Das eucharistische Brot tab’o in der Syrisch-Orthodoxen Kirche[note1]

von Gabriel Rabo

I. Einleitung

Das Brot für die Eucharistiefeier war in der Ostkirche, aber auch in der lateinischen Kirche, bis zur Mitte des 5. Jhs. das gewöhnliche Brot, 2 dann entwickelte sich eine vom christlichen Geist geprägte Form mit unterschiedlichen Kennzeichen. Die älteste Form, wohl ein Vorläufer des heutigen Hostienstempels, ist möglicherweise das ganz punktierte Flachbrot mit in der Mitte eingeritzten Kreuzchen.3 Über sein genaues Alter ist nichts bekannt. Das Brot verwendeten die Ostsyrer wahrscheinlich sowohl als gewöhnliches Nahrungsmittel wie auch für den eucharistischen Zweck. Als eucharistischen Hostienstempel kann man zunächst an den koptischen Tonstempel denken, der mit einem Reliefbild oder -negativ versehen ist.4 Ebenfalls hat sich im syrisch-orthodoxen Ritus eine besondere und eindrückliche Gestalt für das eucharistische Brot entwickelt, welches mit verschiedenen Namen belegt wurde. Diese Art des Brotes dürfte spätestens schon vor dem Ende des 8. Jhs. in Gebrauch gewesen sein, da die beiden Liturgiekommentatoren Iwannis Bischof von Dara (+860) und Mose Bar Kepha (+903) sie in ihren Werken besprechen. Das eucharistische Brot wird tab’o, furshono (arab. burshan, abgeleitet vom syrischen Wort furshon, furshono), bukro und fristo genannt. Der Name tab’o, der heute allgemein gebräuchlich ist, kommt von dem syrischen Verb tba’ (abdrücken) und bezeichnet einen aus Holz gemachten Stempel (Abdruck), mit dem der Teig des eucharistischen Brotes geformt wird. Der ancrwp wird wohl so benannt, weil die Gläubigen ihr eigenes Mehl für das eucharistische Brot als Darbringung in Anlehnung an Lv 6,7-16 opfern. Das Wort furshono kommt von dem Verb frash und bedeutet ‘trennen’. Der Name bukro, ‘Erstgeborener’, bezieht sich auf paulinische Aussagen: “Wenn er den Erstgeborenen wieder in die Welt einführt” (Hebr 1,6) und Christus als ‘Erstling der Auferstehung’ (1 Kor 15,19). Der andere Name fristo leitet sich von dem Verb fras (ausdehnen) her und ist wahrscheinlich der einfache Name für das Flachbrot.

II. Herstellung

Die Hostie tab’o ist rund, ca. 1,5 cm dick und im Durchmesser etwa 7 cm groß. Sie wird kreuzweise gleichmäßig in vier große Teile geteilt; jeder Teil wird weiter in drei Stücke geschnitten. Die Hostien werden für jede Eucharistiefeier täglich frisch gebacken. Es wird erst nach dem Sonnenuntergang, am Vorabend des jeweiligen Tages der Zelebration, mit dem Kneten des Brotes begonnen, weil der neue Tag in der syrischen Kirche wie im Judentum nach dem Sonnenuntergang, d.h. nach dem Abendoffizium beginnt. Der Teig der Hostie besteht aus weißem, sauber durchgesiebtem Mehl, aus klarem warmem Quellwasser, Sauerteig vom letzten Backen und aus ein wenig Salz,5 dessen symbolische Bedeutung aus 2 Kön 2,19-22 und aus Mk 9,49-50 abgeleitet wird. Das Mehl wird aus handverlesenen Weizenähren mit einer Handmühle gemahlen; während der Erntezeit wird das Getreide nach der Tradition im Tur’Abdin von den Gläubigen wöchentlich als qsoto, d.h. als Opfergabe, zum Priester bzw. Hostienbäcker gebracht. Der Teig wird von einem Diakon, Mönch oder Priester in der Kirche, im Pfarrhaus oder beim Messner bei Psalmen und nach Yahya Ibn Garir (11. Jh.) “wie manche sagen” nüchtern 6 geknetet und in ein dafür bestimmtes weißes Tuch gelegt. In diesem wird er unter einem Gesang eines wahrscheinlich von Ephrem dem Syrer (+373) verfaßten Hymnus 7 hin und her geschwungen und dann bis zur Durchsäuerung beiseite gelegt. Der Teig wird zunächst gleichmäßig in Stücke geschnitten und mit dem eigentlichen tab’o (Hostienstempel) aus Holz 8 geformt. Dabei begnügt man sich damit, die Oberfläche der Hostienstempel mit etwas Öl einzustreichen, um zu verhindern, daß der Teig festklebt. Der Holz-tab’o hat auf beiden Seiten einen Stempel. Ein Stempel ist für die normalen Hostien jeder Eucharistiefeier, der andere Stempel für die Hostie der Eucharistiefeier am Donnerstag der Geheimnisse (Gründonnerstag) bestimmt. Letzterer wird bukro (s.u.) genannt. Nach dem Stempeln der Teigstücke werden diese nun kreuzweise an fünf Stellen der Oberfläche angestochen. In die Rückseite der Hostien werden mit einem kleinen Hölzchen fünf kleine Kreuzchen gestochen. Am frühen Morgen vor der Messe beginnt man dann, die Hostien frisch zu backen. Als Bestandteil des Brennstoffs bestimmte Yahya Ibn Garir das “Holz, dessen Frucht wohlschmeckend ist”.9 Nach dem Backen aller Hostien wird die beste, schönste und reinste Hostie, die nicht angebrannt und verkümmert ist, für den Altar zur Konsekration ausgewählt.10 Sie darf auf keinen Fall zerbrochen, verbrannt oder beschädigt werden.

Die Anordnung der Hostie auf der Patene während der Eucharistiefeier ist im Verlauf des Kirchen-Jahreskreises verschieden: Von Weihnachten bis Karfreitag 11 wird die Figur des Lammes (emro), von Karsamstag bis zum Kreuzerhöhungsfest am 14. September die des Gekreuzigten (zqifuto) und vom Kreuzerhöhungsfest bis Weihnachten die des Jünglings (talyo) oder des Menschen (barnosho) verwendet. Zum Bild des Lammes wird die Hostie vom Priester während der Brechung und Bezeichnung (qsoyo wa-rshomo) in zwei Hälften (A B) gebrochen und die oberen Eckstücke des linken (C) und rechten (D) Teils werden abgetrennt. Dann werden die beiden Hälften (A B) so in die Patene gelegt, daß ihre beiden Ränder einander berühren. Eines der Eckstücke (C oder D) wird oben von dem Gesamten getrennt angeordnet und soll so den Kopf der Lammfigur bilden. Für die Jünglingsfigur wird die Hostie zunächst bis zum oberen Bruchstück (C) wie bei der Lammfigur bearbeitet. Der Priester befeuchtet mit dem in den Kelch eingetauchten Stück (C) die beiden Hälften (A B) der Hostie und legt dann das Stück (C) in der Oberkante der Hälften (A B) wieder wie bei der Lammfigur. Anschließend werden die beiden Hälften (A B) in zwei Abschnitte, jeweils für ein Bein, geteilt. So besteht die Jünglingsfigur aus fünf Teilen. Die Figur des Gekreuzigten wird sorgfältiger als die anderen angeordnet. Die Brechung wird wie bei anderen Figuren bis zum Stück (C) für die Position des Hauptes bearbeitet. Die beiden Hälften (A B) werden in weitere acht Teile zerschnitten. Für den Körper (a b) und die Arme (c d) werden vier Stücke, für das Becken das einzelne Stück (e) und für die Beine die anderen zwei Stücke (f g) verwendet. Das Stück D wird in die Unterkannte (unter den Stücken f g) gelegt und versinnbildlicht nicht die Füße, sondern den Adamsschädel, der nach der syrischen Tradition auf Golgotha liegt, wo das Kreuz Jesu stand.12

III. Kommentar

Die Stücke der Hostie sind mit einem Kreuz versehen und bilden insgesamt die symbolische Zahl Zwölf, für die zwölf Apostel. Die im äußeren Kreisring der Hostie eingeprägten Punkte symbolisieren die 72 Missionare und die den Leib Christi empfangenden Gläubigen; die vier großen Teile sind ferner das Symbol für die vier Evangelisten.13 Die fünf Einstiche auf der Hostienoberfläche symbolisieren die fünf Wundmale Christi, nämlich die durch die Lanze, den Dornenkranz und die drei Nägel des Kreuzes.14 Die zweite Art der Hostie bukro, die aus vier Teilen besteht, ist nur für die Eucharistiefeier am Donnerstag der Geheimnisse bestimmt. An diesem besonderen Tag wird die Eucharistie der Bukro-Hostie gefeiert. Am Donnerstag der Geheimnisse werden einfache und Bukro-Hostien gebacken und von zwei Diakonen an alle Familien der jeweiligen Pfarrei verteilt; d.h. für jede Person ist eine einfache Hostie und für jede Familie eine Bukro-Hostie und ein Stück Sauerteig bestimmt, der nach syrischer Tradition seit der Zeit der Apostel bis in die Gegenwart überliefert wird. Dieses Teigstück mischt man mit anderem eigenem Teig, so daß man das ganze Jahr über den gechenkten Segensteig zur Verfügung hat. Die Hostie wird nicht einfach gegessen, sondern als Segensbrot oder -gegenstand für das Haus zum Schutz vor dem Bösen oder zum Zweck der Getreidesegnung zwischen dem Getreide aufbewahrt. Diese sehr alte syrische Tradition ist im Tur ‘Abdin noch immer lebendig.

In bezug auf das Backen des eucharistischen Brotes ist anzunehmen, daß die Gläubigen es früher selber hergestellt und am gleichen Tag als Opfer auf den Altar gebracht haben. Da aber die Regeln beim Brotbacken häufig nicht genau eingehalten wurden, wurde dann festgelegt, daß die Gläubigen das Brot nicht mehr selber backen, sondern das Mehl dafür zum Hostienbäcker bringen sollten.

Neben dieser Opferung der Hostie gab es damals noch einen anderen Opferbrauch in der syrischen Kirche, der heute in Vergessenheit geraten ist: Man legte zu Beginn der Weizenernte neben die Hostie zwölf Körner einer Weizenähre in die Patene, um das Erstlingsgetreide zu opfern. Rahmani bezieht diesen Brauch auf den 4. von den Aposteln gesprochenen Kanon.15 In gleicher Weise bringt man auch noch heute ab und zu frische Trauben während der Erntezeit statt des Weines dar.

Die vier Bestandteile des eucharistischen Brotes: Mehl, Wasser, Sauerteig und Salz – so Mose Bar Kepha und Dionysius Ya’qub Bar Salibi (+1171) – symbolisieren wohl die vier Elemente des Kosmos, aus denen die Körper zusammengesetzt sind, d.h. die Erde, das Wasser, das Feuer und die Luft.16 Mehl, Wasser und Sauerteig sind gleichseitig ein Abbild der Dreifaltigkeit.17 Außerdem wird aber auch das Olivenöl als Bestandteil für die Hostie bei Isaak von Antiochien (+460), dem Patriarchen Yuhannun Bar Shushan von Antiochien (+1072), Yahya Ibn Garir und dem Papst Christodulos von Alexandrien (+1077) genannt, wobei hier zwischen den letzten beiden eine heftige Diskussion entstand, weil letzterer in den Teig weder Salz noch Öl mischte.18 Bar Salibi und Yahya Ibn Garir sehen im [Oliven]öl einen der wichtigsten der oben genannten Bestandteile des eucharistischen Brotes.19 Letzterer bevorzugt das Öl vor allem Anderen und mißt ihm einen hohen Rang zu, weil die mit Öl übergossenen Speiseopfer in Lv 2,1-7 und die mit Öl gekneteten zwölf Brotkuchen in Lv 24, 5-7 Vorbilder der Eucharistie (qurbono) seien: “Das Öl im Qurban ist wie die Seele im Leib”.20 Ob das Öl auch heute tatsächlich ein Bestandteil im eucharistischen Brot ist, kann hier allgemein nicht beantwortet werden. Jedenfalls wird es als Hilfsmittel gegen das Kleben des Teiges am Stempel verwendet.

Der Teig darf niemals von einer Frau, auch nicht von einer Jungfrau, vorbereitet werden, weil die Frau nach den syrischen Kirchenvätern den Menschen zum Sündenfall verführt hat. Sind die oben genannten Personen abwesend, kann ein jungfräulicher Laie diese Aufgabe übernehmen. Die Tradition des täglich frisch gebackenen eucharistischen Brotes geht nach Yuhannun von Tella (+538), Bar Salibi und Gregorius Yuhannun Bar ‘Ebroyo (+1286) bis auf die Apostelzeit zurück. Sie vergleichen im Anschluß an Paulus (1.Kor 10,3) das täglich frisch gebackene eucharistische Brot mit dem “himmlischen Manna für die Israeliten”, 21 das man täglich frisch aß und das für den nächsten Tag nicht aufgehoben werden konnte. Es ist möglich, daß die Hostien zu früheren Zeiten in einem nur dafür bestimmten Ofen gebacken wurden, weil es früher einen solchen kleinen Ofen, genannt arwunt, auf einem syrischen, aber auch auf dem koptischen Kirchhof im alten Kairo gab. Heute backt man sie – so nach der syrischen Tradition im Tur ‘Abdin – auf einer gewöhnlichen Blechplatte.

Mehrere Hostien können für die Eucharistie je nach Bedarf der Kommunizierenden, z.B. am Donnerstag der Geheimnisse, an dem jedem syrisch-orthodoxen Christ grundsätzlich der Empfang der Kommunion empfohlen wird, zum Altar gebracht werden. Bis zu drei Hostien können ohne weiteres gebracht werden. Aber sonst soll man sie immer als Einzelstücke und nicht paarweise nehmen. Mose Bar Kepha vergleicht die eine Hostie mit dem mensch-gewordenen Logos, die zwei Stücke mit der Menschheit und Gottheit Christi und die drei Stücke mit den drei Personen der Dreieinigkeit.22 Bar ‘Ebroyo weist in seinem Nomokanon darauf hin, daß er – wie auch Yuhannun von Tella – keine Regel kennt, wonach die Hostien einzeln oder paarweise auf den Altar dargebracht werden sollen. Er schreibt allerdings an Klemens, man solle am Samstag drei Brote für die Zahl der Dreieinigkeit und am Sonntag vier Brote der Zahl der vier Evangelisten entsprechend für den Altar nehmen.23 Die auf den Altar gebrachten Hostien dürfen nie mehr weggenommen werden, wohl aber dürfen andere hinzugefügt werden, solange das Velum auf dem Kelch und der Patene ausgebreitet ist. 24 Jedes Stück der konsekrierten Hostie, des Leibes Christi, wird in Anlehnung an Jes 6,6-7 gmurto, wörtlich ‘Glühkohle’ genannt, 25 welche die Gottheit und Menschheit Christi darstellen soll. Ephrem der Syrer, Ya`qub von Sarug (+521) und Yuhannun von Tella nennen sie margonito, d.h. ‘Perle’.26 Außer den für den Altar bestimmten Hostien werden einige (meistens wird eine besonders große gebacken) für das Eulogion (burkto) genommen, die während der Eucharistiefeier vor der Predigt und nach der Segnung in viele kleine Teile geschnitten und am Ende der Eucharistiefeier von einem Diakon, der eine Kerze in der rechten Hand hält, vor dem Ausgang der Kirche stehend an alle Gläubigen verteilt werden.

Für die syrische Kirche wie auch für einige andere orientalische Kirchen hat die Verwendung des gesäuerten Brotes (lahmo hami’o) für die Eucharistiefeier eine entscheidende Bedeutung, im Gegensatz zum Brauch der abendländischen und mancher anderer orientalischen (z.B. der armenischen) Kirchen. Dieser Brauch war schon in der alten Kirche von Antiochien bekannt. So kritisiert Ephiphanius, der Bischof von Zypern (+403) die judenchristlichen Ebioniten, weil sie ungesäuertes Brot und nur Wasser für die Eucharistiefeier verwendeten.27 Johannes Chrysostomos (+407) bezeugt auch, da die aus Erde bestehende Substanz des Menschen dem Tod unterworfen sei, habe nun Christus den zweiten Teig vorbereitet. Ein noch deutlicherer Beweis für den Gebrauch des gesäuerten Brotes in der frühen Kirche von Antiochien ist die Kritik des Rabbula von Edessa (+435) an den fastenden Mönchen des Klosters von Perin, die absichtlich mehr gesäuerten Teig für das eucharistische Brot verwendeten, das ihnen dann zugleich als Speise diente.28 Mose Bar Kepha und Bar Salibi, die hier von Yuhannun Bar Shushan abhängig sind, beantworten diese wichtige Frage des gesäuerten oder ungesäuerten Brotes gegenüber den Armeniern ganz deutlich, indem sie betonen, daß der Begriff lahmo (Brot) sich stark vom fatiro (Ungesäuerten) unterscheide. Der lahmo besteht zweifellos aus hmiro (Sauerteig) der die Lebendigkeit versinnbildlicht. Der fatiro aber besteht nur aus Mehl und Wasser, was die Sterblichkeit symbolisiert. Bar Kepha und Bar Salibi sagen weiter, wobei sie sich auf Worte der Evangelisten und des Paulus stützen, unser Herr – so ebenfalls auch bei Maruta von Tagrit (+649) in seinem Kommentar zu den Evangelien 29 – habe beim Abendmahl den lahmo (das Brot) und nicht den fatiro (das ungesäuerte Brot) genommen. Nach diesen beiden Kirchenlehrern ist das Brot der Einsetzungsberichte also gesäuert. Sie beziehen sich dabei auch auf das Gleichnis vom Sauerteig (Mt 13,33).30 Ebenso meint Yahya Ibn Garir, Jesus habe sich als das vom Himmel herabgekommene Brot bezeichnet. Er habe nicht gesagt, er sei das ungesäuerte Brot. Und er betont: “Wie der Leib Jesu das Vollkommenste ist, so muß auch zur Materie des qurban die vollkommenste Brotart genommen werden, also gesäuertes Brot”.31 Nach Rahmani waren frühe Kirchenlehrer wie Ephrem der Syrer und Rabbula von Edessa andererseits aber auch der Meinung, daß Jesus ungesäuertes Brot am Tag der ungesäuerten Brote aß. Der Patriarch Yuhannun von Antiochien (+649) und der Bischof Lo’ozor Bar Sobto von Bagdad (9. Jh.) geben dieselbe Überlieferung wieder.32 Das eucharistische Brot ist aber Ephrem zufolge aus Sauerteig. Dabei bezieht er sich negativ und polemisch auf das ungesäuerte Brot des jüdischen Pascha: Sauerteig schenkt das Leben aber Ungesäuertes den Tod.33

Das eucharistische Brot ist in der Syrisch-Orthodoxen Kirche eines der wichtigsten liturgischen Elemente, desen Symbolik das theologische Herz und die Frömmigkeit der Kirche zum Ausdruck bringt. Viele liturgische Traditionen, aber auch Bräuche der syrischen Volksfrömmigkeit, die ihren Ursprung schon in der Alten Kirche haben, wurden und werden im Tur ‘Abdin praktiziert.

Notes

1 Diese Arbeit wurde am 14.08.1996 auf dem VII. internationalen Syrologenkongreß, dem sog. ‘Symposium Syriacum’, in Uppsala, Schweden vorgetragen. Sie ist in den folgenden Zeitschriften veröffentlicht: Kolo Suryoyo No 117-118, (Sept-Okt) 1997, S. 167-173; Hermeneia, Zeitschrift für ostkirchliche Kunst, Bd 14, Heft 1, April 1998, (Herten) S. 7-14; Orientalia Christiana Analecta (OCA) 256, Symposium Syriacum VII, (Roma 1998), S. 139-147.

2 Vgl. O. Casel, “Altchristliche Liturgie bis auf Konstantin d. Gr.”, JLW 9, (Münster 1929), 229-260, hier 232.

3 Vgl. F. J. Dölger, “Heidnische und christliche Brotstempel mit religiösen Zeichen”, Antike und Christentum, 1, (Münster 1929), 1-46, hier 27, (Tafel 7 unten links).

4 Vgl. ebd., 10 f.

5 Vgl. E.S. Drower, Water into Wine, A Study of Ritual Idiom in the Middle East, London 1956, 55.

6 Vgl. G. Graf, “Die Eucharistielehre des Jakobiten Yahya Ibn Garir”, OC 37 (Wiesbaden 1953), 100-115, hier 108.

7 Dieser Hymnus wird nach der Melodie quqoyo gesungen und lautet: eno no lahmo d-haye emar moran, d-men raumo l-‘umqo nehtet tursoyo l-‘olmo, shalhan(y) abo melto d-lo besro, w-ak akoro zar’an(y) gabriel, w-qabeltan(y) karsoh d-maryam ak ar’o tto, w-ho mzayhin li b-idayhun kohne ‘al madbho haleluya badmut malake. “Ich bin das Brot des Lebens, sagte unser Herr, der aus der Hoheit [Himmel] in die Tiefe [Erde] hinabgestiegen ist, zur Nahrung für die Welt. Der Vater sandte mich als Wort ohne Fleisch, Gabriel pflanzte mich wie ein Ackermann, und Maria empfing mich in ihrem Mutterschoß wie ein gutes Feld. Nun tragen mich die Priester (lobend) mit ihren Händen auf den Altar H[alleluja] im Bild der Engel.” Textausgabe: E. Barsaum, ktobo d-shumloyo d-qurobo lfut tekso d- ´ito suryoyto trisat shubho, dayro d-kurkmo [Kloster Zafaran, Mardin] 1912, 61.

