The Dialogue of Palladius concerning the Life of St. John Chrysostom (1921). Introduction by Herbert Moore. Pp. vii-xxv.
[by Herbert MOORE]
I. The Subject of the Memoir
This treatise, obviously written by one who had full information, and was an eye-witness of many of the incidents which he narrates, is our best authority for the life of St. Chrysostom; we have other "lives," of no great value, by Theodore, Bishop of Trimithus (c. 680), George, Bishop of Alexandria (c. 620), " Leo the Emperor" (c. 900), and an anonymous writer; and accounts contained in the fifth-century Church Histories of Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret and Philostorgius, the theologian Photius (c. 850), and the pagan writer Zosimus, besides a few other references in ancient authors. From these various sources we are able to draw not only a record of Chrysostom's life, but also a picture of the man himself; and, incidentally, to gather light upon the life of the Church in his days, and information as to uses and observances, some of which have fallen into desuetude, while others are still practised among us.
The more carefully we study his life, the more lovable the man appears, and the more conscious we are of our debt to him, for the noble standard of devotional, ministerial and intellectual Christian life which he so fearlessly, faithfully and outspokenly maintained,1 and bequeathed to us; and the more admirable seems his life, by contrast with the lives of many of his contemporaries, pagan and, alas! even Christian. But he had the defects of his good qualities. "He was a man who in his enthusiasm for virtue was over-bitter, and given to wrath rather |viii than to modest dealings; from the uprightness of his life he took no thought for the future, and from his simplicity of character acted without deep consideration. He used unmeasured freedom of speech with those whom he encountered, and as a teacher greatly benefited his hearers; but was considered by those who did not know him to be arrogant in his behaviour." 2
The Dialogue shows us the grounds on which these criticisms were based, and the author offers various answers to them. "He had qualities admirable in a man of action; what could be more precious than his generous and sanguine enthusiasm? He lacked the command over himself, the coolness and tact, of a politician; we shall often notice this; but if he had possessed these, would he have been Chrysostom?" (Puech).3
It is impossible here to deal with Chrysostom's literary work, which is more abundant than that of any other Greek Church writer. While at Antioch he preached, chiefly during Lent, series after series of homilies, or expositions of Scripture, in which he dealt with most of the books of the Bible. "I think," writes Isidore of Pelusium, "that if the divine Paul had wished to expound his own writings, he would not have spoken otherwise than this famous master; so remarkable is his exposition for its contents, beauty of form, and propriety of expression." Suidas, in the tenth century, says: "Since the world began, no one has possessed such gifts as an orator: he alone merited the name of Golden-mouthed 4 and divine orator." Most of these homilies were taken down by shorthand writers, and apparently corrected by himself. There are also extant a large number of sermons on special subjects, the most famous of |ix which are the twenty-one "On the Statues," delivered at Antioch in 387, when the city was threatened with destruction by the Emperor, in punishment for a disloyal outbreak; and many treatises on moral and theological subjects, including his splendid work "On the Priesthood." Most of his remains are of the period of his life spent at Antioch; at Constantinople he lacked the time, if not the opportunity, for such highly intellectual work.5 A considerable number of spurious works are also attributed to him, including some which were probably forged, or at least misreported, by his enemies, in order to enrage the Empress against him.
II. The Teaching of the Dialogue
Chrysostom's career is one more exemplification of the perennial conflict between the Church and the world. The Church is to act as the salt of the earth, the city set on an hill, the light of the world, the temple of the Living God; her ideals will always be too high even for the saints to attain, but it is the few who reach forth unto those things which are before that raise the average attainments of mankind. Yet she must not break the bruised reed, or quench the smoking flax, by pitching her requirements too high for the practical use of the ordinary man living in the world, and condemning things which God hath not condemned. She may neither make the heart of the righteous sad, nor strengthen the hands of the wicked, by promising them life.
