English translation of Cramer’s catena on Galatians published

John Litteral writes to tell me that a complete translation of Cramer’s catena-commentary on Galatians has been made by Bill Berg, and is available at a trivial price ($12)on Amazon here (US) and here (UK).

Some will be unaware of what a catena is.  The medieval church created its bible commentaries by stringing together chains of quotations from the fathers.  These chain-commentaries are known today as catenas (from the Latin for chain).  These often reference now lost works, and so are of value as a source for lost early Christian commentary on scripture.  They tend to be found in the margins of Greek bible manuscripts; but sometimes standalone.  The author of each excerpt is indicated by an abbreviation at the start.

It’s pretty hard to work with the catenas.  The text is often corrupt, the author marks even more often corrupt, and the editions are all old – sometimes very old – and difficult to access.  So … scholars have ducked the task of producing modern editions.

In the 19th century John Cramer published a set of catenas on all the books of the New Testament, in eight volumes.  Bill Berg has attacked the catena on Galatians.

The authors cited in this catena include John Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, and Severian of Gabala, among others.

So … if ancient biblical commentary is your thing, pick up a copy.  It should certainly encourage work on this subject!