8 Die Hostienstempel können auch aus einem Stein sein, obwohl solche heute nicht mehr in der syrisch-orthodoxen Kirche gibt, aber ein solcher Steinstempel befindet sich in Kairo und in der St. Stephans-Kirche in Jerusalem. Vgl. A.A. King, The Rite of the Eastern Christendom, 1, (Rom 1947), 102.

9 Vgl. Graf, “Die Eucharistielehre” (oben Anm 5), 108.

10 Vgl. Dölger, “Heidnische und christliche Brotstempel” (oben Anm 2), 35; Graf, “Die Eucharistielehre” (oben Anm 5), 108.

11 Zur Erklärung der Anordnung der Figuren wird immer der Karfreitag herangezogen. Am Karfreitag aber wird die Eucharistie nicht gefeiert.

12 Vgl. G. Rabo, Die Eucharistiefeier der Syrisch-Orthodoxen Kirche von Antiochien, 92 f, [unveröffentlichtes Manuskript]; Drower, Water into Wine (oben Anm 4), 144 ff.

13 Vgl. ebd., 55.

14 Vgl. E. Kaplan, pushoq gmirut gmiruoto, [unveröffentlichtes Manuskript], 15.

15 Vgl. E. Rahmani, Les Liturgies Orientales et Occidentales, Beyrouth 1929, 70.

16 Vgl. Mose Bar Kepha, ktobo d-pus’oq (a)roz qurbono Kurban Sirrinin Tefsiri, hg. E. Bilgiç, Mardin 1957, 30; Kaplan, pushoq gmirut gmiruoto, (oben Anm 13), 13 f.

17 Vgl. Graf, “Die Eucharistielehre” (oben Anm 5), 108.

18 Vgl. King, The Rite of the Eastern Christendom, 1 (oben Anm 7), 102 ff; E. Rahmani, Les Liturgies (oben Anm 14), 69.

19 Vgl. BO II, (Rom 1721), 182 f.

20 Vgl. Graf, “Die Eucharistielehre” (oben Anm 5), 108; W. de Vries, Sakramentenlehre bei den syrischen Monophysiten, OCA 125, (Rom 1940), 159 f.

21 Vgl. King, The Rite of the Eastern Christendom, 1 (oben Anm 7), 104; BO II, 185; G. Barhebräus, Nomocanon (Hudoye), hg. St. Ephrem der Syrer Kloster, Glane21986, 22.

22 Vgl. Mose Bar Kepha, ktobo d-pushoq (a)roz qurbono (oben Anm 15), 24 f; I. Saka, pushoq qurobo, tafsir-ul-quddas, Bagdad 21977, 9.

23 Vgl. Barhebräus, Nomocanon (oben Anm 20), 22 f.

24 Vgl. King, The Rite of the Eastern Christendom, 1, (oben Anm 7), 106; Saka,pushoq qurobo (oben Anm 21), 9.

25 Vgl. Bar Salibi, BO I, (Rom 1719), 79.

26 Vgl. King, The Rite of the Eastern Christendom, 1, (oben Anm 7), 102.

27 Vgl. Rahmani, Les Liturgies (oben Anm 14), 65.

28 Vgl. ebd., 65.

29 Vgl. Maruta, BO I, 180.

30 Vgl. Mose Bar Kepha, ktobo d-pushoq (a)roz qurbono (oben Anm 15), 29 f; Bar Salibi, BO II, 183.

31 Graf, “Die Eucharistielehre” (oben Anm 5), 107.

32 Vgl. Rahmani, Les Liturgies (oben Anm 14), 66 f.

33 Vgl. ebd., 63.

‘Nothing but blood mixed with phlegm’: Desert Mothers’ teachings on the object of desire

by Annabelle Parker(1)

Three years ago I introduced the audience of this symposium to Synkletike, ascetical teacher and Desert Mother. This time the theme of the symposium seemed appropriate to look at the Vita again from the angle of ‘desire and denial’…

In this paper I will discuss desire and temptations of women who lived ascetically in Late Antique christianity, with emphasis on Synkletike. It is not an attempt to prove that women had different temptations than men when in the desert.

Most women who wanted to become a ‘Bride of Christ’ went to live in a church, to become ‘virgins of the church’. These communities already existed in fourth-century Egypt, because for instance the well known Anthony sent his sister to a community of virgins, when he started his ascetical lifestyle.2

The culmination of desert asceticism can be found in fourth-century Egypt. According to Athanasius, Anthony did a most unusual thing: he retreated into the desert, not just at the edge of his village, but deep into the desert.3 He closed himself in a tomb, and later on in a fortress, to emerge some twenty years later as if transfigurated, for he had gained the state of ‘apatheia’, passionlessness. Many men followed in his footsteps, and the retreat into the desert as an ascetic became an important ‘movement’.

But, as this paper suggests, not only men retreated, we have accounts of women who also lived a life of asceticism in or on the edge of the desert.

Synkletike was a virgin who lived on the outskirts of Alexandria in the 4th or 5th century. The Vita of this ‘didaskalos’4, written by someone who has been called ‘Pseudo-Athanasius’,5 can be taken as an example for women in that age, who chose an ascetical lifestyle, and for whom it was meant to be an example. As the name of Pseudo-Athanasius suggests, Synkletike has often been referred to as the female St. Anthony. This could mean that her Vita was a literary construction.

In Palladius’ Lausiac History6 not only stories about holy men, but also of women are mentioned.7

But, to quote Peter Brown: “No Life of Anthony heralded a new departure in the piety of Christian women”.8 The Life of Synkletike can be seen as an example of a female St. Anthony, because of her monologue on the Devil’s works (also called logismoi, or ‘thoughts’), and her retreat in a family tomb, and her giving away everything after the death of her parents; but the big movement of men going into the desert and building communities has not such a ‘heroic’ female counterpart. Not many women who became consecrated virgins, or Brides of Christ, had made this choice for themselves. It was mostly their parents who decided for them that they should live in a church, and dedicate themselves to being a gift to the church, a sacred vessel, although they kept their own free will.9 A virgin meant a lot to the household or small community: her prayers and fasting were a protection for the house from evils and disasters.10

But the women who became ‘famous’ were those who had chosen the ascetical life for themselves, wether it was through their sins or as widows, or even like Anthony, and who were not pushed by their parents. In the Apophthegmata Patrum 11 there are stories about the brave or seductive conduct of women, but we find only three headings of women whose sayings have been collected: Sarra, Theodora and Synkletike. Of these three, Synkletike’s life has been written down and transmitted separately, and both her sayings and Life may have a common source. Sarra and Theodore have left us just some of their sayings.

Before I start talking more about the Desert mothers, I would like to consider these stories about individual women living ascetically more in general. These are, amongst others: Mary of Egypt, Alexandra, Pelagia the Harlot, Thaïs, and in other places than Egypt: the female companions Jerome corresponded with (Eustochium, Melania the Younger, Paula), Egeria, Olympia, Febronia, Thecla, etc.

Some of these women are known through churchfathers. Sometimes a Vita has been written by a bishop, or it was mentioned in compilations of desert stories. Synkletike’s life was made famous through Athanasius (or rather: Pseudo-Athanasius), Thecla’s acts through Paul, Olympia through her friendship with Chrysostomos, Eustochium, Melania (the Elder: 340-410), Paula and Melania (the Younger: (+439) through their teacher Jerome, and Macrina, who was Gregory of Nyssa’s sister.

Others gained merit on their own: Egeria, who wrote her pilgrim’s travel journal, Mary of Egypt, and Sarra and Theodora, the desert mothers.

So even though some of these stories and lives of women have come to us introduced by a churchfather, it was also possible for a female ascetic to become well-known on her own accord.

The reasons for women to become an ascetic varied of course, but sometimes it seems to us that there is a cliché or pattern to be found, for instance, some females lived ascetically because they wanted to do penance for a sin, usually a sexual sin, for example: Mary of Egypt (harlot), Pelagia (harlot), and Alexandra, who felt guilty, because she had seduced a man. Others became ‘didaskalos’, teachers for other women or even men: for example Thekla12, Macrina, Gregory of Nyssa’s sister, who is depicted as a ‘virgin-philosopher’ and Synkletike, who teaches a crowd of women about ascetical practice.

Concerning teaching, Peter Brown13 states, that it was not at all unusual to have females as ‘spiritual guides’. Theodora is such a spiritual guide for men and women alike,14 and in the Vitae of Macrina15 and of Synkletike16, Thekla is mentioned as an example for their lives. In Synkletike’s Vita, the Saint addresses women in particular, but in the quotes of her Vita taken over in the Apophthegmata and in Paul of Evergetis’ Synagoge17, her words are for monks as well, shown in the male participiats.

There are also those women who, in order to survive in the desert, dressed themselves successfully as men, for example: Pelagia was a harlot in Antioch; on hearing a sermon spoken by bishop Nonnus in church, she decided to live ascetically, and was baptized by this same bishop. She disappeared and when she died in her cell in Jerusalem many years later, everyone, including bishop Nonnus, who came to visit her, or rather, him, thought she was the monk Pelagius, a man. But when they ‘set about anointing the body with myrrh, they found that it was a woman.’18

A lot of these women come from a rich background. That leaves them a lot to give up, which in some cases makes them very virtuous. Jerome helps a group of aristocratic women in Rome educate themselves, and Synkletike seems to have a lot to give away when her parents die. The name ‘Synkletike’ could mean female senator, senatrix, or wife of a senator. In the Vita, the author explains her name as being derived from ‘assembly of saints’ (from Synkletos, assembly)19 can also be a literary construction to take a wealthy woman as an example for other women, just because she can stand out as very generous. What news is there in the story of a poor girl living ascetically?

Finally we can categorize the women who were on pilgrimage to the Holy Land and some of them also wanted to visit the famous Desert fathers: Egeria20, who travelled supposedly from Galicia to the east, Melania the Younger21 and Severa the deaconness.22

As mentioned above, women who wanted to live ascetically, were able to do this in churches, where they were taken up with other virgins. Usually, these groups in churches or convents were gathered together by rich widows or unmarried women. Some virgins lived together in rooms or with their family.

But there were also women who lived alone, in a cell, not in a group. One of the three women mentioned in the Apophthegmata Patrum 23, Sarra, spent sixty years on the banks of the Nile, where the passage was very narrow, and thus the place where she lived was very difficult to approach. In a saying, we read: “It was said concerning her that for sixty years she lived beside a river and never lifted her eyes to look at it.”24 So looking at water while being in the desert was a temptation she resisted.

What were the desires or temptations to be on the look out for? Clearly, gluttony, and other ‘luxuries’, because they make us weak (c. 32); possessions of all kinds are also vices, because “the majority of our griefs and trials originate in the removal of possessions”, as Synkletike tells the reader (c. 35), “What course of action does he (the Enemy) have against those without possesions? None! Can he burn their estates? Impossible! Destroy their livestock? They do not have any! Lay hands on their dear ones? To these too they long ago said good-bye.”(c. 35)25 So the devil cannot touch those who have let go of their earthly possessions, according to Synkletike.

What about the other desire, the desire for another person?

For men, to be far away from women, preferably in the desert, was an effective way to live ascetically. Ascetical women lived more often in houses in cities, and could separate themselves from the ‘world’ by following a strict diet. Is this so?

According to Synkletike, fasting was not the only option for women, they also had to keep themselves from making public excursions in order to stop images arising in their thoughts (c. 25). Synkletike also gives the following warning for ‘sisterly love’: (c. 27) “…the Malevolent One has transformed even sisterly love into his own brand of evil. He has actually tripped up, through their attachment to their sisters, virgins who have fled from marriage and all worldly illusion”.

The true ascetic must really be the person who stands above the male or female body of the other, as Susanna Elm in her book ‘Virgins of God’ shows by quoting an anonymous saying about a monk who takes a detour to avoid a group of virgins. The leader of the group says: “If you were a perfect monk, you would not have seen us as women.”26

Logismoi

The Life of Synkletike contains a large monologue on the logismoi, or: ‘thoughts’. According to the author of the work, not a lot is known about her ascetical practice, because Synkletike did not allow anyone to “be an observer of this” (c. 15). But the monologue explaining the ways in which every person’s logismoi work shows that the Vita is a work of great psychological insight (for instance: caput 41, see below).

The theory of the logismoi has been developed by Evagrius of Pontus (+399). Every person has ‘thoughts’. One of the thoughts that Synkletike uses in her teachings is for example: fornication (c. 26). The Devil uses the thoughts to “promote his own plans” (c. 27): he sets the thoughts to work through memories or visions of objects. It is how we react to these memories or visions that we know which thought the Devil is using.27 The ascetic has to learn to master his or her thoughts. The impure and material thoughts are the first ones to be mastered by ascetics. After these follow the more interior ones like arrogance. The Devil uses more subtle means for those ‘internal’ thoughts, so one has to be more advanced in the ascetical lifestyle to handle those internal thoughts.

What does Synkletike say about the logismos of fornication, of sexual ‘impure’ thoughts? of physical attraction? The devil works through the senses, or he works through remembrance, images of the past that go through one’s mind. Even “to give assent to these fantasies, is equivalent to sexual impurity in the world” (c. 26). One of the most interesting chapters of the Vita Syncleticae, concerning thoughts of desire is the next: (c. 29)

“For example, if in the crannies of the mind there should appear a vision of a beautiful apparition, it should be opposed instantly by one’s rational faculty. One should mentally gouge out the eyes of the image, and tear the flesh from its cheeks, and slash off the lips too – then one should look at the ugly framework of the bare bones! then one should view with scorn what was the object of desire! For thus the mind would have the strength to retreat from a foolish deception. The love object was nothing but blood mixed with phlegm, a mixture that for living creatures requires a covering. In this way, then, also through such mental processes it is possible to frighten off the foul evil… And still further, one should imagine over the entire body of the object of lust foul-smelling and festering sores and to see it with the inner eye, to put it briefly, as something like a corpse or even to see oneself as a corpse. And most important of all is control over the belly, for thus is possible also control over pleasures beneath the belly.”

This is a cruel but effective citation, and there are more stories like this one.

In his article ‘Mères du désert et Maternité spirituelle’, p. 236-237,28 Joseph Soler writes that the fathers did not underestimate the spiritual and ascetical life of females, and that the spiritual direction that women were taught did not vary much from that of men. The emphasis on Christ as the husband of virgins, and taking Mary more as a model for them, were the only differences. But Sarra, the desert mother, had to prove herself still in front of men, according to this tale:

“Another time, two old men, great anchorites, came to the district of Pelusium to visit her. When they arrived one said to the other, ‘Let us humiliate this old woman.’ So they said to her, Be careful not to become conceited thinking to yourself: “Look how anchorites are coming to see me, a mere woman.” ‘ But Amma Sarah said to them, ‘According to nature I am a woman, but not according to my thoughts.'”29.

So did women de-womanize themselves or their thoughts? As I have mentioned, some women dressed as men, because it was safer, and in some cases, to gain acceptance among a community of monks. Maybe some women did not want to live with hundreds of other women, who often had fights, or to avoid what Synkletike had called ‘sisterly love’. In order to live alone, a woman had the choice between making herself inapproachable (like in a cell that was sealed off, or up a steep mountain), or pretending to be a man. And anyway: if a woman went to live in the desert, her appearance would adapt itself to the climate there, like Mary of Egypt, whose clothes were torn and lost long ago.30

Synkletike went to live in a family tomb on the outskirts of Alexandria. Many women found their way to her place, and it was only after many pleas that she talked about the way to leave the whole world behind in order to “advance towards God” (c. 60). But Synkletike’s sayings were taken up in the Apophthegmata Patrum, just as Sarra’s. And moreover, Synkletike’s Vita is cited in the tenth-century monastic florilegium, Paul of Evergetis’ Synagoge, that was being read in monasteries, and the verbs in female form were written in the male form, in order to appeal to ‘everyone’, not only to women… And as Benedicta Ward told me, when discussing the Desert fathers and mothers: “some Desert fathers were spiritual mothers too, so it is not a matter of gender, but more a matter of approach.”31

So if the difference between men and women in the desert was not mentionable, what about the difference between women who lived in the ‘world’ and ascetical women: Synkletike tells this to those who have come to hear her (c. 42):

“Let us women not be misled by the thought that those in the world are without cares. For perhaps in comparison they struggle more than we do. For towards women generally there is great hostility in the world. They bear children with difficulty and risk, and they suffer patiently through nursing, and they share illnesses with their sick children — and these things they endure without having any limit to their travail. For either the children they bear are maimed in body, or, brought up in perversity, they treacherously murder their parents. Since we women know these facts, therefore, let us not be deluded by the Enemy that their life is easy and carefree. For in giving birth women die in labour; and yet, in failing to give birth, they waste away under reproaches that they are barren and unfruitful.”

Conclusion, a general one

This paper has been about ascetics, about women, about the temptations of sexual attraction, how to act against it. The fascinating world of desert fathers and mothers still captures our imagination, even though the monastic environment is not desired by most. The teachings that were written down, even if the persons may not be historical, are still read today. Does this prove they have a universal message? To train body and soul for salvation, to be free of desires, it must be as old as man himself. And I admit, when I am stuck in my thoughts like possessiveness, or fornicative ones, then it helps to read about the struggles of others before me, and to realize that it makes sense to be able to discern between the different ‘thoughts’ and what stirs me, and how I get addicted, and how I can project my bad feelings on a devil, rather than on a human being. The stories of these women and men make our own bad thoughts more human, and they prove that nothing that one wants is reached by not putting in an effort. And that temptations are a basic force in everyone’s life.

I hope you have enjoyed hearing something about the temptations in the desert.

Notes

1 This paper was given as a communication at the 31st Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, Brighton, 21-24 March 1997, which carried the theme ‘desire and denial’.

2 Vita Antonii, ed. J.-P. Migne, Patrologia Graeca 26, col. 835-976, 841 b.

3 Idem, 860 B- and further.

4 Some mss. refer to Synkletike as didáskalos, see Migne’s ed. in P.G. 28, col. 1487-1558; Colbert’s ed. has metros, see Ecclesiae Graecae Monumenta, T. 1, Parisiorum 1677, ff. 201-277, so have Vat. gr. 825, Paris grec 1449, and Gotob. 4, and Athena 2104; Coislin 124 has aeí parthénou; Paris grec 1598 has parthénou; Uppsala gr. 5 has a strange reference to kallipárthenou Théklis.

5 Ed.: Migne, J.-P.: Patrologia Graeca 28, col. 1487-1558.

6 Palladius: Historia Lausiaca, ed. C. Butler, Cambridge 1898-1904 (2 vols).

7 Margot King: The desert mothers, Toronto, 1989, p. 10, has apparently counted 2975 women mentioned in the Historia Lausiaca.

8 Peter Brown, The body and society, 262.

9 Idem, 260.

10 Ibid., 264.

11 Ed. J.-P. Migne, Patrologia graeca, T. 65, col. 72-440, Paris, 1868. Transl.: Benedicta Ward, Kalamazoo, 1975. Dutch: Chr. Wagenaar, Vaderspreuken: gerontikon, Bonheiden, 1987 (3de herz. uitg.).

12 Who taught or preached even though Paul had written: (1 Tm 2, 12): ‘But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.’

13 The body and society, p. 269.

14 The sayings of the Desert Fathers: the alphabetical collection, transl. forew. by Benedicta Ward, Kalamazoo, Mich., rev. ed. 1984 (1975), p. 82.

15 Vita Macrinae: Migne, J.-P.: P.G., T. 46, cols 96-1000. Translat.: Kevin Corrigan, The Life of Saint Macrina, by Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, Toronto, 1989 (Peregrina transl. series no. 10), p. 28/Dutch transl. F. van der Meer en G. Bartelink, Utrecht, 1971, p. 35.

16 P.G. 28, see caput 10 for mention of Thekla.

17 Euergetinòs etoi Sunagooge toon theofthóngoon remátoon kaì didaskalíoon toon theofóroon kaì hagíoon patéroon, ed. Makarios Korinthos, Nikodemos Hagiorites, Venetië, 1783; 7de ed. in 4 vols: Athena, 1983.

18 Helen Waddell: The desert fathers, translations from the Latin with an introduction, London, 1987 (1936), p. 281.

19 PG 28, caput 4.

20 Peregrinatio ad loca sancta, éd. P. Maraval (Journal de voyage), Paris, 1982 (Sources chrétiennes, 296).

21 There is no edition known to me of this Saint’s Life, see Joyce E. Salisbury: Church Fathers, independent virgins, London, 1992 (1991), for a chapter about her deeds, p. 89-96.

22 See for Severa: Susanna Elm: ‘Virgins of God’: the making of asceticism in Late Antiquity, Oxford, 1994: Severa wanted to cross the desert on her pilgrimage to the Desert fathers, pp. 277-279.

23 Ed. J.-P. Migne, Patrologia graeca, T. 65, col. 72-440, Paris, 1868. Transl.: Benedicta Ward, Kalamazoo, 1975. Dutch: Chr. Wagenaar, Vaderspreuken: gerontikon, Bonheiden, 1987 (3de herz. uitg.).

24 Sarah 3, Ward: p. 230. Wagenaar, p. 250.

25 Vita Syncleticae, transl. E. Bryson-Bongie.

26 Susanna Elm, p. 267 and n. 45: N 23 and also Abraham 1.

27 See for this specific psychological explaining of the thoughts: Anselm Grun: Het omgaan met de boze, Bonheiden, 1984, transl. from Der Umgang mit dem Bösen, der Dämonenkampf im alten Mönchtum, Münsterschwarzach [s.d.], p. 26.

28 Joseph M. Soler: “Mères du désert et maternité spirituelle”, in Collectanea Cisterciensia 48 (1986) 235-250.

29 Sarah 4, transl. Ward, 193, Wagenaar, 250.

30 See for Mary of Egypt: J.-P. Migne (ed.): Patrologia Graeca 87, col. 3697-3726, and the translation of Benedicta Ward: Harlots of the desert, Kalamazoo, 1987, p. 26-56, for this citation: p. 41.

