History and Hagiography from the Late Antique Sinai

Translated with commentary by Daniel F. Caner and contributions by Sebastian Brock, Richard Price, and Kevin Van Bladel

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ISBN: 9781846312168

Publication: December 16, 2009

Series: Translated Texts for Historians 53

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The Sinai peninsula emerged in late antiquity as a distinct region of the Christian holy land, identified from the fourth century onward as the Old Testament place where the Hebrews had wandered, Moses received the Law, and ‘God’s Majesty descended’. At the same time it was part of the late Roman province of Third Palestine and located deep in the heart of ‘Saracen Country’. The historical essay and accompanying texts in this book enable readers to explore the particular ideals and dangers associated with this remote political and religious frontier. At its core are three Greek narratives previously unavailable in English: Pseudo-Nilus’ Narrations, Ammonius’ Report Concerning the Slaughter of the Monks of Sinai and Rhaithou, and Anastasius’ Tales of the Sinai Fathers. Long known to historians, these narratives, all written c. 400–650, have long been used to reconstruct pilgrimage, monasticism, and Roman–Saracen relations in this area. However, each poses challenging questions of date, origin, and interpretation. In particular, Pseudo-Nilus’ Narrations represents an innovative blend of Greco-Roman (Achilles Tatius), Jewish (Fourth Maccabees) and Christian (Gregory Nazianzene) models, standing out as the last great example of ancient romance. Detailed introductions and commentaries highlight unusual features and shared problems of each text. Readers will also find a comprehensive collection of travel accounts and other documents written on or about the late antique Sinai. Intended for specialists and students alike, this book makes an original contribution to the understanding of these texts and their place in the late antique development of the Sinai.

Daniel F. Caner is Associate Professor of History and Classics at the University of Connecticut.

Kevin van Bladel is Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Southern California.

Richard Price is Senior Lecturer in the History of Christianity at Heythrop College, University of London. His previous publications include Theodoret, History of the Monks of Syria: A Translation and Commentary, and Augustine.

Sebastian Brock is Professorial Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford.

Contents Preface and Acknowledgements Abbreviations Introduction 1. The Formation and History of Third Palestine 2. The Christian Development of the Sinai Peninsula 3. Assessing the Saracen Menace on the Sinai Frontier 4. The Sinai Martyr Tradition 5. Death and the Mountain Major Sinai Narratives: Introductions, Translations and commentaries 1. Pseudo-Nilus, Narrations (Narrationes), Concerning the Slaughter of the Monks of Sinai and the Captivity of Theodulus 2. A Ninth-Century Excerpt from Ps.-Nilus, Narrations, trans. Sebastian Brock 3. Nilus of Ancyra, Letter to Heliodorus (Ep. IV.62) 4. Ammonius, Report (Relatio), Concerning the Slaughter of the Monks of Sinai and Rhaithou 5. Anastasius of Sinai, Collection I: Tales of the Sinai Fathers (Diçgçmata paterika); selections from Collection II: Edifying Tales (Diçgçmata stçriktika) Appendix I: Sinai Pilgrimage Accounts and Travel Documents 6. Ephraim the Syrian, Hymns 19 and 20, trans. Kevin van Bladel 7. Egeria, Travelogue (Itinerarium) I–IX, with abridgements by Peter the Deacon 8. Theodoret of Cyrrhus, Religious History (Historia religiosa) II.13, VI.7–13 232 9. Emperor Marcian, Letter to Bishop Macarius and the Monks of Sinai, trans. Richard M. Price 10. Jacob of Serug, Letter VII (To the Monks of Sinai), trans. Kevin van Bladel 11, Cosmas Indicopleustes, Christian Topography (Topographica christiana) V, selections 12. Piacenza Pilgrim, Travelogue (Itinerarium) 33–42 252 13. Gregory the Great, Letters IV.44 (To Rusticiana) and XI.2 (To John, Abbot of Mount Sina) 14. Nessana Papyri, selections: a. P.Colt 89 (Account of a Trading Company, c. 6th–7th century) b. P.Colt 72 (Order from the Governor for a Guide,c. March 684) c. P.Colt 73 (Order from the Governor for a Guide, c. December 683) Appendix II: Sinai Defences 15. Procopius of Caesarea, On Buildings (De Aedificiis) V.viii.1–9 16. Eutychius (Sa’îd ibn Batrîq) of Alexandria, Annals (Annales Ecclesiastici), selections, trans. Kevin van Bladel 17. Theophanes the Confessor, Chronographia AM 6123, 6124 (630/1, 631/2 CE) Maps and Plans Bibliography Index

This book is an important contribution to the synchronic study of the whole literary tradition concerning Sinai in late antiquity and summarizes the current state of research, though without suggesting definitive solutions to problems posed in the philological scholarship on the texts.
  Speculum, A Journal of Medieval Studies

Format: Paperback

Size: 210 x 147 mm

256 Pages

ISBN: 9781846312168

Publication: December 16, 2009

Series: Translated Texts for Historians 53

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