Devreesse on the fragments of Eusebius in the catena on Matthew

In his article on medieval Greek commentaries made up entirely of chains of quotations from the Fathers — catenas, as they are called today — Devreesse has some good material on each of the four gospels on Eusebius.  This is very relevant to the translation of the remains of Eusebius’ Gospel Questions and Solutions.  Here is the entry on Matthew’s gospel, run into English.  I have split the main paragraph so each item is separate.

Eusebius — Of the work περὶ διαφωνίας εὐγγελίων [on the differences in the gospels] composed by Eusebius, different catenas give us different extracts.  It was divided into two parts (Patrologia Graeca vol. 22, col. 879-1006).  The first part, relating to the genealogies [of Jesus] comprised two books; it was dedicated to Stephanus.  The second, one book only, concerning the disagreement of the evangelists on some texts of the Passion, was addressed to Marinus.

In Poussines [=Possinus], Cramer, and in manuscript Vatican gr. 1618 (on Matthew, 1:1-21) there are various citations which derive from questions 1, 2 and 3 of To Stephanus.  Those which Poussines gives have been reproduced, PG, 22, cols. 972-976, with two others.

One fragment on the name of Jesus (1, 3-8b) placed sometimes in the mouth of Origen belongs in reality to Eusebius (cf. G. Mercati, Un supposto frammento di Origene, in Revue biblique 17, 1910, p. 76-79).

Sometimes the scholiast seems to have hesitated about the attribution to Eusebius (cf. Cramer, p. 12, 15).

As for the questions To Marinus, some fragments can be found in Cramer p. 251-256 which belong to this.

Some other citations can be met with in Cramer, p. 56 (Mt. 7:27), and 81 (Mt 10:34);  Pousinnes, p. 35 (Mt 3:3), and 145 (Mt 10:24-25).  Perhaps all this Eusebian material is analogous to some that was signalled in the Bodleian Library manuscript Laud 33, fol. 80b (Harnack-Preuschen, Geschichte, vol. 1, p.577). 

Zahn has published (Geschichte d. Neutestamentl. Kan. vol. 2, p. 915) another scholion of Eusebius on Matthew 16:9-20, from manuscript Moscow Holy Synod 139.

I need to get hold of the Mercati and Zahn articles.   It all reinforces the impression of fragments all over the place.  Any editor of this material will have a considerable job simply to assemble the raw materials!

Devreesse on the extracts of Origen on Ezekiel in the catenas

I’ve continued to work away at the monster article on the catenas by R. Devreesse, Chaines éxégetiques grecques, Supplément to Dictionnaire de la Bible, vol. 1 (Paris: Letouzey, published 1928).   The print-out that I got using the default settings in Adobe was very hard to read, very grainy and faint.  Fortunately I found a way to set the printer to denser printing, and this improved this.  So this morning I made a pile of print-outs, stapled them together in four sections, took my pen and … went off to lunch.  They went very well while waiting for a steak to appear!

The material concerned with Origen on Ezechiel is quite brief and begins on col. 1154.  Here it is in English, omitting chunks of Greek quoted where it would be a pain to transcribe them.  It is rather full of unfamiliar names.  Who, for instance, is Faulhaber? (<cough> A quick google search reveals that I have asked this question before, and that his book is online!).  Moving quickly on:

V.  EZEKIEL. — Faulhaber has placed the work by Pradus-Villalpandus, In Ezechielem explanationes et apparatus urbis ac templi Hierosolymitani commentario et imaginibus illustratus, 3 vols, Rome, 1596-1604, in its true context.  These volumes may have some importance for biblical topography, but they have nothing to do with the literature on the catenas.  There are again many manuscripts of Roman catenas derived from the ms. Chisianus which we must examine.

This is a reference to various catena manuscripts in Rome, in the Vatican etc, which he has already referred to for other Old Testament catenas.

The catalogue of Karo and Lietzmann adds to these on the one hand ms. Coislin 17 (13th century), Ambrosianus E. 46 sup. (10th c.)  and on the other the two Laurentianus V, 9 (11th c.) and XI, 4 (11th c.).

The catenist, probably John Drungarius, prefixed his collection with a preface in which he declared that he had searched in vain for commentaries of the fathers on Ezekiel; he could only discover passages of the prophet referred to or explained by them, randomly, in one or another of their works.  Lacking works by the holy Fathers, he searched elsewhere for materials for his collection; the “heretics” Theodoret, Polychronius and Origen furnished him with scholia.    But he also came across an earlier catena which it seems contained anonymous extracts.  These he included preceded by the lemma  Ἄλλος.  Faulhaber, p. 141-2.  The sources for John’s catena — which we will call this, for convenience — are thus the following:  some anonymous scholia, based on a primitive catena and prefixed with the lemma Allos, some interpretations detached from context on odd passages of the prophet, and some fragments taken from authors of limited orthodoxy.  All this material has been treated with some freedom.  What is the Allos material?  Faulhaber has remarked that these extracts look very strongly like extracts from Polychronius.  These fragments must have come from some primitive catena, itself derived from a commentary by Polychronius.