31 On my visit to the Convent of the Incarnation, Fairacres, Oxford, Sept. 1996.

Timothy of Antioch: Byzantine concepts of the Resurrection, part 2

by Dirk Krausmüller

This paper examines the concepts of the glorified body developed by patriarch Anastasius I. of Antioch (559-570, 593-599) and the priest Timothy of Antioch (6th/7th c.) in their sermons on the transfiguration.1 I have juxtaposed these two texts because Anastasius clearly refers to Timothy when he attacks his conclusion that the identities of Moses and Elijah were recognized by the apostles through their visible attributes “tables” and “chariots”.2 In the first part of this paper I have presented Anastasius’ own explanation which was based on his belief in a spiritualisation of the body which allowed mutual identification through “clairvoyance” (diórasis). Now I will try to reconstruct Timothy’s radically different concept of glorified humanity.3

Timothy discusses the significance of the events on Mt. Thabor in two different passages of his sermon.4 At first he tells his audience that Christ devised the transfiguration as a means to cure the apostles of their doubts about his resurrection: “At once he assures the apostles while still living on the earth and in the body by showing them the unbearable power … with bodily eyes the God-like power of the resurrection.”5 “In front of them he positioned Moses and Elijah who had been considered dead by them in their thoughts being clad in unapproachable glory and telling the sufferings of the affair of the cross in Jerusalem in their own articulate voice so that they might wait for what they had been taught through sight and hearing.”6 Timothy then quotes Luke’s account of the transfiguration before embarking on a second discussion of the event.7 “Have you seen what assurance the Lord Christ in his own person gave to the doubters after eight days while they were still on earth by showing them the unapproachable beauty of his divinity – not as great as it was but as much as the unsleeping eyes of men could bear – and revealed to them his glory?”8 “Likewise he presented Moses and Elijah as more flourishing than in their previous lives relating the signs of the cross that were going to happen so that the apostles realized that like them no death ruled the just and that they might hate the present life.”9

The two descriptions of the transfiguration follow the same pattern. Twice Timothy speaks about Christ’s plan to give “assurance” (plèroforía) to the apostles and in both cases he first refers to Christ’s transfigured body and then to the appearance of Moses and Elijah as witnesses thus presenting the participants in the order of their importance. A closer look at Timothy’s text, however, reveals that not Christ but Moses and Elijah are the central figures of his sermon. Before he discusses the transfiguration itself Timothy gives an elaborate account of the worries of the apostles after they have heard about Christ’s prophecy of his death and resurrection: “I must go to Jerusalem and suffer much and die and rise on the third day.”10 He presents them as “cowards, pusillanimous, held by human weakness” reacting with disbelief and disappointment.11 Their thoughts culminate in the question “Who has ever been resurrected from the dead?”12 To stress the truth of this general statement they point to Moses and Elijah.13 By ascribing such a reasoning to the apostles, Timothy contrives to introduce Moses and Elijah as possible “precedents” for the resurrection before he discusses their roole at the transfiguration. Thus, he can interpret Christ’s assurance as corresponding to the thoughts of the apostles and state that Moses and Elijah appear during the transfiguration exactly because they have been “considered dead by them” and thus prove the “power of the resurrection.”14

The reason for the curious shift away from Christ is probably that Christ is not yet dead and his transfiguration only a passing change which does not prove anything about the state he will be in after his resurrection. Christ’s assurance, however, is only effective if Moses and Elijah really have their glorified bodies and are not just “types” of a coming transformation at the last judgement. Timothy’s concern not to jeopardize this reality leads him to avoid all references to the second coming.15 This is most obvious in his interpretation of the prophecy: “Verily, I tell you, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”16 When he explains the “kingdom of God” as “the glory which is allotted to the faithful after the departure from here, the future glory”, then this does not point to an absolute future event since what is still the future for the apostles is already the present for Moses and Elijah on Mt. Thabor.17 And when he says that the cloud overshadowed Moses and Elijah at the transfiguration “so that the apostles, too, would be assured in which state of glory they were” this clearly refers to a permanent condition (katástasis) which is simply no longer visible to apostles and not to a passing impersonation of the future resurrection.18 Thus, for Timothy the transfiguration is not a prefiguration of the kingdom of God, it is the kingdom of God come true, at least as far as it concerns Moses and Elijah.

This leads to a reinterpretation of the biblical account that Moses and Elijah appear to make a prophecy about Christ’s coming death. While Timothy repeatedly refers to it, the context invariably shows that this prophecy has no function in his argument.19 Like Anastasius Timothy stresses the contrast between the apostles’ disbelief in Christ’s prophecy and their assurance by that of Moses and Elijah when he lets them say to the apostles: “Since you do not obey the Lord, at least believe the servants”.20 Timothy’s explanation, however, for why the apostles believed them whereas they had doubted Christ’s words before is radically different from Anastasius’ solution. The words of Moses and Elijah have not changed their quality by becoming more “transparent” and therefore self-evident.21 What assures the apostles is that they are confronted with “real” visible glorified individuals speaking with “real” audible voices. And as sensible bodies they are perceived by the senses. Thus there is throughout a stress on the “assurance” through sense perception.22

Timothy refrains from introducing a superior reality which transcends the actual figures which sets him apart from Anastasius who immediately veers away from Moses and Elijah to the concepts they supposedly stand for, i. e. the law and the prophets .23 This can be explained by his wish not to endanger the “reality” of the presence of Moses and Elijah. Characteristically, we find no trace of an allegorical treatment of the biblical story in Timothy’s sermon.24 Moreover, there is a curious passage in the text which indicates his reservations about this type of interpretation. When the apostles have heard Christ’s announcement of his coming death and resurrection they subject it to their reasoning.25 They muster their experience and find no precedent for such an event. They do, however, not think that Christ has lied to them but rather that Christ’s words must be an “allegorical speech”.26 This allows them interpret the prophecy in a way that fits their preconceived notions of death and life. This is quite a penetrating criticism for it is true that allegorical interpretations lead to the reduction of individual phenomena to a small number of already known standard patterns and that they tend to explain away new and unprecedented events.27 So they can conclude that “nothing of what he says will happen”.28

They are, however, not at all happy about this supposed allegory for they complain: “He misleads us as simple people.”29 What they mean is that Christ worries them by using figurative speech because they are no specialists for this kind of interpretation and therefore might take his words at face-value. Timothy construes a case here where the possible existence of a hidden meaning makes the status of the actual words ambiguous in the way that nothing “real” might correspond to them. Of course, this is a caricature of the allegorical method but it shows an inherent tendency. When Timothy has the apostles hear the words and then consider their meaning he lets them follow Anastasius’ precept not to stop at the surface.30 But the apostles only succeed in casting doubts on the literal meaning without being able to find a conclusive interpretation. The consequence is faithlessness.31 This impasse can only be overcome on the level of sense perception by presenting the apostles with something “real” which corresponds to the literal meaning of Christ’s words and thus excludes the possibility of allegory.

This means that Christ simply broadens the experience of the apostles on which they can base their judgement about the possible and impossible. In this framework there is no need for a growing refinement of the intellect that can lead men beyond the phenomena to divine trutès. So it is not surprising that in Timothy’s sermon the “assurance” of the apostles (whom he has just presented as rather obtuse) comes “fast” and “sudden”.32 We can conclude that Timothy regards sense perception as a self-evident and non-ambiguous type of knowledge by which the object can be grasped “spontaneously” without the need of subjecting it to human reasoning.33 When he juxtaposes the assurance “with bodily eyes” with what the apostles had thought “in the mind” he shows a strong aversion against the activity of the human intellect which leads away from the sensible and subverts its “reality”.34 This may be one reason why Timothy does not consider at all that Christ might take the shortcut to the apostles’ minds to inform them about the identities of Moses and Elijah.35

This brings us back to our starting-point since it helps to explain why he introduces visible signs from which the apostles can infer who they are.36 The identification through attributes, however, is not just necessitated by the exclusion of other ways of communication; it has an important function for the apostles’ assurance. As we have already seen Timothy stresses the roole of Moses and Elijah as individual precedents for the resurrection and not just as random examples to demonstrate a general concept of glorified man. Timothy’s reasoning that the attributes allow a certain identification of their bearers helps us to determine how he conceives of this individuality for it presupposes that Moses and Elijah are permanently connected with the “tables” and the “chariot”.37 And this is also the case with their activities. Timothy inserts a dialogue in which Peter tries to persuade Christ to stay on Mt. Thabor by pointing to Elijah and Moses as “efficacious generals” who will defend them against the Jews.38 When he specifies that Elijah will again burn them with fire from heaven and that Moses will again drown them like the Egyptians he interprets the actions of Elijah and Moses in their lifetimes as their own customary ways of acting which they can reproduce at will even after their demise.39 We can conclude that Timothy regards the continuing command over the body and its faculties as an intrinsic part of the afterlife and thus stresses the permanence of the individual as an autonomous actor even beyond death.

This is in marked contrast with the monenergetic and monotheletic leanings of patriarch Anastasius. For Anastasius the transformation of the body which shows at the transfiguration is paralleled with (and preceded by) an inner transformation through the renunciation of one’s self.40 He refers to Paul who “has remodelled the life itself and thus no longer lives himself nor moves or acts on his own account but has Christ acting in him as the life itself; for he has left himself utterly and mortified his own will subjecting himself completely to the divine will”.41 Thus for Anastasius there will be no room for individuality and individual activity (idioos … energoon) after the resurrection.42

Timothy is clearly opposed to such an ideal of human perfection. In his sermon on Symeon he inserts another episode where sense perception is given an important function for the identification of an individual. Timothy explains how Symeon identified Mary among all the mothers coming to the temple: “Symeon turned his eyes hither and thither and when he saw many mothers in the ordinary shape of humanity but only the Virgin surrounded by an infinite and divine light he ran to her and dived through the other mothers.”43 This very lively description is another example for Timothy’s stress on human activity even when the “supernatural” is involved. This stress becomes even more apparent when we look at the context. The identification of Mary by Symeon is preceded by divine interventions which determine his actions. In his house Symeon was told by the Holy Spirit that he should go to the temple to hold the Christ-child as had been prophesied to him before.44 Then he ran to the temple “rejuvenated by the swift wing of his desire as if he was lifted up by the Spirit”.45 And having arrived at the temple he “placed himself near the door waiting for the revelation of the Holy Spirit.”46 This whole sequence is presented by Timothy as a paraphrase of Luke’s statement that “Symeon went to the temple in the spirit”.47 The drift of Timothy’s argument becomes obvious when we compare it with a “monenergetic” interpretation of the same verse. Such an interpretation we find e. g. in Leontius of Neapolis who concluded from it that “the saints do nothing in a self-moved way but are moved by the Holy Spirit”.48 Timothy, on the other hand, breaks up the divine influence into two distinct revelations at home and in the temple separated by Symeon’s walk to the temple where the Spirit is only mentioned to account for the extraordinary strength of Symeon’s own desire. We can conclude that Timothy only accepts individual divine interventions which are clearly marked as extraordinary and is not prepared to conceive of the Spirit as a continuous moving force in man replacing his own faculties.49

This stress on the preservation of individual humanity affects Timothy’s interpretation of the events on Mt. Thabor. In keeping with the biblical account and earlier interpretations he presents the transfiguration of Christ as a revelation of the “inaccessible glory of his divinity”.50 But at the same time he makes it clear this does not mean a transformation of Christ’s human body into something else. Surprisingly enough for a sermon on the transfiguration the actual term metamórfoosis never appears in the text. And this is not only because Timothy follows the account of the story given by Luke who does not use this term. When he says that Christ assured the apostles he specifies that he did so autoprosoopoos.51 The usual meaning of this word is, of course, “in one’s own person”.52 But prósoopon also means “face” and has, in fact, just appeared in this meaning in Timothy’s quotation of Luke: “The appearance of his face became different.”53 So we can take autoprosoopoos to mean “with the same face” in the sense that Christ’s humanity was preserved. Timothy must have introduced this term to counterbalance Luke’s statement (who presents Christ as heteroprósoopos).

When we now turn to Moses and Elijah we find them described as “clad in inaccessible glory” which likens their appearance to that of Christ.54 This is again counterbalanced by a stress on the constancy of the human individual. When Timothy mentions that they foretell Christ’s death to the apostles he says that they spoke “in the sound of their own voice”.55 Thus he not only specifies that their speech is “sound” (fthoggè) and therefore audible but also that it is “of their own voice” (idiófoonos) i. e. that they used their own physical equipment to articulate their words.56 Their glory which Timothy compares with a garment is probably nothing more than a kind of halo added to the original human shape.57

Timothy’s preoccupation with the preservation of “ordinary” humanity as opposed to its transformation through divinisation shows his affinity to the “Nestorians”. In fact, the use of the term autoprosoopoos points to a Nestorian Christology for prósoopon can mean both Christ’s human face and his human person which implies that Timothy accepts the existence of two “persons” in Christ.58

The stress on individual human activity influences Timothy’s interpretation of the resurrection. In the passage about the reflections of the apostles which precedes their assurance through the transfiguration he explains why they think of Moses and Elijah as precedents. They reason that Moses and Elijah are more likely to rise from the dead than other men because they were “the most efficacious people in this life”.59 Thus, they accept that there is a causal relation between their activity in this life and the resumption of this activity at the resurrection. This implies that Moses and Elijah have an active share in their rebirth. Such an interpretation is, in fact, demanded by the context for when the apostles first say that Christ “has resurrected the dead” and immediately afterwards maintain that “nobody has risen from the dead” this would be a blatant contradiction if we do not interpret the first statement as referring to “passive” resurrections effected by somebody else and the second as referring to “active” self-induced resurrections.60 We must remember that Moses and Elijah are introduced as precedents for Christ who also resurrects himself after he has died.61 Thus, the apostles express the belief that the activity of an individual human being other than Christ himself can bring about its immortality. Instead of a clear distinction between Christ and all other human beings there seems to be a continuous scale where the degree of activity in this life determines the degree of immortality in the afterlife.62

In a concept of immortality which is based on continuous activity the break caused by death and resurrection creates severe problems. Characteristically, the conclusion drawn by the apostles from the resurrections worked by Christ is not that they will also be resurrected after death but that they will not die at all: “We considered ourselves immortal”.63 From this point of view it is not surprising that according to Timothy the apostles not only doubted the possibility of Christ’s resurrection; they also could not see the point of his death: “If he will rise after three days why then does he die?”64

Timothy does not only ascribe such a reasoning to the apostles; he himself denies death and resurrection a roole as necessary preconditions for the glorification of the body. This is not immediately obvious for at first sight he seems to follow the traditional Christian teaching. After all, he states that Moses and Elijah prove “the power of the resurrection” and gives as the reason for their appearance Christ’s wish to assure the apostles “that the rebirth is more admirable than the present life.”65 But when we look more closely at the case of Elijah we find a curious ambiguity. Whereas in the passages mentioned so far Timothy treats Moses and Elijah exactly alike, there are other passages in the sermon where he presents Elijah as being still alive when he appeared on Mt. Thabor. Thus he refers to Philippians 2, 10 and identifies Moses as the representative of the “underworld” and Elijah as representing “heaven”.66 Since this is a topos which he took over from earlier sermons on the transfiguration one could argue that he simply followed an established tradition here without caring for the coherence of his argument.67 This is, however, not a satisfying explanation since this distinction is also found in the highly original passage where Timothy presents the thoughts of the apostles about Christ’s resurrection: “Elijah was assumed and has not appeared; Moses has died and is reduced to dust.”68 When we look at the context of this statement we can resolve the apparent contradiction. Since it is preceded by the question “Who has ever been resurrected from the dead?” we can conclude that in the case of Elijah “death” for the apostles simply means that he is no longer visible to them.69 This must be Timothy’s own solution for it is highly unlikely that he would have departed from a tradition that unanimously accepted that Elijah had not yet died when he appeared to the apostles. Thus, the transformation of Elijah’s body would have happened in his celestial abode without a previous separation and reunion of body and soul.70

One of Timothy’s peculiarities is his great interest in all cases where a human being was taken away from the earth by God while still alive in his body. Thus when at the end of the sermon on the transfiguration the Father witnesses the divinity of the Son the only other activity of Christ he mentions after the creation of the world and of Adam is the “transfer” of Enoch.71 The same interest shows in his sermon on Symeon where we again find Enoch mentioned.72 Here he heads a list of “just” men who prove the truth of Wisdom 5, 16: “The just live for ever.”73 In a paraphrase Timothy explains how he understands this verse: “There is no more ever-living animate statue among rational beings than the just.”74 The expression “animate statue” clearly refers to the eternal life of the human compound and not to that of the soul alone.75 This, of course, finds a fitting illustration in the case of Enoch and explains why he is given such a prominent position in the series of just men.76 Wisdom 5, 16 was one of Timothy’s pet quotations because we also find it in the sermon on the transfiguration after he has said that Moses and Elijah demonstrate that “no death is master of the just”.77 It is likely that here, too, Timothy wanted to express that they never died in the sense of a separation from the body.78 This certainly is the case with Elijah as we have already seen. But what about Moses? After all, the apostles expressly say that he has died. Their statement is, however, ambiguous for when they add that he is “in an unknown grave” it is left open whether he has really died or whether they simply infer this.79 After all, Timothy likens Moses’ fate to that of Elijah when he then lets the apostles continue that neither of them “has revealed himself”.80 This repeats the previous statement that Elijah “has not appeared” but now refers to both figures.81 There was a Jewish tradition that Moses did not die and Timothy may have been aware of it.82

Even if this cannot be conclusively proven it is obvious that Timothy shows a tendency to extend the model of Elijah to other figures. This can be seen from his concept of Mary’s afterlife which he propounds in his sermon on Symeon: “The virgin has been immortal until now, after he who has lived in her has moved her to places belonging to the assumed.”83 Thus Timothy not only presents her as transferred with her body which was a current belief in his time. He also states that Mary has not died yet which sets him apart from all other accounts of Mary’s assumption where it is invariably preceded by her death and resurrection.84 Timothy clearly fashions Mary’s afterlife after the model of Enoch and Elijah.85 And just as in the case of Elijah it is implied that the transformation of her body to the better has already happened without her previous death.86

Timothy’s concept of the afterlife is not unprecedented as can be seen from a comparison with the writings of Ephraem of Amida who was patriarch of Antioch under Justinian.87 Ephraem also accords the assumptions of Elijah and Enoch an important place in the history of salvation. He states that Christ took them as “firstlings of the whole dough” and then explains that Adam would never have died and remained uncorrupted if he had not sinned and that Elijah and Enoch are still alive to demonstrate this fact.88 This has far-reaching consequences for the roole of Christ as saviour of mankind for obviously Elijah and Enoch do not owe their return to primeval perfection to the incarnation of God but to their own sinless life. So it is only logical that Ephraem extends Christ’s roole as the new Adam and “firstling” to Elijah and Enoch. Moreover, Elijah and Enoch achieve the state of incorruptibility without dying first. Thus Christ’s death appears to lose its significance for human salvation. Such a consequence is, in fact, implied by Ephraem’s Christology. Though being a Chalcedonian he shows a strong affinity to aphthartodocetism which means that he regards Christ’s body as incorruptible even before his resurrection.89 At the end of his treatise, however, Ephraem seems to have second thoughts since he insists that Enoch and Elijah will die on the day of the last judgement.90 It is, however, obvious that this runs counter to his previous argument for if their permanence in this body is interpreted as the recovering of the state before the fall this presupposes that they have not sinned and so they should not die either.

If we compare Ephraem’s systematic treatment with the information we have gleaned from Timothy’s sermons we find that both authors share important points. Like Ephraem Timothy presents the glorification of the bodies of Moses and Elijah as the result of their activity in this life and therefore as “self-made” and he insinuates that Moses and Elijah achieve this state without dying before.91 Timothy may even hint at the same link with the protology as Ephraem when he juxtaposes the creation of Adam with the transposition of Enoch at the end of his sermon on the transfiguration.92 Like Ephraem, however, Timothy seems to have qualms about openly stating that a transformation does not necessarily presuppose death and resurrection. His reticence not only shows in the oblique way he speaks about Elijah but also in his statement that Mary is “immortal until now” (rather than that she will never die).93 Nevertheless, as in the case of Ephraem we can conclude that even if he does not say that Mary will never die one cannot see how a future death could be meaningful in his system (for it would only make Mary less “ever-living”, after all).

We must ask now what prompted Timothy to this reinterpretation of the traditional Christian teaching about death and resurrection. Again the thoughts of the apostles give us a clue. When they say that they considered themselves immortal this must be seen in the light of their previous statement “that only the present life is real, filled with light and pleasure, and that there is no other better rebirth, more admirable than the present life.”94 With such a positive attitude towards this life it is not surprising that they expected it to go on for ever.95 Of course, Timothy does not agree with them and wants them to “hate the present life” but he tries to achieve this aim by presenting the future life as a slightly better version of it.96 Throughout the text the present life provides the yardstick for the evaluation of the life to come. Timothy strives to make this connection obvious by describing the present life as “filled with light” with which he can then juxtapose the “better” light of the transfiguration. And when he calls the glorified bodies of Moses and Elijah “more flourishing than in their previous lives” his point of reference is the actual present body which means that the glorified body is seen in terms of earthly beauty.97 Timothy conceives of the bodies of Moses and Elijah as solidly “carnal” and material because a red complexion is a sign for the presence of blood as the life-giving force.98 While Timothy still insists on the superiority of the glorified body the difference between it and the earthly bodies is now simply one of degree.

One is reminded of the descriptions of the undecomposed corpses of saints in Lives dating to the period in which Timothy lived. In patriarch Methodius’ Life of Euthymius of Sardeis (+831) e. g. the corpse is called “of better complexion now” which is remarkably similar to Timothy’s phrase “more flourishing”.99 This is hardly a coincidence since this interest in the state of a corpse implies a close connection between the preservation of this earthly body and the glorification of the resurrected body.