Thus the problem before the Church at all times is to steer her way between the two extremes of undue severity and compliant subservience. Hence men of different temperaments will form different judgments upon Chrysostom's career. One temperament is all for severity, sometimes with the highest motives, sometimes, unconsciously it may be, |x otherwise; it demands asceticism in life, rigour in doctrine, strictness in the enjoyment of the pleasures of the world. Another, with high or (again perhaps unconsciously) with low motives, thinks that men may best be won by being content with a low standard, with an eye to the possibilities of the multitude, rather than of the few; it seeks to teach that all worldly things are gifts of God, richly given us to enjoy. The first condemns the second as truckling to the world; the second looks upon the first as a dreamer of vain dreams. The first rebukes out of season as well as in season; the second marvels at his want of tact.
There can be no doubt which is the point of view taken in this Dialogue. Records of events which so deeply stirred the hearts of men are naturally coloured by the prejudices of their writers; it is hard to believe that all the denunciations of Chrysostom's enemies contained in the treatise were truly deserved. The strong common sense shown in Chrysostom's writings, though sometimes obscured by extravagance of expression and ignorance of economic laws, in regard to the riches, the pomps and the vanities of the world, generally preserved him from the bitterness with which his disciple denounces them. But those who fall short of our author's ideal have "leaped upon the ministry," dealt deceitfully with the word of God, and perverted the Christian teaching. No language is too strong; the priest who has not the virtues of the monk is worthy only of a company of satyrs, or a priesthood of Dionysus. True, " the sword could not be blunt, or the bold word be left unspoken," and Chrysostom did indeed "lift up his voice more clearly than a trumpet." Yet in spite of Palladius' defence of Chrysostom's zeal, it is difficult to rise from the study of the various records without forming the conclusion that in regard to Eudoxia he spake unadvisedly with his lips; it seems impossible to doubt that the charges of comparing her publicly to Jezebel and Herodias |xi were founded on fact. Because his eloquence had stirred the populace to reform, and he had the support of many warm friends, he thought himself, like Savonarola in later days, strong enough to attack her; and the shining of his light in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation was extinguished for ever. Was he right or wrong? We answer the question according to our respective temperaments. Yet whatever be our judgment, we know that the world does, after all, respect high ideals, and unconsciously is raised by them, though it may seem to go on its own way, and prefer to join in the censure upon the outspoken tongue. Chrysostom's life and death were not in vain.
So far as we can judge, making all allowances for the prejudices of our author, Theophilus' motives were not good, but evil. Chrysostom, like Cranmer, appealed to an oecumenical council, which never was held, and never can be held. "This world is a wrestling-ground," and Palladius sees that there is no such rough-and-ready way to solve our problems. We are come to the general assembly of the firstborn, which are written in heaven; but we are also come to God, the Judge of all.
But the world is not only a spiritual force, seductive and attractive, continually tending to drag the ideal down to its own level. It has also its coercive power; its rulers bear the sword, and can help forward or restrain the work of the Church. Its good-will may be won by "tables" or by "flattery," but always with disastrous results. We find Chrysostom and the monks, no less than Theophilus and Atticus, appealing to the civil power, and using it, not as an impartial judge between conflicting parties, but as a means of forwarding their respective views of the doctrine and discipline of the Church. But Chrysostom found at last that the sword borne by the temporal power is two-edged. Theophilus' party gained the upper hand, by a dexterous use of the selfish passions which animate rulers and subjects |xii alike; and the Church never regained her position as a power for righteousness. No check was left upon the absolutism of the Emperor, henceforth supreme in Church and State. No Ambrose said to him, " Thou hast imitated the guilt of David; imitate him also in thy penance;" no Hildebrand could raise the swan-like cry, "I have loved righteousness and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile." But as the world advances in its conceptions of the worth of the individual, and of his rights and liberties, absolutism becomes impossible, and the long-pent-up forces at last break out in revolution, the more savage in proportion to the repression of the past. "Though the wheels of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small." Our author, like other early historians, may or may not have been right in attributing various disasters to the Divine wrath at the judicial murder of Chrysostom; we see God's Hand in greater things than these. A meeting of forty discontented bishops in a suburb, fourteen hundred years ago, may seem of small importance to us; but it was one of the first steps to the placing of the Church, like the State, under the heel of the Emperors----the conception which has prevailed through the centuries in the Eastern Church.
