Writings of Basil. The Nine Homilies of the Hexæmeron and the Letters b

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The Treatise de Spiritu Sancto

The Nine Homilies of the Hexæmeron and the Letters

Of Saint Basil the Great, Archbishop of Cæsaria,

Translated with Notes by

The Rev. Blomfield Jackson, M.A.
Vicar of Saint Bartholomew's, Moor Lane, and Fellow of King's College, London.

Under the editorial supervision of Philip Schaff, D.D., LL.D., Professor of Church History in the Union Theological Semimary, New York, and Henry Wace, D.D., Principal of King's College, London

Published in 1895 by T&T Clark, Edinburgh

VII.--Writings Spurious and Dubious.

Under this head will be ranked besides writings objections against which have been already noticed:

1. Constitutiones monasticæ ('Asketikai diataxeis), in number thirty-four.

2. Poenæ in monachos delinquentes, and Poenæ in Canonicas (epitimia).

3. Libri duo de Baptismo.

4. Sermones duo ascetici.

5. Various Homilies:

a. Adversus Calumniatores SS. Trinitatis,

b. Altera de Sp. Scto.,

c. In Sanctam Christi Generationem,

d. De Libero Arbitrio,

e. In aliquot Scripturæ locis, dicta in Lacizis.

f. III. De Jejunio.

g. De Poenitentia.

6. A book On True Virginity.

7. A treatise On consolation in adversity.

8. A treatise De laude solitariæ vitæ.

9. Admonitio ad filum spiritualem (extant only in Latin).

10. Sermones de moribus XXIV. (ethikoi logoi), a cento of extracts made by Simeon Metaphrastes.

VIII.--Writings Mentioned, But Lost.

A book against the Manichæans (Augustine, c. Julian. i. 16-17). Tillemont (Art. cxlv. p. 303) mentions authors in which lost fragments of St. Basil are to be found, and (Art. cxxxvii. p. 290) refers to the lost Commentary on the Book of Job.

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IX.--Additional Notes on Some Points in St. Basil's Doctrinal and Ecclesiastical Position.

It has been claimed with reason that the doctrinal standpoint of St. Basil is identical with that of the English Church, with the one exception of the veneration of relics and the invocation of saints. [702]

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In confirmation of this view, the following points may be noted:

1. The Holy Eucharist. The remarkable passage on the spiritual manducation of the elements in Letter VIII. is commented on on p. 118. His custom as to frequent communion and his opinion as to the reserved sacrament are remarked on on p. 179.

A significant passage is to be found in the Moralia, Rule XXI., that participation in the Body and Blood of Christ is necessary to eternal life. John vi. 54, is then quoted. That no benefit is derived by him who comes to communion without consideration of the method whereby participation of the Body and Blood of Christ is given; and that he who receives unworthily is condemned. On this John vi. 54 and 62, and 1 Cor. xiii. 27, are quoted. By what method (poi& 251; logo) we must eat the Body and drink the Blood of the Lord, in remembrance of the Lord's obedience unto death, that they who live may no longer live unto themselves, but to Him who died and rose again for them. In answer, the quotations are Luke xxii. 29, 1 Cor. xi. 23, 2 Cor. v. 14, and 1 Cor. x. 16.

2. Mariolatry. Even Letter CCCLX., which bears obvious marks of spuriousness, and of proceeding from a later age, does not go beyond a recognition of the Blessed Virgin as Theotokos, in which the Catholic Church is agreed, and a general invocation of apostles, prophets, and martyrs, the Virgin not being set above these. The argument of Letter CCLXI. (p. 300) that "if the Godbearing flesh was not ordained to be assumed of the lump of Adam, what need was there of the Blessed Virgin?" seems quite inconsistent with the modern doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Of any cultus of the Virgin, St. Basil's writings shew no trace.

