The early translations of Chrysostom into Latin – 1. The first possible references

The first mention of Chrysostom’s works in Latin comes from a very early stage of his life, when he was still only a priest.[1]  In 392 Jerome mentions in his De viris illustribus ch. 129 that he has read De sacerdotio, or rather, as he states: Peri\ i(erwsu/nhj:

John, presbyter of the church at Antioch, a follower of Eusebius of Emesa and Diodorus, is said to have composed many books, but of these I have only read his On the priesthood.

In 404, in letter 112, 6,[2] Jerome lists Chrysostom as among the authors who have discussed the confrontation between Paul and Peter at Antioch over whether to obey the Mosaic law.  The reference is probably to the homily In illud: In faciem ei restiti (PG 51, 371-388, CPG 4391).  In addition the use by Jerome of other works has been hypothesised.

Jerome does not indicate whether he read Chrysostom in Greek or in some Latin version.  The use of the Greek title in the first case rather suggests Jerome read him in Greek.

Palladius, in his Dialogue on the life of Chrysostom, ch.12, gives the following words to the Roman deacon Theodore:

I knew the mind of the man from common report, and from those writings of his, homilies and letters, which have come into our hands.  

Whether a man like Theodore would have read Chrysostom in Greek may be questioned.

But there is no certainty of any Latin translation at this date.

  1. [1]All this material is derived from Sever J. Voicu, Le prime traduzioni latine di Crisostomo, In: “Cristianesimo latino e cultura greca. XXI Incontro di studiosi dell’antichità cristiana”, 1993, p.397-445.
  2. [2]Voicu references the Hilberg edition in CSEL, 1912, p.373.  See also Augustine, letter 75.

2 thoughts on “The early translations of Chrysostom into Latin – 1. The first possible references

  1. “The reference is probably to the homily In illud: In faciem ei restiti (PG 51, 371-388, CPG 4391). In addition the use by Jerome of other works has been hypothesised.”

    He may have used John Chrysostom’s Commentary (Homilies) on Galatians. Chrysostom takes great pains to exonerate Peter and portray the incident as an “oikonomia”, dissembling for the benefit of the audience.

    By the way, do you know whether the homily on “In faciem ei reistiti” has been translated into English? I am now trying to see whether there is something new in it, as compared to the homily on Galatians 2.

  2. I don’t think it has been translated. I wish it had. We could use English translations of all of Chrysostom’s work, and, outside of the exegetical homilies, there is much to do.

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