Gelasius of Cyzicus now online in English!

Great news!  The first English translation of Gelasius of Cyzicus has appeared!  It’s at the Fourth Century website of Glen L. Thompson, and may be found here.  There’s a PDF for each of the three books, and a webpage with the medieval chapter headings, or rather book summaries, here.

I’m sure that more than a few people may wonder who Gelasius was, and why we care.

Well, we all know the standard Ecclesiastical Histories of the 4-5th centuries – Eusebius, Sozomen, Socrates, Theodoret, etc.  But there is an additional Greek work from the same period, from the late 5th century.  This was first published in 1599 by the Scottish scholar Robert Balfour, under the name of Gelasius of Cyzicus, with the title of the History of the Council of Nicaea.  It’s CPG 6034.  Both the author name and title are more than doubtful, and the work was given a new critical edition by G.C. Hansen under the title of Anonyme Kirchengeschichte.  It’s in the GCS series, GCS NF9 (2002).  (There was a 1918 edition, as GCS 28).

The book is not a history of the council of Nicaea.  It’s an ecclesiastical history.  It’s not all that reliable, either – material about the Holy Spirit is back-projected to the time of Nicaea.  But it is still an early text, and it is thought to make use of material from the lost Ecclesiastical History of Gelasius of Caesarea.

So it is great to see that the complete translation has appeared at last!  (I posted about its beginnings back in 2017 here)  Marvellous news!

Glen and his team at Fourth Century are also at work on a couple of related projects.  The first is to collect and make accessible the texts leading up to the Council of Ephesus in 431.  The other is a harmony of Socrates, Sozomen and Theodoret, making it easier to work out who says what and when.  Both projects must be essential resources for anybody interested in the history of the period.

It’s great to see things being pushed forward!