From my diary

Home, with piles of electronic gear.  But when will I get time to set it up?  That said, being unable to use my main machine is becoming increasingly irksome. 

I’ve been looking for possible Greek texts to get translated.  There’s a little pile of sermon material by Chrysostom.

Most interesting of these are three items which appear in Migne in very truncated form.  De Regressu Sancti Joannis (PG52, col. 421), De Recipiendo Severiano (col. 423), and Severian’s reply De Pace (col. 425).  All three are given in Latin, and seem far too short to be full versions.  Now I know that the Greek exists of Severian, and indeed a full version of it.  But I am unclear about the others.

It turns out that I did enquire of a scholar who had published about these, and got the response that I should look in the Clavis Patrum Graecorum vol. 2, from 4438 onwards, and also in the supplement.  I believe that there are oriental translations of this stuff also.

And that, dear reader, is why I am annoyed that I can’t access my main machine, on which resides my copy of CPG2!

There are also some short tracts by Epiphanius of Salamis, in which he expresses strong antipathy to icons.  These would be of general interest: but it turns out that a translation exists already, by Stephen Bigham, in Epiphanius of Salamis: Doctor of Iconoclasm? (2008).  Of course this is offline (drat).

Never mind.  There are still lots of Chrysostom sermons!


Chrysostom’s “Quod Christus Sit Deus”

Yesterday’s post on Chrysostom and the Jews led to some interesting questions about his other work, Against the Jews and Pagans that Christ is God.  These I have pursued in the comments thread.

A look at Quasten’s Patrology says that the work is untranslated; but Quasten was getting tired by the time he did volume 3, and it is nearly 50 years old in any event.  Isn’t it time that someone revised the work and brought it up to date?  It’s not as easy as it might be to see who owns the book; but since it has remained in print ever since, it ought to be in everyone’s interest to update it.

The work seems to have been translated into French as long ago as the 1860’s, in Bareille’s translation of all of Chrysostom’s works.[1]  A lot of these are on, repackaged as just the translations, and volume 1 contains the work under the title La divinité du Christ [2].

Much more important is the unpublished dissertation of Fr. Norman G. McKendrick, S.J., in 1966.[3].  This not merely included an English translation, but also what P.W.Harkins described as an excellent critical Greek text.  This was based on a fresh examination of the manuscripts.  McKendrick drew up a stemma, dividing the manuscripts into 2 families.  The thesis is accessible from UMI, if you have $37 to spare, and is evidently an important work.  McKendrick himself died in 2002.

The final event in the history of the text was a published translation by P.W.Harkins, in 1985 as the second item in a volume in the Fathers of the Church series.[4]  Harkins had already produced the first published translation of the Eight homilies against the Jews in FOC 68.  He decided to rename the work to omit mention of Jews, however, which is perhaps less than ideal, and has certainly hampered at least one correspondent of mine!

So the work is out there, and there is even a study of the manuscripts.

Isn’t it a pity, tho, that US dissertations remain locked inside a commercial company’s database?  Once Proquest were providing a valuable service, in that they produced print-offs of what would otherwise be entirely inaccessible.  You could order these from anywhere.

But in the age of the internet, there is no need for the paper versions, and PDF’s of the theses could usefully (and at almost no cost) appear on the web.

  1. [1]J. Bareille, Oeuvres completes de S. Jean Chrysostome, 19 vols, Paris, 1865-73.
  2. [2], p.478.
  3. [3]Norman G. McKendrick, “The ‘Quod Christus Sit Deus’ of John Chrysostom”, PhD dissertation, Fordham University, 1966
  4. [4]John Chrysostom Apologist, Fathers of the Church 73, CUA Press, 1985, p. 153 f.  A google books preview is accessible here.

Chrysostom and the Jews uploaded

An email from a correspondent revealed to me that the anonymous translation of John Chrysostom’s Eight homilies against the Jews was no longer accessible at the Fordham University site.  This is a nuisance.  What to do?

Back in 1998 Paul Halsall created the Medieval Sourcebook site there.  He included this translation which he found online on anti-Jewish sites.  The origins of the translation are unknown; it is not the standard translation found in the Fathers of the Church series. But Dr Halsall has long since moved on to other things, and the site seems rather neglected.

I have notified Fordham that the page is missing. But since the site is no longer actively maintained, even if the page should reappear, there is a considerable possibility that it will vanish again.  If it remains missing, people looking for the text will be forced to find it in strange places.

