Eleventh-Century Leaves in Greek of Homilies by John Chrysostom


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Homilies of John Chrysostom in Greek. Two large, nearly complete folios on vellum. Greece, either Constantinople or Mount Athos, eleventh century: 313 mm x 243 mm; 309 mm x 225 mm (justification, 257 mm x 186-195 mm). Ruled in dry-point. Double column, 30 lines in Greek Perlschrift. Written on thick parchment. Bound out of sequence (in precisely the wrong order!) in a cloth-covered binding with a cartouche that reads, “MS 1979/3 … discussion of adultry [sic] … homily … Greece or Sicily 11th c.”


John Chrysostom, In illud: Vidi dominum, Is. 6.1. CPG 4417.3, BHG 129n, ed. J. Dumortier, Jean Chrysostome. Homélies sur Ozias, Sources chrétiennes 277 (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1981), pp. 42-228.

These leaves were either part of a collection of homilies by Chrysostom or from a homiliary that included his works. The leaves have been misbound and the sequence has been restored here, as follows:

iv) <John Chrysostom, In illud: Vidi dominum (hom. 3.3.58- 4.8)>. Inc. mut. κρείττων ἡ παρθ]ενία, διὰ τοῦτο κακὸν ὁ γά|μος, ἀλλ’ ἔλαττον μὲν ἐκείνου … des. mut. καὶ παραμυθίαν (παραμύθιον MS) ἡγοῦνται τῆς οἰκείας [κολάσεως … as verso

iii) <John Chrysostom, In illud: Vidi dominum (hom. 3.3.27- 3.3.57)>. Inc. mut. … ] Ὥσπερ οὖν κυβερνήτης ἐν λιμένι| ναυάγιον ἐργαζόμενος des. mut. Καλὸν ὁ γάμος, ἀλλὰ κρείττων ἡ παρθενία καὶ … (ἡ παρθενία· οὐκ ἐπειδὴ ed.) as recto

ii) <John Chrysostom, In illud: Vidi dominum (hom. 3.2.32-61)>. Inc. mut. πρὸς γὰρ αὐτὸν ἄνω τελεῖ (τελευτᾷ ed.) … des. mut. θησαυρόν, ὥστε παρ’ αὐτὰ [τοῦ λιμένος … as verso

i) <John Chrysostom, In illud: Vidi dominum (hom. 3.2.2-32)>. Inc. mut. τῶν πεπραγμένων … des. mut. καὶ ὑψηλοτέρα πολλῷ [… as recto


The single hand of both folios resembles that of fourteen leaves of homilies by Gregory of Nazianus and John Chrysostom offered in Quaritch, cat. 1270 (2000), Bookhands of the Middle Ages IV, no. 59. The script belongs to the “Perlschrift” family and resembles the following hands, all eleventh-century: RGK I, 136, Θεοφάνης (Ἰβήρων) = RGK II, 180; RGK III, 230; RGK II, 36, Ἀντώνιος; RGK II, 302, Κλήμης; RGK III, 198, Ἠλίας; RGK III, 321, Ἰωάννης


Each leaf is more of less textually complete, apart from being trimmed at the top with losses of uppermost line or so. The first folio (i.e., the second one in the binding) has significant water damage and stains from re-use in a later binding that affect about 2/3 of the text. This damaged section is largely illegible on the recto of this first leaf, but largely legible on the verso (and fully legible under a UV lamp). The second leaf (i.e., the first one in the binding) is completely legible and but has glue-stains from the turn-downs of an old leather binding.


Written in Constantinople or on Mount Athos in the eleventh century, and by the seventeenth or eighteenth century in Italy, and reused on bindings there: inscriptions of “282” and “E” in an Italian hand of that date.

Sotheby’s, 5 December 1994, lot 50 (part).

Schøyen Collection, London and Oslo, MS 1979/3, acquired at Sotheby’s. A British export license has been granted.


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