By Susan Ashbrook Harvey
John of Ephesus traveled through the sixth-century Byzantine global in his position as monk, missionary, author and church chief. In his significant work,The Lives of the jap Saints, he recorded fifty eight graphics of clergymen and nuns he had identified, utilizing the literary conventions of hagiography in a strikingly own means. struggle, bubonic plague, famine, collective hysteria, and spiritual persecution have been part of lifestyle and the heritage opposed to which asceticism built an acute that means for a beleaguered population. Taking the paintings of John of Ephesus as her advisor, Harvey explores the connection among asceticism and society within the sixth-century Byzantine East. involved notably with the accountability of the ascetic to put society, John's writing narrates his stories within the villages of the Syrian Orient, the deserts of Egypt, and the imperial urban of Constantinople. Harvey's paintings contributes to a brand new realizing of the social global of the overdue old Byzantine East, skillfully reading the nature of ascetic practices, the annoying separation of "Monophysite" church buildings, the fluctuating roles of girls in Syriac Christianity, and the overall contribution of hagiography to the examine of heritage.
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Additional info for Asceticism and Society in Crisis: John of Ephesus and The Lives of the Eastern Saints (Transformation of the Classical Heritage)
The presence of a similar literary format does not seem to indicate a decision by John to follow precise models but rather to choose the hagiographical mode most comfortable for him. John's literary choices, then, tell us certain things about him. His purpose here is found in story more than in history; his interest lies in what people experienced in the context of the events they lived through. So in this instance he writes hagiography and not a historical chronicle (as in his Ecclesiastical History ), anecdotal portraits and not biography.
John of Ephesus was not a craftsman. Nonetheless, he represents a kind of cultural syncretism that was at its peak in the sixth century: a fusion of the Hellenic and oriental thought-worlds and experience that still allowed an independent position for Syriac culture within the Roman Empire. When John was writing, Syriac stood at a considerable distance from its later decline. To some degree, it held a higher position in terms of cultural respect than it had had at any earlier time, despite the fame, for example, of Ephrem Syrus.
He writes with more assertiveness, appropriate to his increasing authority in Monophysite circles during the years covered by these chapters. This second section comprises the following: Eminent Monophysite bishops—John of Tella (chap. 24), John of Hephaestopolis (chap. 25), Thomas of Damascus (chap. 26), the Five Patriarchs (chap. 48), Jacob Burd'aya (chap. 49), who is again treated with his comissionary Theodore (chap. 50), and Kashish (chap. 51); Accounts of the ascetic community in Egypt, and particularly of the Monophysite refugees who fled there—the spiritual leader Susan (chap.
Asceticism and Society in Crisis: John of Ephesus and The Lives of the Eastern Saints (Transformation of the Classical Heritage) by Susan Ashbrook Harvey