Chrysostom letters – translations at

I’ve mentioned this before, but “Inepti Graeculi”, who occasionally comments here, has been working away at translating the letters of John Chrysostom and posting draft translations at here.  An index of those letters translated is here.

There are some 240 letters, nearly all from Chrysostom’s second exile, from which he did not return.  Remarkably only a handful have ever been translated.

So far IG has completed and posted drafts of 30 of the letters, which is more than have ever been done before.  The project is attracting interest (naturally) from Chrysostom scholars.

The project is nothing to do with me, but I deeply approve.  This is the first time that I have seen used in this way, as a way to get draft versions online for comment and to start a “virtuous circle” of involvement and interest.  It seems to work well if used that way!


From my diary

I’ve spent today driving up to Cambridge to visit the university library.  My object was to obtain some articles by R. Delmaire on the subject of Chrysostom’s letters.  For the most part I was able to obtain these; although I was disappointed to discover that the latest available volume of one serial was not shelved or accessible.  I’m reading into them at the moment.  R. Delmaire’s 1991 study examined the letters, and reordered them by date.  The order in the Benedictine edition (and the PG) isn’t even that of the manuscripts!

The Letters of Chrysostom project is not mine, so I won’t say a lot about this.  But I have also discovered a list of the opening words of all of the letters at the Sources Chretiennes site here (PDF).

Equally useful, I have discovered a list of the works of Chrysostom at the same site, with the Clavis Patrum Graecorum number for them all, here (PDF).

I’ve also received from the Lebanese typist the next 10 pages of the transcription of al-Makin’s world history.  This is taken from the 1625 Erpenius edition, which has the merit of being printed.  Once we get to the end of this – for Erpenius died before he could complete editing the text – I shall have to try the typist on a PDF of a microfilm manuscript.

An email has arrived today from the Bibliothèque Nationale Français, containing an estimate for reproductions of two manuscripts of al-Makin.  They require 50 euros each, plus 10 euros for “shipping” (why?) plus M. Hollande’s tax on top of that, totalling around 130 euros, or nearly $190!  Quite a bit for 2 PDF’s!  Worse still, they propose to supply me with scans from microfilms — at least, I hope these are scans, for the estimate says only “microfilm”.  And these will be black and white, and quite possibly unreadable.  I have a lot of time for the BNF, but this is shameful.  For that price they could at least photograph the things with a consumer digital camera and supply me with some decent images!  I shall have to pay the blackmail – it is, at least, less than the Bodleian is demanding – but it is a salutary reminder, in these days of digitisation, how bad things were and still are in some places.



Some Chrysostom, ps.Chrysostom, ps.Athanasius in translation at

I’ve just discovered a group of English translations available online here.  All of them are of previously untranslated texts.   Most excitingly (for me), the translator has started on Chrysostom’s letters.

The translations are a work in progress; but very welcome!



Untangling the homilies of Chrysostom “on the resurrection”

A correspondent has written to me, enquiring about “9 homilies on the resurrection”.  He’s been trying to find a text, and getting confused by what he finds, which includes spuria.

Looking at the Clavis Patrum Graecorum vol. 2, that list of the works of Chrysostom, is always a pleasure.  One day I must make a list of all Chrysostom’s works and place it online, for not even Quasten’s Patrology deals with more than a handful.

Two editions of Chrysostom are listed in the CPG.  Monfaucon’s edition, as reprinted by the Patrologia Graeca; and Henry Savile’s edition.  Both can be found online.

  • CPG 4340 is De resurrectione mortuorum.  This is found in PG50, 417-432; and Savile 6, 703-713.  It begins Περὶ δογμάτων ὑμῖν ἔμπροσθεν διελέχθημεν (Peri\ dogma/twn u(mi=n e!mprosqen diele/xqhmen).  An Armenian version also exists.
  • CPG 4341 is De resurrectione domini nostri Iesu Christi.  This is PG50, 433-442, Sav.6 581-587. Incipit: Ἀπεθέμεθα τῆς νηστείας τὸ φορτίον (A0peqe/meqa th=j nhstei/aj to\ forti/on).

