Chrysostom’s “Quod Christus Sit Deus”

Yesterday’s post on Chrysostom and the Jews led to some interesting questions about his other work, Against the Jews and Pagans that Christ is God.  These I have pursued in the comments thread.

A look at Quasten’s Patrology says that the work is untranslated; but Quasten was getting tired by the time he did volume 3, and it is nearly 50 years old in any event.  Isn’t it time that someone revised the work and brought it up to date?  It’s not as easy as it might be to see who owns the book; but since it has remained in print ever since, it ought to be in everyone’s interest to update it.

The work seems to have been translated into French as long ago as the 1860’s, in Bareille’s translation of all of Chrysostom’s works.[1]  A lot of these are on Archive.org, repackaged as just the translations, and volume 1 contains the work under the title La divinité du Christ [2].

Much more important is the unpublished dissertation of Fr. Norman G. McKendrick, S.J., in 1966.[3].  This not merely included an English translation, but also what P.W.Harkins described as an excellent critical Greek text.  This was based on a fresh examination of the manuscripts.  McKendrick drew up a stemma, dividing the manuscripts into 2 families.  The thesis is accessible from UMI, if you have $37 to spare, and is evidently an important work.  McKendrick himself died in 2002.

The final event in the history of the text was a published translation by P.W.Harkins, in 1985 as the second item in a volume in the Fathers of the Church series.[4]  Harkins had already produced the first published translation of the Eight homilies against the Jews in FOC 68.  He decided to rename the work to omit mention of Jews, however, which is perhaps less than ideal, and has certainly hampered at least one correspondent of mine!

So the work is out there, and there is even a study of the manuscripts.

Isn’t it a pity, tho, that US dissertations remain locked inside a commercial company’s database?  Once Proquest were providing a valuable service, in that they produced print-offs of what would otherwise be entirely inaccessible.  You could order these from anywhere.

But in the age of the internet, there is no need for the paper versions, and PDF’s of the theses could usefully (and at almost no cost) appear on the web.

  1. [1]J. Bareille, Oeuvres completes de S. Jean Chrysostome, 19 vols, Paris, 1865-73.
  2. [2]http://www.archive.org/details/ChrysostomeOeuvresCompltesT1, p.478.
  3. [3]Norman G. McKendrick, “The ‘Quod Christus Sit Deus’ of John Chrysostom”, PhD dissertation, Fordham University, 1966
  4. [4]John Chrysostom Apologist, Fathers of the Church 73, CUA Press, 1985, p. 153 f.  A google books preview is accessible here.

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