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

70 dosios, and immediately preceding the introductory chapter
of the text, is a short preface or rather dedication by the
person, real or supposititious, who translated the work from
Greek into Syriac: it is addressed to his Maecenas, a certain
//Philios”, at whose request he undertook the work.
Theodosios appends a commentary to this dedication in the
same manner as he does to the text of the work itself: in
no case could he have been the author of the translation.
The same anonymous translator also adds a postscript at
the end of the volume, addressed to the same Philios, in
which he speaks of completing and sending him his trans¬
lation , with an accompanying letter. The Syriac itself is remarkably idiomatic, pure and easy,
and shows no trace of being fettered by the necessities ot
a translation: this is very evident in comparison with the
Syriac translation of Dionysios, in which the strained and
unidiomatic character of the language is apparent at every
point, though it is the work of such an able man as Ser¬
gios of Rascain. If the Book of Hierotheos be considered the work of Bar
Sudaili, two hypotheses naturally present themselves for the
explanation of the linguistic purity we have mentioned. 1) We may allow that Bar Sudaili wrote the work in
Greek, but that, in order to foster his propaganda in the
region of Edessa, he translated it himself into Syriac: or 2) we may suppose that the existence of a Greek original
is purely fictitious, and that the Syriac text we possess is
the real original. This fiction of a Greek text was neces¬
sary to render the imposture credible , because, if genuine,
the Book of Hierotheos must have been written in Greek.
In this case the pretended translator’s introduction and note
were a fiction of Bar Sudaili along with the text, and we