Although it is dangerous to make generalisations it seems that the “carnal” concept of the glorified body expressed in Timothy’s sermons gained wider acceptance towards the end of Late Antiquity to the detriment of the “spiritualist” tradition represented e. g. by Anastasius of Antioch. This is at least the impression one gets from a letter of Maximus the Confessor in which he complained about the spread of “a new dogma about the resurrection” which completely disregarded Paul’s teachings about the spiritual nature of the resurrected body.100 According to him its contents were “that at the resurrection the bodies will again be kept alive through phlegm and blood and red and black bile and drawing in of air and sensible food so that nothing extraordinary at all will appear through the resurrection compared with the present life apart from the fact that one will not be able to die again.”101

There can be no doubt that in Timothy’s case this belief is the result of his positive attitude towards earthly life.102 His view is diametrically opposed to that of “spiritualist” authors like Gregory of Nyssa who held that the corruption introduced by the fall has led to a complete change of the original human body.103 In his system Gregory could give death and corruption a meaningful function as a necessary purifying process that the present sullied and “dense” body must undergo to be fit for a return to its original condition at the resurrection.104 For Timothy, on the other hand, the change required to restitute the primeval perfect state is so slight that it does not need death to bring it about.105

Such a positive view of the present life is in fact already found in Ephraem.106 When he refers to Enoch and Elijah as examples to illustrate what the uncorrupted body of Adam before the fall was like he does so to prove that the resurrected body will only be “better” but not turned into a soul.107 And when he compares the uncorrupted state of Adam with health and our corruption with illness this shows clearly that he does not accept a fundamental difference between both states.108

If we go back even further than Ephraem and look for Late Antique predecessors for Timothy’s idea of human perfectibility quite apart from Christ’s death and resurrection we find the closest parallel in authors belonging to what has been termed the “School of Antioch”. Theodoret e. g. rejects the concept of an original sin which has done away with the fundamental goodness of man and insists that even after Adam’s fall there were just men like Enoch etc.109 Nevertheless, he still interprets the death of all human beings as a punishment for Adam’s sin and Christ’s death and resurrection as the only means to bestow immortality on mankind.110 By allowing the individual to remain sinless like Adam through the use of its own natural resources but denying it a return to Adam’s incorruptibility, however, he creates a glaring discrepancy between the ethical and the ontological spheres.111 In Theodoret’s writings there are indications that he attempts to overcome this discrepancy.112 A glorification without death, however, was not conceivable for him because it would have smacked of “Eutychianism” and endangered the reality of the human nature.113 This problem is reflected in a curious passage in a sermon on the dormition attributed to patriarch Theodosius of Alexandria (535-566) where Christ says to Mary: “I did not want to let you know death; I wanted to carry you up to heaven like Enoch and Elijah (as regards these others, however, they will also know death at the end); but if that happened to you, bad people would think that you are a heavenly power descended on the earth and that this plan of the incarnation and the way it has come true is an illusion.”114 Here we obviously have an author who has strong sympathies for aphthartodocetism but who does not dare to come to the same conclusion as Timothy for fear of being accused of fantasiasmós.115 Such a charge could not be brought against Timothy who believed that the change to uncorruptibility involved only a minimal adjustment of our present corruptible human body and thus could not have endangered the “reality” of Mary’s human nature.116 This allowed him to combine an “aphthartodocetic” position with an “Antiochene” (or “Nestorian”) anthropology which insisted on the constancy of the ordinary human existence.

Notes

1 Anastasius of Antioch, Oratio I in Transfigurationem (BHG 1993, CPG 6947), PG 89, 1361-1376; Timothy of Antioch, Sermo in Crucem et in Transfigurationem (BHG 434h, CPG 7406), PG 86, 256-265.

2 Timothy’s argument is found in PG 86, 261C1-3: kaì póthen autoîs he gnoosis hoti Mooüsès èn kaì Èlías? Ek toon tekmèríoon: ho gàr Èlias sùn tooi harmati parésthè kaì ho Mooüsès tàs plákas bastázoon. Anastasius refutes it in PG 89, 1369B4-7: tò dè punthánesthaí tinas póthn è poos kaì ek tínoon sèmeíoon epégnoosan hoi mathètaì toùs profètas ou moi dokeî kompsòn eperoothèma kaì zètèseoos axion einai.

3 Apart from his sermon on the Transfiguration I will also refer to Timothy’s Sermo in Symeonem et in S. Mariam Virginem (BHG 1958, CPG 7405), PG 86, 237-252.

4 The first part of the sermon is devoted to an interpretation of Moses’ outstretched arms as a prefiguration of the cross which is not connected with the transfiguration theme and therefore does not concern us here, PG 86, 256A1-257C11.

5 PG 86, 260B5-13: thâtton dè kaì plèroforeî epì gès eti kaì en soomati toon apostóloon diagóntoon hupodeiknùs autois tèn abástakton dúnamin soomatikoîs ofthalmoîs theoprepè tès anastásews dúnamin. The text of PG is obviously corrupt. The first dúnamin seems to be redundant; cf. PG 86, 261A14/15: tò aprósiton autou tès theótètos kállos … hoson èdúnanto bastásai .

6 PG 86, 260B13-C2: parastèsas enantíon autoon Mooüsèn kaì Èlían toùs nekroùs katà diánoian hup’ autoon logisthéntas en aprosítooi dóxès stolisthéntas kaì tà tès staurikès en Hierosolúmois pragmateías diègouménous páthè en idiofoonooi fthoggèi hopoos opsei kaì akoèi stoicheioothénta (stoicheioothéntes?) prosménoosin.

7 Quotation of Luke 9, 27-35, PG 86, 260C3-261A10.

8 PG 86, 261A11-B2: eides pósèn plèroforían ho despótès Christòs toîs amfibállousin en tèi gèi eti diágousin metà oktoo hèméras autoprosoopoos paréschen emfanísas autois tò aprósiton autou tès theótètos kállos ouch hoson èn all’ hoson hèdúnanto bastásai anthroopoon anústakta bléfara kaì tèn heautou dóxan anefánisen.

9 PG 86, 261B2-7: homoíoos dè Mooüsèn kaì Èlían anthèrotérous tès protéras zooès paréstèsen diègouménous tà tou staurou méllonta gínesthai tekmèria pròs tò sunideîn toùs apostólous hoti kat’ autoùs oudeìs despózei toon dikaíoon thánatos kaì hina misèswsin tèn parousan zooè.

10 PG 86, 257D3-5: deî me apeltheîn eis Hierousalèm kaì pollà patheîn kaì apoktanthènai kaì tèi trítèi hèmérai anastènai. Cf. Matthew 16, 21; Luke 9, 22.

11 PG 86, 260A8-9: ei metà treîs hèméras egeíretai tí kaì apothnèiskei.

12 PG 86, 260A11/12: tís pote ek nekroon anéstè.

13 PG 86, 260A14-15.

14 Unfortunately the text in PG is corrupt here; see above footnote 5. It is, however, likely that tès anastáseoos dúnamin already refers to Moses and Elijah since anástasin should correspond to the following nekroùs logisthéntas and refer back to the question: tís pote ek nekroon anéstè.

15 Basil of Seleucia sees the transfiguration as an eikoon of the second coming of Christ; PG 85, 456B13: tès parousías eikóna procharísasthai speúdoo, cf. 461A12/13. For Basil this does not seem to imply that the transfiguration is not “real”. Nevertheless, eikoon has always the connotation of not being “real”. In an anonymous sermon on the Transfiguration the phenomenon is presented as a painting, cf. M. Aubineau, ‘Une homélie grecque inédite sur la transfiguration’. AB 85 (1957), p. 406, ll. 59-61: mè fobèthète athanátou foonès lógon akoúsantes kaì basileías opsin idóntes hoos en eikóni kaì semnooi pínaki. For Chrysostom who also uses the term eikoon the transfiguration has the same status of reality as the parable of Lazarus and Dives, cf. Homilia 56 in Matthaeum, PG 58, 549.

16 PG 86, 260C7-9. Anastasius also seems to believe in the reality of the transformation on Mt. Thabor. His interpretation of the “kingdom of heaven” as referring both to the transfiguration and to the second coming, however, creates exactly the ambiguity which I have mentioned in the previous note, PG 89, 1365A1-B3.

17 PG 86, 260C10-11: poían basileían? tèn metà tèn enthen exodon toîs pistoîs apokeklèrooménèn dóxan tèn méllousan dóxan. When Timothy lets Peter say at the end of the apparition: “We have now come to know the invincible glory of your kingdom from those present”, cf. PG 86, 261D1-2: egnoomén sou nun ek toon paróntoon tès basileías tèn akatamáchèton dóxan. There can be no doubt that “those present” are Moses and Elijah; cf. 264C13-14: paróntoon gàr Mooüsè kaì Èlía.

18 PG 86, 264C5-7: pròs tò plèroforèthènai kaì toùs apostólous en poíai dóxèi kathestèkasin.

19 This is most obvious in his second paraphrase of the biblical text where the proof of the reality of the resurrection as the purpose of their appearing on the Mount (expressed by prós and infinitive) does not refer back to the immediately preceding reference to their words about the cross but to the first part of the sentence where Moses and Elijah are presented as resurrected persons; cf. PG 86, 261B5. Cf. PG 86, 260D6-9, with the quotation of Luke 9, 31: elegon tèn exodon autou hèn emelle plèroun en Hierousalèm, and Timothy’s paraphrase where he also restricts themselves to the passion.

20 PG 86, 260D11-261A1: par’ ho tooi despótèi ou peitharcheîte kan hèmîn toîs doúlois pisteúsate.

21 PG 89, 1369A14-B3.

22 PG 86, 257D2: ep’ opsesin autoùs plèroforeî; PG 86, 260B11: plèroforeî … hupodeiknùs autois … soomatikoîs ofthalmoîs; PG 86, 260C2: opsei kaì akoèi stoicheioothéntes; PG 86, 261B10: opsei plèroforètheís.

23 PG 89, 1369A13-14: Mooüsès kaì Èlías tout’ estin ho nómos kaì hoi profètai. Timothy also refrains from an allegorical interpretation of their attributes (which Anastasius does not mention; but cf. Maximus’ interpretation of the Life of Elijah in his Ambigua, PG 91, 1124B3: theíooi aretoon harmati).

24 On the other hand, he shows great interest in typological interpretations, cf. PG 86, 257A1-6.

25 PG 86, 257D6: tèi akoèi prosdexámenoì PG 86, 260B5-6: chalepèn dianóèsin; cf. PG 86, 260B14: katà diánoian logisthéntas.

26 PG 86, 257D9-10: allègorikòn lógon hèmîn légei, and PG 86, 260A6-7: allègoroon hèmîn légei.

27 PG 86, 257D8: xená … paregguèmata.

28 PG 86, 260A11: mátaia tà legómená estin; PG 86, 260B3: oudèn estai toon par’ autou legoménoon.

29 PG 86, 260B3: planai hèmâs hoos idiootas.

30 PG 89, 1365B11-C2.

31 PG 86, 260C6: distázousì; PG 86, 260D10: amfibállousì; PG 86, 261A12: amfibállousi.

32 PG 86, 260B6-8: ho kúrios ouk egkatalimpánei toùs heautou mathètàs tèi trikumíai tès apistías nèchesthai thâtton dè plèroforeî. PG 86, 260C12-14: egéneto metà toùs toútous hoos hèmérai oktoo: súntomos hè tou kuríou plèroforía thâtton paréchei tèn epipóthèsin. This is significant since it shows a departure from the tradition. Already Chrysostom had interpreted this as a period of “mental” preparation in his sermon on the Transfiguration, cf. Homilia 56 in Matthaeum, PG 58, 550: tí dèpote oun kaì prolégei? hina eumathésteroi perì tèn theoorían génoontai … kaí … houtoo nèfoúsèi kaì memerimnèménèi tèi dianoíai paragénoontai. Chrysostom stresses that the apostles were above the the ordinary doubting people, cf. PG 59, 549: eudókimoi kaì eugnoomones. Cf. Anastasius’ interpretation, PG 89, 1368B1-2.

33 The belief in the self-evidence of sensible phenomena (and the corresponding distrust of mental activities) is shared by patriarch Methodius of Constantinople who in his Life of Theophanes (+818) stresses that his audience knew the saint from “autopsy” and therefore will not doubt the truth of his story, cf. Life of Theophanes, ed. V. V. Latyshev. Zapiski of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 13 (1916 – 1922). No. 4, c. 2, p. 2, ll. 18-20: ouk empodízei tòn noun distagmòs poopote oud’ egkoteî logismòs dianooúmenos all’ estin ergon ho lógos deiknúmenos kaì autopísteutos suggrafè tò istórèma.

34 This is accentuated by the juxtaposition of PG 86, 260B10-12: soomatikoîs ofthalmoîs theoprepè anastáseoos dúnamin, and PG 86, 260B13-14: nekroùs katà diánoian … logisthéntas. What he does not consider at all here is that such a knowledge could be found “beyond” the realm of human reasoning.

35 After all, Timothy himself refers to such a type of information at the beginning of his sermon when he says that Moses knew Amalek could be vanquished if he held up his arms “having received a revelation of the divine Spirit.” Cf. PG 86, 257A15: theíou pneúmatos dexámenos apokálupsin. It is worth noting that this is Timothy’s own addition since in Exodus 12, 8-16 there is no reference to a divine revelation.

36 Anastasius of Sinai provides us with the closest parallel. He also believes in the opacity of the resurrection body and therefore concludes that no mutual recognition will be possible after the resurrection because the resurrected will all look like Adam before the fall. Cf. Questions and Answers, nr. 89 (=19), PG 89, 720B8-13: all’ oudè metà tèn anástasin allèlous epignoosómetha fusikooi epignoorismooi: ou gár estin ekeî smikrótès è megaleiótès soomátoon … all’ hoios gégonen ho Adàm toioutoi pántes hoi ap’ aioonos kekoimèménoi anistámetha.

37 This statement is not as simple as it seems to be. One must not forget that in Timothy’s time many people had considerable doubts whether one could infer the identity of a person from its outward appearance, cf. G. Dagron, ‘Holy Images and Likeness’. DOP 45 (1991), pp. 23-33. These doubts arose from the ambiguous state of saints in posthumous apparitions which may be one more reason why Timothy stressed the reality of the bodies of Moses and Elijah.

38 PG 86, 61D8-9: echeis entautha toùs drastikoùs stratopedárchas Mooüsèn kaì Èlían.

39 PG 86, 261D9-11: ho Èlías pur authis kat’ autoon bréxei ho Mooüsès Faraooníooi túpooi pántas autoùs pniktooi táfooi parapémpsei. This concept is also found in the medieval West (where often saints specialise in miracles which relate to their lives and martyrdoms).

40 In both cases Anastasius uses the verb metapoieîn; cf. PG 89, 1365A5/6: tò idion sooma metapoièsas eis aftharsían; PG 89, 1364A13-15: trópon tinà katalipoon heautòn kaì pásas tàs psuchikàs petapoièsas dunámeis.

41 PG 89, 1361C6-1364A2: ho Paulos … tèn zooèn autèn metepoíèse mèkéti zoon autòs kaì idíoos kinoúmenos è energoon all’ autò tò zèn Christòn eichen en autooi energounta: parèken gàr heautòn holoscheroos kaì tò idion thélèma nekroosas tooi theíooi thélèmati holon heautòn hupéstroosen. This is a combination of Acts 17, 28: en autooi gàr zoomen kaì kinoúmetha kaí esmen, Galatians 2, 20: zoo dè oukéti egoo zèi dè en emoì Christós, and Philippians 1, 21: emoì gàr tò zèn Christós.

42 Although all this is expressed in Pauline quotations the insertion of the key terms energoon and energounta points to the incipient monenergetic discourse. Cf. Maximus the Confessor who in a passage with strong monenergetic overtones complements kineîtai from Acts 17, 28 with the participle energoúmenos, Ambigua, PG 91, 1084B1-7.

43 PG 86, 244A9-14: ho dè Sumeoon hoode kakeîse tàs opseis periféroon hoos heoora pollàs mètéras en tooi idiootikooi tès anthroopótètos schèmati mónèn dè tèn Parthénon apeírooi kaì theïkooi footì periteichistheîsan katadramoon ho Sumeoon echoorèsen tàs loipàs mètéras.

44 PG 86, 240C3-7: tò hagion pneuma tòn chrèsmòn paréschèke kaì diègeiren tòn Sumeoona légoon: exegeírou ktl.. The chrèsmós is presented as an articulate speech of the Spirit.

45 PG 86, 241C1-2: anakainistheìs tooi oxutátooi tès epithumías pterooi hoos hupò tou pneúmatos koufizómenos.

46 PG 86, 244A4-5: estè plèsíon toon thuroon periménoon tèn apokálupsin tou hagíou pneúmatos. As we have seen this revelation is again mediated through the senses.

47 PG 86, 241A15-16: kaì tí estin: kaì èlthen en tooi pneúmati eis tò ierón? akoue sunetoos. Cf. Luke 2, 27: kaì èlthen en tooi pneúmati eis tò ierón.

48 Leontius of Neapolis, Sermo in Symeonem (CPG 7880; BHG 1955), PG 93, 1580A: ou gàr autokinètoos oi hagioí ti diapráttontai all’ ek pneúmatos hagíou kinoúmenoi.

49 PG 86, 240C4: ho epì tosouton dikaiosúnès elásas hoos en autooi tooi soomati theîon chrèsmòn déxasthai. Cf. PG 86, 261A12: plèroforían … en tèi gèi eti diágousin … paréschen.

50 PG 86, 261A14-15: emfanísas autois tò aprósiton autou tès theótètos kállos (cf. 1. Timothy 6, 16: foos oikoon aprósiton); PG 86, 260B10: hupodeiknùs autois tèn abástakton dúnamin; PG 86, 261B2: tèn heautou dóxan anefánisen.

51 PG 86, 261A11-13: eides pósèn plèroforían ho despótès Christòs … autoprosoopoos paréschen.

52 Cf. Liddell & Scott s. v. autoprósoopos “in one’s own person”.

53 PG 86, 260D2-3 with the quotation of Luke 9, 29: kaì egéneto tò eidos tou prosoopou autou heteron.

54 PG 86, 260B14: en aprosítooi dóxès stolisthéntas. Timothy’s reference to the “glory” of Moses and Elijah is, of course, an adaptation of ofthéntes en dóxèi in Luke 9, 31 which he quotes in 260D6.

55 PG 86, 260C2: en idiofoonooi fthoggèi.

56 Thus Timothy excludes that the voice could have been produced in a different, immaterial way. Cf. the Life of Basil the Younger dating to the 10th century where the crying of the souls in Hades is explained this way, ed. A. N. Veselovskij, Sbornik of the Section for the Russian Language, Imperial Academy of Sciences, 46 (Petersburg, 1890), nr. 6, supplement, p. 41: psuchikèi dèlonóti kaì alalètooi fthoggèi kaì ou dià soomatikoon orgánoon exèrthrooménèi kaì legoménèi. Cf. also Leontius of Jerusalem, Adversus Nestorianos, I, 14, PG 86, 1457C, who mentions the voice as an example for an idikootátè enérgeia which the soul can only use if it is physically connected with the foonètikà mória of the body as instrument.

57 The passage in the sermon on Symeon which I have interpreted above shows how Timothy may have conceived of this “glory”. Here Mary comes to the temple “surrounded by infinite and divine light” which sets her apart from the other women who appear “in the ordinary shape of their humanity”. Cf. PG 65, 244A11-13. But, of course, this does not mean that Mary has a “spiritual body” here. The light is something “peripheral” and does not cause a transformation.

58 The same double meaning of prósoopon we find in a question put to Leontius of Jerusalem by his Nestorian adversary: trioon ontoon prosoopoon toon theíoon tò dè rapisthèn poîon einai légete. This is criticized by Leontius as sophism: tò gàr rapisthèn prósoopon ou tò antì hupostáseoos lambanómenon èn all’ hè opsis. Cf. Leontius of Jerusalem, Adversus Nestorianos, II, 16, PG 86, 1572B-D. His wish to introduce a reference to “person” would explain why Timothy coined the term autoprosoopoos although Luke’s phrase eidos … heteron would rather have suggested a form like autoeidoos.

59 PG 86, 260A14-15: hoon oudeìs drastikooteros en tooi bíooi hèurètai.

60 PG 86, 260A4-5: dokountes mathèteúein tooi nekroùs egeírontì; A11-12: tís pote ek nekroon anéstè.

61 A comparison with Leontius of Jerusalem may help to clarify the difference. In Adversus Nestorianos, I, 19, PG 86, 1476, Leontius attacks the Nestorian position that Christ has his immortality and incorruptibility ex anastáseoos (i. e. as a gift which the divine Word confers on the man Christ at the moment of the resurrection). Leontius says that Christ’s resurrection would then be suffered by him and be in no way different from the resurrections of Lazarus etc. which were caused by an “energy” that was not part of their substance, cf. A3-6. In this case it would no longer be a necessary precondition for the resurrection of all men, cf. C3-6. Leontius stresses that Christ’s case is different because he “resurrected himself “, cf. B8-9: autòs heautòn anastèsai légetaì; cf. A 6: autourgikoos; cf. C13: dédeiktai autou hè anástasis autoenérgeia einai.

Leontius’ solution is that the “resurrective energy” of the divinity is conferred on the humanity so that the humanity can then “resurrect itself”. The conferral of the “power” to display such an “energy” takes place at the moment of the union, cf. I, 6, PG 86, 1425C4-9.

Timothy holds a similar position. Like Leontius he obviously believes that a human being can “resurrect” itself through its own “activity” for drastikós and energès are synonyms, as opposed to pathètikós. What distinguishes him from Leontius is that he does not restrict this power to Christ (and that he does not stress that ultimately this power comes from God).

