Recent studies on the Coptic catena of de Lagarde?

Looking at the summary of information on catenas on the gospels in Di Berardino’s latest volume of Quasten’s Patrology, I notice an intriguing couple of entries:

E. J. Caubet Iturbe, La Cadena arabe del Evangelio de san Mateo,1 Texto; 2 Version, Vatican City 1969-1970.


E. J. Caubet Iturbe, “La Cadena copto-arabe de los Evangelios y Severo de Antioquia”, Homenaje a J. Prado. Miscelanea de estudios biblicos y hebraicos, ed. L.Alvarez Verdes, E.J. Alonso Hernandez, Madrid 1975,421-432.

Now I recall from Graf’s Geschichte der christlichen arabischen Literatur 1, p. 318, n.1 and p.481-2, that the Coptic catena on the gospels published by Paul de Lagarde also exists in an Arabic version in the Vatican.  I came across this reference while searching for material by Eusebius of Caesarea in Arabic.  He’s listed in Abu’l Barakat’s catalogue:

Eusebius of Caesarea: He has explanations on passages of the holy Gospels and other separate religious treatises.

which Graf discusses, referring to a catena with 6 passages from Eusebius on Matthew and material from Severus of Antioch on Luke.  Page 481f discusses an “anonymous gospel catena”, which turns out to be that of Paul de Lagarde.  I’m not sure I’ve read the entry before.  Written in Bohairic, and almost certainly based on a Greek catena now unknown, H. Achelis dates the catena before 888 AD.  The manuscript used by de Lagarde is incomplete, however.   The manuscript turns out to be Vatican Arab 452, and most of the scholia are at least under the name of Eusebius.  A long quotation from Luke, and five chunks on Matthew, are ascribed to Eusebius, or so Graf says.

It is an interesting sight, therefore, to see this in the modern bibliography, and no mention of de Lagarde’s publication.

Is it possible that Iturbe published a critical text of the Arabic version of the catena?  It looks very much like it.  I wish I could obtain the article and see what he says.

UPDATE: After typing those words, I started searching for the book in Google.  Slightly amazing to find my site listed, and this article listed, less than a minute after I pressed save.  Is Google really watching these words that intently!?

I find in COPAC more details of the book:

A compilation of patristic commentaries, with the text of the Gospel, in the Arabic of Codex Vaticanus ar. 452 and in a Spanish version.

which also aligns with my understanding.  Another states:

Studi e testi 254-5.  Half title: Cod. vat. ar. 452, ff. 6-135. Originally presented as the editor’s thesis, Pontificia Commissio Biblica. Based on a Coptic version entitled: Ermēnia n̄te pieuangelion ethouab kata Matheon. cf. the editor’s introd., v.1, p. [li]-liv; H. Achelis. Hippolytsudien. 1897. p. 163-169. Originally presented as the editor’s thesis, Pontificia Commissio Biblica. Arabic text; Spanish introduction, notes and translation.

So there we have it.  This is indeed a critical edition of the Arabic catena.  The next question is whether I obtain this and include it in the Eusebius!  For there is a copy available for sale online…

UPDATE 2: I cannot resist.  It would be cheaper to order the books by ILL, and copy them, etc; but it is far easier to just buy the things. 


Eusebius in Syriac, in a literal German version

Hunting around the web for Sickenberger’s publications on the catenas in Luke, I stumbled across a review of one of them — on the remains of the homilies of Titus of Bostra in the catenas — in the Catholic University Bulletin here.  The review does great credit to the periodical; but it also tells us about another publication in 1901.

Titus von Bostra, Studien zu dessen Lukashomelien, von Dr. Joseph Sickenberger. Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1901. 8vo., pp. vii + 267.

Die Kirchengeschichte des Eusebius aus dem Syrischen uebersetzt von Eberhard Nestle. Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1901. 8vo., pp.

