Devreesse – introductory notes on catenas on Matthew

The post on the fragments of Eusebius extant in catenas on Matthew really needs some material from earlier in Devreesse’s article.

VII.  CATENAS ON ST. MATTHEW. — 1.  OVERVIEW. — It is to P. Poussines, S. J., that we owe the first edition of a catena on St. Matthew, Symbolorum in Matthaeum tomus prior exhibens catenam graecorum Patrum unius et viginti editam ex bibliotheca Illustrissimi D. Caroli de Montchal … Petrus POSSINUS e Societate Jesu… ex antiquis membranis eruit… Tolosae excudebat Ioannes Boude. MDCXLVI, in-fol.  [=Possinus, 1646].  The manuscript of the archbishop of Toulouse [=Charles de Montchal] has been identified; it is Paris gr. 194 (13th century).  It is one of the two mss. that Poussines used equally for his edition of the catena on Mark.  We possess on this subject an interesting letter from the archbishop of Toulouse to Combefis [=another editor of catenas], dated 16 August 1642, from which we will extract some words:  “Father Poussines has transcribed from my library during the past few days a catena on St. Matthew and St. Mark, in order to publish it soon.”  (Patrologia Graeca vol. 94, col. 515).  The first pages of the manuscript were badly damaged, so Fr. Poussines, who had no other exemplar of the catena on St. Matthew at his disposal, allowed himself to follow his imagination rather than give an accurate edition of what he could read.  Richard Simon did not fail to reproach him for this, and to propose some corrections to his work, Hist. critique du Nouveau Testament, vol. 3, ch. 30, p. 423-424.

A year later, another Jesuit whom we have already met, Cordier published a new catena on St. Matthew, which was presented as a supplement to the edition of his fellow-Jesuit, Symbolarum In Mathaeum tomus alter, quo continetur catena Patrum graecorum triginta collectore Niceta episcopo Serrarum interprete Balthasar CORDERIO societatis Jesu theologo.  Prodit nunc primum ex bibliotheca electorali serenissimi utriusque Bavariae Ducis.  Tolosae, excudebat Johannes Boude, MDCXLVII, in-fol. [=Corderius, 1647]  Why this attribution to Nicetas of Serrae?  Probably because the prologue and first few explications which follow on the beginning of the first gospel are given in Cordier’s manuscript (Munich 36) under the name of Nicetas.  This is a pretty arbitrary attribution, at first sight, since most of the scholia correspond exactly to parallel passages in the homilies of St. John Chrysostom on St. Matthew, but the remainder does indeed seem to have been taken from authors who are only generally cited in the other catenas by Nicetas.

In 1844 Cramer published the first volume of his catena on the New Testament.  Catenae graecorum Patrum in Novum Testamentum edidit J. A. Cramer… Oxonii, e typographeo Academico.  The base text was printed from ms. Coislin 23 (11th c.)  The major part of the catena is taken from the homilies of St. John Chrysostom, to which have been added, following, some scholia by different fathers.

Devreesse then goes on to mention a bunch of anonymous scholia, published with a commentary by Peter of Laodicea, by Henrici, Des Petrus von Laodicea Erklarung des Matthausevangeliums… Leipzig, 1908.  He then discusses this commentary and Peter himself at length.  He then mentions the catena of Euthymius Zigabenus (in PG 119), and a couple of other minor catenas.


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