3. Relations to the Roman Church.

In order to say something under this head, Ceillier, the Benedictine, is driven to such straits as to quote the application of the term "Coryphæus" to Damasus in Letter CCXXXIX. Certainly St. Basil saw no reason to congratulate the Westerns on their "Coryphæus," so far as intelligent interest in the East was involved. Fialon [703] sees the position more clearly, so far as Basil is concerned, though he assumes the Councils to have given more authority to the patriarch of the ancient capital than was in fact conceded. "Si Basile ne va pas, comme la majorité du Concile de Constantinople, jusqu'à traiter l'Occident comne étranger; s'il ne pretend pas que 1'empire appartienne à l'Orient, parce que l'Orient voit naitre le Soleil, et que c'est en Orient que Dieu brilla dans une enveloppe charnelle, [704] ne voudrait il pas, dans l'ordre religieux, l'union indepéndante, qui, depuis Constantin, rattache, dans l'ordre politique, ces deux parties du monde Romain? À ses yeux l'Orient et l'Occident ne sont ils pas deux freres, dont les droit sont égaux, sans suprématie, sans ainesse?"

In truth Basil appealed to Damasus as Theodoret to Leo, and as Chrysostom to Innocent, not as vassal to liege lord, but as brother to brother. In Basil's case, even the brotherhood was barely recognised, if recognised at all, by the western prelate.


[702] cf. Dr. Travers Smith, St. Basil, p. 125. [703] Etude Hist. p. 133. [704] Xenon gar estin, hos horo, nun he dusis, Kai ton logismon, hos epainetos skopei, Dein gar sunallesthai heli& 251; ta pragmata, Enteuthen archen lambanont' hothen Theos ,'Elampsen hemin sarkiko problemati. Greg. Naz., Carm.

X.--Editions and Manuscripts.

Among the chief editions and mss. the following may be mentioned:

The Editio Princeps of the complete extant works of Basil in the original Greek is that which Froben published for Janus Cornarius at Bale in 1551. But Froben had already published in 1532, under the editorship of Erasmus, an edition containing the De Spiritu Sancto, the Hexæmeron, the Homilies on the Psalms, twenty-nine different Homilies and some Letters.

A Venetian edition, published by Fabius in 1535, comprised the Moralia, as well as the dubious book on Virginity, three books against Eunomius, and the tract against the Sabellians, Arians, and Anomoeans.

The Greek editions had been preceded by a Latin version at Rome, by Raphael Volaterranus in 1515, of which the autograph manuscript is in the British Museum, and by another at Paris in 1525, and by a third Latin edition issued at Cologne in 1531. These were followed by other editions printed at Paris, Antwerp, and Cologne. In 1618 Fronton du Duc, commonly known as Ducæus, published, in conjunction with Frederic Morel, an edition in two folio volumes containing a Latin version as well as the Greek. The edition of the French Dominican Father Francis Combefis, was published shortly after his death in 1679. The most important step in the direction of accuracy and completeness was taken by Julian Garnier, a Benedictine Father of the Congregation of St. Maur. He revised and corrected the Greek text of earlier editions on the authority of a number of manuscripts in Paris, Italy, and England, and issued the first of his three folio volumes at Paris, at the press of John Baptist Coignard, in 1721. The third volume did not appear till 1730, five years after Garnier's death. In the meanwhile the editorial work had been taken up by Prudent Maran, another Benedictine, to whom are due a careful and voluminous biographical notice, many notes, and a chronological arrangement of the Letters. This was reissued in three 4° volumes in Paris in 1889, and is the basis of the edition published, with additions, by the Abbé Jacques Paul Migne, in the Patrologia Græca, in 1857.

An important edition of a separate work is the revised text, with notes and introduction, of the De Spiritu Sancto, by the Rev. C. F. H. Johnston, published at the Clarendon Press in 1892.

German translations were published by Count Schweikhard at Ingolstadt in 1591 (Ceillier VI. viii. 8), and by J. von Wendel at Vienna in 1776-78. There have also been issued Basilius des Grossen auserlesenes Homilien, übersetzt und mit Ammerkungen versehen von J. G. Krabinger, Landshut, 1839, and Auserlesene Schriften, übersetzt von Gröne, Kempten, 1875.

Homilies and Orations were published in Italian in 1711 by Gio. Maria Lucchini. Omelie Scelte, translated by A. M. Ricci, were published in Florence in 1732.

Many important extracts are translated into French in the Historie Générale des Auteurs Sacrés of the Benedictine Remy Ceillier (Paris, 1737).

E. Fialon, in his Ét. Hist. (1869) has translated the Eexj3meron; and in 1889 the Panégyrique due Martyr Gordius was published in French by J. Genouille.