I’m sure all of us are wondering who Polychronius is.  I certainly don’t remember the name!  A quick Google search reveals that he was bishop of Apamea in the early 5th century and the brother of Theodore of Mopsuestia.  No doubt his “heresy” consisted of following the Antiochene approach to the various controversies of the period, nearly all political in inspiration.  Quite a bit of his exegetical work has survived, including nearly all his work on Ezechiel.

But back to Devreesse:

Let us note, in passing, that in Ambrosianus E. 46 sup (10th c.), we find the commentary of Theodoret surrounded by scholia.

AUTHORS CITED.  — Origen. — We are told in the Church History of Eusebius (V, 32:1-2) that Origen began at Caesarea and completed at Athens a commentary (tomoi) on Ezechiel.  The work comprised 25 books.  Of this commentary there remains only a section from the 20th book, preserved in the Philocalia (Patrologia Graeca vol. 13, cols. 663-666; ed. Robinson, p. 60).

I ought to add here that the Philocalia is a compilation of extracts from Origen, which was made in the 4th century by the great Cappadocian Fathers Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa.  It survives, and I long ago scanned the English translation and placed it online here.

The commentary was not the only exegesis that Origen undertook on Ezekiel.  A translation by St. Jerome has handed us fourteen sermons (PG vol. 14, cols. 665-768; also edited by Baehrens, Griechische Christlicher Schriftsteller, 1925, p. 318-454).  There is no question, both in Eusebius and Jerome, that Origen also left scholia or excerpta on Ezekiel.  The fragments given in the catenas (233 in the ms. Ottobonianus 452, according to Faulhaber, p. 153) are taken from the homilies.  An edition of them by De la Rue can be found in the PG 13, cols. 695-787.  The Ottobonianus 452 was exploited by Cardinal Mai to furnish four further extracts (Novum Patr. Bibl. vol. 7, 2, praef., p. v [1], reprinted as PG 17, col. 288).  The manuscripts Vatican 1153 and Ottoboni 452 permitted Cardinal Pitra to pursue this collecting further, and to discover some next texts (Analecta sacra vol. 3, p. 541-550; the first extract had already been edited by De la Rue, the last and next-to-last by Mai).  The edition of Baehrens gives the fragments taken from the Ottoboni 452, Vatican 1153, and Laurentian V, 9 manuscripts, but we know that the homilies, which were the object of this publication, were attached to specific passages of the prophecy and did not go further than Ezechiel 44:2.  The remainder of the scholia are perhaps all that survives of lost homilies and commentaries.  The study of these fragments must therefore begin by establishing from the best manuscript witnesses a complete list, and then determining their relationship to the texts preserved in the direct tradition.

Devreesse then goes on to talk about the fragments of Hippolytus, but we need not follow him.

What does all this tell us?  Much and little.  It is reasonably certain that we have most of the catena fragments on Ezechiel by Origen.  It is equally certain that we don’t know that much about them, and that some of them are bogus.

I think it is time to clarify who the modern editors of Origen have been.  Schaff as always gives us something, but here is a little more:

Charles de La Rue (d. 1739) was the Benedictine editor of the complete works of Origen, reprinted by Migne in PG 11-17 after 1850.  He was one of the Maurist fathers, whose fabulous erudition was only brought to an end by the French Revolution, when their headquarters at St. Germain-des-Près were stormed by the mob.  Most of their books went to the National Library; a certain number were acquired by a Russian agent, Petrus Dubrovsky, and shipped out and sold to the Tsar, and are in St. Petersburg.  Dubrovsky himself was denounced to the Committee of Public Safety and had to flee, leaving some of his manuscripts to be scattered over Paris.

C. H. E. Lommatzsch also seems to have reprinted De la Rue, in 25 small volumes: Opera omnia quae graece et latine tantum exstant et ejus nomine circumferuntur … Ediderunt Carolus et Carol. Vincen. De La Rue … denuo recensuit … Carol. Henric. Eduard. Lommatzsch, Berlin: Haud and Spener (1831-1848).

The most  modern text on Origen on Ezekiel is that in the Berlin Griechische Christlicher Schriftsteller  series by Baehrens, which was reprinted by Borrett in the Sources Chretiennes edition.   Fortunately Baehrens is out of copyright, so there is no barrier to using his text.

I wonder what Baehrens thought of De la Rue’s work?