1. With much scholarly labor, critical acumen, and excellent method Dr. Sickenberger reconstructs what is practically an “editio princeps” of the extant fragments of the “Homilies” of Titus of Bostra on the Gospel of Saint Luke. This ancient bishop who flourished in the days of Julian the Apostate, is noted in the history of the time for his dignified answer to charges of sedition and disloyalty made against him by that emperor; also for four books against the Manichaeans that Saint Jerome (De vir., inl. c. 102) thought excellent: “fortes adversum Manichaeos scripsit libros.” Dr. Sickenberger has collected from the printed editions of the “Catenae Patrum,” and from many mannscript sources a great number of remnants of “Homilies” on St. Luke, that in all probability are the work of this bishop of Bostra. A compiler of such materials in the eleventh century got together as many as 3300 of them. Unless a Milan palimpsest, discovered by Mercati in 1898, contains some fragments of the original discourses, we have no other tradition of them than such as has come down to us through the collection of excerpts that mediaeval Greek theologians were wont to make of older patristic commentaries, notes, and expositions of a scriptural character. Most of the lengthy introduction of Dr. Sickenberger (pp. 1-145) is taken up with the study of several such collections or “Catenae” as they are usually called. In them he finds genuine remnants of the “Homilies” of this father, though not without a lengthy critical sifting and comparison of such scattered and disordered materials. These pages, that the author rightly calls a “schwierige Arbeit,” are no mean contribution to the growing literature on the “Catenae” themselves, and are an evidence of the genuine scholarly training to be had in the theological faculty of the University of Munich. Dr. Sickenberger has added to our knowledge of Titus of Bostra, by increasing his scientific usefulness, and by emphasizing the fact that these “Homilies” on Saint Luke, written after the work against the Manichaeans, have a decided anti-Manichaean air and trend, such as one might expect from a bishop of the Syrian borderland at this period. The sober, literal, objective character of his discourses shows him to be an Antiochene in his principles of scriptural interpretation. The material at hand is too disconnected to gather from it any conclusions concerning the canon and the authority of the scriptures in farther Syria toward the end of the fourth century, or to establish which recension of the gospels was used by Titus. His “Homilies” on Saint Luke were much used by later commentators on the Gospels, though his own compositions were, seemingly, quite original and independent. He is an Aristotelian, and opposes cold and severe logic to the fantastic allegorizing of the Manichaeans. Taken in connection with Lagarde’s edition (Berlin, 1859) of the complete text (in Syriac translation) of the four books against the Manichaeans, the treatise of Dr. Sickenberger and his edition of the homily-fragments on Luke give us the best assured texts of a writer concerning whom Saint Jerome says elsewhere (ep. 70) that one knew not which to admire most in him, “eruditionem saeculi an scientiam scripturarum.” Is it not rather bold to advance the death of Titus of Bostra to a possible 378, when the “sub Juliano et Joviano principibus” of Saint Jerome seems to indicate that his literary activity did not extend beyond 364, the date of Jovian’s death ? The phrase “moritur sub Valente” would, in this light, seem to indicate the death of Titus in the early part of the reign of Valens, i. e. between 365 and 370.

2. The oldest Greek manuscript of the Church History of Eusebius belongs, it is said, to the tenth century. In the Syriac version, first edited by Bedjan (1897) and then by Wright and McLean (1898), we have a very faithful rendering of the Greek original. Some think that the Syriac version was prepared by the order, or under the eye, of Eusebius himself. It was certainly in common use before the end of the fourth century. The manuscript tradition of this text is far older than that of the Greek original—the best of the three oldest Syriac manuscripts, that of Saint Petersburg, belongs to the year A. D. 462, and an Armenian translation of the same represents a Syriac text still a century older than that of Saint Petersburg. As the Kirchenvater-Commission proposes to publish a new edition of the Church History, it seemed desirable that a strictly literal translation into German of the Syriac version should be first prepared, as one of the necessary “subsidia” for that important enterprise. This has been done for the “Texte und Untersuchungen” by the distinguished Syriac scholar, Dr. Eberhard Nestle, of whose competency there can be no doubt. In the preface to his work he brings out, from more than one view-point, the possible utilities of the Syriac translation whose complete edition has been awaited from 1864, when Wright first made known a chapter of it in “Ancient Syriac Documents,” down to 1897 and 1898, when, simultaneously, Bedjan at Paris, and Wright-MacLean at London, gave to the world this very ancient specimen of learning and piety.

