Chapter

The saints’ inactivity <i>post mortem</i>

Matthew Dal Santo

in Debating the Saints’ Cult in the Age of Gregory the Great

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199646791
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949939 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646791.003.0005

Series: Oxford Studies in Byzantium

The saints’ inactivity post mortem

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This chapter argues that the anxieties about the propriety and plausibility of the saints’ cult visible in the Latin and Greek material discussed in earlier chapters was also present east of the empire’s frontier on the Euphrates. Christians within the Persian empire appear, in other words, to have debated the saints’ role in Christian piety of the as much as their Byzantine counterparts in late antiquity. Owing to a longstanding tradition of ‘soul sleep’, Persian Christians worried, in particular, about the status of the saints’ souls after death and sought to understand in what sense they retained the ability to intervene in the affairs of the living. With a special focus on the East Syrian tradition, writers under investigation include Ephrem the Syrian, Narsai of Nisibis, Ishai of Seleucia-Ctesiphon and Timothy the Great.

Keywords: Persian empire; soul sleep; saints; miracles; East Syrian; Ephrem; Narsai; Ishai; Timothy the Great

Chapter.  37977 words. 

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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