A certain nameless bishop is represented as paying a visit to Rome, where he has a conversation, lasting several days (p. 148), with a deacon, Theodorus, who has heard only one side of the story, emanating from Chrysostom's enemies, and wishes to know the truth, both as to the facts, and as to the cavils at Chrysostom's personal character, embodied in the charges brought against him at The Oak. Other persons are present during the discussion (pp. 6, 60, 119, 165), one of whom joins in for a moment; and the final result is that Theodorus rejects the disparaging accounts he has received, and utters an eulogy upon the martyred saint. The supposed date of the Dialogue is shortly after Chrysostom's death, as the news of it which has reached the deacon needs confirmation (p. 33). |xiii
The events referred to in the Dialogue may be arranged in historical order thus:----
|344-347. Chrysostom born at Antioch||37|
|373. Enters monastery near Antioch||38|
|381. Ordained deacon at Antioch||39|
|386.. Ordained priest at Antioch||40|
|398 (Feb. 26). Ordained bishop at Constantinople||42|
|Reforms in the Church and in the city||44 ff.|
|399. Healing of the schism at Antioch||50|
|400. Revolt of Gainas||122|
|Eusebius' accusation of Antoninus||117 ff.|
|401 (Jan.). Visit to Ephesus||125|
|Deposition of six bishops||127|
|Theophilus' condemnation of Origenism||54|
|402. Arrival of the monks at Constantinople||58|
|403. The Synod of The Oak||65 ff|
|First expulsion of Chrysostom||73|
|Theophilus' intrigues||74 ff|
|404 (Easter----April 16). Tumult in the Church||81|
|Chrysostom's letter to Innocent||10 ff.|
|Attempt upon his life||177|
|(June 20). Second expulsion||85 ff|
|Burning of the Church||88|
|Reception of the news at Rome||21 ff|
|Deputation of Western Bishops||28 ff.|
|Cruel treatment of Chrysostom's supporters||174 ff.|
|(Sept.). Arrival at Cucusus||90|
|407 (June). Removal to Pityus||94|
|(Sept. 14). Death||96|
Accounts are introduced of Olympias (p. 150), of Porphyrius (p. 133 ff.) and of various monks (p. 145). The charges brought against Chrysostom which are |xiv met are those of eating alone (pp. 98, 112), of deposing sixteen bishops (p. 116), of excessive outspokenness (p. 160), of personal attacks upon individuals (p. 163), and of haughtiness and insolence towards clergy (p. 165). The author also moralizes at great length upon various subjects, which will be found in the General Index.
III. The Author
The treatise as it stands is anonymous, but it is generally attributed to Palladius, Bishop of Helenopolis. Its present title is "An historical dialogue of Palladius, Bishop of Helenopolis, held with Theodorus, Deacon of Rome, concerning the life and conversation of the blessed John, Bishop of Constantinople, the Golden-mouthed." And in the margin the words are added, "In other (copies) it is written, Bishop of Aspona."
