This first volume inaugurates the critical edition of the complete poetical work of Gregory of Nazianzus (except for the epigrams, already partially published by P. Waltz: Anthologie Palatine, tome VI [Livre VIII]. Collection Budé. Paris, 1960). Once completed, this edition will replace that of the Maurists (published in 1840, reproduced in Patrologia Graeca, vol. 37, col. 397-1600). The project of a critical edition of Gregory’s poems had been undertaken long ago by a team of scholars under the direction of M. Sicherl (Muenster), but, it was André Tuilier, Guillaume Bady and Jean Bernardi who have succeeded first in giving a complete survey of the manuscript tradition and a critical edition of Carmina II, 1, 1-11.
The Greek text has certainly improved compared with the Maurists’ edition and even compared with Jungck’s edition of Carm. II, 1, 11: C. Jungck (ed.), Gregor von Nazianz, De vita sua (Heidelberg, 1974). The classification of manuscripts (27 mss from the Xth to the XIVth cent.) seems now quite certain, and an extensive use of the Syriac translations (Vth-Vth cent.) and of the indirect tradition, mainly represented by florilegia (the most important is the Doctrina Patrum), Kosmas of Jerusalem (VIIIth cent.) and Nicetas David (IXth cent.), contributes to confirm the text. It is not infrequent that the Syriac translation (prior to the division of the tradition into the two medieval families) confirms a reading that is preserved in L only, one of the oldest manuscripts, belonging to the family
The apparatus, pseudo-positive most of the time (reading1 codd.: reading2 ABCD is often cluttered with insignificant readings. The lack of an apparatus fontium is detrimental as well to the reader. Although Gregory’s text is full of allusions to the Bible and Greek literature, only a few have been recognized and noted in the complementary notes. To finish with formal remarks, to print the number of the poem in the current title on the top of the page, instead of or in addition to the Greek title, would have made the book easier to consult.
A short chapter on the old editions of the text would have been useful and it would have been useful to quote them, at least PG and Jungck, in the apparatus. Generally speaking, the bibliography is neither up to date nor very large. I will take only a few among many examples of this deficiency. The manuscript Laurentianus Conv. soppr. 177 (p.
On a few occasions, one could question the reading of the editors.
Carm. II, 1, 11, v. 12: the editors chose
Carm. II, 1, 11, v. 460: the reading
Carm. II, 1, 11, v. 39: this is one of the very rare places where the editors do not follow the Syriac translation, although the reading
Carm. II, 1, 11, v. 1285: the editors have chosen the reading
The French translation is clear and helpful. On a few occasions, though, it evades real difficulties in the text.
Carm. II, 1, 7, v. 2:
The collection of poems written and organized by Gregory of Nazianzus — this is probably the most interesting part of the introduction: the constitution of the original collection — is exceptional and deserves a few pages and bibliographic references about Christian poetry and poetry in general in late Antiquity and early Byzantium. Instead, the authors give a summary of Gregory’s life (one more!), mostly based on information that he himself left in his works, and this with an hagiographic tone.
The same lack of a critical view is obvious when the editors consider authentic a few works that have been rejected by many scholars, without even trying to give the status quaestionis and the arguments pro and contra. This is the case for the Christus Patiens (p. LX and n. 4) and for the Carm. II, 1, 29 (p. LXI, n. 7). About this last poem, the most important contribution against its authenticity is not cited: M. Sicherl, “Ein neuplatonischer Hymnus unter den Gedichten Gregors von Nazianz”, in Gonimos. Neoplatonic and Byzantine Studies Presented to L.G. Westerink (Buffalo – New York, 1988), 61-83.
It is regrettable that there are several points on which this book does not reach the level of a modern scholarly work. In that respect, the introduction and commentary of Jungck, for example, remain indispensable. As a matter of fact, the weakest point is the complementary notes. These notes are peculiar to the editions published in the Collection Budé and are intended to provide the reader with explanations of difficult words or expressions, parallel texts and contexts, litterary or rhetorical study, not with pious paraphrases of Gregory’s words. Many good works have been published over the last few decades on several aspects of Gregory’s work. Some of them could have been consulted with profit by the authors. One cannot really write a scholarly commentary on Gregory’s poems without referring to the book of K. Demoen (called “Demoens” twice, while quoting one of his articles: p. CIV n. 80 and p. CLXIX n. 193), Pagan and biblical exempla in Gregory Nazianzen. A study in rhetoric and hermeneutics. Corpus Christianorum. Lingua Patrum 2 (Turnhout, 1996). On several occasions, the explanations are misleading or inaccurate. For example, in Carm. II, 1, 1, v. 100, the expression