Finding Armenian resources

My queries to professional Armeniologists have gone unanswered, doubtless because they are very busy.  But I am still interested to learn whether there are catenas on the gospels in Armenian.

A thought struck me last night.  Suppose that none have been published?  Where could we find catenas?

The answer, surely, is to start looking at catalogues of Armenian manuscripts.  These will surely indicate the general content of manuscripts.  If there are catenas, they will probably indicate the authors quoted.

The French National Library has PDF’s of most of its catalogues online (bless them!).  This includes a splendid catalogue of their 300-odd mss, with a nice history of the collection at the front and some good indexes.

The results were a little disappointing, tho.  So in the Index of subjects on p.1002 (p.538 of the PDF), there are lists of mss by subject.  But catena is not one of those subjects.

However there is an anonymous Commentary on the genealogy of Matthew and Luke in Ms. 303, items 4-5.  This is something Eusebius talks a lot about in the Quaestiones ad Stephanum.  Probably the material here is at least influenced by him.  Unfortunately you would need Armenian to learn much more.

A few pages on, there is a category of Questions and Responses.  Athanasius, Cyril of Alexandria, and John Damascene all feature.  So, interestingly, does Philo!  There is no Eusebius listed, but who knows what someone sat in the reading room ordering up mss might find?

Looking in the author index there are fragments of the Church History and the Chronicon in various mss.  This is natural, since both exist in full in Armenian.  But no other works are listed.

All in all, this was an interesting exercise.  I learned more about the collection than I might have done.  But so far, no material for the Eusebius Quaestiones.


7 thoughts on “Finding Armenian resources

  1. Just a thought, dear Roger: would it be an idea to add more links to your always interesting articles? I can imagine people stumbling across your blog, but not reading it, because they do not know what a “catena” is, and do not see a link to an explanation.

    On the other hand, there are reasons to keep things a bit too difficult for the general reader. After all, a good teacher addresses the people above their level, and challenges them to come upward.

    Nevertheless, on balance, I think that an additional link or two mught be useful.



  2. Good thinking. There is a “catena” tag in the links, but that probably doesn’t help most people much. I don’t want to keep things above anyone’s level; I want people to be able to understand. But it gets tedious repeating the explanations. I will think about this. I’m open to suggestions on what I say about catenas every time I mention them.

  3. I hope Robert Thomson replies. Of all Armenists, he would be the most informed on your topic.

    I really doubt the others are “too busy.” “To rude” would be more like it.


  4. Roger, I had been discussing the availability, or non-availability, of Armenian theological texts in French or English and while browsing I found this blog.

    A contact in the Armenian Church, who is engaged in translating from Classical to Modern Armenian replies to me…

    There are many Biblical catenas in Armenian but I haven’t seen in them anything from Eusebius of Caesarea. His Chronicles have reached in Armenian.


    Instead of saying, “There are many Biblical catenas in Armenian but I haven’t seen in them anything from Eusebius of Caesarea”, it would be more correct to say, “Nowhere I have read that anything from Eusebius commentaries have reached us in Armenian.” So, I think, I’d not be wrong to state they don’t exist in Armenian.

    Best wishes

    Father Peter Farrington

  5. Further to this, I have received the following:

    “There is a bibliography of all biblical commentaries found in Armenian manuscripts, prepared by Archbishop Eznik Petrosyan and Armen Ter-Stepanyan, but I don’t have it, so can’t remember the details. When I go to the Library of Matenadaran (the Institution of old manuscripts here, in Yerevan), I’ll find that book. But it is in Armenian too. Do you know Armenian? There are commentaries on Psalms both in manuscripts and published, but I’m afraid, they are not catenas.”

    I will continue to investigate!

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