A complete account of the bibliography of St. Basil is given in the Notitia ex Bibliotheca Fabricii (Ed. Harles, tom. ix. 1804), in Migne's ed. vol. i., Prolegomena p. ccxli.

In 1888 a translation of the De Spiritu Sancto, by G. Lewis, was included in the Christian Classic Series.

Of all the smaller works a great popularity, as far as popularity can be gauged by the number of editions and translations, has belonged to the Advice to the Young and the Homily on the Forty Martyrs.

The mss. collated by the Ben. Edd. for their edition of the De Spiritu Sancto are five entitled Regii, and a sixth known as Colbertinus, now in the national library at Paris. The Ben. Regius Secundus (2293) is described by Omont (Inventaire Sommaire des mss. Grecs) as of the Xth c., the Colbertinus (4529) and the Regius Tertius(2893) as of the XIth c., and the Regius Primus (2286), Regius Quartus (2896), Regius Quintus(3430) as of the XIVth c.

For his edition, Mr. C. F. H. Johnston also collated or had collated 22,509 Add. mss., Xth c., in the British Museum; codd. Misc. xxxvii., XIth c., in the Bodleian Library at Oxford; Cod. Theol. 142, XIIth c., in the Imperial Library at Vienna; Cod. Theol. 18, XIVth c., also at Vienna; Cod. xxiii, XIth c., in the Library of the Holy Synod at Moscow; 500 (Reg. 1824, 3) G, XIth c., at Paris; Cod. lviii., Xth c., at St. Mark's, Venice; Cod. lxvi., XIIth c., also at St. Mark's, Venice; Codd. Regin. Suaecor. 35, XIVth c., in the Vatican at Rome.

For the Hexæmeron the Ben. Edd. used eight mss. styled Regii, and numbered respectively 1824, 2286 (originally in the collection of Henry II. at Fontainebleau, the Regius Primus of the enumeration for the De Spiritu Sancto, but the Secundus for that of the Hexæmeron), 2287 (1°), 2287 (2°), 2349, 2892, 2896 (the Regius Quartus of the De Spiritu Sancto), and 2989, two mss. entitled Colbertinus, 3069 and 4721, two Coistiniani, 229, IXth c., and 235; and a ms. in the Bodleian, "a doctissimo viro Joanne Wolf collatus."

The sources of the Ben. Ed. of the Letters were Coislinianus 237, XIth c., a Codex Harlæanus of the Xth or XIth c., and a Codex Medicæus, Codex Regius 2293, Codex Regius 2897, Codex Regius 2896, Codex Regius 2502, Codex Regius 1824, Codex Regius 1906, and Codex Regius 1908.

The following mss. of St. Basil are in the library of the Bodleian at Oxford:,

Homiliæ et Epistolæ. Codex membranaceus, in 4to majori ff. 250, sec. xii. Epistola ad Optimum, episcopum, in septem ultiones. Cain. fol. iii.

Epistola ad virginem lapsam, fol. 211b.

Ejusdem Basilii epistola ad monachum lapsum, fol. 215b.

Epistolæ canonicæ. Barocciani. xxvi. 285b (i.e. pt. 1, p. 36).

Codex membranaceus, in 4to minori, ff. 370, sec. xi. fol. 285b.

Epist canon. Baroc. xxxvi. 121 (i.e. pt. 1, p. 147).

Codex membranaceus, in 40 minori, ff. 12 et 161, sec. xii. exeuntis.

Ejusdem epistolæ canonicæ tertiæ prologus, fol. 125b.

CLVIII. 202 (i.e. pt. 1, p. 268). Codex chartaceus, in 4to majori, ff. 374, sec. xv.

S. Basilii ad Amphilochium, Iconii episcopum, et alias epistolæ quinque canonicæ, fol. 202.

CLXXXV. 129b (i.e. pt. 1, p. 307). Membranaceus, in folio, ff. 83 et 312, sec. xi. exeuntis, bene exaratus et servatus.

S. Basilii magni epistolæ canonicæ, cum scholius nonnullis, fol. 129b.

Ejusdem epistolæ septem aliæ, fol. 141.

