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Anton Pritula

Abstract

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.

Serge A. Frantsouzoff

Abstract

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.

Peter Steiger

Summary

Among early Christian writers, Didymus of Alexandria occupies an unusual position being a theologian who garnered renown while enduring a significant physical disability, since he became blind in early childhood. Scholars of Didymus have frequently bemoaned the lack of biographical information concerning this famous teacher, and some suggest that Didymus never expresses regret for losing his physical eyesight in his own writing, arguing that he considered spiritual insight more valuable. Most recent monographs on Didymus have been content to cite traditions about Didymus’ blindness, but few have sought to track the emergence of the few traditions about him and how these sources might relate to each other and have conflicting theological agendas. This paper seeks to address these lacunae by closely examining references to Didymus from his own contemporaries, all of whom personally met him, in order to make some suggestions of how this might open some new avenues for better understanding attitudes toward physical disability in early Christianity and particularly Didymus as a blind Christian theologian.

Oksana Yu. Goncharko and Dmitry N. Goncharko

Abstract

The paper is devoted to the reconstruction of the “iconophilistic” logic theory built by Theodore the Studite in his pro-icon writings during the “scholastic” period of the Second Iconoclasm Christological controversy. We argue that Theodore the Studite invented the non-Aristotelian identity distinction and implemented the two types of identity (the identity of nature and the identity of hypostasis) within his Christological argumentation, demonstrating how the contradictory properties of the two natures of Christ should be accepted consistently. The main issue of the present paper is to discuss the examples of non-classical logical thinking undertaken by Theodore the Studite, which are devoted to the description of how the identity principle should work, why the icon principle is self-referential, and why the duality of the properties of Christ should be accepted by all Christians in order to be iconophiles and logically correct at the same time.

Edwina Murphy

Abstract

A martyr’s suffering and death is glorious, says Cyprian of Carthage. No surprises there. But what about the ageing, suffering and death common to humanity? Old age is naturally associated with physical decline in people, just as the ageing world is diminishing in vigour. Elders must be respected, however, and signs of age should be valued, not erased. Furthermore, just as the end of the world is a matter of hope for the Christian, so is the end of one’s life – the gateway to everlasting joy. As Cyprian emphasises in De mortalitate, even the suffering caused by the plague is to be embraced rather than spurned; afflictions are cause for rejoicing as by them Christians are proved, strengthened and ultimately crowned. Cyprian’s characteristic distinction between the physical and the spiritual, the temporal and the eternal, is prominent as he encourages his flock to persevere in the midst of turbulent times.

Timur Shchukin and Oleg Nogovitsin

Abstract

The anti-Monophysitic anonymous treatise On the common nature and the Trinity was written in the 550-560s for the educational purposes in philosophy and theology. Therefore, its content was perceived in those days as something certainly traditional. It reflects theological discussions of its time, thus making feel the degree of complication of the current theological situation and the extent of mutual comprehension between the rival parties. The anonymous author normally keeps himself within the conceptual language of the late Neoplatonism, especially the school of Ammonius of Alexandria known by its interest to peripatetic instruments. The author himself is a Chalcedonian. When rejecting both “Nestorian” and “Severian” Christologies, he claims that the human nature became a constitutive element of the hypostasis of Christ (consisting of two common natures) and by no means an independent hypostasis. There are some similarities with the teaching of Leontius of Byzantium’s Against the Nestorians and the Eutychians and Solution of the Syllogisms of Severus, whereas the present author is much more succinct, and his exposition is simplified. For instance, unlike Leontius of Byzantium, he does not distinguish the contexts, where the notions of nature and substance could be used differently; he does not state explicitly that the human nature within the hypostasis of Christ is the common nature and not a particular nature. The latter term is used but never explained. The treatise is a curious witness of the relevance of an intra-Monophysite controversy for Chalcedonites.

Dirk Krausmuller

Abstract

This article focuses on a conceptual problem that arose from the application to Christology of the Cappadocian definition of hypostasis as substance with idioms. It discusses the solutions that were proposed by John of Caesarea, Leontius of Byzantium, John Philoponus, Leontius of Byzantium, Maximus the Confessor and John of Damascus.