Thus the title represents, not that Palladius of Helenopolis, or of Aspona, is the writer of the treatise, but that he is the nameless bishop who takes the chief part in the Dialogue. Yet this is nowhere stated. He is described simply as a member of John's synod (pp. 7, 66), from the east (p. 6), though not of Constantinople (p. 150), who had suffered on his behalf (p. 173). Nor can it be intended to identify the bishop with Palladius; it is asserted that it is the bishop's first visit to Rome (p. 6), yet within a few pages (p. 25) that Palladius of Helenopolis had been one of the first who brought to Rome the news of the troubles. He is represented as an old man (p. 33), while Palladius was not forty-five years old at the time of Chrysostom's death. There is nothing except the title to suggest that the interlocutor is Palladius, who is always spoken of in the third person----a fact which some have supposed to forbid the idea of his being the author. The same argument would show that Boswell was not the author of the Life of Johnson. In fact, it is quite clear that the bishop of the Dialogue is an entirely |xv imaginary person. Yet George tells us that he has made extracts from "the Dialogue of Bishop Palladius with Theodore," without naming his diocese; Theodore of Trimuthus also regards him as the bishop of the Dialogue. Neither of these writers had better information than we possess; they simply accepted the statement of the title as we have it.
Palladius, Bishop of Helenopolis (Drepanum, in Bithynia), is known to us as the author of the Lausiac History, an English translation of which, by W. K. Lowther Clarke, is published in the present Series; this consists of a number of brief biographies or anecdotes of worthies, chiefly monks, whom he had known, or of whom he had heard, during his life as a monk in the desert, or in the course of his travels. The Introduction to this work states that it was compiled for the same purpose of moral instruction which is alleged for the Dialogue. He was evidently a friend of Chrysostom, who writes to him from Cucusus, asking for his prayers, and saying that he ceases not daily to be anxious for his welfare (Ep. 113).6 The History shows that he was consecrated Bishop of Helenopolis after leaving the desert, in the year 400, "having become embroiled in the disturbance connected with the blessed John"; 7 the Dialogue gives us the account of his journey to Ephesus (p. 125 ff.), of his visit to Rome (p. 25), his voyage to Constantinople (p. 29), and his exile to Syene (pp. 174, 178). On his return, he lived for two years in Galatia, and (in 417), as Socrates 8 informs us, he was translated as bishop to Aspona, in Galatia. Two years later he wrote his Lausiac History, and some time between 420 and 430 he died. |xvi
IV. The Treatise
The only manuscript copy of the treatise appears to be one of the eleventh century (Bigot in error says the seventh) in the Medicean Library at Florence; the Life of Chrysostom by George contains copious extracts from the work, by which our text may be checked. It was first edited, with a Latin translation, by Emeritus Bigot, in 1680. It is written in late Greek, many words being used in senses unknown to classical authors, and grammatical mistakes are frequent. The historical order of events is disregarded, as it is the chief object of the author, not so much to write a biography, as to set forth an ideal, to stimulate his readers to follow the good example of the saint, and to warn them against improperly seeking the priesthood (p. 173).
It is cast in the form of a dialogue, a recognized method of presenting a moral treatise. Chrysostom's famous work On the Priesthood is so written; the "liberal education "----of which Palladius both here and in the Lausiac History speaks with admiration-----which he had received certainly included the dialogues of Plato, and it was natural to him to use this vehicle of thought. Palladius' love for his master led him to follow his example; but he had not his knowledge of Plato, or his ability, and at times the Dialogue is somewhat wearisome, and the form unsuitable to the subject. He cannot do two things at once----give a memoir of a good man, and compile a moral treatise; when he introduces long accounts of historical incidents, and, above all, the letter to Innocent (p. 10), he makes a wide departure from the methods followed in the Platonic dialogues which have a similar purpose to his own, such as the Apology of Socrates and Crito. We forget that we are reading a dialogue, and have a sense of annoyance when the deacon interrupts with his jejune questions and remarks.
