Byzantine Hagiography: Texts, Themes & Projects
An introduction to the current Byzantine hagiographical studies and projects
In recent years Byzantine hagiography has attracted renewed interest of the international community of Byzantine scholars and not only thanks to studies dedicated to this subject and critical editions of individual texts, but also because hagiography has been the main focus of numerous major research projects: databases, new repertories, a new version of the Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca and some very useful handbooks dedicated to this literary genre during the Byzantine Empire. These researches have analysed Byzantine hagiography in relation to the hagiographic writings composed in neighbouring areas, the West, the Syriac and Arabic Middle East, the Southern Slavs, etc. but also the relations between the hagiographical texts and other literary genres.
This volume introduces the current developments of hagiographical studies and on-going projects on the subject, and investigates a variety of texts and authors from the Patristic period to the end of Byzantium.
Antonio Rigo is Professor of Byzantine Philology and Christianity at Ca' Foscari - University of Venice. His research focuses on religious life in Byzantium, with special emphasis on ascetical and mystical literature, heresiology, and theology during the Paleologan period.
Memorial to Sevir Chernetsov, outstandinf africcan and Ethiopic scholar
The deeds and exploits of St. Lalibäla who was the most famous king of the Ethiopian Zagwe dynasty are still awaiting to be published in full. To the modern researchers this important medieval text is available only in excerpts published by J. Perruchon in the 19th century. The author argues that Lalibäla’s Deeds is far from being an Ethiopian folklore. They comprise valuable authentic data, e.g. the persecution of Lalibäla at the royal court, his escape into the desert, his marriage, his subsequent becoming a king, the organization of his army, taxation policies and history of construction of the famous monolithic churches in the centre of Lasta. The author also argues that the title wäldä nägaśi, which is mentioned in his Deeds as well as its parallel wld/ngšy-n found in Middle Sabaean inscriptions is a sufficient evidence in favour of the military and political continuity between the Aksumite and Zagwe epochs. The Lalibäla’s Deeds comprise many minute details about the everyday life, which suggests that the Christians of Ethiopia had a centuries long oral tradition of preserving and transmitting historical information.
historical traditions. It is known to exist in the Ge’ez language and constitutes a part of the compilation corpus based upon the so called magic or protective scrolls. There are two versions of the vita of St. Sisynnios. The shorter one is found in the Synaxarion, whereas the longer one is included in a corpus of hagiographical compilations “The Lives of the Martyrs”. The text of the legend comprises various stories based on real facts from the Saint’s life. However only some of them have been preserved intact; others have been re-told. Until recently have been discovered only three redactions of the vita. A new redaction recently discovered by the author of this article is of a paramount importance since it changes our view on how this legend did exist indeed in the Ethiopian cultural tradition.
This book examines the function and development of the cult of saints in Coptic Egypt, focusing primarily on the material provided by the texts forming the Coptic hagiographical tradition of the early Christian martyr Philotheus of Antioch, and more specifically, the Martyrdom of St Philotheus of Antioch (Pierpont Morgan M583). This Martyrdom is a reflection of a once flourishing cult which is attested in Egypt by rich textual and material evidence. This text enjoyed great popularity not only in Egypt, but also in other countries of the Christian East, since his dossier includes texts in Coptic, Georgian, Ethiopic, and Arabic.
Cosmas and Damianos, encyclopedia enty. Description of the hagiographic dossier
The Martyrdom of St Philotheus of Antioch has come down to us in two main versions – Coptic and Georgian – of which the Coptic is much longer due to the addition of some extra episodes mainly dedicated to different miraculous events in the martyr’s story: there are magi, dragons, demons and even walking statues, and the account, relatively sober in Georgian, has a much more fantastic character in Coptic. One of the most interesting parts of the narrative is the episode which relates the events that led to the repentance and conversion of Philotheus’ parents, Antiochian pagans of noble birth and great wealth. The following chain of events can be derived from all different versions of the Martyrdom: the boy is brought to offer a sacrifice to the mysterious calf which his parents worship; the calf has a conversation with Philotheus and then receives permission from Philotheus to kill his parents; it attacks them and gores them to death; the parents are left to lie dead and unburied for three days until Philotheus finally revives them. They repent of their previous idolatry and receive baptism from a Christian priest. Since this episode appears to be one of the focal points of the Coptic liturgical hymns in honour of St Philotheus and is clearly very important for the construction of the Martyrdom of St Philotheus and further development of his cult in the Coptic Church, it deserves a closer attention, as it provides yet another opportunity for dating and placing the Martyrdom of St Philotheus in a broader context of contemporary Coptic literature.
Onomastic of the Life of Gäbrä Krestos, famous champion of the Ethiopic hagiography. He was Syriabn and his name turns to be most enigmatic in the Syro-Ethiopic hagiography.
The paper presents a Russian translation and a brief analysis of Remembrance of Ja 'far Sadiq from the Persian Sufi anthology Memorial of God's Friends by Farid al-din Attar. Ja'far Sadiq, the sixth Shi'i imam, founder and eponym of the Ja'fari school of jurisprudence, played an important role in the Sufi tradition. The Sufis revered him as a member of Prophet Muhammad's family (ahl-i bayt) and, through his persona, connected their own tradition of piety with the age of the Prophet and his companions. Sufis also considered him a bearer of hidden knowledge ('ilm al-batin), an inimitable interpreter (mufassir) of the Quran and claimed to be his spiritual descendants by including him in Sufi lineages. These virtues became the main features of Ja'far Sadiq's hagiographic portrait in the Persian Sufi tradition.
The study concerns the veneration of saints in the traditional peasant culture of the XIX-early XXI century. and specifically - the legends of the saints, their interaction with literary and folklore tradition. Many literary lives of the saints are based on folklore legends, but sometimes the influence may have the opposite direction: the lives of saints being retold and changed in the oral tradition acquire the characteristics of folklore of legends. In the monograph the mechanisms of legends transformation and functioning are studied, The socio-cultural role and functions of folk legends about saints, their interaction with the literary lives of the saints, as well as a detailed analysis in the ethnographic and historical context of the corps of folklore texts, about the saints Alexander Oshevensky, Cyrill Chelmogorsky, Nil StoLobensky, Nikita Stylites and Irinarkh the Recluse.
The present article continues the investigation of the Soqotri verbal system undertaken by the Russian-Soqotri fieldwork team. The article focuses on the so-called “weak” and “geminated” roots in the basic stem. The investigation is based on the analysis of full paradigms (perfect, imperfect and jussive) of more than 170 “weak” and “geminated” Soqotri verbs.