Devreesse on quotations from Eusebius in catenas in John

There are quite a few nuggets of interesting information in the 78-page article by R. Devreesse on Greek exegetical catenas in the Dictionaire de la Bible — supplement 1.  Naturally there are catenas on each of the Gospels, and he lists the authors quoted.  Here is what he says on John’s gospel, under the heading Eusebius.  Cordier/Corderius is one of the first catena editors; Cramer the editor of a catena in the 19th century.

Eusebius — Eusebius is the source of many citations in the catenas on St. John.  The first that we encounter (Cordier, p. 80) relates to John 2:22.  Cordier p.136 (on John 19:13-17) gives an extract from Severus [of Antioch], which is also found in Cramer, p. 398, with an indication of the source:  Σευήρου ἐκ τῆς πρὸς Θωμᾶν Γερμανικίας ἐπίσκοπον, where Severus reports the opinion given by Eusebius ἐν ταῖς πρὸς Μαρῖνον.  Cf. Brooks, A collection of letters of Severus of Antioch … in Patrologia Orientalis vol. 14, p. 268 [438].  The text of Cordier was reprinted in the Patrologia Graeca vol. 22, col. 1009 A-C.

On John 20:3-7, the Roman catenas cite a long passage of Eusebius.  The first part of this citation corresponds to P.G. 22, col. 984, A-C4, Eusebii Caesariensis supplementa quaetionum ad Marinum … ex Nicetae catena in Lucam; the second part is found in P.G., col. 989 B-C8.

Cordier, p. 449-450, gives a text which agrees with Question III to Marinus (P.G. 22, col. 948-949).  Finally on these same verses of chapter 22 of St. John, Cordier (p. 450-451) gives a citations which is almost identical to the content of P.G. col. 984-985.

It’s not quite clear from all of this whether Migne actually contains all this material, although it looks like it.  The most interesting reference is to the letters of Severus of Antioch, the monophysite patriarch of Constantinople in the reign of Anastasius until dethroned by the new emperor Justin in 517.  Long ago I scanned Brooks’ English translation of the letters, which are extant in Syriac.  Indeed I still remember the pain of doing so, because the volumes were very heavy to lift and place on the photocopier, and the pages had Syriac at the top and English in a grainy print at the bottom.

The Severus can be found here.  It is a truly interesting passage, all for itself!  I have added extra paragraphs for readability.

But that our Lord Jesus Christ our God was pierced in the side with a lance by that soldier after he gave up the ghost, and blood and water came forth from it in a miraculous manner, the divine John the Evangelist recorded, and no one else wrote about this. But certain persons have clearly falsified the Gospel of Matthew and inserted this same passage, when the contrary is the fact, in order to show that it was while he was alive that the soldier pierced his side with the spear, and afterwards he gave up the ghost.

This question was examined with great carefulness when my meanness was in the royal city, at the time when the affair of Macedonius was being examined, who became archbishop of that city, and there was produced the Gospel of Matthew, which was written in large letters, and was preserved with great honour in the royal palace, which was said to have been found in the days of Zeno of honourable memory in a city of the island of Cyprus buried with the holy Barnabas, who went about with Paul and spread the divine preaching; and, when the Gospel of Matthew was opened, it was found to be free from the falsification contained in this addition, [437] of the story of the soldier and the spear. …

But Eusebius of Caesarea (1141), who is called ‘Pamphili’, whom we mentioned a little above, when writing to a man called Marinus about questions concerning the passions of our Saviour and about his Resurrection, showed us nothing whatever about the said addition, as being unknown and having no place in the books of the gospel.

But in the same letters to Marinus, who had asked him for an interpretation on the subject of our Saviour’s passions and his Resurrection, he inserted the following exposition also in his letters, that the divine Mark the Evangelist said that it was the 3rd hour at the time when Christ who is God and our Saviour was crucified, but the divine John (he said) wrote that it was at the 6th hour that Pilate sat upon his judgment-seat at the place called ‘the pavement’, and judged Christ.

And therefore Eusebius said that this is an error of a scribe, who was inattentive when writing [441] the Gospel. For it is the letter gamal that denotes 3 hours, while the letter which is called in Greek episemon denotes the number of 6 hours, and these letters are like one another in Greek, and, the scribe wishing to write ‘3’ quickly, and having turned the letter a little backwards, it was thereby found to be ‘6’, because, since the letter had been turned backwards, it was supposed to be the letter that denotes ‘6’. Since therefore the three other evangelists Matthew, Mark, and Luke stated alike as with one mouth that from the 6th hour to the 9th there was darkness over all the land, it is plain that our Lord and God Jesus Christ was crucified before the 6th hour, at which the darkness took place, that is from the 3rd hour, as (1142) the blessed John himself wrote. Similarly we say that it is the 3rd hour, because those who wrote before, as we have said, changed the letter. We must insert also in this our letter upon this matter a part of what Eusebius himself stated at length; and his words are as follows:

“We agree not with any chance man, but with the evangelist who gave this testimony, [442] Mark. For it happened that there was an error on the part of the scribe so that he changed the letter by adding length to it, and it was thought that the letter which represents ‘3’ was ‘6’, on account of the likeness of the two letters of that which denotes ‘3’ and that which denotes ‘6’.

