"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Life of Basil the Younger

North America's premier centre for Byzantine Studies has recently released another volume under its imprint with Harvard University Press: Denis F. Sullivan, Alice-Mary Talbot, and ed. and trans. with  The Life of Saint Basil the Younger: Critical Edition and Annotated Translation of the Moscow Version (Dumbarton Oaks Studies 45) (Harvard UP, 2014), 842pp.

About this book we are told:
The Life of St. Basil the Younger, one of the longest and most important middle Byzantine saints' lives, presents the life of a holy man who lived in Constantinople in the first part of the tenth century. Usually described as a fictional saint, he had the distinction of residing in private homes rather than in a monastery, performing numerous miracles and using the gift of clairvoyance. The vita, purportedly written by one of Basil's disciples, a pious layman named Gregory, includes many details on daily life in Constantinople, with particular attention to slaves, servants, and eunuchs. Two lengthy descriptions of visions provide the most comprehensive source of information for Byzantine views on the afterlife. In one, the soul of an elderly servant Theodora journeys past a series of tollbooths, where demons demand an accounting of her sins in life and collect fines for her transgressions; in the other Gregory describes his vision of the celestial Jerusalem, the enthronement of the Lord at his Second Coming, and the Last Judgment. This volume provides a lengthy introduction and a critical edition of the Greek text facing the annotated English translation, the first in any language.
The publisher also helpfully provides a detailed table of contents: 
  • Preface and Acknowledgments
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction
    • 1. The Vita in Moscow Synodal Library Gr. 249 (M) and Its Structure
    • 2. The Date of Composition of the Original Version of the Life of Saint Basil the Younger
    • 3. The Career of Basil the Younger: Real or Fictional?
    • 4. The Author Gregory
    • 5. Audience, Literary Style, and Use of Citations
    • 6. Historical Materials in the Vita
    • 7. Basil’s Miraculous Powers
    • 8. The Geography and Social Milieu of Constantinople
    • 9. Theodora’s Narrative of the Celestial Tollhouses
    • 10. Gregory’s Vision of the Celestial Jerusalem and the Last Judgment
    • 11. Intertextuality, Apocalypticism, and Millenarianism in Tenth-Century Hagiography
    • 12. Other Versions of the Manuscripts of the Greek Life of Saint Basil the Younger
    • 13. Medieval Translations (Old Church Slavonic and Medieval Bulgarian)
    • 14. Codex Mosquensis Synodalis Gr. 249 (Vladimir 402): Codicological, Paleographic, and Historical Description [Nadezhda Kavrus-Hoffmann]
    • 15. Comments on the Principles of the Critical Edition and Translation
    • 16. Sigla
  • Text and Translation
  • Map of Constantinople
  • Seal of Stavrakios
  • Bibliography
    • Primary Works
    • Secondary Works
  • Indexes
    • Greek Proper Names
    • Greek Terms and Vocabulary
    • Index of Sources
    • General Index

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