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Chiara has been pursuing her doctoral studies at ITSEE since 2016, under the supervision of Professor Hugh Houghton, while working as a Classics teacher. She has now qualified for the award of her doctorate, following a viva voce exam with Dr William Lamb and Dr Panagiotis Manafis as her examiners. Chiara's thesis offers A New Analysis of the Scholia Photiana in the Pseudo-Oecumenian Catena Tradition, examining the text and sources of these scholia added to commentaries on the Pauline Epistles in the ninth or tenth century. It includes the identification of twenty-five scholia from Photius not previously recognised by scholars.

Chiara's thesis will, in due course, be made available on the University of Birmingham's eTheses repository. Its full abstract is as follows: 

In 1933, the German scholar Karl Staab published an edition of the so-called catena of Pseudo-Oecumenius. In particular, Staab edited numerous scholia ascribed to the Patriarch Photius of Constantinople, identified in manuscripts of the so-called Typus Vaticanus and Erweiterte Typus, and formulated the hypothesis that those scholia could belong to a more extended commentary on Paul’s writings which has since been lost. The present study is a new examination of the Photian scholia edited by Staab with particular attention to the style, in order to gain a new understanding of the exegetical methods and procedures the Patriarch adopted to articulate his own interpretation of the Pauline Epistles. It undertakes a comprehensive re-examination of the distribution of this material in the manuscript tradition, offering extensive corrections to Staab’s treatment of GA 1915, GA 1923, GA 1982, GA 91 and GA 1907. In addition, it draws on three further manuscripts categorised as the Erweiterte Typus of the catena of Pseudo-Oecumenius, GA 1915, GA 2183, GA 1916, which provide new material attributed to Photius. I also propose an Editio princeps of the twenty-five newly identified Scholia Photiana in Appendix 2. From an analysis of the style of the whole collection of Scholia Photiana I found that the interpretation of the Epistles is strictly literal and lacks relevant, extended reference to the Church Fathers, denoting the exegete’s clear independence of thought. Additionally, the very few quotations from the Amphilochia suggest that the Scholia Photiana are generally independent from the other works of Photius. These two factors support Hergenröther’s hypothesis of the existence of another independent work that Photius produced as his own extended commentary on Paul’s Epistles. 

Congratulations to Chiara on her successful completion of an important study which will be of immediate use to other ongoing research projects at ITSEE focussing on catenae!