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

52 enos, a dangerous point, for Theodosios vainly endeavors to
clear Hierotheos from the charge. This fact itself is of impor¬
tance from its connection with the criticisms of Philoxenos
on Bar Sudaili. The three periods which Philoxenos finds in Bar Sudaili
clearly appear in Hierotheos, not only as world-periods but
as phases of the development of individual souls. The first
or natural condition is that during which the mind aspires
with motion towards the first principle, but still possesses
evil in itself. The second takes place when the mind or
rational nature, through its rise, becomes identified with
Christ and goes through its long experience and purification
before reaching the final consummation, experience during
which it performs all the acts of Christ and is Christ him¬
self; for Ghrist is nothing but the Universal Mind. The
third state is when all nature is completely absorbed into
the original chaos from which all originally sprang, even
God himself: in this absorption, Father, Son, and Spirit
disappear, and all distinction vanishes *). Any further details at this point seem unnecessary; a
reading of the summary of the Book will show even more
clearly the complete identity of Bar Sudaili's doctrine, so far
as it is stated by Philoxenos, with that of the Book of
Hierotheos. If the analogy went only so far as to cover
what is, so to speak, the common ground of pantheistic
, mysticism, there would be nothing remarkable or conclusive
in such a coincidence. What would seem, however, to be
a strong argument for the identity of the two writers, — ance of demons. But our teacher did not say these things of the repent¬
ance of demons, nor had he any such thing in mind: on the contrary it
was of those men whose evil had led them into the abode of demons.
This fact is clear and evident, that he spoke of the repentance of men,
from his saying,” etc. 1) See summary of Book of Hierotheos.