The importance of Chrysostom is so great, in Greek manuscripts, that a great number of writings have acquired his name in the process of transmission, among them works by Severian of Gabala, his enemy, and of course very many sermons.  The Migne and Savile editions differ in what they include, each having material omitted by the other.

Among the spuria and dubia the CPG lists the following:

  • CPG 4526 is In triduanam resurrectionem domini.  PG50, 821-4. Sav.5, 592-5.  Incipit: Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ … Ὁ κύριος ἐκ νεκρῶν. (Xai/rete e)n kuri/w| … O( ku/rioj e)k nekrw=n).
  • CPG 4673 is In resurrectione domini.  PG62, 753-756; Sav.7, 500-502.  Incipit: Σφοδά μοι καὶ νῦν, ὡς ἀεὶ κρατεῖ τῆς διανοίας. (Sfoda/ moi kai\ nu=n, w(j a)ei\ kratei= th=j dianoi/as).  Attributed to Proclus by Marx (Procliania, n.76, p.70 f.).
  • CPG 4740 is In resurrectionem domini.  Incipit: Θεία τις ὡς ἔοικεν ἡ παροῦσα πανήγυρις (Qei/a tij w(j e!oiken h( parou=sa panh/gurij) See C. Baur, Traditio 9 (1953), p.116-9.  Edited by M. Aubineau, Sources Chretiennes 187, 320-325.
  • CPG 4853 is unpublished, found only in Ms. Jerusalem Saba 103, fol. 109v-111.   Incipit: Ἀναστάσεως ἡμέρα  (A0nasta/sewj h(me/ra). This is In resurrectionem domini.
  • CPG 4996 is two unpublished homilies In resurrectionem domini. These are apparently discussed in C. Datema and P. Allen, Text and tradition of two Easter homilies of Ps. Chrysostom, in JÖB 30 (1981), 87-102, esp. 94-7.  Incipit for 1: Πάντοτε μὲν χαίρειν πάρεστι τῇ καθ ἡμᾶς τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐκκλησίᾳ (Pa/ntote me\n xai/rein pa/resti th=| kaq h(ma=j tou= Xristou= e0kklhsi/a|).  Incipit for 2 is very like that for #1, but not given in full in CPGS.

And that’s our lot.  There is no group of 9 homilies on the resurrection among the works of Chrysostom.

So where does our reference come from?

A set of 9 homilies on the resurrection appears in volume 3 of the 1546 Paris edition (“apud Guillielem Roland”) of Chrysostom’s works.  In the table of contents here the item appears.  On p.192 is a heading: “Divi Ioannis Chrysostomi episcopi Constantinopolitani de resurrectione homiliae novem”.  According to this,[1] it seems as if the Latin translation is by Erasmus himself!  The opening words of the first homily are “De fidei nostrae placitis, deque gloria unigeniti filii dei”.

But what about the text, the 9 homilies on the resurrection?  I confess that I am beaten.  Anybody got any ideas?

UPDATE (5/12/13): The real objective here, if I understand it, is to locate the origin of “dies dominicus, alii diem panis, alii dicunt diem lucis” which appears in a Google search in homily 5 in a 1687 reprint of the 1547 edition here.  The search on the words “Nox bonae”, also found in homily 5, finds several witnesses.

Both phrases appear in a homily by Augustine here, in  Angelo Mai, “Nova Patrum bibliothecae”, vol. 1, Rome, 1852, p.344 f.  This volume contains a collection of new sermons of Augustine, found in Vatican mss.  Homily 152, on the resurrection of the Lord, published from ms. Vaticanus Latinus 1270, folio 4v, is the same material as “Chrysostom” in the 1546 edition.

If the early editor was printing bits of Augustine under Chrysostom’s name, clearly it is futile to look for any such work as Chrysostom.