If therefore it is stated by John that it was the preparation of the day of unlevened bread, and it was about the 6th hour, and Pilate said to the Jews ‘Behold! your king’ (1143), and so on, let there be read instead of ‘6th’  ‘3rd’, since the beginning of his trial took place at that time, and in the middle of the hour or after it had been completed they crucified him, so that the result is that they judged and crucified him at the same hour”. (1144)

If you look for and find the volume addressed to Marinus about the interpretation of these things, you will find the accuracy of the writer as regards these matters.

The footnotes:

1141. 2. This passage to ‘letter’ (p. 441,1.12) is published in Greek in Cramer, Cat. in Luc. et Jo., p. 389 (cf. Corderius, Cat. in Jo., p. 436; P. G., XXII, 1009).
1142. 2. Some words have perhaps fallen out {Syriac}.
1143. 1. John, xix, 14.
1144. 2. Not known except from Severus

The next extract is from a letter to Theognostus of Germanicea, and Brooks notes:

1145. 3. A Greek extract from a letter to Theognostus of Germanicea is published in Cramer, Cat. in Epp. Cath., p. 159.

Hmm.  Well, I had forgotten (if I ever knew) that extract.  It had probably better be included in the Eusebius book!

The external appearance of catenas

A kind correspondant has sent me a PDF of R. Devreese’ article Chaines exégétiques grecques, in the French Dictionaire de la Bible – supplement.  It’s around 80 pages long, and double columns, and very detailed even in the generalities.  I thought I would give an English version of a portion of the introduction, starting on col. 1089.

g) Page layout of catenas — So far we have only examined the titles of compilations to which the name of exegetical catena is given.  If we open one of these volumes, what do we see?

Most often, the text of scripture occupies the centre of the page, and is written in larger letters than the extracts which surround it.  To these catenas the name of marginal catenas (Rahmencatene) is given.  The names of the authors, sometimes written in red, precede each fragment of exegesis. (Cf. Vat. gr. 749 in Pio Franchi de’ Cavalieri -Lietzmann, Specimina codd. Vatic., tabula 8).  To the same type of arrangement belong the types of catena which are formed around a commentary or an existing catena.  There are no lack of examples, we could cite some covering almost all the books of scripture.  We will only name Coislin 81, where the elements of the catena are found dispersed in the margin around the commentary of Theodoret on the Psalms; Reg. 40, where the centre of the page is occupied by the commentary of Hesychius on the Psalms; Paris 128, where a scribe was completing a commentary on the Octateuch; the beginning of Palat. 20 where the centre is filled by a catena on Luke and the margins by the catena of Nicetas on the same gospel…  This manner of adding new scholia to compilations or finished treatises was continued to the end of the Middle Ages, because there are certain mss. commentaries of Euthymius on the Psalms where the procedure described is found still in use.  This procedure was flagrantly inconvenient for later copyists; there was a risk that texts written in the margin could end up integrated into the commentary or existing catena, and that all this would be presented without distinguishing the elements of which it was comprised.  Because of this, it happens that some of our commentaries are found in an interpolated state.

In the manuscripts that we are going to talk about, the glosses occupy the outer three margins of the page.  Sometimes, but rarely, the biblical text occupies exactly the middle of the page and the scholia are presented on all four sides; we find this layout in Vallicell. E. 40, and in Monac. gr. 9 (cf. Lindl, Die Octateuckatene des Prokop von Gaza, which reproduces folio 20 of this last manuscript).

Another layout just as common as the last gives one or more verses of Scripture written in sequence and then, on the following lines, the scholia of various authors, each preceded by a proper name, that of the author.  We call these catenas long-line catenas (Breitkatene).

Let us finally mention catenas in two columns.  Many of those already mentioned of the eclogae of Procopius are in this format.  An idea of their layout can be had from a reproduction of a page of Coislin 204, given by Swete, op. cit., p. xvii.

h) The lemmas — In these different catenas, whatever their layout, the name of the author is generally indicated, whether by the copyist himself or by a rubricator, either in the body of the text or in the margins.  Just as in legal manuscripts, the name is given in the genetive (Eusebiou, Theodorou).  It is customary to designate these by the word lemma, a convenient expression, if one that sometimes is found rather a long way from its original meaning.

