Sermon 19 in Constantine of Preslav’s Uchitel’noe Evangelie (Didactic Gospel) and its Greek Sources

Summary: 

     The present article discusses the question of the original or translated nature of the commentary part of Sermon 19 in the Uchitelnoe Evangelie. This part contains passages which have been thought to be of Constantine of Preslav’s own authorship, since they have no counterparts in his main Greek source, that is the catenae – i.e. the excerpted and compiled fragments of John Chrysostom’s commentaries on the Gospel of Matthew. Indeed, the examination of twenty manuscripts which attest catenae C110.1 and C110.2 but which differ from C110.4, published by Cramer, being usually compared to the Slavonic translation, confirms the lack of a parallel text. Yet, the homiletic nature of the main part of Sermon 19 directs the search for a parallel Greek text to John Chrysostom’s 61st homily on the Gospel of Matthew.

     The analysis undertaken shows that the commentary part of Sermon 19 is entirely a translation. Homily 61 is the Greek source text for all the passages attributed to Constantine of Preslav. He knew and actively used the text of Chrisostom’s homily. In the shortened commentary in the catena, which was also simplified regarding rhetorical devices, he incorporated passages, phrases, and words from the original homily. His own thoughts – and words – also found their place in this newly-created compilation. Their character, the specifics of the translation and the way in which he achieved a kind of symbiosis between the fragments of the two sources to accomplish a coherent and impressive text, reveal the great artistic knowledge and skills of the prominent Preslav bishop.

Dobriela Kotova (Sofia, Bulgaria)
References: 

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