Armenian fragments of Eusebius on the Gospels?

I’m having another attempt to locate any Armenian fragments of the Gospel Problems and Solutions of Eusebius.  There must be professors of Armenian who know where these might be found.  All I have to do is ask.  As a first shot, I’ve written to Theo van Lint, who is Gulbenkian Professor of Armenian Studies at Oxford, and asked if he can tell me:

  • What catenas there are in Armenian
  • Whether any have been published, or else where the mss are

I don’t know if I will get an answer from this doubtless busy man, but it’s worth a go. 

Some good news; I had rather despaired of ever getting the Coptic fragments completed, but the translator has sprung into life again, and another chunk arrived tonight.  If all the Coptic does arrive in a reasonable period, I might be tempted to look again at the Arabic translation of it recorded by Graf as containing material by Eusebius.

UPDATE: 22nd January, and no reply.  Oh well.

Another Classical Armenian history goes online

Robert Bedrosian writes to let us know that another history in classical Armenian has now gone online in English:

This is to let you know that a 10th century History of Armenia written by  Yovhannes [John] Drasxanakert’c’i, Catholicos of the Armenian Church  (898-929) is now online in English translation.

The translation and study was done by Rev. Fr. Krikor Maksoudian as his Columbia University Ph.D. dissertation (1973), and later expanded and published as in book form (Atlanta, Georgia, 1987). It was Maksoudian, then a deacon and Assistant Professor at Columbia, who taught me Classical Armenian in the early 1970s.  Since then he has achieved the high rank of vardapet (Doctor of the Church), and is perhaps the most erudite of clergy in the Armenian Church in the United States.

Father Maksoudian has graciously allowed me to webify his work.  It may be downloaded, copied, and distributed freely.

Robert Bedrosian has done more than anyone else in a century to make the riches of Armenian literature available to us all in English.  Someone who can translate from classical Armenian is rare; someone who will do so even rarer; and someone who will then make the results widely available… well, Robert is unique in this.  In the pre-internet era he used to publish his translations in book form, where they enrich many a library.  These days he runs his own website and distributes them freely and generously.

An Armeniologist writing in a century will consider all of us as living in the times of Robert Bedrosian.  That’s how much what he does matters.

Discussion on Armenian version of Michael the Syrian

I note that the comments on this post of mine have wandered into the very interesting area of Armenian versions of Michael the Syrian, Armenians in Egypt, and related issues, and are well worth a read.

More lust for the CPG – works of Eusebius in Armenian and Georgian

I’ve been unable to stop thinking about the object of my obsession.  Yes, this is another “why the Clavis Patrum Graecorum is like Paris Hilton” post.  Both might make you go blind, for instance, although probably for different reasons.  How many people realise just how wonderful this object is?

What brought this on, I hear you say?  Well, thinking about Eusebius of Caesarea, and his “Tough questions about the Gospels” (Quaestiones ad Stephanum/Marinum — and if I owned a copy of the CPG, I’d give the work’s CPG reference number).  As everyone knows, this work is lost but a large chunk survives, plus some fragments in Medieval Greek bible commentaries which were made up purely of chains of quotations from the Fathers of the Church. I commissioned David Miller to translate the Greek fragments; someone else is doing fragments extant in Syriac.

But I’m a sad person.  (Sorry Paris).  I started wondering what other languages Eusebius’ work might have been translated into in late antiquity.  Coptic is an obvious choice, and there are fragments in that language. 

But what about Armenian?  The Armenians were converted to Christianity around the time of Eusebius.  They set up a monastery in Jerusalem, to copy Greek books, translate them into Armenian, and send them back to the old country.  We know that at least two works by Eusebius were indeed translated into Armenian.  His famous Church History exists in Armenian.  Better still, his Chronicle exists; book 1 of that work only exists in Armenian, in a single copy.  That copy was found by a traveller who  was staying in Armenia in the 18th century in a rural district, who got up in the night for a glass of water and found the book being used as the water-pot cover!