The existence of a very literal German translation of the Syriac version of Eusebius’ Church history was unknown to me until this point.  I wonder if it is online?

UPDATE: And it is, here.


Notes from Devreesse on catenas on Luke

I’ve been translating extracts relating to Eusebius and the Gospels from R. Devreesse’s magisterial article Chaines exegetiques grecques in Dictionaire de la Bible — Supplement 1 (1928) on this blog.  Here is what he has to say about catenas on Luke.

IX.  THE CATENAS ON LUKE. — 1. OVERVIEW. — Printed and manuscript catenas. — The first catena edited consisted of a translation made by the Jesuit Peltanus:  Victoris Antiocheni commentarii in Marcum et Titi Bostrorum episcopi in evangelium Lucae commentarii antehac quidem nunquam in lucem editi, nunc vero studio et operi Theod. PELTANI luce simul et latinitate editi, Ingolstadt. 1580. p. 321-509.

In 1624 Fronton du Duc published the Greek text and his translation in volume 2 of the Auctuarium of the Bibl. Patrum. p. 762-836.  This is followed by numerous reprints of the Latin text of Peltanus: Sacr. Bibl. Vet. Patr. of Margarin de la Bigne, 2nd ed. Paris, 1589, vol. 1, column 1090-1158; Magna bibl. Patr. vol. 4, Cologne, 1618, p. 337-364; Bibl. Patr. Paris, 1644, vol. 13, col. 762-836.  Cf. J. Sickenberger, Titus von Bostra, in Texte und Untersuchungen, N. F. vol. 6, 1, Leipzig, 1901, p. 16-41.

The TU volume of Sickenberger is online here.  But Devreesse goes on to discuss the types of catena that exist.  Here’s what he says about the first type, where Titus of Bostra is mentioned:

These few bibliographic notes demand a quick explanation.  Long ago Richard Simon (Histoire critique, vol. 3, c. 30) remarked that the name of Titus must be a pseudepigraph.  In a Paris manuscript (Reg. gr. 2330, today 703, 12th century), the commentary edited by Peltanus is preceded by a title which leaves no doubt about the originality of its content: … [By the holy father Titus bishop of Bostra and other holy fathers on the holy Gospel of Luke].  These other holy Fathers are the two Gregories, Chrysostom, Isidore of Pelusium and Cyril of Alexandria, whose names appear sporadically.

From some partial analyses which we have attempted, it seems like this to us: there must have existed, at a very recent period, probably around the end of the 9th century, a collection of anonymous scholia mostly made up of extracts from the commentaries by Cyril of Alexandria, Origen, and Titus of Bostra on St. Luke, and the commentary of Chrysostom on St. Matthew; in a second line  some extracts derived from Athanasius, Isidore, and Photius; in some copies, such as Barberini 562, the Photius material is extensive.  This state of the catena has come down to us in many manuscripts.  This is what gives us the commentaries placed under the name of Titus of Bostra by Peltanus and Fronton du Duc (see the list of Italian mss. given by Sickenburger on p. 17-20). … [An abbreviated version also exists and was published by Mai in Scholia Vetera, reprinted PG 106, cols. 1177-1218].

A second version of the same catena includes this material or pseudo-commentary, and adds material.  This is what was published by Cramer in Catenae Graecorum Patrum in Novum Testamentum, vol. 2, p. 3-174, which is certainly online at Google Books. 

Then there is a second catena, this time under the name of Peter of Laodicea.

In almost all the major libraries of Greek manuscripts there exists an explanation of the Gospel under the name of Peter of Laodicea. … [Henrici has demonstrated that in fact the material derives from other known authors, and the name must have been attached to an anonymous catena.  Usually the author names have disappeared; some mss, however, such as Vatican 758, still have them]…

The third catena is that of Nicetas:

The catena of Nicetas. — This catena is represented by three groups of manuscripts.  Each of them has been studied with great care by Sickenberger, Die Lukaskatena des Nicetas von Herakleia in Texte und Untersuchungen vol. 7, 4, Leipzig, 1902.  The first group, which he calls the Italian group, is made up of Vatican gr. 1611 (1176 AD), plus two other incomplete mss.  The first, Vatican 1642 (12th c.) contains scholia which cover up to Luke 6:6; the other, Monacensis  473 (14th c.), from Luke 5:17 to 11:26. 

