Reception of John Chrysostom in the Middle Byzantine period (9th–13th centuries): a study of the Catechetical homily on Pascha (CPG 4605)
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date31/07/2022
Huggins, Mark Patrick
John Chrysostom was the most prolific Byzantine Church father, reaching high levels of prominence in the Byzantine Church for both his rhetorical prowess and spiritual instruction. Nevertheless, the process itself of the development of his cult in Byzantium has never been systematically studied. Moreover, one of the single most popular texts attributed to him, the so-called Catechetical Homily on Pascha, has also never been systematically analysed, despite scholarly insistence for centuries that the attribution to Chrysostom must be mistaken. The present dissertation addresses these two gaps in research together. Part 1 offers the first ever critical edition of the Catechetical Homily on Pascha, as well as the first edition of a related Byzantine text by the boisterous Constantinopolitan abbot, Theodore of Stoudios. The primary manuscript witnesses to the Catechetical Homily, and all related texts, are presented in detail and the relationships between these texts are investigated in an effort to bring to light as much of the history behind the Catechetical Homily as possible from the point of view of the manuscripts preserving it. Part 2 builds on the research in Part 1 by examining the context of John Chrysostom’s Byzantine reception and the people involved in the process. As noted above, Theodore of Stoudios plays a critical role in 9th century Byzantium. Part 2 begins by tracing the major lines of Chrysostom’s reception from his death in the early 5th century until the time of Theodore of Stoudios’ birth in the mid-8th century. From there, it investigates Theodore’s understanding of Chrysostom, his use of the Catechetical Homily among other aspects of the heritage attributed to Chrysostom, and how Theodore’s promotion of a particular interpretation of Chrysostom sparked a chain of receptions that stretched over the course of centuries. The chapters in Part 2 all address aspects of this chain of receptions, beginning with Theodore’s use of the Catechetical Homily in the 9th century and stretching to the early 13th century, when Neophytos Enkleistos, a recluse living on Byzantine and then Lusignan Cyprus, imitates Theodore, although under different circumstances.This thesis focuses on the reception of John Chrysostom during the middle Byzantine period, 9th-13th centuries, through the lens of the so-called Catechetical Homily on Pascha (CPG 4605). The earliest surviving attribution of this text to John Chrysostom comes from the monastic leader, Theodore of Stoudios in the 9th century. Theodore began the tradition that has continued over a millennium up to the present of reading the Catechetical Homily on Pascha at the Easter vigil service. In this way, the text became one of the most frequently copied and well known ascribed to Chrysostom. The text has two indirect textual traditions, as well: one from Theodore of Stoudios and the other from Neophytos Enkleistos in the late 12th-early 13th centuries. Both abbots have left paschal homilies in which they incorporate the text of the Catechetical Homily on Pascha. Part 1 of this thesis gives the first critical edition of the Catechetical Homily on Pascha, as well as of Theodore of Stoudios’ Oratio IV, incorporating the former. Neophytos’ text already has a critical edition. Principal manuscript witnesses are presented and a stemma codicum is offered, while intertextual relationships are extensively discussed. Part 2 of the thesis focuses on the historical context of the Catechetical Homily on Pascha during the middle Byzantine centuries. A chain of receptions is traced that were inspired by, and responded to, Theodore of Stoudios’ 9th century understanding and deployment of Chrysostom’s heritage. In each century the image of Chrysostom played a slightly different role, building on what had preceded, while also innovating in response to changed circumstances and agendas of the political and religious actors of the time. Thus, each chapter of Part 2 focuses on one of the centuries from ca. 800-1204, complementing the critical edition of the text given in Part 1.