E. S. Constantinou, Andrew of Caesarea and the Apocalypse

by Georg Adamsen on October 1, 2009

in Andrew of Caesarea, History of interpretation, Oecumenius of Isauria, Textual criticism

Eugénia Scarvelis Constantinou (Jeannie Constantinou): Andrew of Caesarea and the Apocalypse In the Ancient Church of the East. Part 1: Studies on the Apocalypse Commentary of Andrew of Caesarea. Part 2: Translation of the Apocalypse Commentary of Andrew of Caesarea. Ph.D.-dissertation, Université Laval, Quebec, Canada, 2008. 271 + 242 pp. Available as an ebook in PDF-format.

I just learned about this Ph.D.-thesis, which is a very welcome work. It is very fortunate that Constantinou has made it available online. We should all be very grateful for that.

Part 1 “consists of an analysis of the commentary and an explanation of the Book of Révélation in the history of Eastern Christianity”, while part 2 “is an English translation of the commentary with extensive explanatory footnotes” (p. i and ii).

Andrew’s commentary, which according to Constantinou, was written in 611 A.D., is preserved in eighty-three complete manuscripts and “countless abbreviated versions” (iii). Andrew preserved the “totality of ancient Greek tradition for the interpretation of the Apocalypse”, which was independent of the Latin tradition (ibid.). Thus, Andrew’s commentary is extremely important. For this reason alone, it is very welcome that Constantinou has analysed and translated it. It was also very influential as regards the very text and the canonicity of Revelation.

Constantinou shows how important it is to have a complete translation of the entire commentary. Both Averky and Weinrich attributes the interpretation of Oecumenius on Revelation 1:4 to Andrew, but erroneously so. While Oecumenius interpreted Revelation 1:4 as a statement about the Trinity, Andrew attributes this formula to the Father (pp. iv-v). Constantinou also informs us that Andrew “was attempting to quell apocalyptic fears through his commentary, not inflame them” (p. v). I look forward to study this Ph.D.-thesis!

Constantinou’s translation is based on Josef Schmid\’s work. It will be published in the series The Fathers of the Church (according to this page, accessed October 1st, 2009).

Here is Constantinou’s own abstract:

Part 1, Studies on the Apocalypse Commentary of Andrew of Caesarea, consists of an analysis of the commentary and an explanation of the Book of Révélation in the history of Eastern Christianity.

Chapter 1 is an introduction to the commentary and to the historical context, audience, purpose and motivation for its composition.

Chapter 2 discusses the Book of Révélation in the canon of Eastern Christianity through an historical overview of the place of Révélation in the canon of the East from the second century through the présent day. The chapter considers which factors accounted for the early and immédiate appeal of Révélation, examines the attitudes toward it as revealed in primary sources, and demonstrates that the Apocalypse was consistently recognized as an apostolic document from the second century through the early fourth century. Révélation eventually came under attack due to its association with controversies such as Montanism and chiliasm. Doubts about its authorship were raised to discrédit it in order to undermine the controversial movements which relied upon it. It remained in an uncertain canonical status until relatively recently and is now presumed to be part of the New Testament by most Eastern Christians but the question of its status in the canon has never been “officially” resolved.

Chapter 3 explains the importance of the commentary from a text-critical perspective and for the purpose of studying the history of the Apocalypse text itself. A large percentage of Apocalypse manuscripts contain the Andréas commentary, which has preserved a text type of its own, and the study of the Andréas text type facilitâtes the analysis and évaluation of other text types by comparison. This chapter also discusses the dual textual transmission of the Book of Révélation, unique among the books of the New Testament, since manuscripts of Révélation are found both in scriptural collections as well as bound with a variety of spiritual and profane writings.

Chapter 4 discusses Andrew’s commentary in the context of the trajectory of other ancient Apocalypse commentaries, East and West, and how the interprétative history proceeded along a dual stream of tradition. The first commentators greatly influenced those who followed them, but only those who wrote in the same language. The Latin tradition did not influence Greek interpreters, nor vice-versa, and commonalities between Greek and Latin writers can be traced back to the earliest Fathers and to the perspectives, Scriptures, exegetical techniques and traditions common to both East and West from the first centuries of Christianity.

Chapter 5 commences an évaluation of the commentary itself, including Andrew’s purpose, motivation and orientation, as well as a discussion of the structure, style and characteristics of the commentary. This chapter also explains Andrew’s methodology, techniques and use of sources.

Chapter 6 explores Andrew’s theology, including his doctrine, view of prophecy, history, eschatology, angelology and salvation.

Chapter 7 reviews Andrew’s influence on subséquent Eastern commentators, the translation of his commentary into other ancient languages, its impact on the réception of the Book of Révélation into the Eastern canon and the commentary’s lasting prééminence and importance.

HT: Andrew of Caesarea, Commentary on Revelation online and Tommy Wassermann @ Evangelical Textual Criticism

Print This Post Print This Post Email This Post Email This Post

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: