Stephen bar Sudaili, the Syrian mystic, and the book of Hierotheos

Frothingham F. Stephen bar Sudaili, the Syrian mystic, and the book of Hierotheos. -1886

50 creation, being simply an emanation from the Divinity-Chaos x) ,
finally returns to it; and, when the consummation has taken
place, God himself passes away and everything is swallowed
up in the indefinite chaos which he conceives to be the first
principle and the end of being, and which admits of no
distinction. Let us examine the salient features to be no¬
ticed in Philoxenos’ letter, and compare them with the doc¬
trines of the Book of Hierotheos as they are disclosed in
the summary given further on. In the first place, we read
that Bar Sudaili //openly assimilates the creation to God and
teaches that it is necessary for everything to become like
him”1): his formula was, »All nature is consubstantial with
the Divinity”5). Secondly, there are three periods of existence:
1. the present world, which is evil, and to which belongs
motion: 2. during this period all existence is brought into
complete union with Christ who »is all and in all men”;
this is the period of rest and liberty: 3. finally, all nature
becomes of the same nature with the universal essence *).
This is the consummation or the confusion of all things,
when distinction disappears, not only between God and
Nature, but between the persons of the Godhead itself5):
God, as personality, passes away, and there is no longer
Father, Son, and Spirit. Even the devils are finally redeemed,
and included in the general indistinction and confusion*). This
doctrine of universal redemption and return into the divine
nature — the ccnoxaTcearaois — was, as is well known,
the common doctrine of the great Alexandrian and Antio¬
chene schools. Both Origen and Theodore of Mopsuestia, like 1 2 *1) His first principle is identical with the or source of divi¬ nity of Pseudo-Dionysios. 2) P. 28. 3) P. 42. 5) P. 34. 6) P. 32. 4) P. 32 seq.