Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Ute Possekel: A Newly-Found Syriac Letter by Miaphysite Bishops Against the Julianists

This paper will present and interpret a previously unknown letter, written ca. 530 by several miaphysite bishops from northern Mesopotamia in opposition to the teachings of Julian of Halicarnassus. It is a pastoral letter, composed in response to a request by Severus of Antioch (ep. V.14), and addressed to the abbots and monks in the diocese of Amida. Previously only a fragment of the letter was known, but the full version is preserved in a manuscript owned by Harvard University (Harvard Syriac 91), somewhat surprisingly tucked in among the polemical treatises of Dionysius bar Ṣalibi, the twelfth-century bishop of Amida. The letter is also found in other manuscripts of Dionysius' polemical treatises.
The authors of the letter were John of Tella, Sergius of Cyrus, Marion of Sura, Nonnos of Circesium, and Thomas of Dara. The letter was signed by three additional hierarchs, who presumably were not present at the time of composition but wished to endorse the letter's message. All of the signatories were part of the epistolary network of Severus of Antioch. In the letter, the miaphysite bishops lay out scriptural and theological arguments against Julian's influential doctrine of the incorruptibility of Christ's body.
The paper will present the manuscript evidence, discuss the place of the letter in the correspondence of Severus with the eastern bishops, and interpret the letter's theological arguments.

No comments:

Post a Comment