Greek gospel catenas 3: catenas on Luke

There are five types of catena on Luke, according to J. Reuss.

Type A: This is the earliest catena-type.  It is attributed to Titus of Bostra.  Reuss divides it into three groups, composed between the 6th and 8th centuries:

  1. The basic catena
  2. An extended form
  3. A very extended form

Most of the contents are from Cyril of Alexandria’s 156 Sermons on Luke.  They also contain matter from Chrysostom’s Sermons on Matthew, Titus of Bostra’s Commentaries on Luke, and Origen’s Commentary on Luke and Sermons on Luke.

Type B: This is a different catena, attributed to Peter of Laodicea.  It too is divided into three groups in the same way, and containing material from much the same sources as A.

Type C: This very valuable catena contains almost 3,300 extracts from almost 70 authors.  It was compiled by Nicetas of Heraclea between 1100 and 1117.  The contents are very reliable; the authors quoted are correctly labelled and the extracts given are faithful to the originals. 

  • More than 870 extracts are from the works of Chrysostom.
  • 3 extracts from Cosmas of Maiuma (not Indicopleustes, as Geerard states)
  • 2 from Cyril of Jerusalem
  • 2 from Justin Martyr

The following authors are quoted once:

  • Alexander the monk, on Luke 2:1
  • Anastasius – either the presbyter or a disciple of Maximus the Confessor – on Luke 2:20.
  • Andrew of Crete on Luke 1:3
  • Flavian I of Antioch on Like 1:35
  • Phosterius on Luke 23:32 f.
  • Gennadius of Constantinople on Luke 6:3
  • John the Carpathian on Luke 8:56
  • Julius Africanus on Luke 3:24
  • Josephus against Luke 6:3
  • Ignatius on Luke 3:21
  • Isaiah of Scete on Luke 14:26
  • Methodius of Olympus on Luke 11:32
  • Paul of Emesa on Luke 23:33
  • Synesius of Cyrene on Luke 11:4
  • Theodore of Heraclea on Luke 10:13

There are also extracts from Latin authors (in Greek translation):

  • Ambrose of Milan, 4 times
  • Cyprian on Luke 23:40
  • John Cassian on Luke 18:10
  • Pope Sylvester on Luke 23:33
  • Pope Leo I on Luke 23:33

Some 50 extracts on Luke 1 are labelled “Him of Jerusalem”, and probably are from Hesychius of Jerusalem.

There are many manuscripts of this catena.  These may be divided into three classes.  The best codex is Vatican graecus 1611, dated 1116-7 AD.

The catena of Macarius Chrysocephalus is mainly of type C; the few extra extracts are marked with a chr-rho between an alpha and omega.

Type D: This catena was compiled in the 10th-11th century, but is earlier than that of Nicetas (type C).  It contains only a few extracts, which it abridges or paraphrases but does not alter.

  • Theodore of Mopsuestia
  • Cyril of Alexandria
  • Photius
  • Modestus of Jerusalem on Luke 24:40
  • Caesarius on Luke 6:1

Type E: This catena only covers Luke 1:1-11:33.  It is found in a manuscript of the British Bible Society, ms. 24 (codex Zacynthius rescriptus).  This dates to the 7-8th century; possibly after 750, and is the earliest witness to a catena on Luke.

Others: There are some anonymous catenas on Luke which contain extracts in the following manuscripts:

  • Vienna, National Library, theol. gr. 301 (11th century).  Reuss classifies this as type F.
  • Munich, State Library, gr. 208 (9-10th century), containing extracts on Luke 1:1-2:40.

The Curzon Coptic Catena published by de Lagarde, and its Arabic descendant, also contain catena materials on Luke.

Editions: J. Reuss, Lukas-Kommentare aus der griechischen Kirche.  Berlin (1984).

Studies: R. Devreese, Dictionnaire de la Bible, Supplement 1 (Paris, 1928), pp. 1181-1194, on the Luke catenas.  M. Geerard, Clavis Patrum Graecorum 4, pp. 237-242.  Karo and Lietzman, (as in intro), pp.132-143.

Links: A thesis on Ms. Athos, Lavra 174 (1274 AD), which contains a diplomatic edition of a catena on Luke related to that of Nicetas, is here.


3 thoughts on “Greek gospel catenas 3: catenas on Luke

  1. I found to my dismay that the link to the diplomatic edition of MS Athos, Lavra 174 has vanished into the ether. Fortunately, the scholar in question has uploaded it to his Academia page:

    And a citation (for posterity): Stylianos George Vayanos, “Mount Athos Megisti Lavra Codex 174 (A.D. 1274): A Diplomatic Edition of a Catena on the Gospel According to Saint Luke, With Patristic, Paleographic, and Codicological Studies,” Ph.D. diss. (Boston College, 2002).

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