Lately US universities have acquired a reputation for political intolerance and censorship.  I have no way of knowing how true this is, but if it is correct, I can imagine that students and lecturers might find it unsafe or impossible to access the extremist sites on which copies of this translation presumably may still be found.  Indeed might even referring to such a URL in an essay not place an unwary student at risk of official victimisation from an ill-disposed person?  The Fordham site has a page indicating that there were calls for censorship, and suggesting that Dr Halsall displayed some professional bravery in placing it on his site.

In the circumstances I have felt that it would serve everyone best to add the anonymous translation to my own collection of translations of the Fathers, where it may be safely consulted by everyone, and sits next to other works of Chrysostom not found in the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers collection.  It is here:

The enquiry that reached me was in fact searching for a translation of Chrysostom’s sermon “Against Jews and Pagans, that Christ is God”.  This has never been translated, as far as I know, which is a pity.  It would be nice to complete the list of Chrysostom’s anti-Jewish works.

UPDATE: The Fordham page has mysteriously reappeared.  The URL is different, tho:


Literary activity of Sir Henry Savile

Following on from this post and this one, inter alia, I received an interesting email this morning about other work by Henry Savile, in his days at Eton.

From John Warwick Montgomery, “Ecumenicity, Evangelicals, and Rome”, p. 52.

Sir Henry Savile “was responsible for translating sections of the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Book of Revelation for the King James Bible”.

“The Chrysostom was printed by William Norton, the royal printer, in a private press which Sir Henry erected at his own expense, and the type for it was specially imported by Sir Henry; the edition cost its editor eight thousand pounds.”

“At the present time this magnum opus can be most readily consulted as University Microfilms No. 20191 (STC entry 14629).” [written 1969]

There’s been a lot written since on the translation process and editorial revision of the KJV – one does wonder what became of the press (Etonae – still in some storeroom there?).

A press is a big and bulky thing, and might well still exist.  On the other hand the types could equally well have been melted down to throw off a wall during some siege during the Civil War.


Henry Savile and his edition of the works of Chrysostom

Looking at the Clavis Patrum Graecorum — a text that should certainly be online — we find that the works of Severian of Gabala appear in two main editions, under the name of Chrysostom.  There is the 1718-38 century edition of the works of Chrysostom by Montfaucon, the Benedictine editor in France.  This is what Migne reprinted.

But there is also an edition by Henry Savile, published at Eton, of all places, in 1612.  A couple of Severian’s sermons only appear in this edition.

I am impressed by the CPG, by the way.  It neatly clears up what exists for Severian, and where it may be found; in Greek, Latin, Syriac, Armenian.

Philip Schaff’s introduction to the works of Chrysostom in the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers edition is useful.  After discussing the marvellous labours of Montfaucon, he adds:

The edition of Sir Henry Savile (Provost of Eton), Etonae, 1612, in 8 vols. for., is less complete than the Benedictine edition, but gives a more correct Greek text (as was shown by F. Dübner from a collation of manuscripts) and valuable notes. Savile personally examined the libraries of Europe and spent £8,000 on his edition. His wife was so jealous of his devotion to Chrysostom that she threatened to burn his manuscripts.

Lady Savile was not the first wife to threaten her husband’s books, out of jealousy, as Reynolds and Wilson, Scribes and Scholars records.

But is the edition accessible?  Is it online?  It is, after all, a very old book, and the USA did not exist when it was published.  It is US libraries, after all, who have made Google Books and what they are.

A search suggests that it might form part of “Early English Books Online”, a project which is not freely available.  UK taxpayers funded it, so naturally it has been placed under the control of a commercial company and only rich institutions are allowed to use it.  (It is depressing, sometimes, to see the combination of waste and greed and littleness of mind characteristic of British higher education).  You can’t even see if it is in there.

Does anyone have access to EEBO, and can check whether it is there?


Some remarks about John Chrysostom’s homilies against the Jews

A. L. Williams useful book Adversus Judaeos was composed in 1935, well before modern political correctness or post-WW2 guilt.  It is written to be of use to Christians considering missionary work among the Jews, and to advise them of older apologetic, which he suggests is mostly useless today. 

Nearly a hundred writers are summarised, and the book is still of great value.  Williams states plainly enough that his collection of writers cannot be comprehensive, since it omits works in manuscript only, and to which he had no access.  But it has never been superseded.

