ʿAbdīšōʿ of Gāzartā, the second patriarch (1555-1570) of the East Syriac Uniate (Chaldean) Church, is known as a founder of its literary tradition, and an author of numerous liturgical and non-liturgical poems. He was also active as a scribe, of whose production several manuscripts survive that were never studied before. The present paper discusses them, in particular the historical and autobiographical information that is found in the scribe’s colophons and notes. This information is of a large importance for the history of the Christian communities in early Ottoman time.
SummaryMaximus’ idea of appropriation of the divine will by deified humans, in any consistent interpretation, would mean their deprivation of their own freedom – exactly in the same manner as it could be in the case of servitude to sin. Maximus’ own logic, however, was paraconsistent when applied to the case of deification (whereas not to the opposite case of the servitude to sin). A recourse to a paraconsistent deontic logic was not a uniquely Maximian tool even in the Middle Ages and could serve as an inspiring example for logicians today.
In the first, still unpublished, volume of The Blessed Compendium (al-Majmūʿ al-mubārak)—the historical work of the 13th-century Arabic-speaking Christian writer al-Makīn ibn al-ʿAmīd, there is a chapter on the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II the Younger (r. 402–450). In this chapter, Ibn al-ʿAmīd retells the famous story of Moses of Crete, “who appeared among the Jews” and declared himself to be the Messiah to subsequent tragic disappointment of those who believed in him. The present article discusses this story and suggests an explanation for the discrepancies between Ibn al-ʿAmīd’s and its Arabic source—the Book of the Heading (Kitāb al-ʿUnwān) of Agapius of Manbij (Hierapolis).
Two difficult passages are analysed in the 26th homily of the book Mäṣḥafä Mǝśṭir by Abba Giyorgis of Sägla, which are dealing with transition from the Old Testament Jewish calendar to the Christian calendar with its veneration of Sunday. The Jewish calendar Abba Giyorgis kept in mind was similar to those of 1 Enoch or Jubilees. According to his understanding, the Christian Sunday was already implied in the Mosaic Law as the year of release, as he has demonstrated with calendrical caluculations.
It is suggested that for building his hierarchy of beings Gregory of Nyssa followed two strategies: the strategy of dividing genera and species with the entire “existing” as the summit of' the hierarchy, and the strategy of taking the uncreated nature to be the summit of the hierarchy. The evolutionary ascent of natural species and the related topic of the hierarchical taxonomy of being in Gregory of Nyssa’s De opificio hominis 8 are examined. It is argued, against K. Reinhardt, G. Ladner, and a number of other scholars, that the influence of Posidonius on this topic in Gregory is not sufficiently well-founded. A brief overview of the taxonomies elaborated by several philosophers of Antiquity is provided. The general conclusion is that the Tree of Porphyry had a direct impact on the classification of beings in Gregory. Alongside this, Gregory seems to manifest Aristotelian, Platonic, and, particularly, Stoic trends. In contrast to previous studies which have only pointed to the similarity between Gregory and Porphyry’s systems without sufficient reasoning on details of it, it is investigated in what sense the similarity is, and it is shown that there are also some significant differences between their ordering of different levels. A suggestion is made as to why Gregory altered the order of hierarchical levels in comparison to that of Porphyry.
The article is dedicated to the history and typology of one of the Byzantine liturgical books.
The short paper offers a critical assessment of the historical method in the recent Liturgical Subjects by D. Krueger, and extends the discussion into wider reflections on methodology of the studies of Christian liturgy and how they reflect larger shifts in early Christian studies. It is argued that thinking in terms of ‘grand narratives’ and unchanging liturgical patterns is ultimately rooted in the academic agendas of the nineteenth century. It is also suggested that the quest for innovative approaches to liturgical research should account for both new methodologies introduced and the historical insights of traditional scholarship.
Review on: Commented Russian Translations and Studies of the Ninth-Century Byzantine Sources in the Seria byzantina, edited and written by Tatiana Senina (nun Kassia), 201
The 68th chapter of the Ethiopian dynastic treatise Kəbrä nägäśt ‘the Nobility of the Kings’ is of considerable interest due to the occurrence of the term mädḫänit interpreted either as ‘Savior’ (in the feminine!) or as ‘Salvation’. The contents of that chapter is focused on a specific ‘essence of Salvation’ (‘ənqwä baḥrəy, literally ‘mother-of-pearl’) created ‘in the abdomen of Adam’ and transmitted from generation to generation. It should be noted that in medieval Ethiopian Christian theology the term baḥrəy ‘pearl’ denoted the Second Hypostasis represented in the unity of His. A parallel to such a concept of ‘Salvation’ transfer was found in Islamic tradition, viz. in legends about the emission of light from ‘Abdallāh, Muḥammad’s father, which gave evidence of his engagement in procreation of a future prophet. Similar ideas appeared to influence the early Shī‘ite doctrine.
