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Who Gave the Homilies
their Titles?

Of the three textual questions presented here about The Ascetical Homilies of Saint Isaac the Syrian, this is the most involved and the least significant.

The title at left is the longest in the book. The bracketed italic text in the first line of the homily indicates that a gloss has been added to assist comprehension. In discussing the reason for it we will hazard a tentative theory of whether the titles are by St. Isaac.

We began our translation of the Ascetical Homilies working from Nikephoros Theotokis’s Greek printed text of 1770 and ended by making most of the major revisions and corrections from Bedjan’s Syriac printed text. The first, printed in Leipzig, and the second, printed in Paris, both follow Western typographic conventions. Therefore the titles are distinctly separated from the body of the homily itself, both by spacing and by color or size and style of typeface. The title of this same homily is shown for both editions on the next page.

Photo of the very long title of Homily 69 in the second edition of The Ascetical Homilies of Saint Isaac the Syrian, and the first line of the homily

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Textual Questions: 3. Homily Sixty-nine

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