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

60 Bar Sudaili derived a part at least of his doctrines. On this
point we find an interesting fact noted by Philoxenos in these
words; nHe desired.... to originate heresies himself also,
like John the Egyptian, whom for a short time he even
followed”1). His master then, before he came forward as
an original thinker, was a John of Egypt. At this period the
monophysite monk John II (509—517) was Patriarch of
Alexandria; but as his relations with Severos of Antioch ai}d
the Syrian Monophysites were intimate, it is hardly possible
that Philoxenos should have referred to him. Bar 'Ebraia in¬
cludes a John of Egypt in his enumeration of the Monophy¬
sites who flourished under Sergios of Antiochs); but 1 have
not met with any other notice which could with safety be
referred to him. The John of Alexandria spoken of in Zacha-
rias Rhetor as a heretic and falsifier of writings is, in all
probability, another and an earlier writer ’). In no case could
we identify this John with the Syrian John of Egypt, bishop
of whose life is given by John of Asia *); for, besides the fact that he flourished at a slightly.later period,
had he held the opinions which a master of Bar Sudaili must
have had and which Philoxenos indicates, John of Asia, be¬
longing to the same party as Philoxenos, would never have
enumerated him among his saintly personages. It is hardly
necessary, however, to question the opinions of this master
of Bar Sudaili: the mystical pantheism of the monks of Egypt
and Syria from the IV to the VI century, as well as the
intimate relations between the two countries, are facts too
well-known to require proof. In both there flourished every
degree of pantheism and pan-nihilism, from the gross and 1) See pp. 32—3. 2) Assemani B. 0., T. II, p. 327. 3) Land, Anecdota Syriaca, T. II, p. 177. 4) Land, op. cit. T. Ill, p. 130.