Catecheses Baptismales (Taufkatechesen) I-II: Griechisch-Deutsch (review)
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Reviewed by
Johannes Chrysostomus. Catecheses Baptismales (Taufkatechesen) I-II: Griechisch-Deutsch, edited and translated by Reiner Kacynski. Fontes Christiani 6.1-2Freiburg: Herder, 1992. 2 vols.520 Pp. DM 29 (pb), DM 40 (cloth) per volume.

This edition of John's catecheses is essentially a repackaged, German-language version of the Sources chrétiennes editions of A. Wenger and A. Piédagnel (S.C. 50, 366). The consecutively paginated set consists of a hundred-page introduction, the Greek text with facing German translation and occasional notes, and bibliography and indices. The introduction, largely based on Wenger's, begins with a short appreciation of John's life and literary work, followed by descriptions of the catecheses and their history in modern Western scholarship. The last quarter describes the process of Christian initiation, from the enrollment of the catechumen through baptism and mystagogy, as known in Antioch. The texts and apparatus are simply borrowed from the S.C. volumes and from Montfaucon's edition of the Catechesis Altera. The Greek type is that used in the large print (10 pt.) Nestle-Aland26 N.T.

The editor, professor of Liturgies at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, focuses his introduction on the liturgical aspects of these sermons, such as their dates and relationships to the church year, and what they tell us about the associated rites and about catechetical practices in Antioch. This is a perfectly acceptable approach, and it has been the standard approach to these homilies. Much of the ground, however, is covered in the S.C. volumes and in P. Harkins' translation, A.C.W. 31. Frequently Kacynski simply translates Wenger (compare p. 73-74 to Wenger's p. 66, or p. 76 n. 109 to Piédagnel's p. 45 nn. 7, 9). There are updated references and other improvements, but no new area is staked out. The bibliography is symptomatic: in the mere two pages of secondary literature, Kacynski cites two articles on the disciplina arcana (of surprisingly little relevance to these catecheses), but passes over relevant works on John by R. Wilken, E. Clark, or A. Gonzalez Blanco, and relevant general works like Liebeschuetz or Petit on Antioch, or A. H. M. Jones. These works will be found quite enlightening, even of John's theology. [End Page 72]

One must now add to them F. van de Paverd's St. John Chrysostom, The Homilies on the Statues: An Introduction (Rome, 1991). Here he publishes the argument, referred to by both Piédagnel and Kacynski, that Montfaucon's Catechesis Altera ought not be counted among the catecheses, but only among the Hom. de statuts, since John addressed but a limited part of this sermon to catechumens. Strictly speaking, only five of these twelve sermons are catecheses, i.e., prebaptismal addresses to catechumens, but I wonder if we must categorize so strictly. Van de Paverd also dates W. 1-8 to 391, because of the relationship between the dates he assigns to Easter and W. 8's reference to the martyrs' festival. But this is not certain. W. 1.43 refers to a venatio or kunègion, the staged animal hunt, and this probably refers directly to the one staged by Argyrius for his Syriarchate. We hear about the preparations in Libanius (Epp. 970-71) in 390. It seems unlikely that the preparations were delayed for another year, and it is very unlikely that another would have been staged for years. These conflicting indications need further integration.

John Chrysostom, while a presbyter at Antioch, was responsible for some of the catechetical preaching, from which a dozen sermons from three different years are commonly counted. They are, however, less formally catechetical than Cyril of Jerusalem's sermon cycle or Theodore of Mopsuestia's pamphlets. A sermon from 387 was handed down among the Hom. de statuts, which Montfaucon called the Catechesis Altera (= M.2, CPG 4464). Montfaucon's Catechesis Prima (= M.1) was long known in Europe, but it was discovered to be the first of a series of four catecheses (= P-K. 1-4, CPG 4460-2, 4467, from 388) by A. Papadopoulos-Kerameus early this century. In mid-century, Wenger discovered a series...