Rarely — only in the most ancient manuscripts — the lemma is written in entirety.  More often, it is abriged into contractions, which may lead to a mistake.  A list of the most frequent abbreviations can be found in Montfaucon, Paleographica Graeca, p. 348.  Cf. M. Faulhaber, Babylonische Verwirrung in gricchischen Namensigeln, dans Oriens christianus, vol. VII , 1907 , p. 370-387.

More than once, whether because the copyist intended to come back and add them later, or because he left the task to a rubricator, the lemmas are omitted, and the spaces that should have contained them are left empty.  Scribes who copied these incomplete manuscripts found it easiest to run together the extracts presented to them without authors.  Whether they didn’t find lemmas, or omitted them, the result is the same.  When the lemmas were omitted and the scholia run together, the appearance was created of continuous exegesis.  This is how some names are found with material added, and others diminished.  This is how, for example, one part of the commentary of Eusebius on the Psalms (see below col. 1124) is in reality only a catena without lemmas.  All this supposed commentary is distributed in fragments among a half-dozen authors, from Athanasius to Hesychius.  It is probably for identical reasons that we possess pseudo-commentaries of Peter of Laodicea on the Psalms and Gospels, of Oecumenius on the Letters and Acts, which are really also just catenas without lemmas.

Very frequently, in recent manuscripts, we find omitted in sequence one or more lemmas.  It is necessary then to go back and locate the first error and return to many what has been ascribed to one author.

Later, when the number of interpretations had multiplied, in the marginal chains and chains on long lines a system of reference signs was used, made up of various geometrical combinations.  In this way, at a glance, one could see which scholia explained a given passage of the bible and conversely which biblical passage related to an exegesis one was looking at, just as with modern signs and notes.

I think we can all agree that this material is actually very interesting.  The French of Devreese is not difficult — I was reading this in bed before I felt obliged to come and type it in — and the precision of his remarks is most useful and plainly derived from specific examples.

Testing the catenas – Carmelo Curti on Eusebius on the Psalms

We all know that medieval Greek commentaries on the bible were compiled by chaining together extracts from commentaries on the book in question by the Fathers. Often these catenas continue to exist, when the original works are lost.  They are therefore a valuable source for retrieving early Christian comments on biblical verses.

But … to string these quotes together, the compilers had to adapt the quotations, if only slightly; they had to add bridging words, tweak tenses.  They had to abbreviate, very often.  So the question before us is whether we can rely on the quotations.

Eusebius of Caesarea wrote a monster commentary on the Psalms.  Unusually, a third of it still exists, preserved in ms. Coislin 44.  This means we can compare the original text with the catenas, and get an idea of the value of each.  Carmelo Curti wrote an interesting article on this [1], from which I have translated a couple of passages:

Of the famous “Commentarii in Psalmos” of Eusebius of Caesarea, about a third, Pss. 51-95,3, has been transmitted to us directly in the manuscript Coislin 44, saec. X [1] and the rest of the work, Pss. 1-50 and 95,4-150, came to us through the catenas, i.e. a path which, as is well-known, is among the least easy for the editor of Christian texts in the Greek language. The importance of the Coislin manuscript does not end in giving us a text genuine, complete and, in principle, correct of one part of the commentary of Eusebius. The manuscript also allows us to determine through appropriate comparisons, the value of those catenas that, together with other fragments of the Eusebian commentaries, contain some passages related to Pss. 51-95,3, i.e. that part attested by Coislin 44. This is the case for two catenary codices, Patmos Monastery St. John 215, saec. XII-XIII and Ambrosianus F 126 sup. century. XIII, deriving independently from a common original and, according to the classification of Karo-Lietzmann, Catena-type XI [2]. Together with fragments of other exegetes of the Psalter, the first one transmits fragments of the commentary of Eusebius on Pss. 78,5-150, the other,  fragments of the same comment that referring to Pss. 83,4-150 [3].

In my study published in 1972, comparing the text of these manuscripts with those witnessed by Coislin 44, I have demonstrated: first, that the compiler of the base catena, from which directly or indirectly our two witnesses derive, used a copy which belonged to the same branch of the tradition as the Coislin manuscript and secondly, that this compiler, while often omitting the comment of entire entries, has worked on the text under his eyes generally by abbreviating …, i.e. removing words or phrases or even whole periods not deemed essential to the meaning …. It follows that from Ps. 95.4 — as has been said, with Ps. 95.3 the Coislin manuscript unfortunately stops — the editor of the Eusebian commentary can be  certain that the text given by the two catena codices is usually genuine, though mutilated and spoiled by the omission of words or phrases or even whole sentences in the passages relating to verses for which they have preserved the comment.

By contrast, the contribution of the two catenas for the constitution of the exegesis of the Eusebian text on Pss. 51-95,3 — for this section, as we have said, we are aided by Coislin 44 — is of course not as relevant but still not entirely negligible. They in fact, as we will show in this chapter, in many cases allow us to improve the text offered by the Coislin manuscript, some correcting obvious mistakes, others filling gaps, others attesting variants which may deserve more consideration.

As documentation of what we have stated above, we give some examples. We quote the text of Coislin, which generally corresponds to that reproduced in PG 23, noting the variations  between the two catena manuscripts in parentheses. …

In conclusion, for the constitution of the text even in that part of the Eusebian commentary that is preserved in Coislin 44, the manuscripts Ambrosiano F 126 sup. and Patmos S. John Monastery 215 can not be ignored. They in fact, as we believe we have demonstrated, correct obvious errors in Coislin 44, restored to Eusebius words (or phrases) missing in this codex — both attributable to the copyist of the oislin ms. or that of his source –,  and also offer alternative readings that are worthy, in some cases, of some attention. The mistakes of Coislin in truth are mostly of the sort that could easily be corrected by the action of a prudent, unhurried editor (but all those mentioned in the course of this chapter are found in the edition of de Montfaucon reproduced in PG 23). It is a different matter for omissions, which are always difficult to divine and are risky to infer in any text and, more importantly, in a text of prose. For these the testimony of the two catenary manuscripts becomes extremely important and irreplaceable.

It is always good to test our theories about what is happening in catenas.  It is a relief to learn that they really do have value to the editor.  That lesson should be applicable well beyond the specific case of Eusebius on the Psalms.

1. C. Curti, I “Commentarii in Psalmos” di Eusebio di Cesarea: tradizione diretta (Coislin 44) e tradizione catenaria.  In: Eusebiana 1, 2nd ed, 169-179.

An Armenian catena on the Catholic epistles

My learned Armenian correspondant Seda Stamboltsyan has been looking in the electronic catalogue of the Matenadaran at Yerevan for us.  She reports at least one Armenian catena in the catalogue, which includes material by Eusebius.

Doing so was not entirely straightforward, as the search tool is somewhat cranky.  You have to get the exact word correct — searching for “euseb” will not bring up “eusebius”.  Since the endings will vary, depending on case, this is a little bit of a pain.  But typing “eusebi” (genitive case) gave 53 results; “eusebios” produced 14.  Among them was this entry:

     Խմբագիր մեկնութիւն է. վկայութիւններ են բերուած հետեւեալ հեղինակներից՝ Կիւեղ Աղեկսանդրացի, Պիմեն, Սեւեռիտոս, Ներսէս, Յովհան Ոսկէբերան, Բարսեղ Կեսարացի, Իսիքիոս Երուսաղէմացի, Դիոնեսիոս Աղէկսանդրացի, Որոգինես, Թէոդորիտոն, Ապողինար Լաոդիկեցի, Եւսեբիոս Կեսարացի, Դիդիմոս, Ամոն, Տիմոթէոս, Աթանաս, Եփրեմ Ասորի։


“[Manuscript number] 667662
This is a collective commentary [i.e. catena]. Testimonies are brought from the following authors: Cyril of Alexandria, Pimen, Severitos, Nerses, John Chrysostom, Basil of Caesarea, Hesychios of Jerusalem, Dionysius of Alexandria, Origen, Theodoriton, Apolinarius of Laodicea, Eusebius of Caesarea, Didimus, Amon, Timothy, Athanasius, Ephrem the Syrian.”

Clicking through gave more info.  Folios 1-235 are commentaries on the Catholic epistles, and the authors above are for this.  Plainly this is a catena.  There was also a bit of bibliography: “cf. Vienna N 48 (Tashian, Bibliography, 234-243). Also: PO, t43, N193.”  The shelfmark is Mashtots Matenadaran ms. N 1407. Date: 1596. The place where it was written is not mentioned. Scribe: Priest Pawłos (Paul).

Seda reminds us that not all the manuscripts in the Matenadaran have been catalogued to this level of detail yet.  Four volumes were published, and the electronic catalogue is based on these.  The fifth volume has just been published, but not yet incorporated into the online catalogue.  However there are about 17,000 mss. in the Matenadaran.  Each volume is around 500 mss, so there is a considerable distance still to go.

There is a brief catalogue of all the mss, but it doesn’t go to this level of detail.

PO 43 does indeed contain a publication of an Armenian catena on the Catholic epistles:

Volume 43. La chaîne arménienne sur les Épîtres catholiques. I, La chaîne sur l’Épître de Jacques / Charles Renoux…

So there is a publication with French translation in PO 43/1 (N193), Turnhout 1985; 44/2 (N198), 1987; 44/1-2 (205-206), 1994; 47/2 (N210), 1996.   I queried the manuscript numeral, as that didn’t look like a shelfmark to me.  (It’s probably the electronic catalogue’s database primary key!)