The titles of ancient writings are frequently |xvii unreliable. I take it as probable that something of this sort occurred; the original heading was simply "An historical dialogue of Palladius"----that is, " by Palladius." Some copyist, noticing that the chief interlocutor was a bishop, and that "Palladius, Bishop of Helenopolis," was mentioned in the treatise, supposed that the indication of authorship was meant to identify the imaginary character in the Dialogue, and took upon himself to add the rest. Then a later scribe, who knew that Palladius, the author of the History, had been translated to Aspona, inserted the correction. The title "Golden-mouthed," at least, is unquestionably an addition; it took the place of "John" in common parlance at a later time----about the middle of the fifth century. This addition casts suspicion upon the rest of the heading. But why should Palladius of Helenopolis have been picked out as the interlocutor from all the Eastern bishops mentioned, unless there was a tradition, or more probably written evidence in the heading as it then stood, specially connecting a Palladius with the treatise, not as interlocutor, but as author? There certainly was such a tradition; in a list of eighteen persons who wrote on the life of Chrysostom, contained in a "very ancient codex" examined by Petavius, "Palladius, Bishop of Helenopolis," is included; Photius says that "Palladius was a bishop, and wrote of Chrysostom's doings in the form of a dialogue."
Palladius was by no means an uncommon name at the time; Dom Butler finds eleven persons who bore it. If the author was named Palladius, the question arises: Was this Palladius the Bishop of Helenopolis, the author also of the Lausiac History, or another man of the same name? Bigot goes so far as to suggest that another Palladius succeeded the Lausiac author at Helenopolis, and wrote the Dialogue.
The learned Benedictine, Dom Cuthbert Butler, Abbot of Downside Abbey, to whom we owe an |xviii edition of the Lausiac History (Cambridge, 1904) which for accurate scholarship and minute research ranks with the finest works of the kind ever issued, forms the conclusion that both writings have the same authorship (in his monograph Authorship of the Dialogus de Vita Chrysostomi, Rome, 1908). Bardenhewer says 1 that " the author of the Lausiac History is easily identified with the biographer of Chrysostom," though, for reasons which he does not give, he adds that "he must not be confounded with the Bishop of Helenopolis." He had not the advantage of reading Dom Butler's work, which shows conclusively that the Lausiac History was written by this bishop.
Abbot Butler first weighs the evidence of style, and admits that there is a wide difference, not only in vocabulary, but also in use of phrases and manner of diction generally. We know that an author is usually rather proud of a telling word or phrase, and is apt to repeat it again and again; and every one has little tricks of expression, which are apt to occur all through his various works. About seventy words in Dom Butler's Index appear in the Dialogue; but many even of these are common in Patristic literature, and a great many curious words, as well as a great many characteristic expressions and phrases, are found in the one, not in the other. Mr. Clarke remarks that a distinguishing feature of Palladius 9 style is his incessant use of the particle οὖν; this is not the case in the Dialogue. The Dialogue abounds in grammatical mistakes; the author continually forgets the construction with which he began one of his long sentences, and changes the subject in its course. Few such errors occur in the simpler narratives of the History.10 The Dialogue has many more quotations from Scripture, even in proportion to its length (219, as against 50). This is partly because |xix in the non-historical portions the author is justifying Chrysostom's actions by scriptural precedent; but while the quotations in the History are brief, in the Dialogue they are sometimes very lengthy. Only eight are common to both treatises, though in two other cases words from the same context are quoted to the same effect.
On the other hand, Butler tells us that Dr. Zöckler speaks of "the essential similarity of style," 11 and that Dr. Preuschen considers the dissimilarity not sufficient to disprove common authorship. The reader of one constantly meets with strange words, or uses of words, or phrases, which recall the other; he feels that the writer who devised, or appropriated, one set of words or expressions was capable of doing so with the other. If we do not find so many "tricks of expression" as we should expect, we certainly find a large number.
Butler prints side by side thirteen such noteworthy phrases, showing a remarkable amount of similarity. I have collected about seventy more, which may be found through the key-words given in my Index I.; many other verbal coincidences might be added. Further, Butler brings out a still more striking point: that both authors (if they be two) use the same expressions about the same persons and things. I think that any reader who takes the trouble to compare, not only the words and usages of words, but the phrases and passages in which they occur, in the respective treatises, will see how unlikely it is that two separate authors should have used so many identical expressions and descriptions. Even one who does not know Greek will agree that so many characteristic phrases occurring alike in Coriolanus and in Cymbeline would be a strong argument for identity of authorship.