The article is devoted to the cosmology of St. John Damascene. The relevant ideas of the antique geocentric teachings in cosmology and philosophy of nature are summarized and proximity of Damascene’s views to these teachings is estimated. My conclusion is the cosmology presented in Damascene is the result of combining the elements of Platonic, Aristotelian and Stoic teachings, with the prevalence of the Aristotelian line. The idea of the presence of influence of the Ptolemaic cosmology in the cosmology of John Damascene is rejected.
Obituary of the most prominent Byzantine scholar of our time
In studies of the history of the Old Believers movement, written by Russian historians, one frequently comes across references to the medieval treatise by “Elias Geveri, the Nestorian Metropolitan,” that contains a testimony to the two-ﬁnger sign of the cross current in his time among the Melkites. The treatise is known in two recensions, only one of which belongs to “Elias Geveri” (i.e. al-Ǧawharī), while the other, probably the original one, is attributed to ‘Alī ibn Dāwūd al-Arfādī. This article offers a critical study of the source on which these references are based and surveys its textual history with a view to deﬁning its role in Russian studies of Church history.
Gregory of Nyssa at the outset of his ‘Against Eunomius’ cites Eunomius, where the latter speaks about “greater and lesser” activities. However, discussing this quotation later in the treatise, Gregory misinterprets the words of Eunomius. He reads Eunomius as if he applied the principle of ‘the more and the less’ not to activities but to substances. Such interpretation cannot be proved on the basis of what Eunomius actually wrote. Actually, the two opponents (Gregory of Nyssa and Eunomius) used the same Aristotelian position, which prohibits the application of the principle of ‘the more and the less’ to the category of substance. This position was used by the two polemists in order to argue against each other. At the same time, Gregory developed his own philosophical system founded on the principle of ‘the more and the less’ in the course of this polemics with Eunomius.
The article traces of how the topic of the hierarchy of the participating beings, given by Dionysius the Areopagite on the basis of the Neoplatonic triad (tetrad) (Goodness) Being, Life, Mind, and, as it is supposed, of the doctrine of the hierarchy of natural beings in Gregory of Nyssa, was developed in the doctrines of Maximus the Confessor, John of Damascus and Gregory Palamas. Three philosophical paradigms of participation in substance, which were used in the Patristic thought, are identified, and the hierarchy of beings is viewed in their context. The traces of the Neoplatonic triad and tetrad are shown in the writings of Maximus the Confessor. The article analyzes Maximus’s treatment of the hierarchy of natural abilities possessed by the created beings, according to which each created being participates in God as well as the problem of what the participated beings are in respect of the participating abilities. John of Damascus’s doctrine of the hierarchy of participating beings is viewed, and its dependence on Dionysius the Areopagite is pointed out along with some difference in the nature and the levels of hierarchy in comparison with the hierarchies of Dionysius and Maximus. The reasons for the dissimilarities are discussed. The suggestion concerning the onset of he controversy on the nature of the hierarchy of beings in the Palamite controversy is put forward on the basis of a passage from Disypatos’s Short History, discovered by R. Browning. Gregory Palamas’s doctrine of the hierarchy of participating beings is analyzed along with its similarities and differences in the levels of hierarchies in respect to Dionysius. It is stated that unlike the previous authors, Gregory treats the topic of hierarchy of participating beings in strict connection with the supernatural participation of created beings in the divinity. It is shown that Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory Palamas used contrasting conceptual frameworks regarding the concepts applied to describing the deifying participation in God in their discussion of the hierarchy of beings. Finally, in the appendix, David Disypatos’s teaching on the hierarchy of beings with its specific features is presented.