Seda Stamboltsyan tells me that she has been doing  translations from Classical Armenian into modern Armenian, also editing and proofreading texts in Armenian, preparing critical editions of Classical Armenian texts.  I think those of us that are illiterate, at least in Armenian, can be very grateful to her for her efforts!

More Armenian info

I’m still trying to find out about Armenian catenas and biblical commentaries.

It seems that there are not many references to books in Armenian on the net. Apparently the Mesrop Mashtots Matenadaran, the Institute of Old Manuscripts, Yerevan (not the same as the Armenian National Library) has a new website. Unfortunately it is only in Armenian now. But you may see there many beautiful miniatures. One can search on that site in the bibliographies too, to find what is there in the Matenadaran collection (although presumably only if you know Armenian and can type Armenian text).

There is also a website of publications by the Gandzasar Theological Centre where my contact works and the Publishing House of Holy Etchmiadzin. She adds:

I’m still adding annotations in that section of the website and there are still many books that need to be added there. I think I’ll put there also that bibliography of biblical commentaries when I get it. So you’ll have more references for published Armenian texts. You may check our website from time to time to see the additions.

The bibliography of biblical commentaries and catenas in Armenian is something we should all be interested in, and I will add more details as I find out more.

UPDATE: some commentaries in classical Armenian are available here and here.  There is also a critical edition of the classical Armenian translation of Gregory of Nyssa, On the making of man!

Catenas on the Psalms: the “Palestinian catena”

There may be 29 different types of catena on the Psalms.  All of them contain quotations from works by the Fathers on the exegesis of the Psalms.  But the most important of these by far is the catena known to modern specialists as the “Palestinian catena”.  This catena was apparently originally compiled in 6th century Palestine, directly from a bunch of mostly now lost texts.

It stands out for the size and quality of the extracts that are preserved in it.  These are mainly taken from the commentaries of Eusebius of Caesarea, Didymus the Blind, and Theodoret.  In some of the psalms, there is also material from Apollinaris of Laodicea, Asterius the Sophist, Basil of Caesarea, and — of course — Cyril of Alexandria, Chrysostom, and Origen.  For psalm 118 there is also material from Athanasius.

Psalms is a long book.  A catena on the psalms is also a long book.  Some time after composition, the catena was turned into two editions.  The first of these was in three volumes; on Psalms 1-50, 51-100, and 101-150.  The other was a two volume edition; on Psalms 1-76 and 77-150.

Naturally the volumes of each version have travelled down the centuries independently.

The three volume edition

Volume 1 of this edition is preserved in good condition in the catena of type VI (Karo and Lietzmann).  This is found in he following manuscripts:

  • Oxford, Bodleian Library, Barroci gr. 235 (9-10th century)
  • Mt. Athos, Iviron monastery 597 (1st half of 11th c.)
  • Bucharest, Romanian Academy Library gr. 931 + Constantinople, Panaghia Kamariotissi Patristic Library 9 (1st half of 11th century)
  • Munich, National library gr. 359 (10-11th c.)
  • Vatican Library gr. 1789 (10-11th c.).
  • Oxford, Bodleian, Auct. 1.1 (= Misc. 179) (17th c.), pp.169-262 containing Pss.10-50 and pp.262-284 (Ps. 9)
  • Oxford, Bodleian, Barocci gr. 154 (late 15th c.), a copy of Barocci 235.

These are all derived from the Barocci ms., and the other mss. serve only to supplement some passages today missing from the Barocci (I presume this means leaves have been lost down the years).

Marcel Richard made a check on the value of the material using the text for Ps. 37.  The whole commentary of Eusebius on this psalm happens to be extant, under the name of Basil, and is accessible in PG 30, col. 81-104 (now I ought to commission a translation of that!).  Origen’s two homilies on this psalm have reached us, in a version in Latin by Rufinus.  Theodoret’s Interpretatio in Psalmos is extant, and in PG 80.  The work of Didymus has perished.

Richard found that all the extracts from extant sources were reproduced correctly, and attributed to the correct authors.  The remaining extracts, from Didymus, were not found in any of the other authors, so are presumably also corrected quoted.  This gives us great confidence in using the catena.

The second volume existed in a single manuscript in Turin, Cod. 300 (C.II.6, 10th c.).  Unfortunately this was destroyed in the fire on 26th January 1904, without ever being photographed or printed.  No doubt the librarians who watched it burn had congratulated themselves just as modern ones do, that they had never allowed it to be photographed, thereby preserving it from “damage”.  Some leaves remain, and the Institut de Recherches et Histoire de Textes did their best, but the majority of the material from this excellent source is lost.