The second group distinguishes itself from the first by the addition of anonymous citations which seem probably to come from Hesychius, according to Sickenburger.

The third group is in fact an abbreviated version of the preceding groups.  This is the form presented by a series of recent manuscripts.  To this category belongs the Marcianus  494 (14th c.), the text of which was translated by Cordier in Catena sexaginta quinque Graecorum Patrum in s. Lucam, Anvers, 1628.  On this edition see Richard Simon, op. cit., p. 429.  Kollar, Petri Lambecii Hamburgensis Commentariorum de Augustissima Bibliotheca caesarea Vindobonensi editio altera …, vol. 3, p. 163 f., remarks that the Caes. XLII [=Vindob. 71] is more complete than the Venetian ms. used by Cordier because it mentions Africanus Alexander the Archimandrite, and Antipater of Bostra, who are not found in the catena of 65 fathers.  Also to this group belong the Vatican gr. 759 (15th c.), from which Mai took scholia of Eusebius (1st ed. of Scriptorum Veterum nova collectio, 1825).  We must also include the fragments which fill the margins of Palatinus gr. 20.  (The middles of the folios of that ms. are filled by material from another source).  It is among these extracts or abridgements that we must look for the sources of the Catena aurea of Thomas Aquinas, and the catena of Macarius Chrysocephalus; on the latter see the judgement of Sickenberger in Karo-Lietzmann, op. cit., fol. 582.

Among the partial editions of this catena of Nicetas, we must include that of Cardinal Mai, Scriptorum Veterum nova collectio, vol. 9, 1837, p. 626-724, where will be found a series of extracts, from Vatican gr. 1611, which cover the whole of the third gospel.

Was this chain an original work exclusively by Nicetas of Heraclea?  It could be so, but we must not forget that two other catenas already existed in his day, the one represented by the catenas of Poussines and Cramer, and the one under the name of Peter of Laodicea.  Our three catenas do not lack overlaps.  Those of Peter and Nicetas offer the greatest number of points of contact.

And we’re still not done. There is a fourth type of catena:

The Vatican Palatinus graecus 20 and its copy, Vat. gr. 1933, form a fourth group of catenas.  Cf. Karo-Lietzmann, op. cit., p. 546-577. … In the margins of the first 33 folios there are extracts of the chain of Nicetas.  As well as these two mss, which contain scholia on the whole of Luke, there are some folios inserted into a collection of Ps.Peter of Laodicea in Reg. gr. 3 fol. 10-15 and 112-119…

Devreesse then  begins to list authors mentioned in these catenas, starting with Philo, who is quoted seven times in the catena of Nicetas, between Luke 12:17 – 19:22.  Nicetas also uses Ignatius of Antioch, Josephus (on Luke 6:3), Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus, and many, many others.

I can’t help feeling that an edition of the catena of Nicetas would be of wide use.  Many catenas are mostly comprised of Chrysostom, but this does not seem to be the case here.


Devreesse, Eusebius and the catenas on Luke

I’ve already posted a translation of what Devreesse said about material by Eusebius of Caesarea in catenas on Matthew, Mark and John.  Here’s what he said about material on Luke.

Eusebius. — Cardinal Mai has given us several editions of the fragments of Eusebius contained in the catenas on St. Luke.  The first attempt is found in Script. vol. 1, 1, p. 107-178, based on Ms. Vatican gr. 1933 and the Nicetas in Vatican gr. 759 (in the second edition of the first volume of Scriptores, Rome, 1825-1831, p. 143-160, ms. Vatican gr. 1611 was used as well as 759).

For a new edition, the cardinal made use of Vatican gr. 1611 (A), Vatican Palatinus gr. 20 (B), of Macarius Chrysocephalus (E), of Vatican gr. 1642 (H), and Vatican Ottoboni gr. 100 (L).  The texts thus collected appeared in Nov. Patr. Bibl. vol. 4, p. 159-207, Rome, 1847, and were reproduced in the Patrologia Graeca vol. 24, col. 529-606.  Again it is from the catena of Nicetas that the important pieces of the gospel questions of Eusebius (Letters To Marinus and To Stephanus) gathered in P.G. vol. 22 col. 952-965 were taken.