62 This explains why Timothy could not refer to any human being to demonstrate the possibility of Christ’s resurrection. A very similar reasoning we find in the writings of patriarch Methodius of Constantinople who also establishes a relation between the degree of activity in this life and the posthumous activity of human beings and who accordingly distinguishes between levels of posthumous life, cf. J. Gouillard, ‘La vie d’Euthyme de Sardes (+831), une oeuvre du patriarche Methode’. Travaux et Memoires, 10 (1987), c. 26, p. 59, ll. 531-537.

63 PG 86, 260A4-5: hoos athánatoi diekeímetha dokountes mathèteúein tooi nekroùs egeíronti.

64 PG 86, 260A8-9: ei metà treîs hèméras egeíretai tí kaì apothnèiskei.

65 PG 86, 257D1-3: hothen ho kúrios deiknùs autois tèn paliggenesían axiagastotéran einai tès paroúsès zooès ep’ opsesin autoùs plèroforeî.

66 PG 86, 261C6-10: ek toon katachthoníoon anègagen tòn Mooüsèn ek toon epouraníoon katègagen tòn Èlían.

67 For earlier examples of this topos cf. e. g. Chrysostom, Homilia 56 in Matthaeum, PG 58, 550/551 about Moses and Elijah: … kaì tòn teteleutèkóta kaì tòn oudépoo touto pathónta …; Basil of Seleucia, PG 85, 457C1-4; Pseudo-Proclus, PG 65, 768B11-13.

68 PG 86, 265A11-14: Èlías anelèfthè kaì ouk efánè: Mooüsès apéthanen en agnoostooi táfooi koniortootheìs kaì eti ménei en tooi tópooi.

69 PG 86, 265A11-12: tís pote ek nekroon anéstè.

70 After all, “after the departure from here” (metà tèn enthen exodon) does not necessarily mean “after death”.

71 PG 86, 265A2-4: houtos ho laboon choun apò tès gès kaì plásas tòn anthroopon: houtos ho tòn enooch paradóxoos metatetheìs ex anthroopoon.

72 PG 86, 237B12-14: díkaios en asebeî geneai kratoúmenos sùn autooi tooi soomati metársios gínetai en axiagástooi diaítèi katoikizómenos. Cf. Wisdom 4, 10/11.

73 PG 86, 237B1-2: katà tò fáskon theîon rhètòn hoti oi díkaioi eis tòn aioona zoosi.

74 PG 86, 237A14-B2: oudèn tou dikaíou aeizooóteron en logikoîs emyucon agalma katà tò fáskon theîon rhèhtón: díkaioi eis tòn aioona zoosin.

75 In fact, if it referred to the immortality of the soul it would not fit the concept of the soul found in Late Antique theologians who define its immortality as a part of its nature or being so that that there are no individual differences between members of the human nature. This is probably the reason why (according to the Biblia Patristica, vol. 5) the Cappadocians do not quote this verse.

With the shift to a concept of immortality which is based on continuing activity, however, Wisdom 5, 16 becomes meaningful; cf. footnote 42 for the close relation of the concept of “live” with that of “activity”. Once this shift has occurred there can be individual differences and degrees of aeizooïa (as implied by the comparative); cf. footnote 36. Methodius e. g. quotes Wisdom 5, 16 to underline that through his miracles Euthymius is active even after death, cf. Life of Euthymius, ed. Gouillard, c. 41, p. 81, ll. 870-871.

76 With the exception of Elijah the next examples (Noah, Lot, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David) all refer to individuals who were saved from disaster during their lives. This means that their lives only provide “typoi” for the survival of the just after their death.

77 PG 86, 261B6-8: pròs tò sunideîn toùs apostólous hoti kat’ autoùs oudeìs despózei toon dikaíoon thánatos … katà tò fáskon theîon rhètòn hoti hoi díkaioi eis tòn aioona zoosi.

78 It is probably no coincidence that Timothy uses the same attribute “admirable” to describe the “rebirth” here and Enoch’s manner of life in his sermon on Symeon; cf. PG 86, 257D1: axiagastotéran paliggenesían; PG 86, 237B13: en axiagástooi diaítèi.

79 PG 86, 265A13-14: Mooüsès apéthanen en agnoostooi táfooi koniortootheìs kaì eti ménei en tooi tópooi.

80 PG 86, 260B1: hoon oudeìs drastikooteros en tooi bíooi toútoon oudeìs anekálupsen (sc. heautón).

81 The verb implies that something is already existing but hidden. Cf. PG 86, 252A2-3: ho dè kúrios anakalúptoon autois loipòn tèn kruptoménèn tès theótètos axían.

82 Cf. Philo, Quaestiones in Genesim, 1, 86 (about Enoch’s assumption in Genesis 5, 24): quod donum et protopropheta assequutus est nam illius sepulchrum nemo scivit. Philo Alexandrinus, Quaestiones et Solutiones in Genesim I et II, e versione armenica. Introduction, traduction et notes par Ch. Mercier. (Les oeuvres de Philon d’Alexandrie, 34a). Paris 1979, pp. 158sv.

A reference to such a belief can be found in an Encomium on the Holy Archangels and Angels by Michael the Syncellus (+846) who interprets Juda 9 as the attempt of the devil to hide the body of Moses in order to make the Jews worship him as a God. Cf. codex 1B of the Library of the Oecumenical Patriarchate, Panagia Kamariotissa (Istanbul), fol. 241v: diïschurízeto gàr foonaîs ho palamnaîos ofis kaì polumèchanos labeîn touto kaì apokrúpsai hopoos kaì authis apoplanèsèi tòn tou theou laòn tou en autooi eidoololatrèsai kaì autooi latreutikoos proskunèsai kathoos kaì en allois autoùs apeplánèse kaì méchri muoon etheopoiounto tèn ktísin. I am grateful to Dr. Irene Vaslev, librarian at Dumbarton Oaks, for having sent me a microfilm of this manuscript.

83 PG 86, 245D1-2: hè parthénos achri tès deuro athánatos tou katoikèsantos analèpsímois autèn chooríois metanasteúsantos. This statement is prompted by an interpretation of Luke 2, 35 as referring to her martyrdom which Timothy rejects.

84 Cf. Pseudo-Melito, Transitus Mariae, ed. A. Wenger, L’assomption del la T. S. Vierge dans la tradition byzantine. Paris, 1955, p. 232; Pseudo-John, Transitus Mariae, ed. C. Tischendorf, Apocalypses Mosis etc. Leipzig, 1866, p. 109; Theodosius of Alexandria, ed. M. Chaîne, ROC 29 (1933-34), p. 309/310; John of Salonica, Sermo in Dormitionem, ed. M. Jugie, Homélies mariales byzantines, PG 19 (Rome, 1930), p. 435; Theognostus, Sermo in Dormitionem, ed. M. Jugie, Homélies mariales byzantines, PO 16, 3 (Rome, 1922), p. 460; Cosmas Vestitor, Sermo tertius, ed. A. Wenger, L’assomption, p. 326; Epiphanius of Kallistratou, De vita B. Virginis, PG 120, 25; John of Damascus, Sermo I in dormitionem, Die Schriften des Johannes von Damaskus, ed. B. Kotter, vol. 5 (PTS, 29). Berlin-New York 1988, p. 495. John stresses that Mary could only achieve incorruptibility by shedding what was mortal in her. At the same time, however, he insists that her body remained uncorrupted while it was separated from her soul.

85 Cf. analèpsímois and anelèfthè applied to Elijah. The analèpsima chooría where Mary lives are probably identical with Enoch’s axiágastos díaita.

86 Like the authors listed above Timothy certainly believed that Mary’s body is incorruptible now. With metanasteúsantos Timothy has chosen a word that sounds suspiciously like anastèsantos so that he insinuates that the “resurrection” has already happened at the moment of the assumption.

87 Photius, Bibliothèque, Tome IV (Codices 223-229). Texte établi et traduit par R. Henri. Paris, 1965. Cf. A. Grillmeier, ‘Art. Éfrem d’Amid’. DHGE 15 (1963), pp. 581-585.

88 Five Chapters to Anatolius Scholasticus; Photius, Bibliotheca, cod. 229, p. 253b35-39, ed. Henry, vol. 4, p. 139: Enooch kaì Èlías .. eti perióntes en tooi soomati: kaì gàr toútous hoos aparchèn tou holou furámatos (Romans 11, 16) hèmoon ho dèmiourgòs laboon edeixe pâsin hoos ei mè Ómarten ho Adàm eti an perièn metà tou soomatos.

89 J. Lebon, ‘Éphrem d’Amid, patriarche d’Antioche (526-544)’. In: Mélanges d’ Histoire offerts à Ch. Moeller, Vol. I. Louvain-Paris 1914, 196-214.

90 Five Chapters to Anatolius Scholasticus; Photius, Bibliotheca, cod. 229, p. 253b39-41, ed. Henry, vol. 4, p. 139: plèn kaì houtoi poluchrónion bíon anúontes geúsontaí pote thánaton kan en rhipèi ofthalmou. This was the traditional view; cf. K. Wessel, ‘Art. Elias’, RAC 4 (1959), pp. 1153/1154; K. Berger, ‘Art. Henoch’, RAC 14 (1988), p. 504.

91 Again Christ has lost his function as model which guarantees the future glorification of all human beings and his death and resurrection have become dysfunctional. A “physische Erlösungslehre” is alien to Timothy.

92 PG 86, 265A2-4.

93 For possible reasons for this reticence cf. the end of this paper.

94 PG 86, 257C16-19: mónèn tèn parousan zooèn alèthinèn einai légontas footòs kaì apolaúseoos peplèrooménèn ouchì dè paliggenesían hetéran ameínoo tès paroúsès zooès.

95 As a consequence the apostles do not see a difference between the resurrections worked by Christ which only give back the earthly life and a resurrection which is a change for the better.

For the apostles the conferring of immortality is simply an exercise of Christ’s power. An interpretation of Christ’s death as atonement for the sins of the fallen mankind is conspicuously absent from their reasonings. Timothy, however, does mention the theme of atonement elsewhere in his sermon; cf. PG 86, 264A11-13: tòn kósmon soosoo: … tís tòn Adàm diupnèsei? … tís tòn kósmon exagorásei.

96 PG 86, 261B7: hina misèsoosi tèn parousan zooèn.

97 PG 86, 261B3: anthèrotérous tès protéras zooès. This seems to be singular in the sermons on the Transfiguration. Cf. e. g. the term anthèroprósoopos in the description of the appearance of St. Paul in Malalas’ Chronicle, Book X, PG 97, 389B5.

98 The connection between “loss of blood” and “loss of a florid complexion” is apparent in Methodius of Constantinople who refers to it in a figurative sense: elambáneto pròs gunaikoon … hamartíai tò tès psuchès anthèròn aimorrooúntoon; Life of Euthymius, ed. Gouillard, c. 4, p. 25, l. 54. Cf. also Anastasius of Sinai who sees a close connection between “loss of blood” and “loss of life”: dià tès hupochoorèseoos tès tou haimatos thermótètos ho choorismòs tès psuchès gínetaì; Questions and Answers, nr. 92, PG 89, 729AB.

99 Cf. Methodius’ description of the corpse of Euthymius of Sardes: nunì euchrooteros hupárchei ho hagios hè pareià erúthrá, Life of Euthymius, ed. Gouillard, c. 27, l. 546, p. 59. Here we also find a stress on the fundamental continuity of the saint’s appearance: oud’ ho charaktèr tès eumorfías parèllaktai, c. 27, l. 544, p. 59. Cf. also the description of the corpse of Nicephorus of Medikion: ouk oochrón … oud’ hup’ allès sèmasías nekrótètos huperúthrous echonta tàs pareiás, Life of Nicephorus, ed. Halkin, c. 19, ll. 9-11, p. 425.

100 Maximus, Epistula 7, PG 91, 433B8-12: tò dè pléon me katèfeías empiploon entautha … tò nun hupò pántoon schedòn kaì málista toon dèthen epifanoon monachoon presbeuómenon perì anastáseoos kainoprepès dógma. Characteristically, Maximus reacts by pointing to Paul’s words in Corinthians; cf. 433D1-3; 440A7-9.

101 Maximus, Epistula 7, PG 91, 433C4-12: fasì gár … flégmati pálin kaì haimati cholèi te au xanthèi kaì melaínèi kaì holkèi aéros kaì trofèi aisthètèi pròs tò zèn sunéchesthai méllein tà soomata katà tèn anástasin oudenòs tò súnolon xénou parà tèn parousan zooèn dià tès anastáseoos anafanèsoménou plèn tò mè dúnasthai pálin apothaneîn.

102 This attitude was probably shared by his audience for it is likely that Timothy’s presentation of the apostles reflects ideas which were current in his congregation.

103 This is most obvious in his famous interpretation of the dermatínoi chitoones as an accretion which is alien to the original body and must be shed again.

104 Cf. e. g. Gregorius Nyssenus, Oratio Catechetica, ed. E. Muehlenberg, (Opera, 3, 4), Leiden 1996, p. 29, ll. 13-18.

105 Timothy is not an isolated case. An outright rejection of Gregory’s interpretation of the protology is found in the Commentary on the Hexaemeron by Anastasius of Sinai. Anastasius throughout denies that what happened to Adam and Eve after their transgression could be regarded as punishment and insists that everything (e. g. the dermátinoi citoones, the sending away from Paradise) has a positive significance and is a necessary preliminary for the incarnation of Christ, cf. PG 89, 1052svv., 1069svv.

106 After all, Ephraem distinguished himself as a fighter against the Origenist monks in Palestine; cf. E. Schwartz, Kyrillos von Skythopolis. Leipzig 1939, p. 191.

107 Five Chapters to Anatolius Scholasticus; Photius, Bibliotheca, cod. 229, p. 253b30-35, ed. Henry, vol. 4, p. 139, where Ephraem attacks a spiritualist “mis”-interpretation of 1. Corinthians 15, 53. This danger was real for in authors like Maximus there is always an ambiguity in their interpretations of this passage, cf. Mystagogia, PG 90, 700BC.

108 Letter to the Monk Eunoïus about Corruption and Incorruptibility; Photius, Bibliotheca, cod. 228, p. 228a13-17, ed. Henry, vol. 4, p. 125: hoti mèn aftharsía hugeía tís estin all’ ouk anaíresis tès hèmetéras fúseoos hè dè fthorà nósos: hothen kaì tòn Adàm prò tès parabáseoos aftharton echonta sárka katà pánta hupárchein hèmîn homooúsion.

109 Haereticarum Fabularum Compendium V, 11, PG 83, 493D1-3: kaì gàr tou Adàm hèmartèkótos kaì toon pleístoon toùs theíous parabebèkótoon nómous diémeinán tines epì toon horoon tès fúseoos kaì tès aretès egénonto frontistaí. In Theodoret we also find a precedent for Timothy’s idea that the divine activity in Christ is only of a higher degree than that in other human beings but not fundamentally different; cf. footnote 62. This is especially obvious in Haereticarum Fabularum Compendium V, 23, PG 83, 532A5-B1.

110 Haereticarum Fabularum Compendium V, 11, PG 83, 492D5-6: ho mèn gàr tès dikaiosúnès horos henòs hèmartèkótos hapan tò toútou génos tooi thanátooi parédooken. Cf. PG 83, 495A3svv. about Christ’s resurrection as necessary precondition for a future zooopoíhsis of all men.

111 This discrepancy is especially obvious since Theodoret makes both his points by using the same verses from Romans 5, 12 – 21. When he speaks about death he accepts Paul’s statement that Adam’s fall affects all people; PG 83, 492A10-12: eis pántas anthroopous dièlthen ho thánatos ef’ hooi pántas hèmarton (cf. Romans 5, 12), whereas he reinterprets Paul’s words as referring to “most” people when he speaks about sin (cf. Romans 5, 19).

112 In his speeches On Providence he stresses that the animals obeyed Adam as long as he was without sin but that he lost the control over them after the fall, cf. PG 83, 640D-641B. The “just” Daniel, however, recovered this status and thus could control the lions in the den, cf. PG 83, 712A-713B. This is pertinent to our question since just as incorruptibility control over animals is an expression of the original kat’ eikóna.

113 Theodoret rejects the interpretation of the incarnation as the coming down of a body from heaven; cf. Expositio Rectae Confessionis, c. 10, PG 6, 1224C5-6.

114 M. Chaîne, ‘Sermon de Théodose patriarche d’ Alexandrie sur la dormition et l’assomption de la vierge’. ROC 29 (1933-34), p. 309: “Je ne voulais pas te laisser connaître la mort, je voulais t’élever aux cieux comme Énoch et Élie, pour ces autres cependant, il faut vue eux aussi connaissent la mort à la fin. Mais si cela arrivait pour toi, des hommes mauvais penseraient de toi vue tu es une puissance céleste descendue sur terre et vue ce plan de l’incarnation, la façon dont il s’est réalisé est un illusion.”

115 Fantasiastès was the term patriarch Severus of Antioch used to denounce Julian of Halicarnassus. Severus criticized Julian for teaching that Christ’s flesh was not consubstantial with us but “uncreated” (i. e. divine) and that its incarnation was analogous to the solidification of water to ice. Cf. e. g. Sévère d’ Antioche, La polémique antijulianiste II A: Le Contra additiones Iuliani, ed. R. Hespel (CSCO 296), Louvain, 1968, c. 24, p. 63, l. 7 – p. 64, l. 2.

116 This concept of the glorified body even allowed Timothy to believe in a preexisting body of Christ without any danger of docetism. This is at least the impression one gets from a curious passage in the sermon on the Transfiguration where he identifies the three men coming to Abraham as Christ accompanied by two angels. Again there is not trace of an allegorical interpretation and Christ appears to have already had an ordinary human body then, PG 86, 264B6-C4.

A bird’s eye view of the Syriac language and literature*

by Edip Aydın

The Syriac Language

Syriac belongs to the Semitic family of languages, and is a dialect of Aramaic. The history of Aramaic goes back to the second millennium B.C. It was “first attested in written form in inscriptions of the tenth century B.C., it still continues to be spoken and written in the late twentieth century A.D. by a variety of communities in the Middle East and elsewhere. At various times over the course of these three thousand or so years of its known history, Aramaic has been spoken or written by peoples of many different faiths, by pagans, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Manicheans, Jews, Samaritans, Mandeans, Christians and Muslims”.1

The closest immediate predecessors of Syriac, were the languages used in Palmyra (in modern Syria) and Hatra (in modern Iraq) around the time of Jesus. Aramaic continued to be in use among the Aramean populations of Syria and Mesopotamia despite being dominated by Greek and Parthian/Persian rulers. The majority of these Arameans later embraced the Christian faith and, although there are a number of short pagan inscriptions,2 and a few relics of pagan literature,3 Syriac is, for the most part a Christian language, a medium for Christian literature and liturgy. Syriac started as the local dialect of Edessa (whose modern name Urfa is derived from Syriac Urhoy) the cultural centre of Syriac literature. The early writers refer to the Syriac language as Urhoyo or Edessene because it started as a local Aramaic dialect of Edessa. The reason that Syriac “came to be adopted as the literary language of Aramaic speaking Christians all over Mesopotamia may in part be due to the prestige enjoyed by Edessa as a result of its claim to possess a letter written by Jesus to its king (of Arab stock) named Abgar the Black”.4 However, Syriac gradually expanded and was carried eastwards along the silk road by merchants and Syriac missionaries to South India and China. A noteworthy witness to the presence of Syriac in Western China in the eighth century A.D. is provided by the bilingual Syriac and Chinese stone inscriptions dated A.D. 781, found at Hsi-an fu (modern Xi’an).5

One of the earliest texts of the Syriac language which provides a foretaste of its beauty and splendour is to be found in the beautiful lyric Odes of Solomon. We quote here ode 40 in English translation:

“As honey drips from a honeycomb, and as milk flows from a woman full of love for her children, so is my hope upon you, my God. As a fountain gushes forth its water, So does my heart gush forth the praise of the Lord and my lips pour out praise to him; my tongue is sweet from converse with him, my limbs grow strong with singing of him, my face exults in the jubilation he brings, my spirit is jubilant at his love and by him my soul is illumined. He who holds the Lord in awe may have confidence, for his salvation is assured: he will gain immortal life, and those who receive this are incorruptible. Halleluia!”6

Eastern and Western Pronunciation

Written Syriac today is almost the same in morphology as the classical Syriac of the fourth century. While the language remained the same, there emerged two dialectical pronunciations of Syriac, usually known as the Eastern and the Western. The Eastern, which is more archaic, is used by the members of the Church of the East. The Western on the other hand, is mainly used by Syrian Orthodox and the Maronites. A clear difference between the Eastern and the Western consists in the pronunciation of original a: the Eastern pronunciation preserves it (e.g. bayta ‘house’), while the Western alters it to o (bayto).

Syriac Scripts

The Syriac language also developed different scripts. The earliest Syriac inscriptions of the first and second centuries A.D. (all pagan) use a script similar to Palmyrene cursive writing. By the time of our earliest manuscripts (early fifth century A.D.) however, this script has taken on a more formalised character, known as Estrangelo (derived from Greek strongulos ’rounded’). The Estrangelo script continued to be used well into the middle ages. Furthermore, it enjoyed a dramatic local revival in Tur’Abdin in the twelve century. During the course of the eighth century there emerged, side by side with Estrangelo, a new and more compact script developed from Estrangelo correctly known as Serto (literally ‘a scratch, character’). This is normally used by the West Syrians and the Maronites. A few centuries later, among the East Syrians, we see the gradual emergence from Estrangelo of the other distinctive script known as Eastern but generally called Nestorian or Chaldean script by European writers.

Vocalization

In the early centuries of Arab rule there emerged various vocalization systems to assist the reading and pronunciation of the unvowelled Arabic, Hebrew and Syriac scripts. What finally emerged for Syriac, were two different systems, one used by West Syrians and Maronites (the so-called Jacobite vowel signs); and the other employed by East Syrians (the so-called Nestorian vowel signs); the former consist of symbols derived from Greek letters, the latter of different combinations of dots.

