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

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87 Besides the general introduction, each one of the five books
is preceded by a particular one. To the text of the chapters
the commentary is attached in two different ways in different
parts of the MS.: either the whole chapter of the text is
first given, and then repeated in short sections, each with
a separate commentary; or else, in order to avoid repetition,
the latter system alone is used without first giving the whole
text. As a scientific, thorough and systematic work, this
commentary is remarkable, and gives a favorable idea of the
possibilities of Syrian learning. There is nothing in any part of Theodosios’ writings to
indicate that he did not believe implicitly in the authorship
of a genuine first-century Hierotheos: we will soon have to
refer to the probable sincerity of this belief. Bar cEbraia also interested himself in the Book of Hiero¬
theos, and sent emissaries throughout the East to procure a
copy: he finally obtained one, which, strange to say, is
the identical copy now preserved in the British Museum *),
and that to which we are indebted for our knowledge of the
work. From this MS. he drew up a compendium, to which
he added a running commentary, derived principally from
that of Theodosios. He took however great liberties with the
text, and showed the true unscrupulousness of an Eastern
in distorting it for the purpose of softening its anti-christian
tone and hiding its real character1). The worst part of the
process to which he submitted the book was the entire
change he made in the order of the chapters, placing near 1) See the note on the last page of the MS., where the fact is no-
ticed and an account of the search is given. Gf. Wright's Cat. vol. Ill,
supplem. 2) Ms. copies of this work exist in Paris (Bib. Nat. Fonds Syr, 227),
in Oxford, and in the British Museum (Syr. MS. 850; Wright, Cat. p. 893
and Add. 1017).