The early translations of Chrysostom into Latin — 4. The evidence of Julian of Eclanum and Augustine

The Libellus fidei attributed to Julian of Eclanum (PL 48, 525-6, written in 418 AD), in chapter 11 (18) contains a long quotation from the Sermo ad neophytos.  This is the title under which the third baptismal catechism was transmitted in Latin.  The eight baptismal catecheses were rediscovered by Wenger only in 1970.[1]

In 419, Augustine tells us in Contra Iulianum I 6:21 (PL 44, 654-5) that Julian of Eclanum made use of the same work by Chrysostom in Julian’s lost work, the Libri ad Turbantium.  The quotations given are not identical, but are the same length and, more importantly, come from the same source.  Neither is based on the Greek text, but rather on a Latin version, as Wenger has shown.

Augustine goes further.  Not merely does he mention the quotation; he refers to the Greek and shows where the Latin has undergone modification or is too free (PL 44, col. 655-6, 658).  However it has been shown that Augustine is not, in fact, showing knowledge of a Greek text, but instead using a revised Latin version.

In his Contra Iulianum, Augustine refers to a number of works by Chrysostom.

  1. Letter 3 (10) (Greek text in PG 52, 574).
  2. In resurrectionem Lazari.  (CPL 541;  latin text actually by Potamius of Lisbon, ed. Wilmart, 1918b, p.302, l. 88-90)
  3. In Genesim sermo 3 (Greek in PG 54, 592).
  4. In Epistula ad Romanos homilia 10 (Greek in PG 60, 475)
  5. In venerabilem crucem sermo (Ps. Chrysostom; original Greek in Browne, 1990, p.137, #20; PG 50, 820, l. 34-36).
  6. Homilia in sancta baptisma (actually by Basil of Caesarea).

Clearly Augustine is using an anthology or florilegium of testimonies here.  There’s no trace of a Greek original; indeed the second item is in fact an original composition in Latin misidentified as Chrysostom.  So here we have evidence of material in Latin again.

  1. [1]Antoine Wenger (ed.), Huit catecheses baptismales inedits, Sources Chretiennes 50 bis, Paris, 1970.

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