Book Series Corpus Christianorum Series Graeca, vol. 59

Anastasius Sinaita

Quaestiones et responsiones

M. Richard, J.A. Munitiz (eds)

  • Pages: 287 p.
  • Size:155 x 245 mm
  • Language(s):Greek, French
  • Publication Year:2006

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-40591-9
  • Hardback
  • Available


Scholarly appreciation of the Questions and Answers attributed to Anastasios of Sinai (CPG 7746) changed radically in 1969 with the publication by Marcel Richard of his short, but very dense, article, "Les véritables 'Questions et réponses' d'Anastase le Sinaïte". By investigating the manuscript tradition Richard was able to establish that the version published by the German Jesuit, Jacob Gretser (1617), represented a revised version of the original and could not be much earlier than the eleventh century, whereas Anastasios had died shortly after 700. Richard further suggested that various other versions had existed before this and had been used by the later compiler, notably a collection of 88 questions. Gretser had also drawn on one of only 15 questions. Richard identified one other collection that seemed indebted to the original. Although Richard was the first to claim that he had discovered the original collection, from the time of Gretser all who had come across "Anastasian" quaestiones et responsiones had been aware that the published collection did not reflect the evidence of the manuscripts. Already in 1575 the French scholar Gentianus Hervet had published a Latin translation of what was in fact the collection of 88 questions. This collection had attracted wide attention because of its presence - in translation - in the Slavonic Izbornik of 1073.

The present editor, Joseph A. Munitiz was asked by Richard shortly before his death in 1976 to complete the edition of the original collection. One might have hoped that since 1976, and in particular with the collation of the manuscripts discovered by Richard - for he himself had not drawn up any apparatus criticus for his proposed edition - it would have been possible to establish a text that was reasonably close to that first composed by the monk of Sinai. But it became clear over the years that some uncertainty was likely to remain. The many revisions and adaptations suffered by the original text meant that very few uncontaminated witnesses had slipped through the sieve created by Byzantine librarians and copyists. Only two manuscripts preserving a large proportion of the original collection have survived. Fortunately, a small number of partial manuscripts, and the evidence of the other Collections, allows one to build up a likely text. The haphazard nature of the content of the Original Collection does suggest that the whole collection may have originated after the death of Anastasios. A disciple or group of admirers may have felt that it would be helpful to publish the various questions and answers that had been composed during the author's lifetime and found in a dossier among his papers. At present this Original Collection contains the answers to certain groups of answers (e.g. concerning providence, alms giving, salvation of the non-baptised, wonders and prophecies, sexual ethics, forgiveness of sins), but intercalated among them are isolated problems with no obvious connection (e.g. concerning capital punishment, Paradise, dreams, female infertility). They all fall under the general heading of pastoral theology and are clearly intended to deal with the preoccupations of a lay, rather than a monastic, audience, even if their preservation was ensured by largely monastic compilations.


Anastasius Sinaita — Quaestiones et responsiones ( CPG 7746 ) — ed. M. Richard, J.A. Munitiz