The scope of Syriac literature

Syriac literature covers a wide area both in time and in space, and provides by far the largest body of Aramaic literature that spans from the second to the twentieth century. Dr. Brock divides this main body of Syriac literature into four distinctive periods. Here I closely follow Brock’s own division and classification of Syriac literature.

(i) The beginnings, in the second and third centuries A.D. Only a few works have survived from this period. They include the following: The Book of the Laws of Countries by a pupil of Bardaisan ‘The Aramean Philosopher’ (died 222); a collection of lyric poems known as Odes of Solomon ; and the Acts of the Apostle Thomas together with a few other texts including among them the earliest translation of the Bible (Old Testament and Gospels).7

(ii) The fourth to seventh centuries (the golden age of Syriac literature). In this period many great writers and outstanding poets of literary merit emerged, (and to use Dr. Brock’s words) and “it can be fairly said that it is in Syriac that the best Aramaic literature, qua literature, can be found.”

In the fourth century two great writers appear: Aphrahat, “the Persian Sage” who has an elegant style and carefully balanced phrases as well as other technical devices to highlight significant passages. Many examples of this very sophisticated prose style can already be found in his 23 Demonstrations covering a variety of special topics, and often touching on Jewish-Christian relations. Along with Aphrahat, we have the genius Ephrem of Nisibis (died 373) who is undoubtedly the best representative of early Syriac Christianity and finest of all Syriac poets. He combines in a unique way the roles of both poet and theologian. Ephrem, produced a massive collection of poems, and there survive over 500 religious lyrics of great beauty and profound spiritual insight. Besides being an outstanding poet, Ephrem a lso wrote a number of prose commentaries on the Bible and several narrative poems.

By no means all Syriac literature is religious in character. Prose literature of this period covers a very wide range of subjects, history, geography, law, philosophy, medicine, astronomy, as well as hagiography, theology, liturgy and biblical interpretation. During this period there were many translations into Syriac, mostly from Greek but also a few from middle Persian (e.g. the earlier version of Kalilah and Dimnah, a famous collection of tales of Indian origin). After the Semitic creativity until the fourth century, Greek influence becomes much more noticeable in the fifth and sixth centuries; in prose, both style and thought patterns are affected, but in poetry much less so. The place of poetry has always been very prominent within Syriac literature as a whole; and notable among the poets of this era is Jacob of Serugh (as a pupil) and Narsai (as a teacher) who were both associated with the famous ‘Persian School’ at Edessa. In 489, the emperor Zeno had closed the school, which was forced to move to safety within the Persian Empire to the town of Nisibis. Both authors, Jacob and Narsai produced large collections of fine verse homilies mainly on biblical themes. Jacob however, at times writes with a mystical intensity, whereas Narsai is largely a didactic poet. Amongst the excellent poetry of this golden age of Syriac literature many delightful dialogue poems are sadly anonymous. In these, personifications of two biblical characters conduct a lively argument in alternating stanzas. The origins of this genre can be traced back to the very beginnings of Mesopotamian literature and it remains popular to the present day.

In the field of the theological literature two authors are strikingly original. Philoxenus of Mabbug (died 523) in the Syrian Orthodox tradition, and Babai the Great (died 628) in that of the Church of the East. The former, was one of the outstanding theologians of his time, and a leading figure in the Syrian Orthodox opposition to the Council of Chalcedon (whose wording he considered to obscure the full reality of the incarnation). The latter on the other hand, was an Abbot of one of the most important monasteries on mount Izla (in Southeastern Turkey); and also a leading and profound theologian of the Church of the East. Philoxenus and Babai also have fine treatises on the spiritual life as well. Philoxenus in his theological as well as spiritual writings offers a remarkable fusion of Syriac and Greek tradition. The Syrian mystic, Isaac of Nineveh (seventh century), whose writings were translated into Greek at the monastery of St Saba in Palestine in the ninth century, is a well-known figure among many. In Egypt the inspiration provided by Isaac lies behind the contemporary monastic revival in the Coptic Church. Historically, his writings were very popular and accepted despite their origin in the Church of the East, and have continued to be widely read in monasteries of all traditions. What influence the Syrian mystics had on early Sufism is a question which still requires proper investigation.8

(iii) The period running from the beginning of the Arab rule in the seventh century to that of the Mongols in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries is described by Brock as “one of scholarly consolidation and encyclopedic effort as far as Syriac literature is concerned”. The Arab invasions prevented close contacts with the Greek-speaking world just when Syriac culture was at the most hellenophile stage of its history. The most important consequences of this, for both Arab and western European civilizations, was that through scholars of the Syriac churches, such as Hunain ibn Ishaq (died 873) working at Baghdad, the Abbasid capital, Greek philosophy, medicine and science were transmitted to the Arab world.9

The twelfth and thirteenth centuries can be described as a renaissance within Syriac literature. The most famous writers of this period of revival are the patriarch Michael the Great, author of the most important of all Syriac chronicles (comparing ecclesiastical, secular and contemporary events up to his time) and the Syriac polymath Gregory Abu’l Faraj better known as Barhebraeus (died 1286). Gregory wrote on every aspect of human knowledge of his time, such as philosophy, medicine, grammar, theology, spirituality, wisdom and wit, history and other subjects. (Some of his works are available in English translation and his book on the chronology of the world was translated into Turkish as well).

(iv) Many western histories of Syriac literature leave their readers with the impression that Syriac literature virtually culminated in the fourteenth century. Factors such as the Black Death contributed to a low point in the history of the Syriac literature in the fourteenth century. However, it did not die out, but continues in an unbroken chain of Syriac writers in prose and poetry, to the present day. The Syriac literature of this period contains a different genre of plays, novels and poetry. Since, however, very little of the literature of this period has been published (although ‘Hujada’ in Sweden and Mor Ephrem Monastery in Holland are preparing a number of works for publication every year), no proper assessment of its quality can yet be made.10

Modern Dialects

On the colloquial level, dialects of Syriac have always been in use. Turoyo, the mountain language is still very much used in the area to the south east of Diyarbakir known as Tur’Abdin. The majority of the speakers are Syrian Orthodox. In recent years many of this community have migrated to Istanbul and western Europe. Although Turoyo has its own oral literature, it is very rarely written (except by or for western scholars).11 Recently, it has been used in some elementary school books and dictionaries produced in Sweden for the use of the children of immigrant Turoyo speakers.

The other dialect which is flourishing today, is called Modern Syriac, or Swadaya which is usually based on either the Urmi or Alqosh dialect. Swadaya is extensively spoken and written by the Assyrian and Chaldean communities in Iran, Iraq (especially since April 1972, when Syriac was proclaimed as an official cultural language of the Assyrian, Chaldean, and Syrian Orthodox citizens who are Syriac speakers). Swadaya is also used in the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan where the Cyrillic script is employed in writing rather than the Syriac. In modern day, Turoyo and Swadaya are used in broadcasting, magazines, literature as well as liturgy.

Conclusion

Syriac language and literature, besides playing a momentous role in the history of the Christian world, has also constituted an essential dimension within the cultural history of the Middle East as a whole. The historical significance of Syriac lies in providing a cultural bridge between the civilization of Antiquity (Greek as well as Mesopotamian) and that of the Asian world today.

Notes

* This article has been translated into Turkish and published in Varlik, a periodical of literature and art (Istanbul, Turkey), 1075 (April, 1997), pp. 28-32.

1 S.P. Brock, “Three Thousand Years of Aramaic literature”, in Aram,1:1 (1989), p. 11.

2 H.J.W. Drijvers, (Ed.) “Old Syriac Inscriptions”, Semitic Studies Series (Leiden) No. III (1972). This work provides a full account of the pagan inscriptions found in Edessa and its vicinity.

3 Amongst these is a letter of advice from a certain philosopher Mara to his son Serapion and a prophecy attributed to the prophet Baba of Harran. An English translation of Mara’s Letter is found in W. Cureton, Spicilegium Syriacum (London, 1855), pp.70-76; of Baba’s prophecy in S.P. Brock, “A Syriac collection of prophecies of pagan philosophers”, in Orientalia Loveniensia Periodica (Leuven) 14 (1983), pp. 233-6.

4 S.P. Brock, “An Introduction to Syriac Studies”, in J.H. Eaton (Ed.,), Horizons in Semitic Studies (1980), p .13.

5 See P.Y. Saeki, “The Nestorian Monument in China” (1916).

6 S.P.Brock,”Spirituality in the Syriac Tradition”, Moran ‘Etho Series No. 2 (Kerala, 1989), p. 19.

7 English translations: H.J.W. Drijvers, The Book of the Laws of Countries. Dialogue on Fate of Bardisan of Edessa (Assen,1965); J.H. Charlesworth, The Odes of Solomon (Oxford,1973; reprinted Missoula, 1977) and in his Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, vol. II (Garden City and London, 1985), pp. 735-71; A.F.J Klijn, Acts of Thomas (Leiden,1962).

8 English translations of a selection of Syriac literature of this period include: J. Gwynn (Ed.), “Selections from…Ephrem the Syrian and Aphrahat..” in A Select Library of Nicene and post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, series II, vol. 13 Oxford/New York, 1898; and reprints); S.P. Brock, The Harp of the Spirit: 18 Poems of St Ephrem (2nd edition, London,1983); F.C. Burkitt, Euphemia and the Goth (London, 1913); E.A.W. Budge, The Discourses of Philoxenus (London,1894); E.A.W. Budge, The History of the Alexander the Great (Cambridge, 1889 repr. 1976); S.P.Brock and S.A. Harvey, Holy Women of the Syrian Orient (Berkeley, 1978); F.J. Hamilton and E.W. Brooks, The Syriac Chronicle known as that of Zechariah of Mytilene (London 1899) For Ephrem, Besides the translations mentioned above, and a further collection by K. McVey in the Classics of Western Spirituality series, many excerpts can be found in R. Murray, Symbols of Church and Kingdom: a Study in Early Syriac Tradition (Cambridge,1975) and in S.P. Brock, The Luminous Eye: the Spiritual World of St Ephrem (Rome, 1985; Kalamazoo, 1992).

9 English translations of some literature of this period include: A.J. Wensinck, Mystic Treatises by Isaac of Nineveh (Amsterdam, 1923; reprinted Wiesbaden, 1969); A. Mingana, Early Christian Mystics (Cambridge,1934); S.P. Brock, The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life (Kalamazoo, 1987); A. Mingana, Job of Edessa’s Book of Treasures (Cambridge, 1935); I.G.N. Keith-Falknoner, Kalilah and Dimnah, or the Fables of Bidpai (London, 1885); E.A.W. Budge, The Chronography of Barhebraeus (Oxford, 1932); E.A.W. Budge, Oriental Wit and Wisdom, or the Laughable Stories collected by Mar Gregory John Barhebraeus (London 1899); E.A.W. Budge, The Monks of Kublai Khan, Emperor of China (London, 1928).

10 For the history of twentieth century Syriac literature see R. Macuch, Geschichte der spät – und neusyrischen Literatur (Berlin 1976); Patriarch E. Barsawm, Al lu’ lu Al manthur fi Tarikh al `ulum wal Adab Al Suryaniya (in Arabic, Homs 1943 and reprints; Syriac translation Qamishli 1967; reprinted Holland 1991; partial English translation by M. Moosa, 1978); A. Abuna, Adab Al-lugha Al-Aramiya (in Arabic, Beirut 1970); P. Sarmas, Tash`ita d-Seprayuta Atorayta, I-III (in Modern Syriac, Tehran 1963/70); Cp also S.P. Brock,”Classical Syriac in the Twentieth Century”, Journal of Semitic Studies 34 (1989), 363-75.

11 There is a teaching tool of Turoyo by Otto Jastrow, Lehrbuch der Turoyo-Sprache (Wiesbaden 1992).

The Real and the Individual: Byzantine concepts of the Resurrection, part 1

by Dirk Krausmüller

In the second half of the sixth century patriarch Anastasius I of Antioch delivered a sermon on the transfiguration in which he subjected the biblical account to an allegorical interpretation.1 When he discussed the presence of Moses and Elijah on Mount Tabor, however, he interrupted the flow of his argument to add the following criticism: “That some ask whence and based on what signs the disciples recognized the prophets does not seem to me a subtle question nor one worth of being investigated.”2

Although Anastasius himself refers to his adversaries merely as “some people”, we are in the fortunate position to have another sermon on the transfiguration ascribed to a priest by the name of “Timothy of Antioch” in which exactly this view is expressed.3 Timothy first raises the question: “And whence did they (sc. the apostles) have the knowledge that it was Moses and Elijah?”, and then answers it with the exclamation: “From the signs!”, adding as an explanation: “For Elijah was there with the carriage and Moses carrying the tables.”4

Since Timothy has been dated to the 6th to 8th centuries he may well have been a contemporary of Anastasius and it is not impossible that the patriarch actually had this text in mind when he vented his criticism.5 Timothy’s problem arises from the fact that the biblical accounts simply state that the two attendant figures at the transfiguration were Moses and Elijah without giving further information as to how the apostles could have known about their identities.6

His solution was the object of the scorn of the patriarch who clearly thought that such a pedestrian approach was not up to the standard of theological discussion, and it is certainly true that we find nothing comparable in other sermons on the transfiguration. In order to understand why Timothy saw the need for an explanation here we must turn to the descriptions of visions in contemporary Saints’ Lives which provide us with the closest parallels.

In the Life of Euthymius by Cyril of Scythopolis the identification of figures appearing in dreams and visions unknown to the persons who see them is a major issue.7 In one episode a bewitched Saracene boy has a vision of “some grey-haired monk with a big beard” who tells him “I am Euthymius”, gives an exact description of where he lives, and asks him to come. The Saracene then travels to the monastery where he is healed by the saint.8 The description of Euthymius’ appearance is mentioned here to make the vision more credible to the readers who knew what the saint looked like. The Saracene himself, on the other hand, had never met Euthymius and therefore would not have known where to turn for help if the saint had not introduced himself by name.9 Such an impasse we find in an episode in the Life of Theodosius the Coenobiarch by Theodore of Petrae.10 We are told that a woman from Antioch comes to the monastery with her son. When the boy sees the saint he exclaims that this is the man who rescued him from a well. The mother explains this “recognition” by telling the story how her son fell into a well and was held above the water “by some monk”. Since the boy did not know who this monk was they had to go to all the monasteries of the area in search for him.11

Now we can reconstruct Timothy’s reasoning. Since the biblical accounts do not contain a self-identification like “I am Moses (or Elijah)” or identification by Christ like “This is Moses (or Elijah)” he concluded that there must have been visible signs by which they could be recognized and that these signs must have been of a kind that made their identification as individuals unambiguous. This led him to the carriage and the tables as characteristic attributes.

These visions, however, are not sufficient to explain Timothy’s position and Anastasius’ criticism of it because they take place in “ordinary” situations and are experienced by “ordinary” people whereas the transfiguration is a miraculous event in which Christ’s body and clothes become suffused with light and the appearing figures are surrounded by a luminous cloud. Therefore I shall now try to relate the authors’ statements to their interpretation of this phenomenon.

In either text the Leitmotiv of the author is that what was shown to the apostles on Mount Tabor “assured” them of the reality of the afterlife.12 As we shall see, however, their concepts of this afterlife are radically different and therefore lead them to different answers to the question of knowledge and identification.

For Anastasius the assurance is linked to a future event, i.e. the second coming of Christ of which the transfiguration is a foreshadowing.13 Christ will not come in an earthly body but in a spiritual and celestial one which he has had since his resurrection, and the same transformation will then be conferred on all human bodies.14

In Anastasius’ eschatology this “change” from one condition to the other is clearly the central aspect whereas the resurrection is just a means to this end.15 His thinking is based on a dichotomy between the carnal and the spiritual. The spiritual body will not only be incorruptible but also “less dense”, i.e. material than our current body.16 This has implications for how this body presents itself to those who perceive it, i.e. the apostles in the case of the transfiguration.

Anastasius first explains the impact of this change on Christ’s body when he interprets the biblical statement: “He was transformed in front of them”.17 Christ confers his divine qualities on his human nature so that these qualities become manifest on the outside: “having brightened up the figure of the serf with the divine idioms”.18

When Anastasius turns to Moses and Elijah he extends the spiritualisation of Christ’s body to them. Again he starts with a quotation from the bible: “And Moses and Elijah were seen by them conversing with him”.19 From this he draws the conclusion that they could only have conversed with the transfigured Christ if they themselves had undergone an analogous change: “If they were not co-transfigured, they would not con-verse.” 20

Anastasius then follows the biblical text in which the two figures appear as prophets who tell the apostles about the coming death of Christ in Jerusalem. He uses the concept of transfiguration to explain why the apostles now believed Moses and Elijah whereas they had not believed Christ before. Anastasius draws a parallel between their prophecy and Christ’s earlier announcement of his own death and resurrection.21 He stresses that in both cases the apostles heard exactly the same words but that they “did not understand” them before, whereas now they understand and believe.22 According to Anastasius their different reactions can only be explained if the speech of Moses and Elijah which is still considered audible by him has acquired an additional new quality which makes it different from our ordinary speech.23 Then he describes what this change implies: “When their words are transfigured and the shadows of the law are removed, then Moses the faithful servant, who wrote everything about Christ, will be believed and will clearly show from his own words which end Christ will fulfil in Jerusalem”.24 Obviously Anastasius thinks that the meaning of the words of the Old Testament will become manifest in them so that their status as prophecies about Christ will be self-evident and thus inspire instant faith.

Anastasius does not explicitly state what the transfiguration of the appearances of Moses and Elijah implies. Since the speeches come from their mouths, however, the visible figures and audible words are two related and parallel phenomena. This means that the transfigured bodies of Moses and Elijah relate to “dense” and carnal bodies in the same way as the transfigured words to the “shadows of the law”. And just like ordinary words their ordinary bodies would not have given an immediate knowledge of their identity whereas in the transfigured bodies this identity becomes manifest which, of course, makes a reading of outward signs superfluous.

This raises the question: What is the “carrier” of this identity that manifests itself in the spiritual body? An answer can be found in Anastasius’ description of the last judgement in the first part of his sermon. There he says that we shall all stand naked in front of Christ as judge.25 Then he evokes the biblical image of the books that will be opened and interprets them as a metaphor for the human conscience: “… which show through what is imprinted on the conscience whom each of us has followed …”.26 The whole story of one’s life can be found there which allows a judgement of the state the soul is in. So we can conclude that the apostles can read the “stories” of Moses and Elijah in their “consciences” and therefore do not need to infer them from their outward appearances.27

Anastasius’ concept of the “conscience” as the place where memories of individual thoughts and actions are imprinted as mental images is closely related to imagination. This can be elucidated by a comparison with a passage in Basil of Ancyra’s treatise On Virginity.28 Having stressed that one should care for one’s conscience Basil points out that each individual sinful thought is painted on the board of the soul and that on the day of the Last Judgement this painting will become visible to all.29 In non-metaphorical terms Basil calls it “imaginary and detailed thought in the soul”.30

The closeness of this concept to simple “subjective” imagination explains why Anastasius himself never explicitly refers to it in this context especially since a few lines above he devalues the material world as “dream-like phantasies”.31 Even Basil of Ancyra who speaks quite openly about imagination is somewhat uneasy since it has the connotation of not being quite real and therefore stresses that these images are in the soul not just as phantasies but as deeds.32

At this point we must return to the text to consider an aspect which we have left aside so far. For Anastasius direct access to the level of unequivocal meaning is not only possible because of the transfiguration of the perceived objects, but also because of a change in the perceptive powers of the apostles linked to their spiritual advancement.

Anastasius starts his interpretation of the biblical account by stating that Christ had already made the apostles “receptive” for the light coming from his transfigured body.33 And before he infers the co-transfiguration of Moses and Elijah, he uses the same quotation from the bible to explain how the apostles perceived them: “Having become more clear-sighted (literally: seeing-through) … the apostles finally got to know that Moses and Elijah then conversed with Christ”.34 His most elaborate statement, however, follows the passage in which Anastasius rejects the view held by Timothy. He asks: “For having arrived at such a height that they were thought worthy of such a sight which had been called kingdom of heaven by him who had revealed himself to them as being transfigured together with the prophets, how could they not have known the co-initiated?”35 And then he gives his answer: “Surely the apostles were prophets, too; and prophets meeting prophets have one and the same knowledge; above all, because Jesus was there and illuminated the governing part (sc. of the soul) and figurated the intellect according to his own divine figure.”36

By extending the concept of transfiguration to the change in the perceptive powers of the apostles, Anastasius achieves a perfect correspondence and thus a double proof for an immediate knowledge.37 This correspondence, however, is somewhat deceptive, for when Anastasius speaks about the subjective aspect he “forgets” about the transfiguration of the objects of perception. Otherwise “seeing through” would be meaningless since there would be nothing to be “seen through”. When Anastasius expands the biblical statement that the apostles “saw” Moses and Elijah to “having become more clear-sighted … they got to know” that it was they ,this only makes sense if he accepts Timothy’s point of departure that there is no introduction of the two figures by spoken word. Then, of course, the apostles could not simply have “seen” that the two men appearing on either side of Christ were in fact Moses and Elijah. So the biblical statement must have appeared elliptical to him and he proceeded to supply the missing elements: The apostles saw the two men but their perception did not stop at the surface of the carnal body but went right through it to the level we have identified as conscience.38

“Seeing through” is closely related to the concept of the “eye of the soul” which can also be used to describe imagination as opposed to seeing something real.39 Thus, as an instrument of perception it corresponds exactly to the “imaginary” level of the objects of perception represented by the conscience and one can conceive of its use to “see” not only the figments of one’s own imagination but also the “real” mental images of others.