Dirk Krausmüller believes that Leontius of Byzantium in the first book of his early treatise Contra Nestorianos et Eutychianos supposes the singularity to include three elements: (1) unqualified substrate, (2) set of substantial idioms, and (3) set of hypostatic idioms. In my opinion, this structure looks a little different: (1) substance, which represents the universal without substantial and para-substantial features, (2) nature, which contemplated only with these features and (3) hypostasis. The different usage of the terms “substance” and “nature,” as well as the expressions like “communication by nature” and “junction by substance,” which have a completely distinct meaning, serves as a proof of this basically thesis. Nevertheless, the descriptive model of Contra Nestorianos et Eutychianos has been somewhat modified in a later treatise Solutio. Leontius of Byzantium suggests that the singularity should include (1) nature or substance in the meaning of species, (2) individual nature, which, besides the natural qualities, includes also the hypostatic ones, (3) hypostasis itself rendering being to the whole described construction. This transformation has been done due to different polemical purposes (?). Leontius of Byzantium tries to justify not the common character of nature, but the way the common nature takes being in the singularity.
A new analysis of the so-called Inscription on the Chalice of Solomon (known mostly from literary documents in Slavonic) is based on the totality of the available sources, including a recently published (2000) Greek recension and recently found (2013) but unpublished two Latin ones. It is argued that the text was written in Hebrew in the late Second Temple period, being therefore roughly contemporaneous to the Damascus Document and some other Dead Sea Scrolls and representing a similar but different liturgy and theology. The original liturgical setting of the chalice as a liturgical utensil is some kind of new wine festival.
In his Transfiguration homily (ca. 1315) Nicephorus Choumnus, a pre-Palamite thinker, put forward a theory that Abraham at the oak of Mamre was granted the vision of the Trinity. This is the third type of the exegesis of Genesis 18, according to Lars Thunberg. By comparison with: (a) Gregory of Nyssa and other patristic authors; (b) the early second-century Testament of Abraham (TA) we have put forward a hypothesis that Abraham, in Choumnus’ view, was granted the vision of the divine light and glory, most likely, in the form of a bright cloud very similar to that which later overshadowed the elected of the prophets and the Apostles on Mount Tabor. Thus, Nicephorus Choumnus mentioned Abraham together with such symbolic OT figures, as Moses and Elijah, who had also the honor of seeing the Face of God on Tabor.
It is a conventional view that one of the most important denominations of Eastern Christianity — the Jacobites — owes its formation to the activity of the sixth‐century Syrian bishop Jacob Baradaeus, and that it was called “Jacobite” after him. However, medieval sources show that the reality was more complex than that. Works by Egyptian Arabic authors, both Muslim and Christian, surveyed in this article, are of special interest because of a peculiar theory they advance: that the name “Jacobites” was derived from the lay name of Dioscorus, the Pope of Alexandria. The present study provides a comprehensive survey of the development of the different interpretations of the origins of the term
The present article is based on a rather scarce information on the Metropolitan Joasaph II (III) who was at the head of the Ethiopian Church during 33 years at the beginning of one of the most complicated period in its history marked with the almost complete collapse of the Christian kingdom on the Horn of Africa. All the mentions of that high-ranking clergyman extracted from the royal chronicle of the King Täklä Giyorgis I and other regional chiefs were thoroughly examined. Moreover, a previously unknown list of the Metropolitans of Ethiopia, which contains the unique data about Joasaph II, was for the first time taken from an unpublished manuscript of the monastery Däbrä Damo and translated into Russian with commentary. As a result the author succeeded in making a consistent sketch of that ambitious person who was unable to put the end to the long-standing theological schism in the Ethiopian Church, but left fond memories of himself among his flock.
The Church of Ethiopia did observe both the Old Testament or the Jewish Sabbath and its Christian counterpart. This practice became one of the distinctive features of the Ethiopian Christianity. In various periods of its history the problem of veneration of the Jewish Sabbath provoked a lasting controversy among the country’s clergy. It was under the reign of the King Zär’a Ya‘ǝqob, in the mid-15th century AD, that the observance of both Sabbaths became the officially accepted by the Ethiopian Church and the State. However, some evidences of this custom can be traced for many centuries before. Following the confession of faith of the King Claudius (1540–1559), the priority was given to the celebration of Sunday. The author of the article was fortunate to discover several cases of the preferential veneration of Sunday during a military campaign of AD 1781, described in the chronicle of the King Täklä Giyorgis I.
Basil of Caesarea’s treatment of the life of Moses in his Hexaemeron is traditionally taken to be dependent on Philo of Alexandria and the Jewish exegetical tradition. Without questioning the fact that Basil knew Philo’s Life of Moses, this paper seeks to demonstrate, however, that in this respect Basil was more indebted to Origen and his tripartite division of philosophy into ethics, physics, and epoptics. This allows not only to make a more balanced assessment of Origen’s influence on Basil, increasingly stressed in recent scholarship, but also to suggest a more nuanced interpretation of Basil’s Address to the youth and his program of the Christian paideia.