Greek gospel catenas 1: catenas on Matthew

There are four types of catena on Matthew.

Type A:  there are four versions of this.

  1. This contains mainly extracts from Chrysostom’s sermons.  Other authors are Isidore of Pelusium, Cyril of Alexandria; the monk Theodore.

  2. This is an expanded version of A.1.  In addition to the material in #1, it contains fragments of Photius, Basil the Great, Athanasius, Origen, Maximus the Confessor, and Gregory Nazianzen.

  3. This is an abridged version of A.1.  It contains mainly chunks of Chrysostom, but not identified as such.  This version was compiled in the time Leo VI ‘the wise’ (886-911).  Some late manuscripts identify Leo Patricius as the compiler.

  4. The most extensive version is also based on A.1.  Additional authors quoted include Severus, Theodore of Heraclea, and Theodore of Mopsuestia.

Type B: there are six versions of this, extant in multiple manuscripts.  This catena is attributed to Peter of Laodicea, but probably falsely.

Type C: this catena was compiled by Nicetas, Metropolitan of Heraclea in Thrace.  He was the last great catenist.  It was composed before 1080 AD.  The catena contains numerous extracts, mainly from Chrysostom.  The author attribution against each extract is unusually reliable.

Type D: this catena was composed in the 11th century, and contains mainly extracts from Chrysostom.  The catena can be found in Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, graecus 194.

Unclassified: the following manuscripts also contain a catena on Matthew, which does not fit neatly into the above catefories:

  • Athos, Lavra B. 113.  This is an 11th century manuscript, and classified as type E by Geerard.

  • Vatican graecus 349.  11th century.

  • Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Suppl. gr. 1225.  11th century.
  • Rome, Biblioteca dei Lincei, A. 300.  12-13th century.

Macarius Chrysocephalus, Metropolitan of Philadelphia, also composed a catena on Matthew.  This made use of additional material, and not merely of earlier catenas.

A Coptic Catena is also known as the Robert Curzon catena, from its discoverer, was published by Paul de Lagarde.  It contains a catena on all four gospels.  This was translated from a now unknown Greek catena, which was more of a dogmatic anthology than an exegetical catena.  An Arabic Catena was made from it in a monophysite monastery in Egypt early in the 13th century.  The portion on Matthew was published with a Italian Spanish translation by F. J. Caubet Iturbe, La Cadena arabe del Evangelio suo Mateo, Vatican 1969-70.  Neither version has any relationship with any of the known Greek catenas.

Editions: J. Reuss, Berlin 1957 published material on Matthew, although this only scratches the surface.

Studies: R. Devreese, Dictionnaire de la Bible, Supplement 1 (Paris, 1928), pp. 1164-1175, on the Matthew catenas.  M. Geerard, Clavis Patrum Graecorum 4, pp. 228-235.  Karo and Lietzman, (as in intro), pp.119-131.


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