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

54 down to the last of beings and from the last of beings up
to the Good//. There are many corresponding passages in
Hierotheos: he describes the motion of glorifying and loving,
as that which belongs to distinct and separate existence, as
the supplication of those who have fallen, // All rational essences
glorify and love the essence from which they were separated'/. It seems at first difficult to explain why Philoxenos pours
such fierce invectives on Bar Sudaili, and stigmatizes his
doctrines as unheard of, and worse than Judaism or Hea¬
thenism. Although they were expressed in hold language by
Bar Sudaili, yet, besides being in accord with the prevailing
spirit of East-Syrian and Egyptian monasticism, how many
famous teachers and doctors of the church had supported the
same doctrine! While it is presented in different forms by
Sabellios '), Marcellus of Ankyra 1 2), etc., it is upheld by the
whole Alexandrian School, by Clement, Origen, and Didy-
mos, by Gregory Nazianzen *) and Gregory of Nyssa, by
Nemesios, Synesios, and others, and later by the School of
Antioch, headed by Diodoros of Tarsos and Theodore of
Mopsuestia. Among the East-Syrians even S. Ephraem can
hardly be cleared from the stain of a moderate mystical
pantheism. If none of these theologians used the same freedom
of language as Bar Sudaili, on approaching the most sacred
precincts of the Christian faith, Philoxenos must have been
too subtle a theologian not to have seen beyond their reti¬
cences. The severity shown to Stephen cannot then be ex¬
plained from the principles of his thought, but from the
freedom of his language, which was such as to throw oblo¬ 1) See Neander, I, pp. 598 and 600. 2) Adversus Marc.: see Dorner, I. 2, p. 282. 8) E. g. his hymn published in notes to Dionysios (Op. om.ed. Migne,
I. p. 606).