The item publication postdates Migne, of course.  Being Latin it will probably be listed in the Clavis Patrum Latinorum (CPL), which I don’t have access to at the moment.  There is probably a CSEL publication, and a CCSL publication, which should be our reference of choice.

But of course the question then arises; is Mai right?  Or is this spuriously attributed to Augustine?  I learn from Google that most of these new sermons in Mai were not generally accepted as authentic.

UPDATE: The incipit for the “homily 5” is “Fratres, quam preciosa et grata hodie ecclesia nobis inclaruit”.

  1. [1]J. Glomski, Annotated catalogue of early editions of Erasmus…, p.111.

Editing Chrysostom – an SC volume appears

Nathalie Rambault has undertaken the task of editing some works by John Chrysostom for the Sources Chretiennes series.  Just to list the manuscripts of Chrysostom takes many volumes, so we may admire her courage!

The first volume (of two) is now out, I believe, and includes homilies on the resurrection, ascension and Pentecost.  6 pages of the book – the covers and the tables of contents – have been placed online here.  The second volume is due Jan-Feb 2014.


Chrysostom, De terrae motu (on the earthquake) now online in English

Bryson Sewell has kindly translated for us all the short homily by John Chrysostom, De terrae motu (on the earthquake; CPG 4366, PG 50 713-6).

It’s here in HTML form.  I have placed the PDF and Word forms at here.

The translation is public domain: use it freely for personal, educational or commercial use.

If you’d like to support me in commissioning translations of previously untranslated patristic material, you can buy a CD here, or make a donation using the button on the right.


A note on Sir Henry Savile’s edition of Chrysostom

A correspondent yesterday enquired whether the edition of Chrysostom prepared by Sir Henry Savile in the 17th century mentioned a Sir Henry Neville.  The latter, he said, was a student of Savile’s and contributed largely to the cost of the edition.

As you can see from the title page, above, only Savile’s name appears.  But it would be interesting to learn more.  The story of how some famous books appears is one that I would gladly read, and I doubt that I am alone in this.

UPDATE: The story of Sir Henry Neville’s involvement looks rather dubious, as I look into it.  The source for it appears to be a letter written in 1615 by George Lord Carew to Sir Thomas Roe, then a foreign ambassador.  The letter was published by the Camden Society in 1860, and is online here (p.14).  The footnote contains the statement, “He published an edition of Chrysostom 1614, at great cost.”  This is repeated in various subsequent compendia.  But this is probably just a confusion of the Camden Society editor with Sir Henry Savile, and even the year is wrong — it should be 1611-1613.  Most likely this is just a modern myth.


Latin translations by Anianus of Celeda of the Greek fathers in electronic form

Chris Nighman writes:

A few weeks ago I uploaded digital transcriptions of Anianus’ Preface to his translations of Chrysostom’s Homilies 1-25 on the Gospel of Matthew and also the texts of Homilies 1-8 from Migne’s PG 58, 975-1058, onto the PGL Project website here.

Today I uploaded digital transcriptions of Anianus’ translations of Chrysostom’s homilies 9-15 on Matthew from the edition princeps published in 1503 at Venice on the PGL project website (

If I can secure another internal grant to complete this transcription project, homilies 16-25 will follow sometime in the new year. Keep your fingers crossed…

This is an unusual project, and all the more valuable for it.  We tend to ignore the Latin translations of works by Chrysostom, and Anianus of Celeda is not a figure with whom most of us are familiar.  Yet his work is very early, and very informative on the early circulation of Chrysostom’s works.

And what a blessing to have this in electronic form!

I’d like to get translations of Anianus’ prefaces into English.


The early translations of Chrysostom into Latin — 5. The collection of 38 homilies

The next section in Voicu’s article discusses a collection of 38 sermons by John Chrysostom in a Latin version, which are found in various manuscripts of the 9th century onwards, including the one online at Cologne which I referred to a few posts back.

Dom Andre Wilmart drew up a list of the contents in his 1918 article.  Let’s give that list here, together with where they appear in Migne’s Patrologia Graeca.