Epist. Canon. Baroc. cxcvi. 184b (i.e. pt. l, p. 336). Membranaceus, in 4to majori, ff. 313, sec. xi. anno scilicet 1043 exaratus.

S. Basilii expositio de jejunio quadragesimali, f. 6b.

CCV. 400b (i.e. pt. 1, p. 361). Codex chartaceus, in folio, ff. 520, sec. xiv. mutilus et madore corruptus.

Dionysii Alexandrini, Petri Alexandrini, Gregorii Thaumaturgi, Athanasii, Basilii, Gregorii Nysseni, Timothei Alexandrini, Theophili Alexandrini, Cyrilli Alexandrini, et Gennadii epistolæ encyclicæ; interpretatione Balsamonis illustratæ, fol. 378b.

Epistolæ canonicæ. Laudiani. xxxix. 200 (i.e. pt. 1, p. 519). Codex membranaceus in 4to maj. ff. 347, sec. forsan. xi. ineuntis, etc.

S. Basilii Cæsareensis octo, subnexis capitulis duobus ex opere de S. Spiritu, fol. 200.

Seld. xlviii. 151 (i.e. pt. 1, p. 611). Codex membranaceus, in 4to ff. 189, sec. xiii. nitide exaratus; quandam monasterii S. Trinitatis apud Chalcem insulam [ol. 3385].

S. Basilii ad Amphilochium, Diodorum et Gregorium canones, fol. 151.

Misc. clxx. 181, 263, 284b (i.e. pt. 1, p. 717). Codex membranaceus, in 4to majori, ff. 363, secc. si tabulam sec. xi. excipiamus, xiv. et xv.; initio et fine mutilus. Rawl. Auct. G. 158.

S. Basilii, archiep. Cæsareensis, ad Amphilochium epistolæ tres canonicæ, fol. 181.

S. Basilii epistolæ duæ, scilicet, ad chorepiscopos, ad episcopos sibi subjectos, cum excerptis duobus ex capp. xxvii. et xxix. ad Amphilochium de S. Spiritu, fol. 263.

S. Basilii epistolæ duæ, ad Diodorum et ad Gregorium, fol. 284b.

Epist. Canon. misc. ccvi. 171 (i.e. pt. 1, p. 763). Codex membranaceus, in folio minori, ff. 242. sec. forsan xi. exeuntis; bene exaratus et servatus. Meerm. Auct. T. 2. 6.

S. Basilii, archiep. Cæsareensis, ad Amphilochium ep. Icon. epistolæ tres canonicæ cum scholiis hic illic margini adpositis, fol. 171.

Epistolæ cccxxxiv. Misc. xxxviii. 1 (i.e. pt. 1, p. 642). Codex chartaceus, in folio, ff. 196, sec. xvi. anno 1547 scriptus [ol. 3091]. Auct. E. 2. 10.

S. Basilii epistolæ, ut e numeris marginalibus apparet, cccxxxiv. fol. 1.

Ult. est ad eundem Eusebium, et exstat in ed. cit. tom. iii. p. 257.

Epistola ccxlv. Baroc cxxi. [i.e. pt. 1, p. 199]. Membranaceus, in 4to ff. 226, sec xii. exeuntis, bene exaratus; in calce mutilus.

S. Basilii, archiepiscopi Cæsareensis, epistolæ ad diversos, numero ducentæ quadraginta quinque.

Epist. clxxvii. Roc. xviii. 314 (i.e. pt. 1, p. 471). Codex chartaceus, in folio, ff. 475 , hodie in duo volumina distinctus, anno 1349 manu Constantini Sapientis binis columnis scriptus; olim ecclesiæ S. Trinitatis apud insulam Chalcem [ol. 264].

S. Basilii Cæsareensis epistolæ circiter centum septuaginta septem, fol. 314.

Epistolæ variæ. Baroc. lvi. 28b et passim (i.e. pt. 1, p. 83). Codex bombycinus, ff. 175, sec. xiv. exeuntis; initio mutilus, et madore corruptus.

S. Basilii adversus Eunomium epistola, fol. 28b.

Epist. xiii. ad diversos. Baroc. ccxxviii 118b (i.e. pt. 1, p. 393). Membranaceus, in folio, ff. 206, sec. forsan xii. ineuntis; foliis aliquot chartaceis a manu recentiori hic illic suppletis. S. Basilii et Libanii epistolæ septem mutuæ, f. 126.

