ἐξαπατήσῃ κατὰ μηδένα τρόπον· [00031] ὅτι ἐὰν μὴ ἔλθῃ ἡ ἀποστασία πρῶτον, καὶ ἀποκαλυφθῇ ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῆς ἁμαρτίας, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας, ὁ ἀντικείμενος καὶ ὑπεραιρόμενος ἐπὶ πάντα λεγόμενα Θεὸν ἢ σέβασμα, ὥστε αὐτὸν εἰς τὸν ναὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ καθίσαι, ἀποδεικνύντα ἑαυτὸν ὅτι ἔστι Θεός· [00032] οὐ μνημονεύετε ὅτι ἔτι ὢν πρὸς ὑμᾶς ταῦτα ἔλεγον ὑμῖν; [00033] καὶ τὰ ἑξῆς. [00034] Τοσαῦτα ὁ θαυμάσιος Ἀπόστολος ἐν τοῖς περὶ συντελείας τοῦ βίου διεξῆλθε λόγοις, τὰ διὰ τοῦ προφήτου Δανιὴλ περὶ τοῦ Ἀντιχρίστου, καὶ τῆς τοῦ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν ἐνδόξου βασιλείας τεθεσπισμένα πιστούμενος. [00035] ςὰʹ. [00036] Ἐξολοθρευθήσεται χρίσμα. [00037] Εὐσεβίου. [00038] Τὸ ἄκριτον καὶ παράνομον αὐτῶν διαβάλλουσα· [00039] οὕτως δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς θυσίας καὶ τῆς σπουδῆς συμβεβηκέναι φήσεις· [00040] ὀρθῶς μὲν καὶ κατὰ νόμον πρὸ τοῦ πάθους τοῦ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν ἐπιτελουμένης διὰ τὴν εἰς ἔτι τότε τὰ τῶν ἁγίων τόπων ἐφορῶσαν δύναμιν· [00041] περιαιρεθείσης δὲ αὐτίκα μετὰ τὴν αὐτοῦ τέλειαν καὶ θεοπρεπῆ θυσίαν, ἣν προσήνεγκεν αὐτὸς ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν· [00042] αὐτός τε ὢν ὁ Ἀμνὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ ὁ αἴρων τὴν ἁμαρτίαν τοῦ κόσμου εἰς θυσίαν πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις· [00043] κατὰ τὰ καινὰ μυστήρια τῆς καινῆς διαθήκης [00044] Επιτρέπετα [00045] παραδοθείσης, τὰ τῆς παλαιᾶς περιῄρετο· [00046] ὁμοῦ γὰρ τὸ πληροῦσθαι τὸ φάσκον λόγιον, Καὶ δυναμώσει διαθήκην πολλοῖς ἑβδομὰς μία, τὰ τῆς παλαιᾶς διαθήκης περιῄρετο. [00047] Επιτρέπετα

Eusebius of Caesarea comments in regards to the following, The voice of the Lord dividing the flames of fire.

The fiery flame was rent in Babylon dividing at the very command of God. He received in her, most gladly, a new breath and rejuvenation, as in the shade of some kind of tree, in a state of tranquility as is given unto children; for as it came to pass, the wind blew, as a wind that blows and causes the dew to descend. Such is the Son of Man.

I suppose that this evidently pertains to the General Judgment where all men from the ages will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. And after the last resurrection, and after the judgment of all, the Son of Man as understood by Daniel, shall stand upon the clouds, having acquired power over all people and tribes from the Father, and His kingdom shall never grow old and shall have no end. And as our Savior taught concerning Himself, saying, When the Son of man comes in His glory, and all His angels with Him, then shall He sit upon His throne of glory, and all the nations shall be gathered before Him, and so on. In agreement with these events are the held testimonies of Daniel’s prophecy, over which he says, I saw One like the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, and when the Ancient of Days arrived, and He was presented before Him, and He was given dominion, honor and kingship, and these were given to Him and so on. To Him was given dominion.

The Prophet did not only foresee the kingship of the Son of man, but more as well, concerning which it is declared, And they will receive the kingship.

They will reign together with God. Who are these heirs of God, these co-heirs with Christ? And to whom was also promised the kingdom of heaven, a kingship conferred upon the four kingdoms, as perceived by the prophet, which we concern ourselves with briefly. Hence, alas the Apostle Paul, who relates it to the Second Coming of Christ, writes thus, For the Lord himself, with a command, and with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and so on. This reading and its concern with the ultimate coming of the Antichrist and his destruction, and the glorious appearance of the Savior, follows the parallel prophecy, that says, Let no one deceive you in any way! For unless the falling way from the faith comes first and the Man of Sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god, and object of worship, so as to seat himself in the temple of God, claiming that he is God. Do you not recall that while I was with you, I said to you these things, and so on. On these matters the admirable Apostle was alarmed and went on with such words, in full belief about the end of life, in regards to the Prophet Daniel in reference to the Antichrist, and the kingdom of our glorious Savior. During this time there will be a loss of grace. The injustice and lawlessness of others will be decried. They moreover, and upon their destitute sacrifices and knowledge, will befall into desolation, it is declared. However, those who live rightly and according to the law, pursuant to the Passion of our Savior, as it was accomplished in the Holy Land, shall be clothed in power; Now, when He, our Lord, was removed forthwith after his perfect and God-worthy sacrifice, He offered up himself for the removal of our sins. For He, our Lord, is the Lamb of God taking away the sins of the world, as a sacrifice for all men according to the new sacred teachings of the New Testament. Therefore, if I am allowed to say, that He was delivered up as our sacrifice under the precepts of the Old Testament. Therefore, together both testaments bring out the fullness of the sacred word, and He greatly strengthened the covenant in only one week, pursuant to the precepts of the Old Testament. If I am allowed to thus explain.

