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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.