Melito on Pascha: second edition


Today the post brought the second edition of my On Pascha, or rather my treatment of the work of Melito of Sardis by that name.

I cite the preface:

Responding to the request of St Vladimir’s Seminary Press for a second edition of this work incorporating the Greek text of Peri Pascha has been both painful and pleasurable. It has been pleasurable to immerse myself once more in Melito’s work, though painful to discover how dated some aspects of my discussion of Melito in my 1998 work now appear (although published in 1998 the earlier parts are the product of the late 1980s). However, I continue to hold that the overall argument is sound, and have taken the opportunity to issue a brief defense of the major conclusions of the work.

Beyond adding the Greek text and partially revising the introduction, I have taken the opportunity to improve the appendix by expanding the number of fragments included and to update the testimonia to Quartodeciman practice in the light of more recent research. The translation of On Pascha, however, is virtually unaltered.

Particular thanks are due in this second edition to Stuart Hall for his consent to my use of his Greek text, and to Darrell Hannah for sharing his translations of the Epistula Apostolorum. There is no new dedicatee; the infant daughter of 2000 is now a reader of this work, and of much else besides, most of which is beyond her father’s comprehension. “Peace to the writer, and to the reader, and to those who love the Lord in simplicity of heart” (colophon, Bodmer codex of On Pascha).

For more, or even to get the book (a bargain at $20) go to:




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6 responses to “Melito on Pascha: second edition

  1. Robert

    Dear sir,

    I was wondering if this book includes any information on Melito’s commentary on the Apocalypse, or on the apology wherein Melito mentions a “flood of fire” in the last times. The online preview did not display which fragments are included in this work. I am wondering if that apology is considered to be a genuine work of Melito’s.

    Thank you.



  2. Thank-you for the question.
    The short answer is “no” in both instances.
    The apology in which the author speaks of the flood of fire is absolutely not authentic. It can be read (in English translation, it is only extant in Syriac) in William Cureton, Spicilegium Syriacum (London: Rivington, 1855), 41-51 (available online through If you are really interested I can, as time allows, prepare a brief summary of the arguments.
    There is nothing left of the work of Melito which Eusebius gives as “Concerning the devil and the Apocalypse of John”, with the possible exception of one fragment, which I give you here (with comment) for free:
    e) Fragment 5 (from Origen Comments on the Psalms)
    Thus Melito in Asia says that he is a type of the devil, rebelling against the Kingdom of Christ,; he did not give a full treatment of the topic, but simply mentions this.
    The subject is Absalom, and the subject of comment is Psalm 3, the heading of which states that the Psalm was composed when David was fleeing Absalom. Whereas this may be from the work on the work on the Devil and the apocalypse, the fact that, according to Origen, Melito simply mentions this in passing is an indication that this statement is made in the context of a typological treatment of the suffering of Christ.


  3. Robert

    Thank-you for your reply. That is what I wanted to know. That is disappointing to know that Melito’s work on the Devil and Apocalypse is no longer extant.
    I will soon be ordering your book as it looks fantastic and is reasonably priced. In the meantime, I would be interested to know your thoughts on the spurious apology of Melito that is only extant in Syriac. Specifically I am wondering if we know whether it is a probable second century production. Any information you have concerning that work, and Melito in general (that which is not included in your book), would be helpful.



    • I’m glad to be helpful.
      I will certainly post on the ps-Melito Apology. It may be a couple of weeks as I need to refresh my memory, and it is the cricket season in England (plus, I have a day-job!) I will also try to prepare a post on the fragments on Soul and Body (which I deliberately excluded from the book) and also on Alin Suciu’s claim to have found further Melitonian material in Coptic. This is the main Melito material which is not touched in my publications to date. As I find myself saying often, watch this space (or rather the space above!)


      • Robert

        All of those topics have me eagerly anticipating your posts. However much you have time to post is certainly appreciated.


  4. See now the post above: “Quaestiones Melitonianae 1”. Quaestiones Melitonianae 2 will follow in due course.


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