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  • David C. DeMarco (a1)


This paper proposes a number of improvements to the text of Basil of Caesarea's Homiliae in hexaemeron 4 and 5. The biblical text poses particular problems for the fourth and the fifth homilies. Therefore, the text form of Genesis from these two homilies is discussed first, and then further individual instances from the fourth and the fifth homilies are examined. The passages are presented in the format of a commentary under the assumption that the reader has the GCS edition at hand.


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1 de Mendieta, E. Amand and Rudberg, S.Y. (edd.), Basilius von Caesarea: Homilien zum Hexaemeron (Berlin, 1997).

2 Cf. Bas. Hex. 1.1 (1.6 and 3.14) and many other places. Furthermore, John Chrysostom displays this pattern in his Homilies on Genesis; cf. Hom. 16 in Gen. (126B–C), and Hom. 17 in Gen. (135A–B). The second interpretation is also supported by Bas. Hom. 3.1: ὁποῖος οὖν δή ἐστι καὶ ὁ ἀρτίως ἡμῖν ἐκ τῶν Μωυσέως βίβλων ἀνεγνωσμένος, οὗ μέμνησθε πάντως οἵ γε φιλόπονοι, πλὴν εἰ μή που διὰ βραχύτητα παρέδραμεν ὑμῶν τὰς ἀκοάς. ἔχει δὲ ἡ λέξις οὕτως.

3 Cf. Giet, S. (ed.), Basile de Césarée: Homélies sur l'Hexaéméron (Paris, 1968 2), 19 n. 1.

4 Cf. Olivar, A., La predicación cristiana antigua (Barcelona, 1991), 596–8.

5 See Giet (n. 3), 248.2 and Naldini, M. (ed.), Basilio di Cesarea: Sulla Genesi (Omelie sull’Esamerone) (Rome, 1990), 108.2.

6 Cf. Metzler, K. (ed.), Origenes: Die Kommentierung des Buches Genesis (Berlin, 2010), 68: [D 5.].

7 Wevers, J.W. (ed.), Genesis (Göttingen, 1974), 76.

8 Wevers (n. 7), 76–7.

9 The early fifth-century Latin translation of Eustathius (the earliest manuscript of which comes from the eighth century; cf. de Mendieta, E. Amand and Rudberg, S.Y. [edd.], Eustathius: Ancienne version latine des neuf Homélies sur l'Hexaéméron de Basile de Césarée. Édition critique avec prolégomènes et tables [Berlin, 1958], XVII) also attests to this form of the text in this passage: et dixit deus: germinet terra herbam pabuli, seminans semen secundum genus, et lignum fructuosum faciens fructum secundum genus cuius semen in semetipso est (Eustath. Bas. hex. 5.1.1).

10 Wevers (n. 7), 77.

11 They are also lacking in Eustath. Bas. hex. 5.3.1: germinet terra herbam pabuli seminans semen secundum genus.

12 Wevers (n. 7), 77.

13 The three relevant passages are Eustath. Bas. hex. 5.6.1, 5.6.4 and 5.9.4. The text of 5.9.4 reads: germinet terra lignum fructuosum faciens fructum. This corresponds to the Greek in 85.1 except, of course, that the Greek has ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. There is, however, no clear reason why these words should be added to the Greek. Since they are unnecessary for Basil's comments, it is more likely that they would be omitted rather than added. For Eustath. Bas. hex. 5.6.4, see n. 15 of this paper.

14 Eustath. Bas. hex. 5.6.1.

15 The preserved text of Eustathius is obviously inferior since, even though the seed is part of the objection, it omits any mention of the seed in stating the command: quae quidem iubetur et lignum faciens fructum producere. sed multa ligna uidemus neque semen neque fructum ferentia (Eustath. Bas. hex. 5.6.4).

16 Cf. Eustath. Bas. hex. 4.1.5: aëremque.

17 The full stop in 58.13 is, of course, misleading and should be replaced with a raised dot so that it is clear that the main verb of 58.6–15 is κατόψει (58.15).

18 The fact that another μέν … δέ pair intervenes in 58.9–10 may have also contributed to the omission.

19 Spir. 8.18.

20 Eun. 2.5.

21 Ep. 46.3.

22 Ep. 46.4.

23 Ep. 239.1.

24 Cf. εἴρητο also in Spir. 21.52.

25 This is incorrectly marked as a quotation; cf. 71.1–2 ὥστε εἶναι τὸν νοῦν … ‘βλαστησάτω … γένος’.

26 This sentence is marked with italics as a quotation in the edition of Amand de Mendieta and Rudberg (n. 9), 57.

27 For examples from the fifth homily, see 69.11, 70.3, 72.1, 73.7, etc.

28 Cf. 71.1–2 ὥστε εἶναι τὸν νοῦν … ‘βλαστησάτω … γένος’.

29 Cf. Eustath. Bas. hex. 5.1.1 and 5.3.1: pabuli seminans semen.

30 This is incorrectly considered to be a ‘Konjektur’ by Henke, R., Basilius und Ambrosius über das Sechstagewerk: Eine vergleichende Studie (Basel, 2000), 374–5.

