Beatus’ Sources

I started translating from Florez’s Madrid 1770 edition of Beatus, which doesn’t list all the sources. The first critical edition, Sanders, is on, sorta, but isn’t really accessible or necessary, these days. I moved on to the Romero-Pose critical edition after about six months, got through four books over some years, and then found out about Gryson’s new critical edition. It’s a very good edition, probably better than I know what to do with; but….

There’s still more sources to find! I find stuff he left out, every day! This thing is a giant jigsaw puzzle of references. Mr. Search Engine is your friend, and so is that vague sense you’ve heard something like that before (or going to Mass and having the readings smack you in the face).

Obviously, then, it’s useful to be able to check sources (and translations by people much better at Latin than me!). So I’m going to stick links and citations here, to help both myself and other people interested in Beatus find stuff.

If you need a better translation than this blog’s, albeit in Spanish, you might get a copy of the 1995 edition of Obras Completas de Beato de Liebana.The first volume has the Commentaria, Ad Elipandum, and the hymn “O Dei Verbum” in Latin and Spanish (953 pp), and the second volume is about historical documents related to St. Beatus (Complementarias). There’s no footnotes, though, at least in the first volume.

Gryson has a translation out in French, but I’ve never seen it in the US; I guess you can order it from the publisher.

Williams, John. The illustrated Beatus : a corpus of the illustrations of the commentary on the Apocalypse. This guy is the big source for illustrations and artists and cute little dedication texts, although he’s weirdly uninterested in the text. Me, I read the back of the cereal box.

Encyclopedie Universelle in French and English is a near-comprehensive look at Beatus manuscript illuminations. If you want better, you have to go to Williams and his five volumes of pics.

Examples of the various Beatus illuminated manuscripts.

Useful Beatus of Liebana links, including the Geneva Beatus.

Wikipedia has several excellent and several stub articles on Beatus and his Commentary, as well as many public domain photos of his work. Check several languages’ articles to get a better picture, and beware of weird Wikipedia editing decisions. (By which I mean you’d best save copies, because it could all be gone tomorrow as “irrelevant.”)

For your convenience, St. Beatus’ Vetus Latina text for the Book of Revelation (as seen in the Morgan MS) is available in English translation in this small 1915 book, A New Text of the Apocalypse from Spain, by E.S. Buchanan. There are some differences in text between Beatus volumes, though — divitias instead of divinitas isn’t in the Morgan, apparently, and thus not in this Buchanan compilation.

There are several old Septuagint and Vetus Latina books available online. Obviously the serious scholar will have more complete stuff around, but free and old is also good. covers the Gospel of St. John in Vetus Latina. Unfortunately the patristic citations aren’t there, but the access to manuscripts and transcriptions is nice. includes tons of info and links.

Sacra Biblia Variarum Translationum:
Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, and Volume 4, Venice, 1747.

Bibliorum Sacrorum Latinae Versiones:
Volume 1, Volume 2, Rheims, 1743; Volume 3, Paris, 1751; and Volume 7 and Volume 8, Paris, 1785..

He Palaia Diatheke Kata tous Ebdomekonta: Vetus Testamentum Graecum:
Volume 1 and Volume 2, Paris, 1839.

A list of volumes of Migne’s Patrologia Latina series that are online. CSEL volumes online.

(I don’t think this comes into play for Beatus, but here’s Patrologia Graeca online for those of you who know Greek.)

These editions are out of date and less accurate than the newer ones; but since I can’t be taking a day off from work and going down to a university library every time I want to check a citation, that’s what you’re mostly going to get. Anybody out there who’s at a university with the newer editions and all the spiffy electronic databases accessible, should be using them.

St. Aprigius Pacensis (of Beja), Tractus in Apocalypsin, ed. Ferotin, 1900. Also available from Google Books.

-Translated into Spanish, with a Latin critical edition: Albert del Campo Hernandez, 1991.

-Translated into English (parts): William C. Weinrich, Early Christian Commentary on Scripture, Vol 12: Revelation, 2005. (Also includes lots of St. Victorinus, St. Caesarius, and St. Primasius.)

St. Bede the Venerable, Explanatio Apocalypsis. Volume 95 in Migne.

St. Caesarius of Arles, Expositio in Apocalypsin. (A series of homilies, attributed to Augustine or a pseudo-Augustine until recently.) Here they are in Migne.

-Trans. into English: Forthcoming from Weinrich, if IVP Press gets moving.

Chronicon Albeldense:

The Chronicon is included in Florez’s Sagrada Espana, volume 13, pp. 435 and 436 includes similar calculations of Bible years to those of Beatus.

Pope St. Gregory the Great:

Homiliae in Ezechielem, aka Homilies on Ezekiel. At In Migne.

– Trans. into English: Theodosia Tomkinson (older editions: Theodosia Gray), The Homilies of Saint Gregory the Great on the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, C.T.O.S, 1990.

Moralia in Job, aka Commentary on Job. In Migne: Vol. 1 (PL 75) and Vol. 2 (PL 76).

-Trans. into English: Morals in the Book of Job, translated by Oxford Movement guys.

St. Gregory of Elvira (Gregorius Illiberitanus):

“On Noah’s Ark”, translated by Fr. Michael Heintz. Online in Antiphon, Vol. 9 (2005) issue. (Scroll down.)

Tractatus Origenis, ed. by Batiffol. (Credited to Origen or Novatian at first.) On Google Books. On This is the old edition; the modern critical one is in the Sources Chretiennes series.

St. Isidore of Seville — tons of stuff by him.
Etymologies is available in 2 different English translations at the moment — Throop and the English guy. It’s in Migne in Vol. PL 82. The rest of Isidore is in Migne’s PL 83.

St. Jerome:

Letter to Hedybia (Epistle 120): Translated into English at Epistolae. Scroll down for Latin. Partial public domain translation at Public domain translation from French at CCEL.

Primasius: Commentary on the Apocalypse. Ed. Migne, PL 68, 793-936.

Ticonius: The Book of Rules of Tyconius, newly edited from the mss, by F. Crawford Burkitt.

St. Victorinus Pettavius, In Apocalypsin:
Online translation into English: Kevin P. Edgecomb.
Older translation into English from the Ante-Nicene/Nicene Fathers series: at CCEL and New Advent.

If you want an alternate translation of some passages, Richard Newton Adams’ 1838 book, The Opening of the Sealed Book of the Apocalypse Shewn to Be…., contains quite a few nice translations of passages of Victorinus and other Revelation commentaries. Pretty much nobody will agree with his views (his idea is that Revelation predicts the original mss of the Bible will come back and turn out to have been significantly different), but he’s a good translation stylist. (I haven’t checked his translations for bias, though.)


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