But were all the pieces taken from Vat. gr. 1933 really by Eusebius?  It could be that some really belong to other authors, Mai having often printed under the name of Eusebius paragraphes which really derived from someone else.  On the other hand it must be noted that the citations from Vat. gr. 1933, when compared with Nicetas, often have the appearance of summaries.  Are we dealing with a commentary on Luke?  It does not seem so; some pieces bear an indication of their origin: ἐκκλησιαστικῆς ἰστορίας, εὐαγγελικῆς θεοφανείας, περὶ τοῦ πάσχα.  Cf. Sickenberger, Titus von Bostra, p. 86-87. 

Let us note again that Eusebius is named six times in the catena of pseudo Peter of Laodicea which is at the end of ms. Vindobonensis gr. 117 (Rauer, Der dem Petrus von Laodicea zugeschriebene Lukaskommentar, Munster, 1920, p. 39).

I hope to add Devreesse’s introductory remarks to all the catenas on Luke later.


Devreesse: catenas on Mark

Let’s continue to extract relevant material to Eusebius from Devreesse’s massive article on catenas.

VIII.  THE CATENAS ON St. MARK. — 1.  OVERVIEW. — The most ancient edition of a catena on St. Mark is due to the Jesuit, Poussines:  Catena graecorum Patrum in evangelium secundum Marcum couectore atque interprete Petro POSSINO Soc. Iesu presbytero qui et adiecit, titulo spicilegii commentarium, ad loca selecta quatuor evangeliorum: accessere collationes graeci contextus omnium librorum novi Testamenti cum XXII codd. antiquis mss. ex bibliotheca Barberina. Romae. typis Barberinis, MDCLXXII. [1672].

Three sources were available for this edition; 1.  A manuscript which Poussines cites under the name of the Anonymous of Tolouse, belonging to Charles de Montchal, archbishop of that town, today Paris gr. 194.  Most of the exegesis in this manuscript is anonymous: it is astonishingly closely related to that work known as the commentary on Mark of Theophylact (Patrologia Graeca, vol. 123, cols. 487-682); the rest consists of 20 citations scattered through the work.  — 2.  An interpretation of St. Mark attributed to a certain Victor of Antioch by a German manuscript, a copy of which was sent to him by Cordier.  According to Sickenberger (Titus von Bostra, p. 128 f.) this would today be the Monac. 99.  An exegesis of almost identical content is given in Vatican gr. 1423, but that manuscript bears no attribution on it.  — 3.  An anonymous manuscript in the Vatican, of which Cordier also sent him a copy.  We have identified this manuscript, which Poussines cites as Ἀνωνύμου Βατικ or even Ἀνωνύμου as the Vatican gr. 1692 A, fol. 177 ff. Its content can be found in Poussines, as will appear below, although not always very faithfully.

In 1840 [sic]  following his catena on Matthew, Cramer published a catena on St. Mark, based on Bodleian Laud 33 and Coislin gr. 23, already used with profit by him for the catena on the first gospel.  Some lacunas were filled with the aid of Paris 178.  Cramer likewise took from Bodleian Barocci 156 a scholion attributed to Justin in the catena of Macarius Chrysocephalus on St. Luke.  There are few named citations in this collection printed by Cramer.  One is credited to Cyril of Alexandria, another to Irenaeus, a third to Basil and a fourth to Theodore of Mopsuestia.  A few others are cited from time to time, but inside the texts.  Other manuscripts like the Vindob. 154 (Lambec. 29) have a few more lemmas [=author’s names], but never more than twenty.

One name dominates all the catenas on St. Mark; that of Victor of Antioch.  The Jesuit Peltanus edited  a commentary on the second gospel under this name… [1580]…  It is also from ps. Victor that another pseudepigraph already mentioned is derived: Peter of Laodicea, whose content was edited by Matthaei as a commentary by ps.Victor … [Moscow, 1775].

I don’t think the lengthy discussion of Victor of Antioch is relevant here.