31 Metzler (n. 6), 70: D 6 (Collectio Coisliniana, fr. 48 Petit).

32 Eustath. Bas. hex. 5.3.3 read tot numero sursum calamos explicans quot deorsum radices extenderit. This might at first sight seem to point to κάλαμος, but calamus can mean both ‘reed’ (OLD 2 s.v. calamus 1) and ‘stalk’ (OLD 2 s.v. calamus 8).

33 de Mendieta, E. Amand and Rudberg, S.Y., Basile de Césarée: La tradition manuscrite directe des neuf homélies sur l'hexaéméron (Berlin, 1980), 34–5.

34 Cf. Amand de Mendieta and Rudberg (n. 33), 35: ‘Ce recenseur, auteur de l’état de texte que manifeste le groupe C, aurait constitué sa nouvelle recension, en prenant comme base de son travail un manuscrit appartenant au groupe A (que représentent les manuscrits A 1, A 2, A 3)’, and 35 n. 1: ‘On remarquera, dans les unités critiques de l'apparat critique, la fréquente combinaison A 3, C 1.’

35 See Denniston, J.D., The Greek Particles (Oxford, 1954 2), 122–3: ‘In later Greek, particularly in dialogue (dramatic, especially comic, and Platonic), this tendency of γε to attach itself to pronouns still persists, though to a less extent. Naturally, in many cases γε is limitative: but in many others it is determinative: often it seems to be otiose, the pronoun apparently requiring no stress, or at most a secondary stress. The same tendency occasionally shows itself in English, as when we say “Not I”, meaning “I certainly did not”.’

36 In contrast to GCS, Naldini (n. 5), 140.22–3 correctly reports the reading of E2 (N), 413, which I have been able to examine for myself in the form of a photocopy.

37 Also, cf. Eustath. Bas. hex. 5.4.5: nihil est otiose uel inutiliter constitutum.

38 Seemingly contrary examples are found in 83.8 (Hex. 5.8) and 122.1 (Hex. 7.5), but these could be punctuated as separate sentences and the presence of ἔστι … γεγενημένον in 75.9 makes it more likely to conform to the other examples, rather than to these two.

39 Alex. Aphr. In APr. 46.

40 Euseb. Is. 2.29.

41 Plut. Sull. 16.4.

42 Strabo 5.3.5.

43 Joseph. BJ 4.137.

44 Orib. Collectiones medicae 24.13.4 = Gal. UP 6.2.

45 The Latin tradition may have also had διδασκάλιον as its ‘Vorlage', or it may reflect an error, or the decision of the translator: prima illa praeceptio documentum naturae fieret (Eustath. Bas. hex. 5.5.1).

46 The GCS editors have (in contrast to Naldini [n. 5], 142.7 and Giet [n. 3], 296.6–7) correctly reported A1 (A): 30r, image 66 ( and B2 (E): 223v, image 233 (

47 Flat. 1.3.

48 Jouanna, J., Hippocrate: Tome V, 1re Partie, Des vents, De l'art (Paris, 1988), 103 n. 4. His text is also followed by the DGE; see DGE s.v. διδασκαλεῖον: 1. ‘fig. escuela, enseñanza’ (διδασκαλεῖον).

49 Lampe, G.W.H. (ed.), A Patristic Greek Lexicon (Oxford, 1961), 1223, s.v. σαρκικός: ‘B. ref. moral qualities; 1. carnal, i.e. worldly … 2. sensual’.

50 Danker, F.W. (ed.), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, 2000 3), 914, s.v. σαρκικός: ‘σαρκικός means “belonging to the σάρξ” [opp. πνευματικός], “fleshly”; on the other hand, σάρκινος is “consisting/composed of flesh”, “fleshy”. Our lit., or at least its copyists, for the most part did not observe this distinction in all occurrences of the word. The forms are generally interchanged in the tradition.’

51 This reading is also supported by Eustath. Bas. hex. 5.7.1: quanta tunc genera extitere lignorum.

52 This passage from Basil is the only example cited in E. Trapp, Lexikon zur byzantinischen Gräzität (Vienna, 2017), s.v. προσβλαβής (

53 For this use of πρός, see LSJ s.v. πρός: A. IV. ‘π. ἀγαθοῦ, π. κακοῦ τινί ἐστι or γίγνεται, it is to one's advantage or otherwise.’

54 Phld. Rh. 1.375–6.

55 Joseph. BJ 5.329.

56 Joseph. BJ 6.228.

57 Dio Chrys. Or. 39.5.

58 Dio Chrys. Or. 77.6.

59 Socrates, Hist. eccl. 3.16.8.

60 Renehan, R., ‘Some Greek textual problems’, HSPh 67 (1963), 269–83, at 279.

61 Dover, K.J., Greek Word Order (Cambridge, 1960), 12.

62 Trunk, J., De Basilio Magno sermonis attici imitatore (Stuttgart, 1911), 46.

I would like to thank Volker Henning Drecoll for discussing this material at various stages of its development, Arnd Kerkhecker for his comments on a previous version of this paper that was discussed in the Forschungskolloquium in klassischer Philologie in Bern, and Christoph Scharr for aiding in the final formatting of this article. Finally, the anonymous reader for CQ also made many helpful comments.

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