The Greek seems to contain Eusebius’ name at intervals: I wonder why.

Eusebius on the Psalms – some old quotations on the sabbath

A couple of years ago I discussed a quotation from Eusebius’ Commentary on the Psalms.  An incoming link alerts me to a discussion which gives a longer quotation, and a source for it.

The source given is Moses Stuart’s Commentary on the Apocalypse (vol. 2, p.9, p.40; Andover: Allen, Morrill, Wardwell, 1845).  But a quick look at the 1850 reprint suggests that something is awry.  A better source is Harmon Kingsbury, The Sabbath, 1840, p.218 f. As Eusebius’ Commentary on the Psalms does not exist in English, it seems useful to repeat what is said:

Professor Stuart says:

“The important testimony of Eusebius, (fl. 320,) in the time of Constantine has been unaccountably overlooked by all the patristical investigators whom I have yet been able to consult. It is contained in his commentary on the Psalms which is printed in Montfaucon’s Collectio Nova Patrum and some of it is exceedingly to our purpose and withal very explicit.

“In commenting on Ps. xxi. 30 (xxii. 29 in our English version) he says ‘On each day of our Savior’s resurrection [i.e. every first day of the week] which is called Lord’s day, we may see those who partake of the consecrated food and that body [of Christ] which has a saving efficacy after the eating of it bowing down to him.’ pp. 85, 86.

“Again on Ps. xlv. 6 (xlvi. 5) he says ‘I think that he [the Psalmist] describes the morning assemblies in which we are accustomed to convene throughout the world.’ p.195

“On Psalm lviii. 17 (lix. 16) he says ‘By this is prophetically signified the service which is performed very early and every morning of the resurrection day [i.e. the first day of the week throughout the whole world].’ p.272

“But by far the most important passage of all remains to be adduced. It is in his commentary on Ps. xci (xcii) which is entitled ‘A psalm or song for the Sabbath day’. He begins his commentary by stating that the patriarchs had not the legal Jewish Sabbath but still, ‘given to the contemplation of divine things and meditating day and night upon the divine word, they spent holy Sabbaths which were acceptable to God.’

“Then observing that the Psalm before him has reference to a Sabbath he refers it to the Lord’s day and says that ‘it exhorts to those things which are to be done on resurrection day.’ He then states the precept respecting the Sabbath as addressed originally to the Jews and that they often violated it. After which he thus proceeds: ‘Wherefore as they rejected it [the sabbatical command], the Word [Christ] by the New Covenant translated and transferred the feast of the Sabbath to the morning light and gave us the symbol of true rest, viz. the saving Lord’s day, the first [day] of the light in which the Savior of the world, after all his labors among men, obtained the victory over death and passed the portals of heaven, having achieved a work superior to the six days creation.’ … ‘On this day which is the first day of light and of the true Sun, we assemble after an interval of six days and celebrate holy and spiritual Sabbaths, even all nations redeemed by him throughout the world AND do those things according to the spiritual law which were decreed for the priests to do on the Sabbath, for we make spiritual offerings and sacrifices which are called sacrifices of praise and rejoicing, we make incense of a good odor to ascend as it is said, Let my prayer come up before thee as incense. Yea we also present the shew bread, reviving the remembrance of our salvation, the blood of sprinkling, which is of the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world and which purifies our souls. … Moreover we are diligent to do zealously on that day the things enjoined in this Psalm, by word and work making confession to the Lord and singing in the name of the Most High. In the morning also with the first rising of our light we proclaim the mercy of God toward us also his truth, by night exhibiting a sober and chaste demeanor; and all things whatsoever that it was duty to do on the Sabbath [Jewish seventh day], these we have transferred to the Lord’s day as more appropriately belonging to it, because it has a precedence and is first in rank and more honorable than the Jewish Sabbath. For on that day, in making the world, God said Let there be light and there was light; and on the same day the Sun of righteousness arose upon our souls. Wherefore it is delivered to us [paradedotai, it is handed down by tradition] that we should meet together on this day and it is ordered that we should do those things announced in this Psalm.’

“After some interval he speaks again of the title to the Psalm and says that it does not so much respect the Jewish Sabbath for ‘it signifies the Lord’s day and the resurrection day as we have proved in other places.’ ‘This Scripture teaches that we are to spend the Lord’s day in leisure for religious exercises (twn qeiwn a)skse)wn) and in cessation and vacation from all bodily and mortal works which the Scripture calls Sabbath and rest.’

It is useful to have this material.  I wonder what else in the way of patristic material lies buried in elderly English bible commentaries?

How I love these forum arguments! I have gained so much from them over the years.  How sad it is that, today, it is simply impossible for me to even find the discussions online, since it became impossible to search only for forums online.