I continue to plug away on a variety of fronts. Juggling school, work, and church is not always easy, but such is life. This post is mainly a collection of scattered thoughts and impressions about different things I’ve been working on.
Gregory of Nazianzus. On the Theophany. I recently finished reading Gregory’s 38th oration, On the Theophany, and enjoyed it immensely. Gregory’s Greek is not always easy (in fact it seldom is), but it’s immensely rewarding to work through. His vision of God’s grandeur and beauty is breathtaking, and I look forward to reading more! If I had time, I’d probably translate some more of the oration, just because I enjoyed it so much, but time pushes me onto other things.
Basil of Caesarea. On the Six Days of Creation. Instead of reading more Gregory, I decided to read some from St. Basil, as I’ve not yet read anything by the great bishop of Caesarea. Since I’ve also been thinking about Genesis recently, it seemed like a natural place to turn. From what I’ve seen so far (admittedly not much), Basil’s Greek seems a bit easier on the whole than Gregory’s, but quite well done nonetheless.
Plato. Protagoras. I’m taking a class on Socrates this semester, and for my term paper I’ll be writing on the Protagoras. It’s a fun dialog, and fun to read. Watching Plato’s Socrates interact with one of the great intellectuals of the previous generation is quite fun.
Origen. On the 76th Psalm Homily 1. I’ve picked up the Origen stuff again, after a long hiatus. I’ve resumed transcribing his long first homily on psalm 76, and a few interesting bits have come up. Origen attacks heretics at several points for neglecting the practical life (πραξεῖς or ἤθη), and instead proceeding directly to speculation on the nature of God. He’s also brought in his knowledge of Hebrew, mentioning that Zechariah’s name means “remembrance of God.” I don’t know Hebrew, but from what I can tell that’s pretty close even if it’s not precisely accurate.
I’ve also notice an interesting stylistic tic: he likes to mention several different possible interpretation for a given line of the psalm, and so he’ll say, “and I know another interpretation” or “I have a second interpretation.” When I put these Greek phrases into the TLG (οἶδα καὶ ἄλλην διήγησιν and ἔχω δὲ καὶ δευτέραν διήγησιν), in first case, the only results are from Origen’s Commentary on Matthew. The second doesn’t match exactly, but searching for “δευτέραν διήγησιν” brings up matches primarily in 3 authors: Galen, Celsus, and Origen, all working in the late second century or early third (there are a few matches from much later authors). Stylistic evidence like this aren’t the only grounds on which one judges authorship, but features like this do argue strongly in favor of Origenic authenticity.
Eusebius of Caesarea. Fragments on Luke. I contacted Roger Pearse a few months ago and asked if there were any untranslated Greek texts that he was wanting to get into English. He has graciously commissioned a translation of the fragments on Luke that appear in the PG under Eusebius’ name. I’ve been working on these slowly, but with some consistency. They seem to mostly be authentically Eusebian to me. The author is fond of long, winding, pleonastic sentences, which makes the translator’s job difficult! He knows Greek philosophy, and this is seen in the exegesis, though it doesn’t dominate. His exegetical eye is sometimes quite keen: he rightly picks up (what I think is) the jew/gentile distinction in Mt 21:28-31. Other times, the exegesis is more straightforward: he remarks that the miracles that the apostles performed were important witnesses to the authenticity of their message. Other times he seems more foreign, like when he creates an elaborate hierarchy of Christians on the basis of the beatitudes. All in all, useful material I think.