We can conclude that for Anastasius the imagination is the place where the individuality of a human being is located and safeguarded.40 What is more difficult to establish is its relation to the spiritualized body after the resurrection. For Basil of Ancyra, the revelation of the conscience is not caused by a change of the carnal body, but by the shedding of this body as an outer shell.41 Anastasius, on the other hand, relates the manifestation to a transformation of the carnal bodies through the resurrection.42 Therefore, this transformation is most likely to be conceived of as a two-fold process in which the spiritualisation of the flesh is complemented by an “incarnation” of the “spiritual” imagination which moves it forward to the visible surface.43

Notes

1 Anastasius of Antioch, Oratio I in Transfigurationem (BHG 1993; CPG 6947), ed. PG 89, 1361-1376. G. Weiss who has made the most thorough analysis of this sermon to this date states in his Studia Anastasiana I. (MBM, 4). Muenchen, 1965, p. 94: “Abschließend ist zu bemerken, daß ich kein Gegenargument gegen die Zuweisung der 3 Predigten (i. e. the sermon on the transfiguration and two sermons on the annunciation) an den Patriarchen Anastasius finden konnte.”

2 PG 89, 1369B4 -7: to de punthanesthai tinas, pothen, e poos, kai ek tinoon semeioon epegnoosan hoi mathetai tous profetas ou moi dokei komson eperootema kai zeteseoos axion einai.

3 Timothy of Antioch, Sermo in Crucem et in Transfigurationem (BHG 434h; CPG 7406), ed. PG 86, 1, 256-265. An in-depth analysis of Timothy’s work was done by V. Capelle, Les homélies liturgiques du prétendu Timothée de Jérusalem. Ephemerides Liturgicae 63 (1949), pp. 5-26. After a stylistical analysis on pp. 10-20 Capelle concludes that four more sermons can be attributed to the same author, the Sermo in Symeonem et in S. Mariam Virginem (BHG 1958; CPG 7405), ed. PG 86,1, 237-252, which goes under the name of Timothy, Presbyter of Jerusalem, and three pseudepigrapha of Athanasius of Alexandria, In Nativitatem Praecursoris, in Elisabeth, et in Deiparam, PG 28, 905-913, Sermo de Descriptione Deiparae, PG 28, 944-957, In Caecum a Nativitate, PG 28, 1001-1024. Recently, M. Sachot has put forward the hypothesis that these sermons must be attributed to Leontius of Byzantium writing under various pen-names. Cf. M. Sachot, L’ homélie pseudo-chrysostomienne sur la Transfiguration CPG 4724, BHG 1975. Contextes liturgiques, restitution à Léonce, prêtre de Constantinople, édition critique et commentée, traduction et études connexes. Frankfurt a. M. & Bern 1981, and M. Sachot, Les homélies grecques sur la transfiguration. Tradition manuscrite. Paris 1987. Sachot’s hypothesis has been accepted by L. Perrone, “Art. Timothy of Jerusalem”, Encyclopedia of the early church, II (Cambridge 1992), p. 841, and by H. J. Sieben, “Art. Transfiguration du seigneur”, Dictionnaire de Spiritualité, 15 (1991), p. 1145. Although one cannot come to a final decision without a detailed discussion of style and contents of the sermons ascribed to either author there are some obvious discrepancies which cast doubts on Sachot’s conclusion. Pet phrases like akoue sunetoos found in almost all of Leontius’ genuine sermons are missing in the sermons ascribed to Timothy by Capelle. Nor do we find the same interest in identity and identification through signs as in almost all of Timothy’s homilies, cf. PG 86, 1, 244A, and PG 28, 909B, 953AB, 1004A-1005A. In Leontius’ corpus there is only one comparable passage where he discusses the identification of the infant Christ by the magi. Cf. Homilia XII in Nativitatem Christi (BHGa 7896), ed. C. Datema und Pauline Allen, Sermones. (Corpus Christianorum. Series graeca, 17). Brepols-Turnhout 1987, pp. 385/386.

4 PG 86,1, 261BC: kai pothen autois he gnosis hoti Mooses en kai Elias? ek toon tekmerioon; ho gar Elias sun tooi Harmati pareste kai ho Mooses tas plakas bastazoon.

5 For this dating cf. Capelle, Timothée, pp. 11/12, 20-23. Capelle points out that the oldest manuscripts date to the 9th century and that apart from the sermons on Christmas and on the Blind-born Timothy’s texts do not appear very often in the homiliaries which suggests a comparatively late date. He concludes: “À défaut des critères plus précis, on situera notre homéliste entre le VIe et le VIIIe siècle byzantin.”

6 In Luke 9, 30 quoted by Timothy in PG 86, 1, 260D4/5 we first find the statement that two men were seen: kai idou andres duo sunelaloun autooi, which is followed by the identification of these two men: oitines esan Mooses kai Elias, without any further comment. Afterwards we only hear that they spoke about Christ’s coming passion.

7 E. Schwartz, Kyrillos von Skythopolis. Leipzig 1939.

8 Life of Euthymius, ed. Schwartz, c. 23, p. 20, ll. 8-16: … tina monachon mixopolion echonta ton poogoona megan … egoo eimi Euthumios.

9 This vision is part of a dream, but we find the same structure in another vision which is not classified as a dream, cf. Life of Euthymius, ed. Schwartz, c. 57, p. 78, ll. 25-27.

10 H. Usener, Der heilige Theodosios. Schriften des Theodoros und Kyrillos. Reprinted Hildesheim 1975.

11 Life of Theodosius, ed. Usener, p. 77, l. 18 – p. 78, l. 24: …he tou paidos epignoosis pros ton dikaion …. hupo monachou tinos ….

12 For Timothy cf. PG 86, 1, 260B: ho kurios … pleroforei … hupodeiknus autois (sc. tois apostolois) … theoprepe tes anastaseoos dunamin ; and for Anastasius cf. PG 89, 1365A10/11: kai hina to afanes tes elpidos tautes echomen en bebaiooi bouletai kai nun hupodeixai tois egkritois toon mathetoon ten tote ginomenen alloioosin.

13 Cf. PG 89, 1365A11: ten tote ginomenen alloioosin. At one point, however, Anastasius seems to refer to a “real” transformation of Christ’s body already at the transfiguration i. e. before his resurrection, cf. 1368B8/9: nun de ten morfen tou doulou pros ten fusiken apokathistesin.

14 PG 89, 1365A6/7: to meta anastaseoos metastoicheioothen epi to pneumatikon kai epouranion. Anastasius returns to this theme at the end of his interpretation, cf. 1376B9-13.

15 PG 89, 1365A6: meta anastaseoos.

16 PG 89, 1365A5/6: to idion sooma metapoiesas eis aftharsian; cf. 1376C2: metaschematisei ta soomata hemon epi to … aftharton. Cf. 1376B11/12: apo toon pachuteroon (sc. soomatoon), and 1365C9: tou pachuterou kosmou. The opposite quality (which Anastasius does not mention here) would be leptoteron.

17 Matthew 17, 2: kai metemorfoothe emprosthen autoon, quoted PG 89, 1368B1.

18 PG 89, 1368B10/11: faidrunas de auten (sc. ten douliken ousian) tois theikois idioomasin. This statement is part of a passage in which Anastasius combines the transfiguration with the kenoosis-motif from Philippians 2, 6-8. The whole argument is very complex and therefore cannot be discussed in this article.

19 Matthew 17, 3: kai oofthesan autois Mooses kai Elias sullalountes autooi, quoted PG 89, 1368D11/12.

20 PG 89, 1369A1-5: ei gar me summetamorfoothosin ou sullalousin.

21 Matthew 16, 21-23.

22 Cf. PG 89, 1369A8: egnoesan pote lalountos.

23 Cf. PG 89, 1369A7: ekouon. Moreover, Anastasius paraphrases the biblical sullalousi with sumftheggontai, 1369A12, which points to articulate, audible speech.

24 PG 89, 1369A14-B4: Hotan metamorfoothosin autoon oi logoi kai kinethosin ai tou nomou skiai tote kai pisteuthesetai Mooses ho therapoon ho pistos peri Christou grapsas panta kai ten exodon autou parastesei telaugoos ek toon idioon logoon hen emelle pleroun en Hierousalem. The future tense probably indicates that Anastasius sees the transfiguration as a prefiguration of the second coming here.

25 PG 89, 1364D3-5: gumnoi de pantes … paristametha.

26 PG 89, 1364D6-8: bibloi anoigontai pros elegchon hemon delousai dia toon tei suneidesei tetupoomenoon tini mallon hekastos ekolouthese ….

27 It is worth noting, however, that in the case of the second coming Anastasius speaks of an “examination” of the imprints on the conscience before final judgement about the state of the soul is passed. But this is clearly more a taking-in of what is seen than an interpretation.

28 Basil of Ancyra, Liber de Vera Virginitatis Integritate, PG 30, 669-810.

29 Basil stresses that the individual and not the general will be presented and then describes vividly how every single detail will be seen by the others, cf. PG 30, 732D4-6: ou gar sugkechumenoos te kai katholou ta pragmata theooreitai all’ hoos hupozoografa kata meros ginoosketai hoos echei.

30 PG 30, 733A9: fantasioodes te kai diexodike ennoia en psuchei.

31 PG 89, 1364B1/2: ten psuchen … planoomenen peri ta tou biou mataia kai tas oneiroodeis autou fantasias.

32 PG 30, 733B14/15: me hoos fantasias haplos all’ hoos erga en psuchei ginomena. This makes sense when the sins of the thought are taken as seriously as those carried out in action.

33 PG 89, 1368B1/2: chooretikous autous poiesas (sc. ho Christos) toon huperballontoon autou ellampseoon.

34 PG 89, 1368D12-1369A2: dioratikooteroi gegonotes hoi apostoloi … molis egnoosan hoti Mooses kai Elias tote tooi Iesou sullalousi.

35 PG 89, 1369B7-11: kai gar pros tosouton hupsos chooresantes hooste theas axioothenai toiautes hen basileian ouranoon oonomasen ho apokalupsas autois heauton tois profetais summetamorfoumenon poos tous summustas eichon agnoesai?

36 PG 89, 1369B12-C1: pantoos profetai de esan kai hoi apostoloi; kai profetai profetais suggenomenoi mian kai ten auten echousin <epistemen> kai malista parontos Iesou kai footizontos to hegemonikon kai morfountos ton noun pros <ten> heautou theian morfen.

37 A similar combination of the two concepts we find e. g. in the Middle Byzantine Fourth Life of Pachomius, cf. Sancti Pachomii Vitae Graecae, edd. Hagiographi Bollandiani ex recensione F. Halkin (SH 19). Brüssel 1932, p. 409, ll. 14-17: He tes psuches galene kai to tes gnoomes euthu kai pros areten eufues ou metrioos diefaineto tois oxuteron dioran dunamenois kai tes psuches anichneuein ta aporreta kai kruptomena. Here the dioran of the onlookers corresponds to a diafainesthai of the soul of Pachomius.

38 Since the concept of mental penetration is not dependent on a correspondent transformation of the perceived object it is possible that this was the reason why Anastasius stressed the subjective aspect in his wish to prove his point against Timothy.

39 A good example for the use of the expression “eye of the mind” in this sense can be found in Pseudo-Methodian Sermo de Symeone et Anna (BHG 1961; CPG 1827), ed. PG 18, 361A1-7: prin e kateilefenai ton naon tois tes dianoias ofthalmois anapteroumenos hoos echoon ede to pothoumenon egegethei; agomenos de houtoo kai meteooroporoon tois diabemasi ookutatoos ton palai hieron katelambane sekon kai ou prosschon tooi hierooi tooi tou hierou prutanei tas hieras oolenas eefeploose. Here the imagined cradling of Christ is followed by the “real” one!

40 Turning once more to Basil of Ancyra we can see why it is the imagination and not the “pure” intellect which has this function in Anastasius’ thinking. For Basil the “intellect” is the active element which paints the images on the board of the “soul”, cf. PG 30, 733A11/12. Therefore it can be identified with the “person” which is itself not imagined but “real”. Without this “soul”, however, the intellect would be without history and therefore without individuality.

41 PG 30, 732C11-13: houtoo kai hemeis ekdusamenoi to prokalumma tes sarkos oute peristeilai tous en tei psuchei moomous oute apokrupsai poos dunesometha.

42 He makes this explicit in the case of Christ’s transfiguration, cf. PG 89, 732C11-13: ouk apothemenos men ten ousian ten douliken faidrunas de auten tois theikois idioomasin.

43 There remains, however, an ambiguity: At the time of the transfiguration Moses and Elijah were not yet resurrected (and Elijah had not even died yet but was assumed to heaven). It is possible that Anastasius thinks that they just gave the appearance of having transformed bodies (since the transfiguration is only a prefiguration of the real event). But one cannot exclude that he conceives of their figures as “naked” consciences in Basil’s sense here.

The strategy and tactics of siege warfare in the early Byzantine period from Constantine to Heraclius

by Stephen McCotter

This doctoral thesis, successfully examined in October 1995, arose from the concern that while many scholars have recently dealt with the Byzantine army from a socio-economic perspective, research into how the army actually conducted its operations was neglected. Sieges in particular were largely ignored although they constituted over half of the military engagements in the period from Constantine to Heraclius. Investigations covered how the Byzantines and their enemies attacked and defended fortifications, what weapons they used, why they attacked them, how they treated them after capture, and how the cities were defended. It also examines the changes over time in this area of late antique military operations. This diachronic work was concerned not only with the Byzantine forces, but also with their enemies. Literary statements by late antique authors, to the effect that the ‘barbarians’ were useless when it came to attacking walled cities, had been accepted without question but the fact remained that they captured many. This needed to be examined. To facilitate this, the various armies were grouped according to their level of urbanisation, since siege warfare naturally involves attacks on cities. The aim was to see whether urbanised peoples conducted siege warfare in a more advanced fashion than their less settled counterparts.

The conclusion of the thesis suggests that experience of urban living does not improve poliorcetic ability in its own right. The Visigoths roamed inside the empire for 40 years before settling in Aquitaine, but even then they could still not take cities by assault, and they show no sign of having acquired siege weapons. Yet the nomadic Avars were able to assault cities successfully almost from their first contact with the empire. Thus association with urban living was not the sole determinant of poliorcetic capability, at least not for storming operations. If cities were to be assaulted it was the side with the best weaponry which achieved most, and the urban lifestyle of various peoples seems to have little bearing on this. The significant feature appears to have been the use of the bow. The western barbarian peoples did not make much use of archers and consequently struggled to take towns by force, but when they incorporated the former imperial institutions of the regions they inhabited, including their military establishments, their ability to assault cities improved dramatically. The fact that many former imperial units contained archers would appear to be the key factor in this. In terms of simply gaining control of cities by any means possible, an urban background seems to have influenced the ability of the various peoples. Once they started to live in and around cities, the barbarians understood what urban life required in order to function. It is no coincidence that after the Goths had been living in Italy for a while they appreciated the importance of supplies for a city’s survival. Rather than simply sitting around towns trying to prevent provisions reaching those inside, they actually tried to control possible sources of supply. Hence their capture and garrisoning of Portus every time they besieged Belisarius in Rome. The value of treachery and deception was not lost on them either, witnessed particularly by their attempts to bribe gate-keepers. Thus the various barbarians were just as effective as their more settled counterparts when it came to taking cities. They used different tactics, based on a recognition of their own abilities and deficiencies, to conduct sieges. Successful storming operations were admittedly rare, but it must be pointed out that the Byzantine military handbooks themselves suggested that direct assaults were the last resort rather than the preferred way of taking objectives. Therefore, by avoiding assaults, the barbarian forces were achieving success with the minimum number of casualties, which is arguably military ability at its best.

Other aspects touched on the doctoral work included technology transfer, particularly the introduction of the trebuchet. I believe it may have appeared as early as the 580s, being brought west by the Avars and rapidly copied by the Byzantines and then the Persians. Another point was the increasing influence of Christian beliefs in warfare. The siege of 626 is not unique in terms of popular piety as similar incidents of supernatural defenders of cities appear as early as 337 at Nisibis. It is put into context by demonstrating that divine protection did not only take the form of phantom apparitions, but is evident in reports of bishops manning ballistae, monks defending walls, cities falling because they had not fasted piously enough and other similar beliefs.

Finally, a comparison with former Roman siege operations showed that the Byzantines were not as effective as their predecessors. less effort and energy appears to have been expended in the military conduct of sieges than before. Even the nomadic tribes seem to have been more forceful in their poliorcetic operations, while the Persians appear to have been the most successful and competent of all the forces in late antiquity. While the Roman legions had easily been the preeminent military force in their time, the fourth-seventh centuries were times of crisis when the empire was overwhelmed by widespread military problems and the fact that it conducted as many sieges as successfully as it did is testimony to its ability.

Samenvatting

Strategie en tactiek van oorlogsvoering via belegering in de vroeg-Byzantijnse tijd: van Constantijn tot Heraklius

Dit promotieonderzoek is gestart om de leemte te vullen die bestond in het onderzoek naar het Byzantijnse leger, namelijk de vraag hoe het leger zijn operaties, in het bijzonder de belegeringstactiek, uitvoerde. Bronnen uit de tijd zelf spraken erover dat de ‘barbaarse’ legers steden niet konden aanvallen, maar feit is dat ze er wel veel hebben hebben bezet. Zowel het Byzantijnse als vijandige legers werden bestudeerd, waarbij een indeling werd gemaakt van de legers in hun mate van verstedelijkt zijn, omdat belegeringen gewoonlijk steden als doelwit hebben. Op zich, concludeert deze studie, bevordert het gewend zijn aan wonen in een stedelijke omgeving de mate van kundigheid in belegeren niet. ‘Barbaarse’ legers gebruikten andere tactieken die zij beheersten en leerden van hun zwakke punten.

Distinguishing between dreams and visions in ninth-century hagiography*

by Margaret Kenny

Introduction

Today the dream and the vision have acquired definitions that distinguish them as wholly separate phenomena. The dream is an internalized experience that occurs during sleep,1 while the vision is a waking event that is apparently perceived otherwise than by ordinary sight.2 The question ‘Can we distinguish between the Byzantine dream and vision’ then arises from a need to understand their role in society. Byzantine oneirology suggests dreams and visions are hierarchically structured, each having a defined function and, from this, a role in society. A review of ninth-century hagiography, however, reveals that the dream and the vision cannot always be so clearly distinguished.

Methodology

The study of dreams falls into two areas, the study of dream interpretation and the study of dreams. I wish to obscure, a little, the demarcation lines between the two, for I wish to access the content of the dream, without entering into a dialogue that interprets the dream imagery, as a means of assessing its role. The initial research was completed using the Dumbarton Oaks Hagiography Database for the ninth century. It is designed to allow a systematic search of a large number of Vitae for specific topics, and I have located some 322 episodes from 58 vitae. I will look closely at two of the episodes.

Theory

We cannot divorce ourselves from our own culture when examining another, and our exploration of Byzantine material will necessarily be conditioned by our own cultural world. That we should find their dream and vision material perplexing is unsurprising for within the last century there have been very many theories regarding our own dreams, most of which disagree radically. Recently the trend of dream study is one of fusion;3 of creating an inter-theoretical discipline that enables the dream to be studied from a number of perspectives. The theories that have influenced this paper are Psychoanalysis,4 Analytical Psychology,5 Content Analysis,6 Neuroscience,7 Lucid Dreaming8 and Cognitive Psychology.9 On the surface they may appear incompatible bed-fellows but they all seek a similar goal, which apart from dream interpretation, is to understand the function of dreams and to ascribe them a value. Such a fusion then facilitates an inclusive classification of six dream-types. They are:

  1. Personal-mnemic – which includes everyday matters in the dreamer’s life
  2. Medical-somatic – which includes those episodes related to the workings of the body
  3. Prophetic – which present aspects of future events
  4. Archetypal-spiritual – in which the dreamer explores existential questions, and which results in some transformation of behaviour
  5. Nightmares – with upsetting or frightening images
  6. Lucid dreams – in which the dreamer is aware of experiencing a dream and then consciously alter the events.

Dreams are pan-cultural, however: while dreams may be universal to humans,10 it does not follow that each culture will assign the same value to each dream-type. Thus while the personal-mnemic dream carries the greater influence within a ‘western’11 culture, this should not be expected of other cultures, present or historic.

Byzantine oneirology

All cultures appear to experience the same dream-types although their emphasis of status is different. The Byzantine interest in classifying the dream-vision experience is evidenced through the continuous evolution of their oneirology.12 While it evolved over the centuries, it maintained the division of phenomena between the body/soul experience of the dream that occurred in sleep, and the soul/divine communication of the vision that could occur in either a state of sleep or wakefulness.13 The dream experience was viewed as ambiguous, and yet, while considered highly suspicious, dream interpretation, or oneiromancy, proved perennially popular.14

Byzantine oneiromancy

The function of oneiromantic literature was to provide an interpretation of the dream. This was achieved through the analysis of the dream imagery in conjunction with the social status, economic activity and gender of the dreamer. The resulting interpretations centre entirely on the secular and physical elements of the individual – that is their health, wealth and status. Any figures that populated these dreams, known or fictitious, or alive or dead, sent messages that were related to the daily activities of the dreamer. For example in the Oneirokritikon of Nikephoros ‘If you dream of seeing a naked woman you will see your wife’s grave’.15 Or in the Oneirokritikon of Achmet ‘if someone dreams that a priest entered his house and fell asleep on his bed, he will become friends with that man’.16 Oneirokritika are orientated toward the personal-mnemic, and occasionally, medical dream-types, and any elements of prophecy originate within a body/soul context. Thus, as universal interpretations they would not be applied to archetypal-spiritual episodes. References to dream interpreters and dream-books are frequent, but not as being used by the holy or the saint. There is never a suggestion that they were used in a religious context.

