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Translation and Commentary of George-Gennadios Scholarios’s Tracts on Predetermination

Matthew Briel, Fordham University, Summer Fellow

Though widely read in the two centuries after his death, Gennadios II Scholarios’s tracts on providence have not received much attention since the seventeenth century. There are a number of limitations in the current critical edition. In addition to occasional typographical errors, there is a very scanty index fontium, and many biblical passages are overlooked because they are translations into Greek from the Vulgate and therefore cannot be found in a concordance. The very existence of these translations from the Vulgate, and the fact that they are the same passages used by Aquinas in his discussions of providence in I Summa Theologiae Q23 are an indication that Scholarios was using this text in either the original Latin or in Demetrios Kydones’ Greek translation. These texts seem ripe to be opened up through a translation and commentary so that further work may be done on Greek and Latin intellectual exchanges in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

In my nine weeks I completed a draft of a translation of all five tracts. I also prepared preliminary notes, commentary and made sketches of the introduction. My colleagues at Dumbarton Oaks were excellent resources for philological and theological questions that came up in the course of my reading of the tracts, and, of course, the library is unsurpassed and allowed me to follow the contemporary discussions, mostly in modern Greek, of the theology and philosophy of this period. Deb Brown in particular helped me to find articles in small journals that were essential for my progress and interpretation of focused and essential points.

A junior scholar, I particularly appreciated the guidance and encouragement of the Byzantinists at Dumbarton Oaks. I intend to complete the introduction, translation and commentary by the end of October of this year. After taking comprehensive exams in April 2013 I will return to these texts and submit them for publication in the summer of 2013. They will be the subject of my dissertation, which I expect to complete by the end of 2014.


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Byzantine Studies Fellows, 2012/13