Style, however, is largely a matter of taste; Abbot Butler's scholarly instinct leads him to attach more |xx weight to the comparative use of Scripture texts. In both treatises the quotations are made freely, more particularly in the Dialogue, variations being introduced which are not found in any existing MS. It must not be supposed that ancient writers habitually "verified their references." There was no Authorized Version in those days, and the discovery of a number of passages in the cumbrous roll-volumes of manuscript Scriptures, undivided into chapters and verses, without the help of a concordance, would require great time and trouble. We have to compare the use of Scripture by ancient writers with that of a preacher, rather than with that of a writer, of to-day.
But we know that the monks, of whom Palladius was one, devoted much of their time to committing the sacred writings to memory (pp. 131, 149); many knew whole books by heart (Pall., L. H., xi., xxvi., xxxvii.). Quotations may thus be regarded as tolerably well representing MS. texts; at least, it is generally more or less clear when a variation is due to defective memory, when to difference in the original documents. Thus our author gets into trouble over his quotation from Ezek. xxxiv., in which he evidently trusted to his memory; the two long passages from Deut. xxxiii. and Ezek. ix. present but slight variations from the text, and one of these (Deut. xxxiii. 16, 17) is of such a nature as to suggest that it was found in the text the author used.
Dom Butler points out that in both treatises St. Matt. xi. 18 is combined with St. Matt. xxi. 32, and that in each case the quotation is prefaced with "in reproach." Also that St. Mark ii. 16 is combined with St. Matt. ix. 11; both in a manner which has no MS. support or literary parallel. Both quote 1 St. John ii. 18, with the remark that "it was the last hour 400 years ago." It is almost incredible that this should be mere coincidence.
Here again I have carried Dom Butler's argument further. An examination of the O.T. quotations in the two treatises shows that where such variations |xxi occur from the text of the LXX known as "B" (which Dr. Swete considers nearest the original version) as are obviously not due to lapse of memory, but are confirmed by MSS. which we possess, these variations are all found in one, or both, of the MSS. known as "Aleph" or "A." 12 It would certainly be strange that, with the multiplication of copies of the Septuagint which must have taken place by A.D. 400, two different writers should have stumbled upon the same texts.13 It is specially remarkable that in one text (Ecclus. viii. 9) inaccurately quoted from memory in both treatises, exactly the same alteration of words, and exactly the same alteration of order, appears in both. Is not this just what we find in the habitual misquotations in which a preacher of to-day is found to persist?
Again, the author of the Dialogue, like Palladius of Helenopolis, has seen Egyptian temples (p. 36); he has conversed with Hierax (p. 145); he is one of the forty bishops who struggled on Chrysostom's side; he is full of admiration for monks; he knows the same people----Isidore, Ammon, Dioscorus, Chronius, Macarius, Olympias.14 Finally, the knowledge of Palladius' doings shown by the writer is extraordinary, if he was other than Palladius himself. In four passages he gives a vivid and minute account of incidents in which "Palladius of Helenopolis" is stated to have taken part: the deputation to Constantinople (p. 29), the incidents connected with the Synod of The Oak |xxii (p. 66 ff.), the mission to Ephesus (p. 125 ff.), and the journey of the Eastern bishops (p. 178), which continues the narrative of the deputation. Only the account of the death-bed scene approaches these; details of this he would easily obtain. And he not only uses the same literary devices as in the History (such as "a soldier told me," "they say,"----p. 178----"it is said") when recording incidents of which he was an eyewitness; but once (p. 29) he forgets that he is writing anonymously, and passes, like the author of the History, from indirect to direct narration, as St. Luke does in the Acts. We note that in both treatises proverbs and sententious observations are frequent, and that in both an inordinate amount of space is devoted to food and drink----or abstinence from them.
