Juvencus' Four Books of the Gospels

Evangeliorum libri IV

By Scott McGill

© 2016 – Routledge

360 pages

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415635837
pub: 2016-05-17
Available for pre-order
US Dollars$125.00

About the Book

Juvencus’ Evangeliorum libri IV, or "The Four Books of the Gospels," is a verse rendering of the gospel narrative written ca. 330 CE. Consisting of around 3200 hexameter lines, it is the first of the Latin "Biblical epics" to appear in antiquity, and the first classicizing, hexameter poem on a Christian topic to appear in the western tradition. As such, it is an important text in literary and cultural history.

This is the first English translation of the entire poem. The lack of a full English translation has kept many scholars and students, particularly those outside of Classics, and many educated general readers from discovering it. With a thorough introduction to aid in the interpretation and appreciation of the text this clear and accessible English translation will enable a clearer understanding of the importance of Juvencus’ work to later Latin poetry and to the early Church.


As inventor of the genre of biblical epic, Juvencus is historically significant; his poetic style is less ground-breaking. But now, he has been graced with an elegant, thoughtful translation into iambic pentameters by Scott McGill. Moreover, McGill's scholarly commentary makes clear Juvencus' many debts to his Latin predecessors. This is one of the rare occasions on which one might prefer reading the translation instead of the the original.

- Professor Catherine Conybeare, Bryn Mawr College, USA

Table of Contents




Preface and Book One

Book Two

Book Three

Book Four

Notes to Book One

Notes to Book Two

Notes to Book Three

Notes to Book Four


Index locorum

General Index

About the Author

Scott McGill is professor of Classics at Rice University in Houston, Texas. He is the author of Virgil Recomposed: The Mythological and Secular Centos in Antiquity (Oxford, 2005) and Plagiarism in Latin Literature (Cambridge, 2012). He is also a co-editor of From the Tetrarchs to the Theodosians: Later Roman History and Culture, 284-450 CE (Cambridge, 2010) and Classics Renewed: Reception and Innovation in the Latin Poetry of Late Antiquity (Winter, 2015).

About the Series

Routledge Later Latin Poetry

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General