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The above image of Vatican Syriac 124 is © Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, and is used by permission of Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, with all rights reserved. This image is licensed for use on this website only; further use of it is forbidden without the prior written permission of the BAV.


Ascetical Homily 69 in Vatican Syriac 124.

The title could easily be taken for part of the homily itself.

The microfilm of this is in black and white; we assume that the lighter ink where indicated is red. This is only the first part of the title; the ink suddenly reverts to black at what is “who have achieved perfection . . .” in our translation (see left, below), and continues, right to left, onto the next page with nothingneither color of ink nor spacing nor ornament nor punctuation to distinguish it from the homily itself.

Besides this is the fact that the connecting particle “gar,” mentioned here and enclosed in the red box at left, also ties the complex title to the text of the homily; and indeed it is hard to tell exactly where title ends and homily begins in this manuscript.

Bedjan’s printed text does show a clear end of title and beginning of homily; since we have no access to the manuscripts he used, we do not know how they indicated titles and what he followed for this arrangement.

Since the title almost blends into the homily rather than standing sharply distinguished from it, as if it were an integral part of the homily itself, we conclude that it is very possible that this title is in fact St. Isaac’s, and that many if not all of them are also. To make a final judgment one would need to be able to make an exhaustive examination of the manuscripts.

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Textual Questions: 6. Homily Sixty-nine /cont.

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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, repeated for convenience
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