From my diary

A new job at the start of November, so I have been rather preoccupied.  But a little progress has been made.

I’ve commissioned a translation of the fragments of Theodore of Mopsuestia on Genesis.  The main part of this was published by Sachau from the Syriac, but there are also Greek fragments.  The tendency towards a  non-allegorical approach in the Antiochene writers means that what he has to say should be of interest even today.

I hope to get some translations made of some of the medieval Greek legendary hagiographical material about St Nicholas of Myra – also known as Santa Claus.  It is remarkable that no English translation exists of almost all this material, regardless of its evident lack of historical value.

It was my intention to do some work on a translation of the 10th century Arabic Christian writer Eutychius.  No time so far!

A little work has been done on the Mithras site – uploading a couple more monuments, as photographs became available – but nothing significant.

I’m not clear how much time I shall get at home at Christmas and New Year, but there will be more activity if I get the chance!

9 thoughts on “From my diary

  1. Dear Roger,

    may I ask you which Greek fragments of Theodore’s Commentary on Genesis have you commissioned?

    I have studied it in part for my Master Thesis and my impression is that they are scattered in several sources, never gathered toghether.

    Anyway, I think that this translation is extremly necessary to properly study Theodore’s exegesis and theology.

  2. The only ones known to me are those in the Patrologia Graeca, so these are the ones in view. I suspect that there might be quite a few fragments in the catenas! But there is also the substantial remains in Syriac, and this will be done first.

    What was your thesis on?

  3. There are fragments in the catenas published by Petit and they are quite extensive (F. Petit, La chaine sur la Genese. Edition Integrale. 1, Chapitres 1 à 3, Traditio Exegetica Graeca 1, Louven, Peeter, 1992 and following volumes).
    Some other fragments from the Greek tradition as been published again by F. Petit, L’homme créé à l’image de Dieu. Quelques fragments grecs inédits de Théodore de Mopsueste, in Le Museon 100 (1987), pp. 269-281.
    Other fragments are preserved by John Philoponus’ De Opificio Mundi.

    As to the Syriac tradition, apart from Sachau’s edition, some sections of Theodore’s commentary have been edited by Tonneau and Jansma.

    There are also some fragments preserved in the Arabic tradition edited by Samir.

    This is just a short list, far from completeness.

    As to my thesis, it was on the involvement of Theodore of Mopsuestia in the Pelagian controversy.

  4. Correction: there are fragments only from PG 66, col. 637 (not 635-646) from Genesis comm. in Sachau’s edition.

  5. I think what the author is saying (Bischoff &c, Biblical Commentaries from the Canterbury School of Theodore and Hadrian, p.20) is that the *Greek* fragments printed in the Patrologia Graeca need to be examined by a scholar. Presumably these fragments are all collected from catenas. But probably some of them are not by Theodore of Mopsuestia, but by another Theodore. Catena fragments are like that – the letter indicating authorship of each fragment is fragile and often wrong.

    He doesn’t say anything about the Syriac fragments.

    I don’t have the Devreese, which is R. Devreese, “Essai sur Theodore de Mopsueste,” in: Studi e Testi 141 (Rome 1948), 305-419. So it’s a journal article in the “Studi e Testi” series, published by the Vatican.

    Just in case the book vanishes, here’s the quote:

    Unfortunately, for reasons which we shall consider in a moment, very little of the extensive corpus of Theodore’s exegesis has survived. Excepting fragments from catenae, all that survives of this corpus is the commentary on the Minor Prophets (in the original Greek, but lacking the dedicatory epistle),73 that on the gospel of St John (in a Syriac translation),74 and the commentaries on the minor Pauline epistles (in a Latin translation);75 in addition, a substantial portion of the commentary on Psalms can be pieced together from Greek catenae and from Syriac and Latin translations.76 The commentary on Genesis is sadly represented only by fragments quoted in various sources.77 Nevertheless, it is possible from these fragmentary remains to form a clear impression of Theodore’s practice as a biblical exegete.

    73. CPG II, no. 3834; printed PG 66, 124-632.

    74. CPG II, no. 3843; ed. J.M. Voste, Theodori Mopsuesteni Commentarius in Evangelium lohannis Apostoli, 2 vols. CSCO 115-16 (Louvain, 1940).

    75. CPG II, no. 3845; ed. H.B. Swete, Theodori episcopi Mopsuesteni in epistolas B. Pauli commentarii, 2 vols. (Cambridge, 1880-2). See also U. Wickert, Studien zu den Pauluskommentaren Theodors von Mopsuestia als Beitrag zum Verstandnis der antiochenischen Theologie (Berlin, 1962).

    76. CPG II, no. 3833; ed. R. Devreesse, Le Commentaire de Theodore de Mopsueste sur les Psaumes (I-LXXX), Studi e Testi 93 (Vatican City, 1939). See also L. Van Rompay, Theodore de Mopsueste. Fragments syriaques du Commentaire des Psaumes (Psaume 118 et Psaumes 138-148), CSCO 435-6 [Scriptores Syri 189-90] (Louvain, 1982). For the Latin translation (by Julian of Eclanum), see below, p. 248, n. 24.

    77. CPG II, no. 3827. The extracts printed in PG 66, 636-45 still require to be assessed critically; see Devreesse, Essai sur Theodore de Mopsueste, pp. 5-25. For other (Syriac) fragments of the Genesis commentary, see R.-M. Tonneau, ‘Theodore de Mopsueste, Interpretation [du livre] de la Genese’, Le Museon 66 (1953), 45—64 (a Syriac fragment of Theodore on Gen. III. 14—24), and T. Jansma, ‘Theodore de Mopsueste, Interpretation du livre de la Genese: Fragments de la version syriaque (BM Add. 17189, fol. 17-21)’, Le Museon 75 (1962), 63-92.

  6. Sachau edited these syriac comm. on Genesis by only one ms. BL. add. 17,217, fol. 20-32 from monophysite monastery Deir al-Suriani in Egypt. But there was lack of authorship inscription in ms. (Sachau E. Praefatio [et commentariorum] // Theodori Mopsuesteni fragmenta syriaca, 1869. P. IV). Right after these fragments in ms. were pieces of some known st. Cyrill of Alexandria’s texts (fol. 33-36, 39, 41) (Wright W. Catalogue of syriac manuscripts in the British museum acquired since the year 1838. Part 2, 1871. P. 484-485, 488-489).

    So why Sachau decided that these syriac fragments belog to Theodore of Mopsuestia? Only reason i found is that at BL. add. 17,217, fol. 30 were three small syriac fragments that are the same as greek reprinted in PG 66, col. 637 (Sachau E., 1869. P. 19-20) from Catena Nikephori.

    If PG 66, col. 637 is not Theodore’s text this is the reason not to attribute syriac fragments to him.

Leave a Reply