Friday, 24 May 2019

Pierre AUGUSTIN: From Erasmus to Field : Contribution and Limits of the Previous Editions and Translations of John Chrysostom’s Homilies on Philippians

In the recent translation of their standard edition by Field (Oxford, 1855), the sixteenth homilies On Philippians ascribed to John Chrysostom (the argumentum being here taken as the first homily of the series) have been considered “the most comprehensive treatment of [this] letter surviving from Christian antiquity”. However, their provenance and chronology, and the homogeneity of the whole series, have been challenged by the translators, thus emphasizing the need of a comprehensive study on their Greek manuscript tradition. As an inquiry is about to be launched by Sources Chrétiennes, this preliminary review aims at setting within the competing recensions of the text the respective manuscript evidence of the previous Greek editions and Latin translations, from the 16th century onward. Both the partial and isolated “editio princeps”, in 1526, by Erasmus (who published the two first homilies, though he did not believe in their authenticity) and the first publication of the series within the whole corpus of Chrysostom’s exegetical homilies on the Pauline Epistles, by Bernardino Donato, in 1529, were still based on a single witness (in the latter case, of the so called “rough recension” of the text). The more ambitious endeavours of Savile (1612), Montfaucon (1734) and especially Field (1855), though based on a partial recensio, have brought to light a much more elaborate recension, which, considered by Nobili and Savile typical of Chrysostom’s rhetorical preaching, has been mainly discarded since Field as a later attempt to remake an early "rough recension", more likely to be genuine.

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