Let us summarise this collection of literary facts from which the catenas on Mark derive.  1.  A bloc of scholia for the most part anonymous: the pseudo-Victor of Poussines.  2.  To this have been added other citations, not numerous: from which derive the text of Cramer, and the ps.Peter of Laodicea; the first reproduces integrally the fundus and adds a few (anonymous) extracts; the second rearranges the fundus and interpolates new scholia, some related to the additions in the catena of Cramer.

There remain two other collections of scholia; those of Vatican gr. 1692 A, and those of Paris 194, incompatible with each other.  The second agrees almost word for word, as in Poussines, with what is contained in the commentary of Theophylact on Mark.  As for the first, the state in which it has reached us does not permit us to say whether the few named citations encountered in it are the remains of a primitive state in which every citation had a name against it, and the source from which the catenist excerpted it, or on the contrary, whether we must envisage a two-stage process of compilation, perhaps an anonymous collection to which named patristic extracts were added later with an indication of their provenance.  Let us add that this collection also is far from covering the whole of the second gospel.

There remain the Scholia vetera (PG 106, col. 1173- 1178; also edited in Thomas, Les collections anonymes de scholies grecques aux evangiles, vol. 2, p. 181-9).  Their rare extracts correspond sometimes with ps.Victor.  Most often, they form a group apart.


Let’s now skip to Eusebius.  I’ve added some paragraphing.

Eusebius. — There was mention of a passage of Clement on the origins of the second gospel, collected by Eusebius.  The catenas cite various works of the bishop of Caesarea [=Eusebius].  In its prologue, the Anonymous of the Vatican (Poussines, p.3-4) refers to an opinion ἐν τρίτῃ βίβλῳ τῆς εὐαγγελικῆς ἀποδείξεως.  

Likewise the testimony of the questions to Marinus is invoked (Cramer, p. 266, 10-12; Poussines, p. 343 (on Mk. 25:25), 364 (on 16:18-20); these two passages on Simon of Cyrene and the appearance to Madeleine have been reproduced from Poussines  in PG vol. 22, col. 1009).  The same anonymous bears on Mk 13:32-39 (Poussines p. 297) the statement of Eusebius: ὡς γὰρ ἱστορεῖ ὁ Εὐσέβιος ἐν τῷ χρονικῷ κάνωνι.  Likewise on Mk 8:27 (Poussines, p. 269) Εὐσέβιος ἐν τῇ ἐπιτομῇ τῶν χρονικῶν

Finally Eusebius is named three times, though without references, once in Paris gr. 194 (=Poussines p. 46 on Mk 2:12), twice in ps.Victor of Antioch on Mk. 16:18-20 (Cramer 446, 19 f.) and by the anonymous of Poussines  on Mk. 15:15 (p. 340).

I think that is a very useful summary both of the printed catenas, and what is to be found in them.


Devreesse – introductory notes on catenas on Matthew

The post on the fragments of Eusebius extant in catenas on Matthew really needs some material from earlier in Devreesse’s article.

VII.  CATENAS ON ST. MATTHEW. — 1.  OVERVIEW. — It is to P. Poussines, S. J., that we owe the first edition of a catena on St. Matthew, Symbolorum in Matthaeum tomus prior exhibens catenam graecorum Patrum unius et viginti editam ex bibliotheca Illustrissimi D. Caroli de Montchal … Petrus POSSINUS e Societate Jesu… ex antiquis membranis eruit… Tolosae excudebat Ioannes Boude. MDCXLVI, in-fol.  [=Possinus, 1646].  The manuscript of the archbishop of Toulouse [=Charles de Montchal] has been identified; it is Paris gr. 194 (13th century).  It is one of the two mss. that Poussines used equally for his edition of the catena on Mark.  We possess on this subject an interesting letter from the archbishop of Toulouse to Combefis [=another editor of catenas], dated 16 August 1642, from which we will extract some words:  “Father Poussines has transcribed from my library during the past few days a catena on St. Matthew and St. Mark, in order to publish it soon.”  (Patrologia Graeca vol. 94, col. 515).  The first pages of the manuscript were badly damaged, so Fr. Poussines, who had no other exemplar of the catena on St. Matthew at his disposal, allowed himself to follow his imagination rather than give an accurate edition of what he could read.  Richard Simon did not fail to reproach him for this, and to propose some corrections to his work, Hist. critique du Nouveau Testament, vol. 3, ch. 30, p. 423-424.

