As I explained in my previous post, Euthymius Zigabenus’ Commentary on the Epistles is divided into two separate works: Comm. in Epistulas Pauli and Enarratio In Septem Epp Catholicas. Based on research that I have been doing on the 9th Manuscript and on Enarratio In Septem Epp Catholicas in general, it would appear that this second work is wrongfully attributed to Euthymius, as I’ll show below.

Differences in Structure between Comm. in Epistulas Pauli and Enarratio In Septem Epp Catholicas

At this point, I have translated Euthymius’ Commentaries on the Epistles to the Galatians and Romans and 80% of his commentary on 1st Corinthians, so I am familiar with the style and structure of his prose. The heading of this work in general is “Commentary on the Epistles of the Great Apostle Paul, learnedly acquired through contributions above all from the explanation of our father among the Saints, John Chrysostom, and yet also from various other fathers, with the monk, Euthymius Zigabenus, borrowing it and contribution some things“, thus showing that his main patristic source is St. John Chrysostom, although he does include at times other Fathers; this is an exception though, based on my experience, and not the norm. Nikiforos Kalogeras, as a true scholar, includes other sources in the footnotes to his 1887 edition of the work, but this is just a modern bonus for us who are reading it nowadays.

If we compare Enarratio In Septem Epp Catholicas to Comm. in Epistulas Pauli (whose contents I have been translating all this time) we will see a distinct difference in structure. Where the name of St. John Chrysostom is written once in the title of Comm. in Epistulas Pauli, and occassionally interspersed here and there in the commentary, we see many sources appearing either in the margins or in the commentary itself in manuscripts of Enarratio In Septem Epp Catholicas. If I understand it correctly, this structure of including source after source is called a catena, where the name of each patristic author precedes the commentary. Wikipedia, on that same page, says that “Between the seventh and the tenth centuries, Andreas Presbyter and Johannes Drungarius (John Zonaras) are the compilers of catenas to various Books of Scripture.” The name John Zonaras has not come up in my research at all, but Andreas Presbyter has.

Casanatense 1395, 6r. Example of a catena. The marginalia show the patristic sources for this folio: Κυρίλλου (Cyril of Alexandria) twice, Σευηριανοῦ Γαβάλων (Severian of Gabala) once, and Χρυσοστόμου (John Chrysostom) once.

Evidence that Euthymius Zigabenus did not Compose Enarratio In Septem Epp Catholicas

On the Pinakes page for manuscript Panteleimon 770, folios 153v-192v are listed as containing Catenae for Acts of the Apostles and 193r-207v are listed as Catenae for the Universal Epistles, both sets of catenae being attributed to Andreas Presbyter. Immediately after those, we have 209r-281r as Comm. in Epistulas Pauli attributed to Euthymius Zigabenus, which I have already indexed. I took Kalogeras’ edition and compared it with Panteleimon 770 197r as a test, and that commentary on 2nd Peter read exactly the same in both texts. This puts strong doubt on the attribution of authorship of Enarratio In Septem Epp Catholicas to Euthymius Zigabenus. But perhaps in this instance the authorship was incorrectly attributed to Andreas Presbyter?

In my search for more information on Euthymius Zigabenus, I came across a book called Ευθύμιος – Ιωάννης Ζυγαδηνός / Βίος – Συγγραφαί written by Andreas N. Papabasileiou. This is a hidden gem of incredible scholarship. In this book, Papabasileiou first discusses the birth, person, and life of Euthymius Zigabenus, replete with citations, and then goes on to discuss all of the major and minor works of the author, including the spurious works, of which Enarratio In Septem Epp Catholicas is listed first of all.

Commenting on the structure of Enarratio In Septem Epp Catholicas, Papabasileiou says of Euthymius in his 5th footnote on page 370 that Kalogeras notices that “he advances through constant speculation and, by tracking everywhere, he happens on the solution.” Papabasileiou says, however, that the editor of Enarratio In Septem Epp Catholicas, on the other hand, often packs the verses all together and explains many of them at once, sometimes through just single comment. Nikiforos goes on to say that the editor introduces few ideas of himself, and draws on other interpreters for the majority of ideas, he himself not sinking deeply into the exact meaning of the text more than necessary.

Ευθύμιος – Ιωάννης Ζυγαδηνός / Βίος – Συγγραφαί, Andreas N. Papabasileiou, 1979, p.369.
Ευθύμιος – Ιωάννης Ζυγαδηνός / Βίος – Συγγραφαί, Andreas N. Papabasileiou, 1979, p.370.

Papabasileiou, one pages 349-350, lists four manuscripts in which this work remains extant (in which the authorship is attributed to Euthymius, at least):
9th-10th c. – Oxford, Oxford, Rawl. G. 157 (it contains only the commentary on Jude 1:3-25)
10th-11th c. – Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Coislin Gr. 25, 191r-254v
12th c. – Oxford, Oxford, New College 58, 178r-245v
16th c. – Rome, Biblioteca Casanatense, 1395, 1r-70v

This list presents a problem for the legitimacy of this work as Euthymius’. If the dating of Rawl. G. 157 is correct, then Papabasileiou’s 6th footnote on page 370 holds true, that “it is impossible for this presbyter Andreas to have lived during or after the 10th century.” If Andreas Presbyter really is the author of the work, which seems to be case, then Euthymius could not have written it, since it existed before he was even born.

I was fooled, then, as others were. Even Nikiforos Kalogeras originally thought that Euthymius wrote the commentaries on the Universal Epistles, and only afterwards realized, through reading the research of others, that it was most likely Andreas Presbyter that wrote them (Βίος – Συγγραφαί, 369-370).

Dilemma Regarding the Future Course of my Project

I am now asking myself the following question: If Euthymius Zigabenus is not the author of Enarratio In Septem Epp Catholicas, do I include those seven commentaries in my translation and in my research going forward? If I answer yes, then I have to question what the focus of this project actually is. Is it on Euthymius Zigabenus’ Commentary on the Epistles, as I have been saying all this time, or is it more aligned with creating a translation of Nikiforos Kalogeras’ publication of two different commentaries on the Epistles? In my mind, both are important and noble choices, especially since Kalogeras has added his own scholarship to the commentaries, which might prove informative to others. If I answer no, though, then the amount of time and effort that I will have to put in will decrease significantly, since the word count that I have to translate drops from 278,882 to 231,674, but I will also be excluding both the commentaries on the Universal Epistles in general and Kalogeras’ footnotes that go along with them. The English translation that I hope to publish will be missing the last chunk of that part of the New Testament, which doesn’t sit well with me. And if I ultimately choose to omit the spurious commentaries, I will have to rename this project to Euthymius Zigabenus’ Commentary on the Epistles of Paul.

At some point in the near future I will be editing the places on this website where I talk about the 9th Manuscript in order to make mention of this new finding. I may even remove it from the list of 8 Manuscripts and from the Indices of the Manuscripts section (namely Theol. gr. 79 and Casanatense 1395, 1r-70v).

I have to make a decision about Enarratio In Septem Epp Catholicas at some point. I even have a feeling right now of which path I might take, but I have to think long and hard about it before deciding definitively what I will do.


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