It is, of course, possible that some later writer "edited" the original work. It may be fanciful to suggest that pains seem to be taken to avoid the use of the particle "therefore," as though the author, or his editor, had deliberately substituted other connecting words; the particle appears at times in several sentences together, as if the self-imposed rule had been forgotten. But we may account for the difference of style which has led some to deny to the author of the History the authorship of the Dialogue, by considerations of the difference of subject, the lapse of time, and the likelihood of his employment of an amanuensis.
There is no need to argue the probability that the smaller work preceded the greater, since the design of both is stated to be the same----to edify readers by setting before them high examples of the Christian life. When the author found that the brief records of the History proved of interest and value, he would naturally try to do the same thing on a larger scale with the life of a single man, the most eminent Christian of the day. He could not write a lengthy treatise at Syene, if only for the want of "prime parchment" (p. 173), and is not likely to have done so during his stay in Galatia, with his mind |xxiii distracted by current events, and his uncertainty as to his future. The reference to Theophilus (who died in 412) on p. 190 does not necessarily imply that he was still alive; on the other hand, the mention of a collection of Chrysostom's writings, especially of his letters (p. 100), seems to demand a certain lapse of time.
Palladius wrote his History, as we saw, when he was about fifty-three years old. He had gone about, like Herodotus, with a notebook----mental, if not material----from which he afterwards drew his narratives and tales. Probably he had often rehearsed them in conversation, as men do, to fellow-travellers, and to little knots of friends interested in the monkish life, in the winter evenings, and wrote them down much as he had told them by word of mouth. Hence the "simple and natural air" of which Tillemont speaks. But in the Dialogue he is setting himself a more serious task. He is aiming at the standard set him by his models, Plato and Chrysostom himself; the author of a chatty volume of reminiscences naturally adopts a more grandiose style when making a solid contribution to literature. But he had not the gifts to do this successfully; he falls into the "more affected style of a man who has some taint of naughty rhetoric" 15 (Tillemont). His mind had been widened, and his vocabulary enlarged, by his intercourse with men, since the days when, as a monk, he had conned over the materials of his History; but the expressions which he had used of his friends were still connected with them in his mind.
But more. He had lived a hard life; after thirteen years of ascetic toil as a monk, he had travelled through Palestine, to Constantinople, visited Rome, suffered on Chrysostom's behalf, endured a trying journey to Syene, and there spent six years in exile. What had been the effect of these years of hardship upon his health, and especially upon his eyes, in the sand and glare of Egypt? |xxiv
We have spoken of the kind of grammatical errors which are frequent in the Dialogue; are they not just such as might be expected to occur if a man who was more or less accustomed to writing for himself was dictating to an amanuensis? Not being able to see his sentences as they rolled from his pen, his thoughts wandering while the scribe committed them to paper, he would be very likely to fall into such mistakes. In several places where the text needs correction, the slips seem to be due to mishearing as much as to mis-copying; in one passage especially (p. 108) the words are thrown down almost at random, as if the reciter had gone too fast.
"My conclusion," Dom Butler is good enough to write to me, "has been accepted by the great majority of the critics, though a Dutch professor, Aengenvoort, has contested it." I venture to hope that the additional evidence which I have collected may have the same effect upon the Dutch professor as the arguments of the imaginary bishop in support of the scholarly divine whom he held in honour had upon the deacon. "But if any one can speak more truthfully," by tracing the vocabulary of the author elsewhere in Patristic literature,16 " I will welcome him as a corrector of error and a lover of the brethren."
In any case, the author is so clearly a contemporary, and in many cases a careful eye-witness, of the events which he narrates, that his work may be regarded as a reliable authority for the life of the saint.17
V. The Present Edition
I have followed Bigot's text, as given by Migne (Patr. Gr., vol. xlvii.), though where Migne offers a |xxv good emendation or conjecture, I have not scrupled to avail myself of it, without necessarily calling attention to the matter in the notes.
The notes are somewhat more full than those generally given in this series of translations. It is my hope that the attraction of St. Chrysostom's name, and the simplicity of a biography as compared with a theological treatise, may secure a wider circle of readers from among those who do not make theology and Church antiquities their special study. I have therefore given some information upon points of history and Church life which such readers may not have leisure to investigate for themselves. I have referred to other writers of the time, where their records amplify, or explain, events in the Dialogue, and given a certain number of quotations from Chrysostom's writings, to show how far the author's thoughts were directly influenced by them. Also I have given references to the Lausiac History----not by any means so fully as would be possible, but to keep in the reader's mind the question of authorship, by showing a few of the resemblances which justify the assignment of both treatises to the same author.
The numbers at the top of the page refer to the pages in Migne's text. I have provided headings for the chapters and for divisions within the chapters for the convenience of the English reader.
An excellent Life of Chrysostom was published by Dean Stephens (John Murray, 1880), which supersedes an earlier Life by Neander (1848). St. Jean Chrysostome, by Aimé Puech (Paris: Lecoffre, 1913), a slighter work, combines French insight with French grace of style and phrase, while Dom Chr. Baur has published (Louvain, 1907) a "very complete and conscientious" study of Saint Jean Chrysostome et ses œuvres dans l'histoire littéraire.
[Footnotes renumbered and moved to the end]
1. 1 See especially pp. 154, 113.
2. 1 Socrates, Hist. Eccl., vi. 3. Sozomen has a similar judgment.
3. 2 It is interesting to consider how far he was carried away by the malign influence of Archdeacon Serapion upon his impetuous disposition.
4. 3 "Chrysostomos. "
5. 1 The Homilies on Acts, the Psalms and the Epistles to the Colossians and Thessalonians are of this period.
6. 1 The statement in D.C.B., that John sent his "grateful thanks" to Pinianus, Palladius' host at Rome (L. H., lxi. 5), is incorrect. The thanks are sent (Chrys. Epp. 157-160) to the four bishops of the delegation. The letters and the History both confirm the accounts given in the Dialogue of the visit to Rome and its sequel.
7. 2 Pall., L. H., xxxv. 12.
8. 3 vii. 36.
9. 1 Patrology (Shahan's Transl.), p. 381.
10. 2 But cf. Pall., L. H., Prologue, thirty-eight lines without a full-stop.
11. 1 This is especially noticeable in the passages in the Dialogue which deal with the life of monks, the subject of the History. Dr. Reitzenstein agrees with Dr. Zöckler.
12. 1 Cambridge Companion to the Bible, p. 31; Oxford Helps to the Study of the Bible, p. 25.
13. 2 I do not mean that the writer or writers must have possessed actual copies of either of the MSS. mentioned; there were doubtless many other copies of the original translation, with more or less numerous variations. For instance, two quotations are made----Ps. cxix. 51 and Prov. xi. 4----which are omitted in "B." Both occur in "A"; but the first, at least, must have been in many other copies, as without them the eight verses of the stanza would have been deficient.
14. 3 In both treatises acquaintance is shown with the writings of Evagrius, one of Palladius' companions in the desert.
15. 1 Dom Butler finds some trace of this in the History. The seeds of naughtiness were awaiting development.
16. 1 There are many parallel expressions in Isidore of Pelusium, or whose authorship something more might be said.
17. 2 Since this book was in print, Abbot Butler has again dealt with the question of unity of authorship, with greater fulness and detail, in an article in The Journal of Theological Studies for January 1921, which all Greek scholars interested in the subject should by all means study.
This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, 2006. All material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely.
Greek text is rendered using unicode.
|Early Church Fathers - Additional Texts|