Ibid. epp. 341, 342, 337-340, 356.

Epist. tres. Misc. clxxix. 423 (i.e. pt. 1, p. 724). Codex chartaceus, in folio marjori, ff. 262, sec. xvii.; olim peculium coll. soc. Jesu Clarom. Paris, postea Joh. Meerman. Auct. T. 1. 1.

S. Basilii, archiep. Cæsareensis, epistola ad Optimum episcopum in illud, pas o apokteinas kain, p. 423.

Epistola ad Chilonem. Laud. xvii. 352 (i.e. pt. 1, p. 500). Codex chartaceus, et lævigatus, in 4° ff. 358, sec. xv. [ol. 692].

S. Basilii Magni epistola ad Chilonem, fol. 352.

Epist. ad Coloneos. Baroc. cxlii. 264b (i.e. pt. 1, p. 242). Codex chartaceus, in 4^o ff. 292, sec. xiv. ineuntis.

S. Basilii Magni epistola ad Coloneos, fol. 264b.

Ejus et Libanii epistolæ. Baroc. xix. 191 (i.e. pt. 1, p. 27). Codex chartaceus in 4^o minori, ff. 200, sec. xv. manibus tamen diversis scriptus.

S. Basilii et Libanii sophistæ epistolæ decem amoeboeæ, fol. 19l.

Ejus et Libanii epistolæ. Baroc. cxxxi. 296 (i.e, pt. 1, p. 211). Codex bombycinus, in 4° maj. ff. 4 et 536, sec. xiv. haud eadem manu scriptus; madore aliquantum corruptus.

S. Basilii et Libanii epistolæ tres mutuæ, f. 299b.

Epistolæ ad Libanium et Modestum. Baroc. ccxvi. 301 (i.e. pt. 1, p. 376). Codex, fragmentis constans pluribus, in 4° ff. 379 quorum 43 priora membranacea, cætera chartacea sunt.

S. Basilii epistola ad Libanium, fol. 30lb.

Ejusdem ad Modestum epistola, imperf. fol. 30lb.

Basilii et Libanii epistolæ quinque mutuæ, fol. 302.

Ibid. epp. cccxxxv. seq., cccxlii., ccxli., ccclix.

The following mss. of St. Basil are in the British Museum:

Harleian Collection:

1801. Codex membranaceus (Newton's arms in spare leaf). Doctrina Beati Basilii.

2580. Liber chartaceus. S. Basilii sermo de parentum honore, Latine redditus per Guarinum.

2678. Codex membranaceus. S. Basilii de institutis juvenum liber ex versione et cum præfatione Leonardi Aretini.

5576. XIVth c. 40 Homilies.

5639. XVth c. Homilies.

5576. XIVth c. Hexæmeron.

5622. XIVth. c. Com. on Isaiah.

5541. XVth c. Ad juvenes.

5609. XVth c. "

5660. XVth c. "

5657. XIVth c. Extracts.

5689. XIIth c. De V. Virg.

5624. XIVth c. Ep. ad Greg. Frat.

6827. XVIIth c. Epp.

3651. XVth c. De Cons. in Adv.

4987. XVth c. Admon.

Burney Collection:

70. XVth c. Ad juvenes.

75. XVth c. Epp. ad Liban.


22509. Vellum curs. Xth c. De Sp. Scto.

34060. XVth c. The doubtful work De Sp. Scto.

14066. XIIth c. Homilies.

34060. XVth c. Against Drunkards.

25881. XVIth c. The Forty Martyrs.

10014. XVIIth c. Ad juvenes.

10069. XIIth c. Reg. fus. tract.

9347. XIVth c. Ascetic.

18492. XVIth c. De Frugalitate.

17474. XVth c. Epp. can.

23771. c. 1500. Sermones Tractatus.

Autograph of Raph. Volterrano (translation).


535. XIVth c. Excerp. ex adv. Eunom. v.

532. Xth c. Hexæmeron.

528. XVth c. Against Drunkards.

520. XVth c. De tranqu. an.

583. XIVth c. Epp. can. ad. Amph.

181. XIIth c. Adm. ad. Fil.

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