Notes from Devreesse on catenas on Luke

I’ve been translating extracts relating to Eusebius and the Gospels from R. Devreesse’s magisterial article Chaines exegetiques grecques in Dictionaire de la Bible — Supplement 1 (1928) on this blog.  Here is what he has to say about catenas on Luke.

IX.  THE CATENAS ON LUKE. — 1. OVERVIEW. — Printed and manuscript catenas. — The first catena edited consisted of a translation made by the Jesuit Peltanus:  Victoris Antiocheni commentarii in Marcum et Titi Bostrorum episcopi in evangelium Lucae commentarii antehac quidem nunquam in lucem editi, nunc vero studio et operi Theod. PELTANI luce simul et latinitate editi, Ingolstadt. 1580. p. 321-509.

In 1624 Fronton du Duc published the Greek text and his translation in volume 2 of the Auctuarium of the Bibl. Patrum. p. 762-836.  This is followed by numerous reprints of the Latin text of Peltanus: Sacr. Bibl. Vet. Patr. of Margarin de la Bigne, 2nd ed. Paris, 1589, vol. 1, column 1090-1158; Magna bibl. Patr. vol. 4, Cologne, 1618, p. 337-364; Bibl. Patr. Paris, 1644, vol. 13, col. 762-836.  Cf. J. Sickenberger, Titus von Bostra, in Texte und Untersuchungen, N. F. vol. 6, 1, Leipzig, 1901, p. 16-41.

The TU volume of Sickenberger is online here.  But Devreesse goes on to discuss the types of catena that exist.  Here’s what he says about the first type, where Titus of Bostra is mentioned:

These few bibliographic notes demand a quick explanation.  Long ago Richard Simon (Histoire critique, vol. 3, c. 30) remarked that the name of Titus must be a pseudepigraph.  In a Paris manuscript (Reg. gr. 2330, today 703, 12th century), the commentary edited by Peltanus is preceded by a title which leaves no doubt about the originality of its content: … [By the holy father Titus bishop of Bostra and other holy fathers on the holy Gospel of Luke].  These other holy Fathers are the two Gregories, Chrysostom, Isidore of Pelusium and Cyril of Alexandria, whose names appear sporadically.

From some partial analyses which we have attempted, it seems like this to us: there must have existed, at a very recent period, probably around the end of the 9th century, a collection of anonymous scholia mostly made up of extracts from the commentaries by Cyril of Alexandria, Origen, and Titus of Bostra on St. Luke, and the commentary of Chrysostom on St. Matthew; in a second line  some extracts derived from Athanasius, Isidore, and Photius; in some copies, such as Barberini 562, the Photius material is extensive.  This state of the catena has come down to us in many manuscripts.  This is what gives us the commentaries placed under the name of Titus of Bostra by Peltanus and Fronton du Duc (see the list of Italian mss. given by Sickenburger on p. 17-20). … [An abbreviated version also exists and was published by Mai in Scholia Vetera, reprinted PG 106, cols. 1177-1218].

A second version of the same catena includes this material or pseudo-commentary, and adds material.  This is what was published by Cramer in Catenae Graecorum Patrum in Novum Testamentum, vol. 2, p. 3-174, which is certainly online at Google Books. 

Then there is a second catena, this time under the name of Peter of Laodicea.

In almost all the major libraries of Greek manuscripts there exists an explanation of the Gospel under the name of Peter of Laodicea. … [Henrici has demonstrated that in fact the material derives from other known authors, and the name must have been attached to an anonymous catena.  Usually the author names have disappeared; some mss, however, such as Vatican 758, still have them]…

The third catena is that of Nicetas:

The catena of Nicetas. — This catena is represented by three groups of manuscripts.  Each of them has been studied with great care by Sickenberger, Die Lukaskatena des Nicetas von Herakleia in Texte und Untersuchungen vol. 7, 4, Leipzig, 1902.  The first group, which he calls the Italian group, is made up of Vatican gr. 1611 (1176 AD), plus two other incomplete mss.  The first, Vatican 1642 (12th c.) contains scholia which cover up to Luke 6:6; the other, Monacensis  473 (14th c.), from Luke 5:17 to 11:26. 

The second group distinguishes itself from the first by the addition of anonymous citations which seem probably to come from Hesychius, according to Sickenburger.

The third group is in fact an abbreviated version of the preceding groups.  This is the form presented by a series of recent manuscripts.  To this category belongs the Marcianus  494 (14th c.), the text of which was translated by Cordier in Catena sexaginta quinque Graecorum Patrum in s. Lucam, Anvers, 1628.  On this edition see Richard Simon, op. cit., p. 429.  Kollar, Petri Lambecii Hamburgensis Commentariorum de Augustissima Bibliotheca caesarea Vindobonensi editio altera …, vol. 3, p. 163 f., remarks that the Caes. XLII [=Vindob. 71] is more complete than the Venetian ms. used by Cordier because it mentions Africanus Alexander the Archimandrite, and Antipater of Bostra, who are not found in the catena of 65 fathers.  Also to this group belong the Vatican gr. 759 (15th c.), from which Mai took scholia of Eusebius (1st ed. of Scriptorum Veterum nova collectio, 1825).  We must also include the fragments which fill the margins of Palatinus gr. 20.  (The middles of the folios of that ms. are filled by material from another source).  It is among these extracts or abridgements that we must look for the sources of the Catena aurea of Thomas Aquinas, and the catena of Macarius Chrysocephalus; on the latter see the judgement of Sickenberger in Karo-Lietzmann, op. cit., fol. 582.

Among the partial editions of this catena of Nicetas, we must include that of Cardinal Mai, Scriptorum Veterum nova collectio, vol. 9, 1837, p. 626-724, where will be found a series of extracts, from Vatican gr. 1611, which cover the whole of the third gospel.

Was this chain an original work exclusively by Nicetas of Heraclea?  It could be so, but we must not forget that two other catenas already existed in his day, the one represented by the catenas of Poussines and Cramer, and the one under the name of Peter of Laodicea.  Our three catenas do not lack overlaps.  Those of Peter and Nicetas offer the greatest number of points of contact.

And we’re still not done. There is a fourth type of catena:

The Vatican Palatinus graecus 20 and its copy, Vat. gr. 1933, form a fourth group of catenas.  Cf. Karo-Lietzmann, op. cit., p. 546-577. … In the margins of the first 33 folios there are extracts of the chain of Nicetas.  As well as these two mss, which contain scholia on the whole of Luke, there are some folios inserted into a collection of Ps.Peter of Laodicea in Reg. gr. 3 fol. 10-15 and 112-119…

Devreesse then  begins to list authors mentioned in these catenas, starting with Philo, who is quoted seven times in the catena of Nicetas, between Luke 12:17 – 19:22.  Nicetas also uses Ignatius of Antioch, Josephus (on Luke 6:3), Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus, and many, many others.

I can’t help feeling that an edition of the catena of Nicetas would be of wide use.  Many catenas are mostly comprised of Chrysostom, but this does not seem to be the case here.


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