When we read modern opinions about Chrysostom’s sermons against the Jews, we are always uncomfortably aware that those writing may not feel able to sound “anti-semitic”.  Works held dear but which violate political correctness are liable to be misdescribed; works hated may get the same misdescription in the opposite direction.

Williams’ comments are therefore refreshingly interesting.  As a man with no interest in the politics of our day, what does he think Chrysostom was doing and meant? —

Chrysostom’s Homilies against the Jews are glorious reading for those who love eloquence, and zeal untempered by knowledge. The Golden-mouthed knew little of Judaism, but he was shocked that his Christian people were frequenting Jewish synagogues [2], were attracted to the synagogal Fasts and Feasts, sometimes by the claims to superior sanctity made by the followers of the earlier religion, so that an oath taken in a synagogue was more binding than in a church,  and and sometimes by the offer of charms and amulets in which Jews of the lower class dealt freely. We cannot blame Chrysostom therefore for doing his utmost to prevent apostasy, partial or complete, and we cannot but praise him for the straightness of his speech, and his passionate desire that every one of his hearers should not only refrain from religious intercourse with Jews, but also do his utmost to keep his brethren in the same Christian path.[4] Sometimes also there are direct appeals to Jews  to turn to the true faith.

But that is all that can be said. Chrysostom’s sermons were intended almost entirely for his Christian listeners, and only exceptionally for Jews. How could it be otherwise? We gather from these Homilies that the Jews were a great social, and even a great religious, power in Antioch, but that Chrysostom himself had had no direct intercourse with them worth mentioning, and knew nothing of their real reasons for refusing to become Christians. Far more serious still than his ignorance is his lack of a real evangelistic spirit in his relation to them. There is no sign that he felt the slightest sympathy with them, much less a burning love for the people of whom His Saviour came in the flesh, or, indeed, that he regarded them in any other way than as having been rightly and permanently punished for their treatment of Christ, and as still being emissaries of Satan in their temptation of Christians. But that is not the way to present Christ to the Jews, or even to speak of them when preaching to Christians [2].

The notes are also interesting:

2. The tendency of professing Christians to frequent synagogues is not peculiar to Chrysostom’s time and place. M. Isidore Loeb in his illuminating essay on La Controverse religieuse entre les Juifs au moyen age en France et en Espagne tells us that in the Middle Ages the semi-Christianised peoples found it difficult to distinguish between Judaism and Christianity, or, at least, to see where one left off and the other began. They knew that Christianity had its roots in Judaism, and that the weekly day of rest, Easter, and Pentecost, were taken from the Jews, and the mother religion had fascination for them. At Lyon they used to go to the synagogue, pretending that the sermons were better than those of the Christian priests. In 1290 in Provence and the neighbouring countries Christians made offerings in the synagogue, and paid solemn respect to the roll of the Law (Revue de l’histoire des religions, 1888, xvii. 324 sq.).

4. This is the key-note of each of the Homilies.

2. Chrysostom’s hatred of the Jews is not confined to these eight Homilies, as may be seen from the countless references to them scattered throughout his works, covering more than seven columns in Montfaucon’s Index.

This is plain speaking.  Williams has no hesitation in describing “Chrysostom’s hatred of the Jews”, nor in describing the sermons as “glorious reading for those who love eloquence”, feeling no need for apology.  But his judgement is “Chrysostom’s sermons were intended almost entirely for his Christian listeners, and only exceptionally for Jews.”

We may, I think, agree with him safely on this, then.  As with so much else in the later Roman Empire, Christianity had become a badge of a community, rather than the means of salvation.  Chrysostom was merely defending the “turf” of the group who had elected him their bishop.


Projects progressing, projects new

My project to publish an edition and translation of the remains of Eusebius of Caesarea’s Gospel problems and solutions continues to progress.  I still intend to make the translation freely available online, but first I need to sell some paper copies to recover the money spent.  The total of the money is now assuming quite impressive dimensions – about the size of a small car!

Today an updated version of the translation of the Coptic fragments arrived.  The translator has difficulties with technology — I have asked her to print whatever she needs to and just send it to me!  I’ve also suggested she get a training course in this stuff, because it’s really not optional any more.