Fortunately this matters less for the Commentary of Eusebius.  A portion of this massive commentary has reached us in direct transmission, and contains Pss.51-95:3.  It’s in Cod. Coislin 44 (10th c.).

The third volume, on Pss.101-150, did not reach us, and no traces of it are known.

The two volume edition

The first volume of this edition, covering Pss.1-76, has been lost.  No copy of it came down to our times.

The second volume, however, covering Pss. 77-150, is extant.  This is fortunate, as it complements the losses in the three volume edition.

This volume was classified by Karo and Lietzmann as type XI.  No single copy is entire, although it probably once existed complete in Milan, Ambrosian Library F 126 sup. (=A, 13th century) which is now mutilated at the start and end.  Fortunately Ms. Patmos, St. John’s Library 215 (=P, 12-13th c.) is complete at the end, and has only lost a couple of leaves at the front.  The material at the start of the catena is found in Ms. Vienna theol. gr. 59 (13th c.).

A and P both descend from a copy in uncial.  A is the better, as P has been contaminated with material from the commentary of Theodoret.  Fortunately this is usually placed in the same places, and can be readily identified.

Indirect tradition

The material contained in the Palestinian catena is good, but the same material also appears in secondary catenas; catenas that used the Palestinian catena as a source.  This means that this indirect tradition can be a control on mistakes in the text.

The catenas that form this tradition appear in two forms; either a condensed version of the whole catena, or else a collection of extracts from across the catena.

Printed editions

It was always obvious to scholars that it should be possible to recover the commentary of Eusebius in almost complete form from these materials.  B. de Montfaucon printed an edition of his commentary on Pss.1-118, which is reprinted in PG 23, cols. 71-1396.  J.-B. Pitra reedited this in Analecta sacra Spicilegio Solesmensi parata, 3: Patres antenicaeni, Venice: S. Lazaro (1883), p.365-529.

Angelo Mai added the remainder, from Pss. 119-150, which is reprinted in PG 24, 9-78.  Unfortunately the materials used were printed with insufficient care, and are contaminated by material from Origen.

Carmelo Curti wrote a series of articles on this subject, all reprinted in Eusebiana 1: Commentarii in Psalmos, Catania 1989 (2nd ed).  Unfortunately I have never managed to see this, but I’ve just put in an ILL for it.[1]

  1. [1]Update, 5th June, 2015.  I came across this post this week, which I had entirely forgotten about.  I wish that I had added the sources at the time.  I think that the main source was Angelo di Berardino, Patrology: The Eastern Fathers from the Council of Chalcedon (451) to John of Damascus (d.750), 2006, p.618 f.

Catenas on the Psalms in print

Karo and Lietzmann’s Catenarum Graecarum Catalogus lists 28 different medieval Greek catenas on the psalms.  These are not 28 different copies, but 28 different types.  I confess that I have not yet read through all this material, and am awaiting the printed copy that I made and ordered.

Fortunately the printed editions of whatever exists appear at the front of each entry in K&L.  This is meagre enough.

First there is a volume by the inevitable Balthasar Corderius, in three folio volumes: Expositio Patrum Graecorum in psalmos, a. Balthasare Corderio Soc. Iesu ex vetustissimis Sac. Caes. Maiestatis, & Sereniss. Bauariae Ducis mss. codicibus … concinnata; in Paraphrasin, Commentarium et Catenam digesta; Latinitate donata. & Annotationibus illustrata . . . Antverpiae, ex officina Plantiniana Balthasaris Moreti M. DC. XLIII- VI. 3 vol. fol.

This appeared at Antwerp in 1643-6 at the Plantin-Moretus press.  I had not known that Corderius was a Jesuit, but so it appears.  He printed his text from manuscripts belonging to the Emperor and the Duke of Bavaria. He also translated what he gathered into Latin.

The mss he used were Vienna 298 and 8 (possibly also Vienna 294 on Psalm 1-50).  He also used Munich 12 and 13 to fill in what he considered to be gaps.   The edition is plainly a collection of whatever Corderius thought useful, rather than based on an edition.

The second catena in printed form listed by K&L is this: Aurea in quinquaginta Davidicos Psalmos doctorum Graecorum catena. Interprete Daniele Barbaro electo Patriarcha Aquileiensi. cum privilegio. Venetijs, apud Georgium de Caballis. MDLXIX. fol.  So this is earlier, 1569, in Venice.  It looks as if it may only be a Latin translation.  K&L give a list of authors and where the materials came from.

Most interesting of these to us are fragments of Eusebius of Caesarea’s Commentary on the Psalms.  These are contained in this, and were edited by Montfaucon in his edition of that work.  It looks as if he may have made use of manuscripts in Turin, which would be rather important as that manuscript was destroyed in 1904.