Unpublished Material from John Chrysostom on the Psalms

First, I must say that I am enjoying my week in Oxford immensely.  I’ve learned a good deal from the Palaeography summer school: we’ve been able to read a goodly number of texts, in all sorts of different hands.  There have been quite interesting lectures in the evenings, and great library exhibits during the day.

While I’m here, I’ve decided to make use of the special collections access that came with my card.  Use the excellent Pinakes website, I came across Ms. Barocci 55, a codex containing a large number of homilies from John Chrysostom.  Of particular interest to me were 6 homilies on the Psalms which are not included in the Patrologia Graeca volume.  According to the catalog, the materials on the psalms dates from the 10th century, which means it’s quite early.

The psalms covered in the ms are: 41, 50 (2 homilies), 71, 92, and 100 (all LXX numbers).  I transcribed some material today from the homily on ps 100 (about a folio, front and back’s worth).  Though I’m no expert in such matters, it is consistent with what I’ve read from John’s material on the Psalms (especially his contrast between worldly songs and spiritual ones).

If proven authentic, these are important homilies!  Robert Hill recently published an English translation of Chrysostom’s material on the Psalter, and these homilies were not included (given they are not in the PG).  Likewise, Hill has an article on Antiochene interpretation of Psalm 41, which does not mention the homily contained here.

Hopefully I’ll be able to do some more work with this while I’m here, and perhaps in the future too.  The recent discovery of the Origen codex will only increase interest in our early exegetical material on the Psalms. In the meanwhile (as they say in the UK), let this serve as a humble reminder:  The PG, while vast, does not contain the entirety of the Patristic tradition!

Oh, and if someone is aware of a publication of these homilies, do let me know in the comments!

τῷ χείρι τοῦ ταπεινοῦ Ἀλεξάδρου ἁμαρτωλοῦ

3 thoughts on “Unpublished Material from John Chrysostom on the Psalms

  1. I have found some Coptic (Sahidic) fragments from the second homily on Psalm 50. But this text, which is spurious, is printed in the PG! See CPG 4545 = PG 55, coll. 575-588. You may want to check my blog post (http://alinsuciu.com/2011/06/27/new-writings-attributed-to-john-chrysostom-in-coptic/). A complete Bohairic version of the same homily is kept in the Vatican but it is still unpublished.

    The first homily on Psalm 50 is CPG 4544 = PG 55, coll. 565-575.
    In Ps. 41 seems to be CPG 4413.2 = PG 55, coll. 155-167;
    In Ps. 92 is CPG 4548 = PG 66, coll. 611-616 or, perhaps, Aldama 365 = PG 55, coll. 765-766;
    In Ps. 100 is CPG 4550 = PG 55, coll. 629-636; cf. also Aldama 377.

    1. Thanks for those references! My next task was to chase down the references in CPG, which I hadn’t got a chance to do. Perhaps all of these did appear in the PG after all (spuria or not).

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