Also the chap proof-reading the Greek has nearly finished the fragments of the Ad Marinum bit; I’ve sent him the fragments of the Ad Stephanum portion as well.  If he wants it, I may send him a large chunk of the epitome as well.  This is going really well.

Also someone has written and volunteered to translate some of the untranslated Chrysostom that I discussed here, on a commission basis.  I’ve sent him Migne’s text of the sermon ad Kalendas — on the New Year’s festival — and we’ll see what sort of job he makes of the first column of that.

In addition the chap I sent the Severian of Gaballa, De sigillis librorum, has volunteered to have a go at a translation for free.  That is very kind of him, and it will be interesting to see what emerges.  I’ve also had an interesting email from the chap who put me onto Severian in the first place, with some manuscripts detail (which I must actually read!).

A busy day.  But I shall start winding down things on this blog; I now need to prepare seriously for Syria.


Chrysostom is better in Syriac than in Greek! And what about the Arabs?

If you look at the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers collection, you will see a large number of sermons on books of the bible by John Chrysostom.  The NPNF series was a pirate edition; it reprints the Oxford Movement translations, minus their notes, edited by Charles Marriot in the 1840’s and 50’s.  You have to be struck by the sheer volume of these things.  The sermons are of value to exegetes, of course.  Pre-internet it was nearly impossible to access the Oxford Movement “Library of the Fathers” volumes.  I suspect the notes would repay investigation.

But while turning photocopies into PDF’s, I came across an interesting article about the manuscripts of Chrysostom by J. W. Childers, Chrysostom’s Exegetical Homilies on the New Testament in Syriac Translation.  This tells me that the earliest manuscripts of the Greek tradition are 10th or 11th century; not bad, but by no means early.  I know that just listing medieval copies of Chrysostom takes volumes, so there is clearly a very great number of manuscripts.  So it is a surprise to learn that no earlier copies exist.

But Childers article draws attention to the fact that the manuscripts of the Syriac version are far earlier.  Thus for the Homilies on Matthew, the first 32 sermons (of 90) are preserved in four manuscripts, all from the Nitrian desert in Egypt, all of the 6th century.  Another translation existed, referred to by Philoxenus of Mabbug in an anthology composed before 484 AD.  The translations were made using the standard techniques of the 5th century, and show that the text of the Greek did not alter appreciably between the 5th and 10th centuries.  The translations are insufficiently literal to be much use for text-critical concerns.  But for the homilies on Paul’s letters the 6th and 7th century manuscripts are even more literal, and so can be used to correct the Greek.

The homilies were also translated from Syriac into Arabic, and catalogues of manuscripts invariably contain some.  There is quite a section on these in Graf’s Geschichte der christlichen arabischen Literatur vol. 1.  While the manuscripts may not be early, they will reflect a Syriac text that may be.  It  might also be interesting to wonder what exists in Armenian.


Untranslated portion of Chrysostom vs Jews – translator found

Further to this post, a Chrysostom scholar has written to me and expressed interest in having a go at translating this “lost” portion of Oratio 2 against the Jews by John Chrysostom.  I’ve offered my usual terms, and he’s going to look at the Pradels text and (German) translation and see what he thinks.

My intention is to make the translation public domain.  Chrysostom’s sermons against the Jews are found in English in various places on the web (some of them polemical anti-Jewish sites).  My intention would be to try to get all these sites to add the extra material on the bottom of their version, and thereby ensure that the full text is the one available everywhere, rather than the mutilated version. 

In that way the damage would finally be healed, and become a historical footnote.  If I don’t do that, it is likely that the translation of the extra material will simply be forgotten, and the “vulgate” text of this oration (about 30% of the whole thing) will remain the standard text.



The lost part of John Chrysostom’s second sermon against the Jews

Another forgotten paper has emerged from my pile during scanning of articles, and reminds me that I need a translator; someone who can handle Chrysostom.

John Chrysostom preached eight sermons against the Jews during his time at Antioch.  The second of these is markedly shorter than the others; about 30% of the size.  This led researcher Wendy Pradels to wonder whether the text was damaged, and to search for manuscripts.  Her article on the search is here, and in 1999 her persistence was rewarded by the discovery of an unknown manuscript in Lesbos which contained the full version of the sermon. In 2001 she published the extra text, with a German translation, and I have just come across my copy of it.

But as far as I know, no English version of this exists.  I wonder whether a scholar would be interested in making me a translation!