The early translations of Chrysostom into Latin — 3. Anianus of Celeda

In the next few years we have two groups of witnesses, distinct but related to the followers of Pelagius.[1] 

The first of this is someone about whom we would like to know more, starting with his exact name and place of origin: Anianus or Annianus, deacon from an unidentified place called Celeda.  Around 420 A.D. he made translations of two long works  by Chrysostom: the In Matthaeum homiliae 1-25 (cf. CPPC 4424), for which a date of 419-420 AD has been proposed; and the De laudibus s. Pauli apostoli 1-7 (cf. CPG 4344), in the following years but not before 421 A.D.

The translations are prefixed with dedicatory epistles.  In these Anianus shows that he regards Chrysostom as a powerful ally in the defence of the true faith against an opponent whom he characterises with the epithets “Manichaean” and “Traducian”.  We know that the Pelagians applied these words to Augustine.  This suggests that Anianus belongs to that group.

Pelagian he may be, but he seems to be an honest professional.  Although we await a critical edition, it does not seem that he has directed the translation in the service of the ongoing controversy.  But possibly he did not need to; for, as we have already seen, Chrysostom’s insistence on human initiative naturally gives his work a flavour which is to the taste of Pelagians.  If his “doctrinal” interventions are as Piedagnel reports[2], then it must be admitted that Anianus was a heretic of an extremely discreet kind.

NOTE: It would be interesting to know where the text of these translations might be found, and to look at these dedicatory epistles.

  1. [1]This also is taken from Voicu’s excellent article.  In this section I have followed his words more closely than elsewhere, because I am rather interested in Anianus myself. The references are from Voicu and have not been verified, as I have no access to them.
  2. [2]A. Piedagnel, Jean Chrysostome, Panégyriques de s. Paul … , Sources chretiennes 300, Paris 1982,  p. 98-99, n. 5.

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