A year later, another Jesuit whom we have already met, Cordier published a new catena on St. Matthew, which was presented as a supplement to the edition of his fellow-Jesuit, Symbolarum In Mathaeum tomus alter, quo continetur catena Patrum graecorum triginta collectore Niceta episcopo Serrarum interprete Balthasar CORDERIO societatis Jesu theologo.  Prodit nunc primum ex bibliotheca electorali serenissimi utriusque Bavariae Ducis.  Tolosae, excudebat Johannes Boude, MDCXLVII, in-fol. [=Corderius, 1647]  Why this attribution to Nicetas of Serrae?  Probably because the prologue and first few explications which follow on the beginning of the first gospel are given in Cordier’s manuscript (Munich 36) under the name of Nicetas.  This is a pretty arbitrary attribution, at first sight, since most of the scholia correspond exactly to parallel passages in the homilies of St. John Chrysostom on St. Matthew, but the remainder does indeed seem to have been taken from authors who are only generally cited in the other catenas by Nicetas.

In 1844 Cramer published the first volume of his catena on the New Testament.  Catenae graecorum Patrum in Novum Testamentum edidit J. A. Cramer… Oxonii, e typographeo Academico.  The base text was printed from ms. Coislin 23 (11th c.)  The major part of the catena is taken from the homilies of St. John Chrysostom, to which have been added, following, some scholia by different fathers.

Devreesse then goes on to mention a bunch of anonymous scholia, published with a commentary by Peter of Laodicea, by Henrici, Des Petrus von Laodicea Erklarung des Matthausevangeliums… Leipzig, 1908.  He then discusses this commentary and Peter himself at length.  He then mentions the catena of Euthymius Zigabenus (in PG 119), and a couple of other minor catenas.


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!


Lemma-out of here!

The word lemma is widely used in the humanities.  Indeed it leaves confusion wherever it is employed.

Because no-one knows what it means.  When was the last time you went down to get your car serviced, and told the mechanic to look at the lemma?  When did you hear a TV announcement talk about the lemmas in the latest failed government IT project?  It doesn’t mean anything, chaps.

What brought this on, I hear you ask?  The answer is a deeply confusing exchange discussing the fragments of Origen’s comments on Ezekiel with the translator.  The said gentleman used the word, in an email discussion of how we are going to present the catena fragments, and communication promptly took a nose-dive.

You may think you know what it means.  You are wrong.  All you know is one use of the word.  There are many.

I first came across the term in connection with the MorphGNT file, containing a Greek New Testament, one word per line, with grammatical information for each word.  The help file — I use the term ‘help’ loosely — used the word to describe one item on the line.  As a normal person, or at least, not one of the in-crowd, I had no idea what it meant.  So I emailed James Tauber, who maintained the file and asked.  Answer came there none!  In the end I figured out that in MorphGNT lemma here meant “base form of a word, uninflected, in the form found in a dictionary”.  It is a little difficult to think of an English alternative, although “dictionary form” or “base form” would do.  Doubtless this difficulty led to the use of lemma.

What other uses are there?  Well, we just saw Devreesse use it in his description of catenas.  In this case he meant “name or abbreviation stuck in the margin of the book to indicate that this extract was by this author.”  Again, a short term is not immediately apparent; but lemma does not help.

The translator was using it in yet another sense.  Often in a catena, the discussion is preceded by a short quotation of the scripture under discussion.  You guessed it — he called that a lemma as well!  Nor was he to blame, when others have led the way.

In short, it is an omnipresent jargon word.  And I think it should be banned.  It is an example of language as a means of intimidation, rather than a means of communication.

Some might say that we could achieve this end by holding a convention, adopting better terminology, setting new standards.  But I think the answer is simply to find those using the word and chop their goolies off.  If we refer to it as mandatory de-lemmatisation, they won’t know until our posse rolls up and I shout the secret code phrase, “Grab him, boys!”


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!