Controlling the Barbarians. The First Syrian Hagiographic Collection

Philip Wood

in ‘We have no king but Christ’

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199588497
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595424 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Byzantium

Controlling the Barbarians. The First Syrian Hagiographic Collection

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This chapter discusses the hagiography of Theodoret of Cyrrhus as a specific example of the observation of self‐control amongst barbarian peoples and the ‘improvement’ of the provinces of the Roman world. Theodoret observes the self‐control of Syrian holy men, in spite of their barbaric behaviour, and follows earlier apologists in emphasising Christianity's barbarian origins and the unimportance of Greek. Theodoret engaged with a world where charismatic saints of the previouscentury had inspired contemporary ascetic behaviour. His hagiography is an attemptto appropriate and control the reputations of these holy men and to present himself as the perceptive guide to the dangerous frontier of Syriac‐speakers, able to exclude the heretical and praise the holy.

Keywords: Theodoret; Self‐control; Holy man; Greek; Syriac; Hagiography; Fronntier; Improvement

Chapter.  10914 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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