New! Free Patristic Greek text archive now online

A very important announcement today – the Patristic Text Archive has gone online in beta!  It’s here.

This is a new open-access collection of Greek (and other) texts, encoded in XML format (well, strictly it’s TEI), and freely available for download from GitHub, as I noted a couple of days ago.

But now the front-end has appeared, which means that the texts are displayed online in a format that anybody can read.

You click on the cover to get through:

Click on Open a couple more times, and you get the text, gorgeously formatted:

It’s very easy to browse, and there is so much of interest there!  If I tell you that this collection includes the text of Eusebius of Caesarea’s Commentary on the Psalms for ps.1-50, you will see why I am excited.

Sometimes the texts have translations with them.  There are 53 texts by Severian of Gabala (yay!) and I saw that De fide et lege naturae has a new German translation against it (double-yay!).

There are still a couple of glitches. I just clicked on the “About” link in Internet Explorer, and the page was blank below the heading (so use Chrome).  More importantly on a smartphone, the UI misleads the reader: if you click on the links you won’t be able to get into any of the texts unless you know to scroll right, because the “open” button is off-screen to the right.  (What they ought to do is to dispense with the “open” button and make the whole row a hyperlink).  But these are mere niggles.

This is immensely welcome.  Use it, everyone!  This must surely be the shape of things to come.


Online edition and Russian translation of Severian of Gabala, In illud: Secundum imaginem et similitudinem (Gen. 1, 26), CPG 4234

Russian scholar Sergey Kim has made a critical edition and Russian translation of Severian of Gabala’s In illud: Secundum imaginem et similitudinem (Gen. 1, 26), CPG 4234, “In the image and likeness (of God)”.  It’s a pity that this isn’t in a more mainstream language, but one can hardly complain that a Russian scholar writes in Russian!  Anyway I expect that Google Translate will help.

It’s here.  Grab it while it’s hot!

From the (English) abstract at the end:

Severianus Gabalensis. In illud: Secundum imaginem et similitudinem (Gen. 1, 26), CPG 4234 / Introduction, еditio princeps, Russian translation by S. S. Kim.

Readers are offered a first part of the study of the sermon “On the image and the likeness” of Severian, Bishop of Gabala (died after 408). In the introductory article the A. sets out a survey of previous studies, gives an overview of manuscripts and evidence of the indirect tradition.

There are solid arguments for atributing the homily to Severian of Gabala, which are divided into three groups — arguments of external, content and stylistic nature. The A. formulates a hypothesis about the reasons for the exclusion the sermon “On the image and the likeness” from the Severian’s cycle “In Hexaemeron.”

For the first time the ancient Greek text of the sermon (editio princeps) and its Russian translation are published. The publication and translation are accompanied by indications to parallels from other authentic works of Severian of Gabala, devoted to the theme of the creation of the world.

Keywords: Severian of Gabala, on the creation of the world, homiletics, edition of texts, patrology.


Severian of Gabala news: critical editions from GCS, plus an online bibliography

An Australian scholar who sometimes comments here writes with some interesting news about Severian of Gabala studies:

… the GCS people announced last year that they are going to put out critical editions of Severian’s works.  This will take years of course, but it’s only the Germans who commit themselves to such long-term projects these days.

The series was announced at the Severian conference in Belgium  last year. GCS will edit Severian’s works as part of the series (projected completion 2032). Cordelia Bandt  from Berlin talked about it at the Leuven conference.

CCSG is also planning to publish the Osterhuis den Otten edition of the 4 Job homilies (homilies 2-4 are by Severian)  and the 6 homilies on Genesis, the Greek manuscript tradition of which is currently being edited by Sarah Van Pee at KULeuven.  … am about to write to her so I will see where she is at and if she is including the 7th which Hill also translated…

The nearest I found of an official mention on their website

She also mentions:

My latest Severian bibliography, plus list of critical editions of authentic works (excluding fragments) is here:

I am missing a few entries in the biblio (e.g. a couple of forthcoming articles by Sarah van Pee, who is also editing Severian’s Genesis homilies) but it’s a living document anyway.

I think I have an inconsistency with the Armenian homilies – e.g. have not properly accounted for CPG 4245 – I am chasing that up and will correct in the next version.

Thank you, Kathie!

I notice that a search on Severian of Gabala on produces quite a harvest of articles, several by Sergey Kim.  Well worth visiting.


A Coptic fragment of Severian of Gabala on Penitence via Alin Suciu

The excellent Alin Suciu has continued his trawl through uncatalogued Coptic papyri.  The lost papyri of Louvain have attracted his attention.  A post on his blog reports the discovery of parts of a Coptic version of CPG 4186, a homily by Severian of Gabala on penitence:

Under no. 48, Lefort published an unidentified papyrus fragment which he tentatively dated to the 6th or 7th century.[1] In fact, the text can be identified as a portion from a homily on penitence by Severian of Gabala (CPG 4186). Like all the other sermons of Severian, the Greek manuscript tradition transmitted this text under the name of John Chrysostom. It is thus no wonder that the homily can be found in different modern editions of Golden Mouth’s works. For example, in Montfaucon’s edition, which was taken over by Migne in his Patrologia Graeca, the text was printed as the seventh homily on penitence by John Chrysostom (cf. PG 49, coll. 323-336).

