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John Geometres’s “The Life of the Virgin Mary”: Edition and Translation

Christos Simelidis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Fellow 2018–2019

In collaboration with Maximos Constas, I have been establishing the critical edition and English translation of this 10th-century text, to be published in the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library series. I also produced a substantial article (currently under consideration by an academic journal) resolving, I believe, the long-standing question about the relationship of Geometres’s text to a Georgian Life of the Virgin attributed to the 7th-century Byzantine theologian Maximus the Confessor. I demonstrate that the Georgian Life was not in fact translated from a supposedly lost Greek Life by the Confessor, but from the Life of the Virgin Mary written by John Geometres. In recent debates about the Georgian Life’s provenance, the literary profiles of John Geometres and Euthymius the Athonite (the Georgian translator) have largely been ignored, and my article examines them in detail. My research on Athonite manuscripts and related archives also revealed an autograph note, dated June 6, 1953, written by Robert Woods Bliss in the guestbook of the Holy Monastery of Dionysiou. Prior to this interesting discovery, Bliss’s visit to Athos had been unknown and undocumented.