1.-2.)  In Psalmum 50 homiliae 1-2 (PG 55, 565-588)
3) In Psalmum 122 (PG 55, 351-353)
4) In Psalmum 150 (PG 55, 495-498)
5) De beata Iob (not actually by Chrysostom, but an extract from Augustine, De excidio urbis Romae)
6) De ascension Eliae (original Latin; Wenk 1988, p. 100-108)
7) De septem Macchabaeis (PG 50, 617-624)
8. De tribus pueris (original Latin; Wenk 1988, p. 117-121)
9) De sancta Susanna (again not by Chrysostom, but a cento of Augustine, De Susanna et Ioseph sermo)
10) De proditione Iudae homilia I (PG 49, 373-382)
11) De cruce et latrone homilia 1 (PG 49, 399-418): quoted by Leo the Great.
12) De cruce et latrone (original Greek in Wenger, 1954)
13) In uenerabilem crucem sermo (Browne 1990, PG 50, 815-820): quoted by Augustine.
14) In ascensionem D. N. Iesu Christi (PG 50, 441-452): quoted by Leo the great.
15) In pentecosten sermo 1 (PG 50, 803-808)
16) De nativitate Domini (original Latin by Jerome; PLS 2, 188 to 193)
17) De natiuitate Domini et Iohannis Baptistae (ed. Botte 1932, pp. 93-105; provenance unknown, possibly from a Greek model, cf. CPL 2276)
18) In resurrectionem Lazari (original Latin Potamius of Lisbon, ed. Wilmart 1918b): cited by Augustine.
19) De Chananaea (pC 52, 449-460) ruled in Constantinople in 403;
20-23) Four works on the gospels, actually by Jerome (PLS 2, 125-188)
24) De recipiendo Seueriano (PG 52, 423-426) given in Constantinople in 401 AD.
25) Severian of Gabala, De pace (ed. Kerameus-Papadopoulos 1891, p. 15-26): also 401 A.D.  Migne does print a text of this in Latin.
26) In Genesim sermo 1 (PG 54, 581-585);
27) De eruditione disciplinae (actually a compilation from the works of Cyprian, ed. Wenk 1988. pp. 127-138)
28) In Eutropium (PG 52, 391-396) given at Constantinople in 399.
29) Cum de expulsione eius ageretur (PG 52, 427-436) given at Constantinople in 403.
30) Ad Theodorum lapsum liber 2 (PG 47, 309-316; Greek text and Latin version in Dumortier, 1966a, p. 46-79 and 241-256)
31) De militia spiritali (Greek text transmitted under the name of Basil of Cesarea; PG 31, 620-625; cf. CPL 1147; CPG 288)
32) De militia christiana (Latin text ed. Wenk 1988, pp. 145-156)
33) De patre et duobus filiis (actually by ps. Jerome; cf. CPL 766; ed. Wenk 1988, pp. 170-188).
34) Sermo ad Neophytos (Greek text and Latin version: Wenger 1970, pp.150-181 ): version citated by Julian of Eclanum.
35) De turture seu de Ecclesia sermo (PG 55, 599-602)
36) Quando ipse de Asia regressus est (Greek text and Latin version: Wenger 1961, pp. 110-123).
37) Post reditum a priore exsilio (Greek text omitted from PG; found in old editions, e.g., Montfaucon 1721, pp. 424-425; ancient Latin version : PG 52, 441-442).
38) De fide in Christo (possibly from a lost Greek original).

Some mss add a further four texts as an appendix.

Bouhot in 1971 analysed a version of the Wilmart collection which added extra works, omitted 1-2, and omitted 14-15 although it retained mention of them in the index of contents.  The order differed as well; consisting of 3-9, 16-17, 10-13; then 34, in a revised recension used by Augustine; then Ad illuminandos catechesis 1 (PG 49,  223-232); then 18-38; then De paenitentia homilia 5 (PG 49, 305-312; the Latin version is divided into two parts); Ad populum Antiochenum homilia 1 (PG 49, 15-34); Epistula 3 (Greek Malingrey 1968, pp. 242-305; PG 52, 572-590): cited by Augustine.

A comparison of the two editions of the collection indicates that the Bouhot version is closer to that used by Augustine.  But neither matches exactly, or includes all the works referenced by Augustine.

Voicu then proceeds to analyse this collection at some length.  It has been asserted that this collection was also translated by Anianus of Celeda.  But nothing suggests this.  There are no dedicatory epistles, and the standard of comprehension of the Greek seems to be inferior.

Various citations of the collection in the 5th century indicate that this collection circulated in that period.

Some manuscripts add what has been called the “ascetic appendix”:

39) Quod nemo laeditur nisi a seipso (ed. Malingrey 1964; PG 52, 459-480).
40-41 ) Ad Demetrium de compunctione liber I and Ad Stelechium de compunctione liber 2 (PG 47, 399-422; in latin under the single title De
compunctione cordis).
42) Ad Theodorum lapsum liber I (PG 47, 277-308; Greek text and Latin version: Dumortier I 966a, pp. 80-218 and 257-322).

The date of the addition is unclear, but must be quite early, as it is mentioned in a ms. of the 7th century, Cod. Vaticanus Reginensis Latinus 2077, which lists some works of Chrysostom:

De compunctione animae liber unus, Neminem posse laedi nisi a semet ipso, In laudem beati Pauli apostoli volumen egregium, De excessibus et offensione Eutropii praefecti praetorio.

These may easily be recognised as nos 40, 41 and 39 of the collection, then the translation by Anianus of Celeda of the works on Paul, and finally no 28.  A similar list is found in Isidore of Seville.

Voicu finishes his splendid article by telling us that there are further Latin translations from the 6-8th centuries, and refers us to Bouhot (1989, p.34).  The article ends with three pages of incredibly useful bibliography.  My only question is why this useful article is not online?  And that, I fear, we all know the answer to: copyright.


The early translations of Chrysostom into Latin — 4. The evidence of Julian of Eclanum and Augustine

The Libellus fidei attributed to Julian of Eclanum (PL 48, 525-6, written in 418 AD), in chapter 11 (18) contains a long quotation from the Sermo ad neophytos.  This is the title under which the third baptismal catechism was transmitted in Latin.  The eight baptismal catecheses were rediscovered by Wenger only in 1970.[1]

In 419, Augustine tells us in Contra Iulianum I 6:21 (PL 44, 654-5) that Julian of Eclanum made use of the same work by Chrysostom in Julian’s lost work, the Libri ad Turbantium.  The quotations given are not identical, but are the same length and, more importantly, come from the same source.  Neither is based on the Greek text, but rather on a Latin version, as Wenger has shown.

Augustine goes further.  Not merely does he mention the quotation; he refers to the Greek and shows where the Latin has undergone modification or is too free (PL 44, col. 655-6, 658).  However it has been shown that Augustine is not, in fact, showing knowledge of a Greek text, but instead using a revised Latin version.

In his Contra Iulianum, Augustine refers to a number of works by Chrysostom.

  1. Letter 3 (10) (Greek text in PG 52, 574).
  2. In resurrectionem Lazari.  (CPL 541;  latin text actually by Potamius of Lisbon, ed. Wilmart, 1918b, p.302, l. 88-90)
  3. In Genesim sermo 3 (Greek in PG 54, 592).
  4. In Epistula ad Romanos homilia 10 (Greek in PG 60, 475)
  5. In venerabilem crucem sermo (Ps. Chrysostom; original Greek in Browne, 1990, p.137, #20; PG 50, 820, l. 34-36).
  6. Homilia in sancta baptisma (actually by Basil of Caesarea).

Clearly Augustine is using an anthology or florilegium of testimonies here.  There’s no trace of a Greek original; indeed the second item is in fact an original composition in Latin misidentified as Chrysostom.  So here we have evidence of material in Latin again.

  1. [1]Antoine Wenger (ed.), Huit catecheses baptismales inedits, Sources Chretiennes 50 bis, Paris, 1970.