Anyhow, I started asking around.  Maxime Yevadian mentioned that the Canon and the letter to Carpianus also existed in Armenian 1.  The excellent Dominique Gonnet of the CNRS in France then pointed me to the CPG!  To my astonishment, this lists information about Georgian works by Eusebius (please forgive rough OCR):

3465. Epistula ad Carpianum. Canones euangeliorum.Versio georgica. B. UT’IE, Evsevis ep’ist’elisa … Udzvelesi kartuli versiebi, in Mravalthavi 17 (1992),p.117-123.
3467. Commentarii in psalmos. (1) in ps.37. Versio georgica (introductio in psalmos). M. SANIDZE, Psalmunis dzveli kartuli redakciebi, 1 (Anciennes rédactions géorgiennes des Psaumes), Tbilisi, 1960, p. 470-475.
3495Historia ecclesiastica. Versio georgica (fragmentum de S. Iacobo fratre Domini: H.E., Il,23). Cf. M. VAN EsBROECK, Les homéliaires, p. 123,189,213.

Of course the most exciting bit of that is the portion of the unpublished and untranslated monster-work, the Commentary on the Psalms.  Nothing on the Quaestiones, but what a book, that contains stuff like this!


1 Thomson, Bibliography of Armenian Literature, Brepols, 1995, pp. 51-2. 

Bibliographies of classical Armenian

There comes a time in the life of every man interested in patristics when he needs to know about classical Armenian literature.  Hoc est hora.  There must be fragments of Eusebius in Armenian catenas, I reason.  But where to look?

The indefatigable Robert W. Thomson gave us a Bibliography of classical Armenian literature to 1500, published by Brepols in 1995 and available for an eye-watering sum.  I think that I will try and do an ILL for that!

But while surfing for it, in I came across something strange, something otherwise unknown to Google.  It’s a series called “The Armenian Classical Authors”, published by the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia ca. 2005.  There are at least 5 volumes, each running to around $100.  It starts with the 5th century of course.  Contents are in Armenian, which is why they don’t show up in an English-language book search.

Book Description: Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. The Armenian Classical Authors Volume IV, 7th Century. Yegavian, Zaven (Director).

Book Description: The Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia, Antelias (Lebanon), 2005. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. First Edition. xiii, 791 pp., Armenian text, double columns per page, hard back. A series of studies covering large number of Armenian authors. The idea of this work was pursued by his Holiness Aram I Catholicos. In the occasion of the 1600 anniversary of the Armenian Alphabet Genesis, invented by Mesrob Mashdots, and in celebration of the Armenian Golden literary age of the fifth century. This work contain a bibliography of famous Armenian authors of the fifth century, together with a study and analysis of the work of each author. Due to weight and size of the book, shipping to outside of the USA is $39.00. Inside USA is $10.00. Size: 8 1/2″ x 11″

How fascinating!  How wonderful that such a book should exist.  I’ve even managed to find an online bookseller in Lebanon who stocks it, Kutub Ltd (and even my Syriac is enough to recognise the triliteral root KTB = book).  Nice to see the Lebanese abandoning their pointless civil wars long enough to make money.  But… any chance of it in English?

Later: I’ve been asking in LT-ANTIQ, and the excellent Dominique Gonnet has told me that the Clavis Patrum Graecorum supplements cover versions of Greek texts in Syriac, Armenian, etc.  I must hie me to a library and look!

Eusebius in Armenian

We all know that many interesting works are preserved in Classical Armenian translation.  Eusebius’ Church History exists in an Armenian version; book 1 of his Chronicle is only preserved in Armenian.  But what else exists?

I’ve often mentioned that I have translators at work on Eusebius’ Gospel differences and their solutions (Quaestiones ad Stephanum, ad Marinum).  Today I received a translation of a chunk of this work from a Coptic catena, much to my delight.

But what about Armenian?  What exists?  What catenae exist?  What catalogues of unpublished manuscripts?  Is there any possibility that this work Eusebius exists whole somewhere?  Or new fragments in a catena?

I realise that I have no idea.  If anyone can point me in the direction of finding out, I would be most grateful!