The material

To turn to the episodes. One is taken from the life of Niketas of Medikion and one from the life of Theophano. Both of these episodes involve a visitation. Neither the visitors nor the visited are saints, but in each case a saint was the reason for the episode. Thus while only indirectly involved, these holy figures necessarily have an impact on the context and function of the experience. Involving the saint elevates the episode from the level of everyday considerations, to that which explores existential concerns such as ‘Who am I’ and ‘Where do I fit in relation to society and the holy’. Thus they can be classified as archetypal-spiritual episodes for they transform the material life of the recipient as a direct result of the experience.

The episode from the life of Niketas is generally identified as a dream, whilst the episode from the life of Theophano is identified as a vision. The basis of this, and all such identification, is the vocabulary used in these episodes.17 Modern definitions would have oneiros denote a dream that occurs in sleep18 and hupar as a waking vision.19 However, I believe that things are not as clear cut as they may first appear, and these two episodes have been chosen because they highlight some of the difficulties involved when making such a distinction.

Niketas of Medikion20

In 813 Niketas of Medikion became the Hegoumenos of a Bithynian monastery. During the persecutions by Leo V he was exiled but was later recalled under Michael II. He died in 824. The dreamer is a fellow monk, Nikolaos, who blaspheming against Niketas then receives a dream.

‘In a dream his own father (who died before this) stood near him and threatened him. ‘Withdraw’ he said ‘from the slaves of God’, thenceforth the unruly one behaved more sensibly, he no longer annoyed the righteous one and even prevented others from doing this.’

Theophano21

Theophano was the first wife of Leo VI. Chosen by brideshow and married at fifteen, she was also imprisoned with Leo. She died aged about thirty and after her death performed miracles for the family of her Hagiographer.

In the life of Theophano the author tells us that at one hour past noon, at the onset of sleep, ‘In a vision Martin the Artoklines approaches him’ with a request that the author write hymns praising her (Theophano’s) miracles, when the author professes his disinclination to do so, a long conversation between the two ensues. ‘How do you say you love me, but refuse these small requests?’ And to him I responded ‘What are these, O revered friend?’ And he said; ‘I said to praise the saint in different hymns and as far as God will make it possible for you to tell, to weave a canon to the glory of the Lord and to her honour and remembrance’. I replied to him ‘What basis of her virtues shall I use? She possesses no ascetic pathway, no struggles of martyrdom, display of miracles. I am at a loss what to say or write’. But he said to me ‘Because of God do not shrink away from this undertaking, but taking paper and pen write what I tell you.’ Taking pen and at the same time paper, joyfully to him I said; ‘Say what you wish; I am ready to write as much as you address to me.’ He said to me; ‘Do it as far as ‘Christ set you in place for the church as a luminous lantern which in times past served as a guide”. And I awoke again, bearing in my memory the word which had been spoken.’

Vocabulary

Specific vocabulary was available to the author from which to create a particular environment for an episode. For the vision an author could use hupar, optasia, apokalupsis, chresmos, fainoo and ekstasis, and of the 322 episodes under investigation these appear in 52. Should the author wish to emphasise the appearance of a messenger then fasma and epifainoo were available, and these can be found in 54 of the episodes. For a dream environment, oneiros establishes this context, and of the 322 episodes this is used in 72. If the author declines to be so specific, syntax is utilized to create a more nebulous context that could be either dream or vision. hupnos and koimaoo tell of sleep while enupnios tells of an appearance in sleep. An alternative, much favoured by authors, was to suggest sleep and then incorporate words related to sight, such as horoo22 and even blepoo.23 Very often to mix the context further, the author can refine this technique by suggesting a dream environment but incorporating specific vision vocabulary. For example a dream in which an angel appears, as happens in the vita of David, Symeon and George.24

Therefore, even with the available vocabulary the distinction between the dream and vision is not always entirely clear. This is illustrated by the narratives from the vita of Niketas and of Theophano. Each account creates a similar scene in which the recipient is visited by a familiar figure who persuades him to undertake a specific course of action. For Nikolaos this involves the protection of Niketas from his adversaries, while our reluctant Hymnographer is persuaded to take up his pen and write. This poses the question: should these two be separately classified?

The building blocks of dreams

Apart from the vocabulary does the context create a distinction between these phenomena? There are generally seven components, which in any number of combinations will comprise the framework of a narrative account.25 These are time, place, the mental state of the recipient, the dream/vision figure, the message/scene, the initial reaction to the episode and the action taken as a response to it. These components provide the building blocks of the episode, but only rarely supply evidence of its origin, and in our two episodes not at all.

The time and place play only a minor role in setting the scene, but if the remaining elements are ambiguous and the vocabulary nebulous, this can play a deciding factor in determining what the episode is. In the dream (oneirooi) of Nikolaos, we are given no time or place of the episode. As a dream, this would imply a night-time experience but the audience is left to infer this. As for Theophano’s reluctant Hymnographer, he tells us he receives his vision at the onset of sleep, one hour after midday. However, the vocabulary used is hupar and this is generally understood to denote a waking-vision. Here the time and place only add more smoke to an already cloudy issue.

The mental state of the recipient often holds a key to the length and the detail of the episode, but alone it is insufficient to determine the origin of it. Thus, while the audience is left to ponder the depth of relationship between Nikolaos and his father, it is the appearance of the father that suggests an origin of the experience. The same can also be said of Theophano’s disinclined author. It is with the messenger in both of these episodes that the demarcation lines begin to blur. We are told that Nikolaos has a dream and that the Hymnographer has a vision, and yet they both receive a visitation. The Hymnographer is able to identify his visitor as Martin, uncle of Theophano and friend to himself. The audience remain uninformed as whether he is alive or dead, but the author makes the context clear. This is a vision. Nikolaos is also able to identify his visitor, for it is his father. Moreover, the audience are informed that he was dead when the communication took place. As such, his journey must have commenced in either heaven or hell. In light of the message – as a means of enabling the protection of the blessed Niketas – this implies a heavenly origin. As for the messages themselves, each has a similar purpose. In both, the visitor commands a course of action be adopted which ultimately the recipient carries out.

Conclusion

How then are these two episodes, and many more like them, to be distinguished? Or can it be that they were not expected to be so rigidly segregated? We must take seriously these narrative accounts and their ability to be readily understood by their audience, both in terms of content and function. Nikolaos and the Hymnographer undergo a similar experience and therefore this implies the accounts were expected to receive a similar reception.

These episodes function on several levels, but for each the role is of validation. On one level they serve to validate a transformation of behaviour by the recipient. For Nikolaos this entails he not only desist in his slanderous activities, but that he actively engage in protecting Niketas from others who continued to attack him. For the reluctant Hymnographer the transformation moves him from disbelieving inactivity to enthusiastic authorship about Theophano. On another level they validate the saintliness of Niketas and Theophano, while on a third level they validate the cult that was to grow around them.

My review of ninth-century hagiography does not confirm and maintain the theoretical structure of Byzantine dream-vision classifications. Rather, syntax and content are used in such a way as to blur these distinctions, creating a tension between theoretical hypothesis and practical application. Authors use dream vocabulary within contexts that are clearly vision narratives. These episode are elevated above the value of the everyday dream. Its content and context removes it from the level of the personal-mnemic dream to that which Jung would have called a ‘big dream’26 and that McFague would call a ‘root-metaphor dream’,27 making them a religious experience or event. In doing so the distinction between the dream and vision becomes so blurred as to be lost altogether. The ultimate result of this technique is that the personal internalized experience, that is, the dream, is displaced. The vision has not merely become the more important, it has become the prevailing experience in its relation to the saint.

Notes

* This paper was given as a communication at the thirtieth Spring Symposium ‘Byzantium dead or alive’ at Birmingham in March 1996.

1 C. Rycroft, The innocence of dreams (London, 1979); also J. Empson, Sleep and dreaming (London, 1989).

2 The new shorter english dictionary, ed. L. Brown (Oxford, 1993), 3589.

3 K. Bulkeley, The wilderness of dreams (New York, 1994).

4 S. Freud, The interpretation of dreams, 1900 tr. J. Strachey (New York, 1965), and also Introductory lectures on Psychoanalysis 1917a tr. J. Strachey (New York, 1966).

5 C. G. Jung, The Archetype and the collective unconscious 1951, tr. R. F. C. Hull (Princeton, 1969), and also ‘General aspects of dreams’ 1948a in Dreams, 2nd ed. tr. R.C. F. Hull (Princeton, 1966).

6 C. Hall and R. Van de Castle, The content analysis of dreams (New York, 1966), also C. Hall and V. Nordby, The individual and his dreams (New York, 1972).

7 J. Hobson, The dreaming brain: how the brain creates the sense and nonsense of dreams (New York, 1988), see also the work of Dement and Rycroft et al.

8 S. Laberge, Lucid dreaming (Los Angeles, 1985).

9 H. Hunt, The multiplicity of dreams: memory, imagination and consciousness (New Haven, 1989).

10 W. Dement, ‘The effect of dream deprivation’, Science, 131 (1960), 1705.

11 This is a difficult term and is representative of an ethos allied to economic development rather than a geographical linguistic boundary. For example it includes Western Europe and North America.

12 Beginning with the first Christian oneirology by Tertullian and ending with the last Byzantine oneirological text by Manuel II Palaiologos.

13 Synesios of Cyrene, John Klimakos, Anastasios of Sinai and later Michael Psellos, all accept this distinction.

14 G. Calofonos, Byzantine oneiromancy, Mphil thesis (Birmingham, 1995), charts the progress and popularity of oneiromancy as well as its sources of opposition, both religious and legal. S. Oberhelman, The oneirocritic literature of the late Roman and Byzantine eras of Greece, PhD thesis (Minnesota, 1981), provides a translation of the seven surviving Oneirokritika, tracing their inter-dependance and the manuscript tradition.

15 Oneirokritika of Nikephoros, 120, tr. S. Oberhelman, The oneirocritic literature of the late Roman and Byzantine eras of Greece, PhD thesis (Minnesota, 1981), 143.

16 Oneirokritika of Achmet, 149, tr. S. Oberhelman, The oneirocritic literature of the late Roman and Byzantine eras of Greece, PhD thesis (Minnesota, 1981).

17 This is the basis of distinction used in the Dumbarton Oaks Hagiography Database for the ninth century and also in Greek-English lexionaries.

18 Liddell and Scott, Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, 7th ed (Oxford, 1992), 559.

19 Liddell and Scott, Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, 813.

20 Acta Sanctorum, April 1, 3rd edition, ed. J. Carnende (Paris and Rome, 1866), XXVI, 38, 17-18; also Dumbarton Oaks Hagiography Database, record card 21362.

21 E. Kurtz, Zwei griechische Texte über die HL. Theopano, die Gemahlin Kaisers Leo VI. (St. Petersburg, 1989), 21-22, chapter 30; also Dumbarton Oaks Hagiography Database, record card 15945.

22 144 episodes in the database create a vision context by using words for sight, of seeing something – horoo.

23 There are 6 episodes in the database that use blepoo: Key 15892, 16582, 18643, 12874, 8129, 15728.

24 David, Symeon and George – Dumbarton Oaks Hagiography Database Key 20442: an angel appears in a dream (onar).

25 J.S. Hanson, ‘Dreams and visions in the Graeco-Roman world and early Christianity’, Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt, 11:23, 1396-1427, provides an examination of early Christian material, and while episodes in Byzantium suggest a similar construction, a definitive study has yet to be undertaken.

26 Jung, The Archetype and the collective unconscious 1951, tr. R. F. C. Hull (Princeton, 1969).

27 S. McFague, Metaphorical theology: models of God in religious language (Philadelphia, 1982).

De Vita Syncleticae een ascetisch leerboek vermomd als heiligenleven*

door Annabelle Parker

De Vita Syncleticae is een Griekse tekst die oorspronkelijk geschreven zou kunnen zijn in de vijfde of zesde eeuw, in de tijd dat uitspraken van monniken verzameld en opgeschreven werden. Dit verzamelen en opschrijven van uitspraken van vooraanstaande monniken -en monialen- gebeurde vooral in Egypte en Palestina. Een belangrijke groep verzamelingen met monniksuitspraken wordt de Apophthegmata Patrum, of de ‘Vaderspreuken’ genoemd. Deze verzamelingen zijn zowel alfabetisch als systematisch (indeling naar zonden of deugden) gemaakt en in groten getale verspreid en vertaald in onder andere het Latijn, Koptisch, en Syrisch. Eén van de drie vrouwen die in deze ‘Vaderspreuken’ herhaaldelijk voorkomt, is Synkletika van Alexandrië, uit wier Vita geciteerd is door de anonieme samenstellers van de spreukenverzamelingen.

De Vita Syncleticae is niet het soort heiligenleven dat veel wonderen bevat. De tekst bestaat uit drie delen: het eerste deel, waarin de verteller aan het woord is, gaat over Synkletika’s leven met de gebruikelijke cliché’s (ze was mooi en rijk maar gaf na de dood van haar ouders alles weg om zich terug te trekken in een graftombe, etc.).

In het tweede deel is Synkletika zelf aan het woord met raadgevingen aan vrouwen die het leven als ‘Bruid van Christus’ ambiëren. In het laatste deel verhaalt de verteller over het lijden en de dood van Synkletika. Haar lijden aan ziektes zoals gangreen en longontsteking wordt uitvoerig beschreven, het wordt beschouwd als een ascetische oefening.

Het bestuderen van de tekst van de Vita Syncleticae riep bij mij vragen op, die in secundaire literatuur niet afdoende behandeld waren. Er was overigens zeer weinig secundaire literatuur te vinden over deze Vita: ze wordt bijv. niet genoemd in de Dictionnaire de Spiritualité. Ik heb naast de Griekse tekst zoals afgedrukt in J.-P. Migne: Patrologia Graeca 28, gebruik gemaakt van een Franse vertaling van Odilia Bernard1, die een beknopte inleiding zonder noten of verwijzende literatuur heeft toegevoegd, en de Engelse vertaling van Elisabeth Castelli2, die nog summierder was in haar inleiding.

Vragen die ik aan de orde heb gesteld waren onder andere:

  • Wat was er eerst: de Apophthegmata van Synkletika en daaruit voortkomend een Vita? Of de Vita eerst, en daaruit spreuken geplukt door samenstellers van spreukenverzamelingen? (origine).
  • Heeft Synkletika echt bestaan, of is zij een creatie van de pen van de auteur, de vrouwelijke Antonius Abt? (historiciteit).
  • Hoe kan je deze tekst met de gegevens die je hebt het meest nauwkeurig dateren?
  • Welke bronnen heeft de auteur van de Vita gebruikt? (Evagrius, Methodius en Athanasius).

Als antwoord op vraag 1 is mijn redenatie als volgt: de Vita was er eerst, omdat de spreuken die uit de Vita zouden zijn overgenomen nogal lang zijn vergeleken bij de oudste spreuken die als kenmerk hebben dat ze puntig zijn. (‘Vader, geef me een woord’). Er blijft toch enige twijfel bestaan over dit antwoord, omdat de vorm van de Vita zo vreemd is: de twee delen waarin de verteller aan het woord is, zouden als het ware losgekoppeld kunnen worden en er zou een verhaal met raadgevingen overblijven, een geheel van uitspraken. Toch kies ik voor de Vita als bron voor de Apophthegmata, vanwege het literaire karakter van de tekst, maar houd me ten goede!

De tweede kwestie, of er sprake is van een historische Synkletika, is zonodig nog vager. De tekst lijkt wel een literaire vorm om de vrouwelijke asceten en de monialen een voorbeeld te geven waaraan zij zich kunnen spiegelen, net zoals monniken zich aan de Vita Antonii zouden kunnen spiegelen. In de late Oudheid ontstonden voor vrouwelijke religieuzen soortgelijke geschriften met als titel ‘Ad Virgines’ of iets dergelijks van de hand van vooraanstaande kerkvaders als Ambrosius, Augustinus en Basilius.

Voor de historiciteit van Synkletika zou pleiten, dat de auteur de ziektes van Synkletika zeer gedetailleerd beschrijft, alsof hij of zij haar van dichtbij heeft meegemaakt. Maar daar valt weer op tegen te werpen, dat die passage in het derde deel van de Vita is beschreven: later toegevoegd? Concluderend kan men zich blijven afvragen of de Vita Syncleticae een mengeling van echt en fictie is.

De meest nauwkeurige datering wanneer de tekst geschreven is, is te geven door te bedenken dat de eerste Apophthegmata-verzamelingen rond 500 ontstonden, en de eerste verzameling waarin Synkletika wordt geciteerd, de Latijnse systematische versie is, van ong. 550. Als we aannemen dat de Apophthegmata van Synkletika uit haar Vita afkomstig zijn en niet andersom, dan moet de Vita van vóór 550 zijn. Nog een aanwijzing voor de datering van de Vita Syncleticae is het volgende: in de Vita Syncleticae worden zogenaamde ‘gedachten’, logismoi, geordend en besproken. De systematisering van 8 ‘zondige gedachten’ is voor het eerst door Evagrius van Pontus opgeschreven. Deze intellectuele monnik die zijn laatste jaren sleet in de Egyptische woestijn, stierf in 399. De Vita Syncleticae zou men kunnen dateren na Evagrius, dus na 399. Conclusie: de datering van de Vita Syncleticae is zeer ruim te schatten op 400-550.

Van invloed op de Vita Syncleticae is het werk van bovengenoemde Evagrius Ponticus geweest. De spil van zijn intellectuele arbeid werd gevormd door zijn geschriften over het gebed. De weg tot God loopt via het gebed, en die weg is te verdelen in het ‘praktische’ leven en daarna het leven van God schouwen en apatheia (passieloosheid) bereiken. Tijdens de praktikos periode leert de beginnende asceet de bovengenoemde acht logismoi, of ‘gedachten’ beheersen. Deze gedachtenleer is in het Westen geïntroduceerd door Johannes Cassianus, die door Benedictus gelezen werd. Gregorius de Grote en Augustinus hebben ook bijgedragen aan deze ‘leer’. Welke waren deze acht ‘gedachten’?

Bij Evagrius waren het:

  1. vraatzucht
  2. ontucht
  3. geldzucht
  4. droefheid
  5. toorn
  6. onverschilligheid
  7. ijdele roemzucht
  8. hoogmoed

In de Vita Syncleticae vinden we tien logismoi, in iets andere volgorde:

  1. ontucht
  2. vraatzucht
  3. geldzucht
  4. hovaardigheid
  5. ongehoorzaamheid
  6. hoogmoed
  7. toorn
  8. het zich herinneren van kwetsuren uit het verleden
  9. kwaadsprekerij
  10. determinisme

Zoals bij al dit soort geschriften over het beheersen van de ‘gedachten’, wordt de oorzaak, de werking en de remedie van de ‘gedachten’ op psychologische wijze beschreven in de Vita Syncleticae, met veel vergelijkingen. Meestal wordt de asceet vergeleken met een atleet, of met een zeeman. De vergelijking van een perfecte asceet in wording met een jonge boom die gesnoeid moet worden komt ook meerdere keren voor.

Er zit ook een ontwikkeling in de ‘gedachten’. Eerst leer je de uiterlijke ( de eerste 5) te beheersen, dan valt de duivel van binnenuit aan met hoogmoed. Opvallend in het betoog van Synkletika is de nadruk die ze legt op de gedachte van het determinisme. We lezen in Caput 83: “Daarom, als zij zeggen dat God voorgaat, dan volgt daaruit noodzakelijkerwijs dat alles door hem gemaakt is, want hij is overal in. Zeker is hij de Heer van het Lot. Is men een begerig iemand of ontuchtig van origine, dan is het door deze geboorte nodig dat God zelf de oorzaak van al het kwade is. Dit is ongehoord….”. Methodius van Olympus (derde eeuw) heeft in zijn werken, met name in het Symposium, ook al het thema van determinisme besproken. In dit geschrift houden tien vrouwen een rede over bepaalde deugden. In Caput 30 wordt de leerrede van Synkletika voor haar toehoorsters voorgesteld als een ‘goddelijk symposium’. 10 maagden vertellen één voor één over een deugd, natuurlijk geënt op Plato’s Symposium.

De invloed van de Vita Antonii op de Vita Syncleticae bestaat uit overeenkomsten in de omstandigheden, zoals een welvarende achtergrond, het weggeven van de bezittingen, het zich terugtrekken uit de ‘wereld’ in een graftombe, en een leerrede. Voor een aantal lezers en afschrijvers was deze vergelijkenis wellicht de reden om de Vita Syncleticae toe te schrijven aan bisschop Athanasius van Alexandrië, de vermeende auteur van de Vita Antonii.

Conclusie

Bijna alles wat gezegd en geschreven wordt over de Vita Syncleticae is speculatief. We baseren ons op één handschrift uit de elfde eeuw. Er zijn 23 handschriften van de Vita bekend, waaronder een paar excerpten. Synkletika’s Vita wordt uitgebreid geciteerd in een monastieke bloemlezing uit de 11de eeuw in Constantinopel, de Synagoge van Paulus van het Evergetis-klooster. Deze bron is erg belangrijk geweest voor het monastieke leven door de eeuwen heen en hij wordt nog steeds gebruikt. Dat de Vita Syncleticae in dit belangrijke werk is opgenomen, betekent dat deze vrij obscure tekst ooit belangrijk en bekend is geweest. Daarom is het een goede zaak om op zoek te gaan naar de oorspronkelijke tekst van de Vita Syncleticae. Wie weet levert het wel andere gegevens op voor het leven van deze ascetische heilige.

Noten

* Voordracht, gegeven in augustus 1994 bij de Kerngroep Vroege Middeleeuwen, bijeenkomst in Utrecht.

1 O. Bernard: Vie de Sainte Synclétique, (Spiritualité Orientale 9), Bellefontaine, 1972.

2 E. Castelli: “Pseudo-Athanasius, The life and Activity of the Holy and Blessed Teacher Syncletica” in Ascetic Behavior in Greco-Roman Antiquity, a Sourcebook, V.L. Wimbush, ed., Minneapolis, 1990 (Studies in Antiquity and Christianity), 265-311.