However, the attribution of this sermon to Severian was defended on good grounds by Charles Martin.[2] He pointed out that some Patristic catenae are quoting the text under the name of its real author: Severian of Gabala. Besides, it should be remarked that the style of the document does not conform to that of John Chrysostom, but rather contains many features proper to Severian.

The Coptic text published by Lefort corresponds literally to Migne PG 49, col. 325, lines 15-25. However, as the pagination of the Louvain fragment is lost and Lefort was not able to identify its content, he mixed up the recto/verso faces.

He goes on to give the edition of the Greek and Coptic.

This kind of work is immensely valuable to have online.  Well done, Dr S!


Severian of Gabala bibliography – another minor update

I’ve just tweaked my working bibliography of Severian again.  Here are the new files:

These replace the version in the last such post here.

UPDATE (21st July 2015): I have updated the files to include the very useful comments by Sever Voicu in the comments below – thank you.

I have also put out a commission for an English translation of CPG 4197, two short homilies on Genesis.

UPDATE (22 February 2016): A minor tweak.


Severian of Gabala, De Sacrificiis Caini (PG 62: 719-722 = CPG 4208) – now online in English

Another work attributed to Severian of Gabala, On the sacrifices of Cain, CPG 4208, has come online at here.  It contains parallel Greek and Latin from Migne.



Severian of Gabala bibliography – minor update

I came across an article by Alin Suciu on the Coptic ps.Severian homily In Apostolos, and thought that I had better update the bibliography.  It is, as ever, far from comprehensive – I am no compiler of bibliographies – but merely a tool for my own purposes.

  • Severian-of-Gabala-works (PDF)
  • Severian-of-Gabala-works (docx)

This replaces the files uploaded here.

UPDATE: New version here.


Severian of Gabala bibliography updated again

I received an email this evening telling me about four new English translations of homilies by Severian on the ascension; also that De Spiritu Sancto, as published by Migne, is missing the last 10 lines; and that the Clavis Patrum Graecorum Supplement has quite a bit of extra material.  Which, I find, it does.

I posted my bibliographic notes in this post, so I had better update them again.  These are not scholarly, just derived from whatever I have to hand, as a guide for commissioning translations.  But here they are:

  • Severian-of-Gabala-works (PDF)
  • Severian-of-Gabala-works (.docx)

Note: updated version here.


Severian of Gabala – On the Holy Spirit, now online in English

Severian of Gabala (ca. 398 AD) was a member of the Antiochene school of biblical interpretation.  In consequence his sermons tend to be expository, and consequently still of value today.  Regrettably they have not been translated into English, for the most part.  Regular readers will be aware that I have commissioned translations of a number of them.

Bryson Sewell has just finished wrestling with Severian’s sermon De Spiritu Sancto (CPG 4188), as printed by Migne in the Patrologia Graeca 52, cols.813-826.  This makes it one of the longer works preserved.

The text gets obscure at points.  Severian has a bit of a tendency to address his audience; then switch to address some imaginary Arian or Macedonian; then back again.  I’m not sure that either of us quite followed him at every point!  On the other hand it has some very useful arguments from scripture for the divinity of the Holy Spirit (as well as some less good ones).

Here it is:

These may also be found at

As usual I place these in the public domain; do whatever you like with them, personal, educational or commercial.[1]

There will now be a pause in translating Severian’s works, but I hope that we will return to him sometime.  However the next translation that we do will be something else.

A translation of another early sermon – not by Severian – is in flight, and should appear in the next few days.  But that will be it for a little while.  Fear not; there will be more!

  1. [1]Just don’t claim exclusive ownership, tho!

Sever J. Voicu’s 1990 article on Severian of Gabala

It is hard to do much work on Severian of Gabala for lack of access to the basic materials; texts, translations and studies.  The list of works in the Clavis Patrum Graecorum is useful, but hard to access and split across various entries and sub-sections.  The most important article on the subject is, and remains – after 24 years –  Sever J. Voicu, “Severien de Gabala,” Dictionnaire de spiritualite 14 (Paris, 1990), 752-63.  Fortunately Dr Voicu has given permission for a transcript, made by a correspondent, to appear here.[1]  Here it is, in Word .doc format:

Dr Voicu adds, “It is rather outdated, but no other comprehensive entry about Severian of Gabala has been written since.”  Any errors are, of course, my fault and nobody else’s.  I note that a certain amount of reformatting was introduced, but it seems to make it clearer.

I hope that this will be readable via Google Translate even for those without a command of French.  I hope to prepare an English translation of at least some of it.

  1. [1]I am not entirely certain as to the ownership of this article – if anybody believes that they have property in it, please contact me.