Euthymius Zigabenus, Commentary on the Psalms – draft translation online!

John Raffan has written a comment on another post, which deserves to be much more widely known:

On the topic of translations of Greek patristic texts, I would like to announce that I have made a new edition of the Commentary on the Psalter by Euthymius Zigabenus and have started to make an English translation of the work.

I have posted a draft translation of the Introduction and first 75 Psalms on my page.

This, needless to say, is being done without payment or prospect of payment, since commercial demand for such work is essentially non-existent. If, however, anyone would like to sponsor the translation of a patristic work, I would very happily consider the proposition!

Dr Raffan is not kidding: available for download is a complete and rather splendid edition of the Greek, and also the translation in draft.  And, curiously, nobody seems to be aware of it, for it has had only 3 downloads!  Grab yours NOW!

Would somebody like to assist this very worthwhile project?  Surely this should attract a publisher?


8 thoughts on “Euthymius Zigabenus, Commentary on the Psalms – draft translation online!

  1. Hi Roger,
    May I suggest that Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Press might be interested in publishing a work by Euthymius Zigabenus. They have published translations of John Chyrostom and Theodoret in the past. Euthymius Zigabenus is a good Orthodox author and Orthodox Christians would appreciate his insights on the Psalms. There is no academic audience but there is a Christian audience for a work like this.
    I purchased a translation by Euthymius on the Bogomils, which I found to be clear and concise for a polemical text. If his Commentary on the Psalms is like this then it is well worth reading. There certainly aren’t enough translations of Byzantine theologians out there so the more the merrier.

  2. Hi Roger,
    Euthymius Zigabenus wrote a polemical work called the ‘Dogmatic Panoply’ (PG 130) against various heresies including sections on Islam, Armenian Monophysites, Paulicians and Bogomils. Long extracts of his sections on the Paulicians and Bogomils are available in ‘Christian Dualist Heresies in the Byzantine World c 650 – c 1405’ by Janet Hamilton and Bernard Hamilton (Manchester University Press, 1998).
    A complete translation of the section on the Bogomils was published in 2011 by the Orthodox Research Institute under the name ‘The Rise of Bogomilism and its Penetration into Constantinople’ by John Sanidopoulos.
    I own both and have read both. I highly recommend them. These works have given me a positive attitude to Euthymius Zigabenus and make me eager to see translations of his works.

  3. Dear Stefano,
    Thank you for your interest and for your helpful comments. I would like to argue that the hitherto unpublished Dogmatic Florilegium, which is included in a number of mss. along with the Commentary on the Psalter and which I have appended to my edition, is the kernel from which the Dogmatic Panoply grew and which perhaps inspired Alexios to commission the larger work from Euthymius who possibly on this account, as Anna Comnena says, had the reputation of being ‘unrivalled in doctrine’.

  4. Dr Raffan has also written with a few additional remarks, which are interesting and he has gracefully allowed me to place them here.

    I do not have any connections with the academic world or knowledge of publishing houses that might have an interest in this text. [I am a parish priest in Greece.]

    The text is simply too long to be accommodated within most standard publishing formats, especially if it were to be presented with a facing English translation, which would be the ideal.

    I am confident that the Greek text I have presented is sound, but the draft English translation needs much more work before arriving at a publishable form. At present it is conceived as no more than an accurate literal crib for reading the Greek rather than as a text which could stand on its own.

    I hope, however, that by placing the work in the public domain it may encourage others more able than myself to take this further, and not least to promote recognition of the place of the Greek Psalter at the very foundations of Christian culture in both East and West. I am pleased that there is now a project to publish an edition of the Commentary by Eusebius and the recent discovery of the Homilies by Origen has, I hope, given new impetus to this field of research.

    My work is very much a product of the internet as it relies on the digitized Greek manuscripts which have been made available online by the major European libraries. The internet also seems to be the best place to ‘publish’ this. Not only is it thus able to reach a far greater audience, but it could also potentially provide a much richer experience of the text, since it could eventually be linked to the manuscripts and to a host of other sources and scholarly discussions past and present, relating both to the text of the psalms and to the exegetical tradition. Furthermore, it can be revised, corrected and enriched at will and is open to input and comment from others. [I do not possess the technological know-how to do all this, but I am sure many others do.]

    The new edition of the Eusebius Commentary on the Psalms is a project under the august auspices of the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften with a large team of scholars directed by Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Christoph Markschies. This is a ten year project and the edition is not to be completed before 2021. A description can be found here:

    A useful article on the Psalm Commentary by Michael Hollerich is available here:

  5. I have just downloaded the English translation. I have a Romanian edition with additional patristic notes (at times taking even more space than the commentary) from St. Nikodemos. I have found those notes to be at times even more useful than the commentary itself. If, eventually, there is some interest from a place like Holy Cross Press, is there a chance the notes could be included in the translation?

  6. That would be up to the translator. But the commentary is a large enough item by itself, without also doing the commentary of Nikodemos. One thing at a time! 🙂

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