Fathers in Old Slavonic – 2

A number of ante-Nicene writers exist in an translation in Old Slavonic.

  • Portions of the Shepherd of Hermas, from the Similitudes.
  • The Letter of Barnabas.
  • Ignatius of Antioch, Letters.  I don’t have any details of which ones, tho.
  • The martyrdom of Polycarp
  • The quotation of Papias in the work of Apollinaris on Judas.
  • Barlaam and Joasaf also exists in the list, although it isn’t ante-Nicene!
  • Justin Martyr
  • Irenaeus

I think all of these are extracts, tho.

  • Hipploytus, on the anti-Christ, the end of the world, and the Commentary on Daniel.  Also on the Song of Songs; on Revelation 20; on Proverbs 30; on the 12 apostles and 70 apostles.
  • Origen, On the psalms.
  • (ps).Origen, Dialogue of Adamantius.
  • Dionysius of Alexandria.  There is quite a section of materials by him.
  • Methodius.  Likewise there is a long list of manuscripts containing material.
  • Eusebius.  There’s some sort of explanation about the Psalms.  The Letter to Carpianus, and the canon tables.

Unfortunately now I look at it, I’m finding Harnack’s text almost impossible to understand!

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Patristic literature in Old Slavonic – 1

What do you do, when you find that the mediaeval Greeks carelessly forgot to preserve a copy of some patristic text in which you are interested?  Well, you have a couple of choices.

Firstly you can go and search manuscript libraries and see if you can find it.  This option is rarely exercised, since dealing with many Greek libraries is only just preferable to torture.

Your other alternative is to see if anyone translated it into something else, before it was lost.

This happened a lot.  Back in the 5th century, the Armenians sent off an expedition to Edessa, got a whole load of Syriac books, and translated these into Classical Armenian.  They also set up a monastery in Jerusalem, which translated books and sent them back to the old country.  As a result we have works by Irenaeus and Eusebius extant in no other language.

Old Slavonic is another language group that came into contact with the Greek world during the Dark Ages.  The language was spoken by Old Slavs (of course).  Once these had been taught literacy, they too acquired Greek literature.

I’ve found in Harnack’s Geschichte der altchristlichen Litteratur bis Eusebius, Theil I, halfte 2 — which I can’t find online — a list of ante-Nicene patristic authors whose works are extant in Old Slavonic.  The list is more than a century old, but I think it would be interesting to look at, for those of us who know almost nothing about that language group.  More in my next post!

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