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A number of Byzantine tetraevangelia dating from between the tenth and twelfth centuries contain sequences of accompanying texts (among which patristic excerpts) that are very similar to those found in manuscripts with catena commentaries. This similarity raises the question of how the paths of such accompanying texts were formed during their transmission. Is it possible to define intermediate sources or relationships between manuscripts despite the complex traditions of such elements? This article first considers some methodological questions and then takes as a case study a tetraevangelium which features a collection of introductory texts that were likely all copied from a single catena. The structure of the content, the textual variants, and some of the codicological characteristics of the two manuscripts in question shed light on the process of compilation. This kind of analysis can contribute to a better understanding of scribal practices and shows how paratexts of the Bible represent a rich and, until now, untapped source of information on the transmission of the exegesis of the Church Fathers in the form of small excerpts.


Gregory of Nazianzus’ Carmen 2,1,39 (εἰς τὰ ἔμμετρα) has generally been regarded as a sort of manifesto of Gregory’s poetry. Scholars have mostly concentrated on the programmatic core of the poem, but the iambic tirade of the closing part deserves attention as well. A thorough analysis of this text should start from a preliminary survey of its manuscript tradition, which points out the need of a critical edition, since the aged PG edition still relies on a few witnesses. Furthermore, this leads to the assumption that two different addressees are involved in the poem: the former is a fictitious one, whereas the second is Gregory’s sworn enemy, Maximus the Cynic. Thus, the iambic tirade which closes poem 2,1,39 should be set within the context of the Maximus affair. Such an identification affects the dating of the poem, too. Since the Maximus affair took place in summer 380, but on the other hand Gregory seems also to allude to the Council of Constantinople, which opened in 381, it may be concluded that the poem was composed in two phases and that the poetical program exposed is due to the re-working of an older satirical draft against Maximus.