PG Citations: Update

Several SBLHS users have noted via Twitter a problem with the example given at SBLHS §6.4.6 (see the screen shot included in the previous post). The problem is clear when one looks at the actual PG location referenced: 36:12c (here). Column 12c of PG volume 36 is a footnote to Or. 27, which is the first of Gregory’s five Orationes theologicae. Clearly, this is an error (originally in the first edition of SBLHS and then carried over into the second), but how did it arise?

We will never know for certain, but a reasonable explanation of this mistaken reading is possible. If one thumbs through the pages of PG 36 (linked above) one discovers that the oration referenced, the fourth of Gregory’s Orationes theologicae, begins on column 104 (Greek text) and extends onto column 134 (Latin text). One wonders, then, whether the example given was supposed to reference one of the 120 columns but the final digit was accidentally omitted (e.g., 36:128c became 36:12c). Typos do appear in all publications, of course, although they are especially regrettable in a style manual such as SBLHS (or blog posts writing about a style manual).

The silver lining on this cloud is that it provides an opportunity to remind us all of the benefit of providing specific references. Orationes theologicae, for example, is divided into twenty-one sections (or paragraphs). Thus if the SBLHS §6.4.6 example had cited the specific section of the work in view (e.g., 4.19), all readers would know that the correct PG reference is 36:128c—even when the PG citation contains an error (which error, it should go without saying, will be corrected in future editions of SBLHS).


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