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Commentary on the Diatessaron

Ephraem’s commentary on the Diatessaron survives in a Syriac manuscript, (which preserves about three quarters of the commentary), and two Armenian MSS, both dated AD 1195. G. Mösinger made a Latin translation of the Armenian Ephraemic commentary (Evangelii concordantis expositio [Venice: Libraria P. P. Mechitaristarum in Monasterio S. Lazari, 1876]) based on the two Armenian MSS and J.-B. Aucher’s 1841 Latin translation. There are also various Syriac fragments in later Syriac writers.


For Syriac and Armenian recensions (fourth cent.) of Ephraem’s commentary see L. Leloir, Saint Éphrem, Commentaire de l’Évangile concordant, texte syriaque (Chester Beatty Monographs 8; Dublin: Hodges Figgis, 1963); id., Saint Éphrem, Commentaire de l’Évangile concordant, version armenienne (CSCO 137, 145; Louvain: Imprimerie Orientaliste, 1954); and J. Rendel Harris, Fragments of the Commentary of Ephrem Syrus upon the Diatessaron (London: J. Clay, 1895). A Syriac Ms. was found: L. Leloir, Saint Éphrem Commentaire de l'Évangile concordant texte syriaque (manuscrit Chester Beatty 709) (CBM 8; Dublin, 1963). A further single folio was published by P. Ortiz Valdivieso, “Un nuevo fragmento siríaco del Commentario de san Efrén al Diatésaron (PPalau Rib. 2),” Studia papyrologica 5 (1966) 7-17. Between 1984 and 1986 forty-one folios of Ephraem’s commentary were acquired by the Chester Beatty Library; see L. Leloir, "Le commentaire d’Éphrem sur le Diatessaron. Quarante et un folios retrouvés," RB 94 (1987) 481-518. K.J. Cathcart, 'The Biblical and Other Early Christian Manuscripts of the Chester Beatty Library', Back to the Sources (FS D. Ryan; ed. K.J. Cathcart & J.F. Healey; Dublin, 1989) 137ff. Cathcart estimates that less than 30 leaves remain undiscovered.

English: Saint Ephrem's Commentary on Tatian's Diatessaron: An English Translation of Chester Beatty Syriac MS 709 with Introduction and Notes Translated with introduction and notes by Carmel McCarthy. Oxford University Press (1994) 392 pages; halftone frontispiece; ISBN. 0-19-922163-4. Series: Journal of Semitic Studies Supplement, 2. Available from Amazon


Tyndale College article by Peter M. Head