The late antique and medieval commentaries on scripture took the form of chains of quotations from ancient writers, including much lost early Christian commentary. These are known today as the catena (=chain) commentaries, and their study is a rather specialised one.
Thankfully it is receiving some real attention today. Hugh Houghton writes to say that a volume of papers edited by himself on the subject is now online. This contains a great number of papers that will interest most of us.
It begins with “An Introduction to Greek New Testament Commentaries with a Preliminary Checklist of New Testament Catena Manuscripts”! Of course we’re discussing ancient Greek New Testament commentaries here. This paper alone will be of use to many.
The volume is H.A. Houghton, Commentaries, Catenae and Biblical Tradition: Papers from the Ninth Birmingham Colloquium on the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, in association with the COMPAUL project. Gorgias Press (2016)
Those who remember my volume of Eusebius, Gospel Problems and Solutions, may know that it included Coptic fragments of the work. Dr H’s volume includes an interesting paper, “An Overview of Research on Bohairic Catena Manuscripts on the Gospels” by Matthias Schulz – something that I would have killed to read back in 2011.
Of deep interest to many will be C. M. Kreinecker’s paper on Rufinus’ translation of Origen’s commentary on Romans. It’s always interesting to wonder how accurate Rufinus is, considering that he is the only version of much of Origen, and also remembering a load of accusations by Jerome. The rediscovery of the original Greek of the Commentary on Romans means that this particular work can now be investigated; and this paper examines the Latin biblical text involved.
Fortunately the work is online. Dr H. writes:
The new Gorgias online repository is now available at https://www.gorgiaspress.com/gorgias-open-repository
The book on catenae can be downloaded at: https://www.gorgiaspress.com/Content/files/GorgiasOpen/978-1-4632-0576-8.pdf
This is excellent news. Add it to your library now.
Dr H. also added a note to my post on the lost – and now found! – gospel commentary of Fortunatianus, to advise that he is producing an English translation which will be available with the text in 2017. But, better yet, the translation will be available online. Which means, of course, that we can all read it.
It is really a great pleasure to see useful scholarship being made available to the whole world like this. Well done, everyone involved, and especially Dr Houghton.
Postscript: I also see that Dr H.’s own website has a bunch of his papers which, inevitably, are also of wide interest. Recommended.