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John Rufus and the World Vision of Anti-Chalcedonian Culture

Steppa, Jan-Eric LU (2001)
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Det finns skSl att betrakta kyrkomstet i Chalcedon 451 som det historiskt mest betydelsefulla av de sju sŒ kallade ÒekumeniskaÓ kyrkomsterna. Vid Chalcedon hade fastslagits en kristologisk definition dSr Kristus bekSndes vara konstituerad av en fsrening av tvŒ naturer. Redan innan konciliet hade hunnit avslutats uppstod emellertid i det sstra imperiet en konflikt som skulle fŒ omfattande kyrkliga och politiska efterverkningar. MotstŒndarna mot konciliet (ofta benSmnda med den fsga rSttvisande termen ÒmonofysiterÓ) sŒg genast i beslutet kopplingen till den tvŒnaturslSra som hade avvisats genom fsrdsmandet av Nestorios vid kyrkomstet Efesos 431. Fsrankrade i den alexandrinska kristologiska... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Det finns skSl att betrakta kyrkomstet i Chalcedon 451 som det historiskt mest betydelsefulla av de sju sŒ kallade ÒekumeniskaÓ kyrkomsterna. Vid Chalcedon hade fastslagits en kristologisk definition dSr Kristus bekSndes vara konstituerad av en fsrening av tvŒ naturer. Redan innan konciliet hade hunnit avslutats uppstod emellertid i det sstra imperiet en konflikt som skulle fŒ omfattande kyrkliga och politiska efterverkningar. MotstŒndarna mot konciliet (ofta benSmnda med den fsga rSttvisande termen ÒmonofysiterÓ) sŒg genast i beslutet kopplingen till den tvŒnaturslSra som hade avvisats genom fsrdsmandet av Nestorios vid kyrkomstet Efesos 431. Fsrankrade i den alexandrinska kristologiska tradition fsrkastade de besluten i Chalcedon som heretiska. Ett sekel av smsesidiga fsrdsmanden och misslyckade unionsfsrdrag skulle till slut tvinga dem att gŒ sin egen vSg och bilda av rikskyrkan oberoende Smbetshierarkier, livskraftiga Sn i vŒra dagar. Bland de anti-chalcedonensiska fsrfattare som var verksamma under denna period mster Johannes Rufus, verksam i trakten av Gaza kring sekelskiftet 500. KSllorna om hans person och liv Sr fŒ och knapphSndiga. Dock finns tre verk bevarade av honom som Sr av betydelse fsr vŒr kunskap om det anti-chalcedonensiska motstŒndet: Petros Ibererns liv, Om den salige Theodosios hSdanfSrd och Plerophories. Dessa verk skrevs ursprungligen pŒ grekiska, men till eftervSrlden har dessa endast bevarats i syrisk sprŒkdrSkt. UtifrŒn Johannes Rufus texter kartlSggs de grundlSggande ideologiska drivkrafterna bakom motstŒndet mot Chalcedon. Genom dessa texter mster vi en kultur som identifierade sig sjSlv pŒ basis av ansprŒket att stŒ i direkt relation till de heliga fSderna i det fsrflutna. Det konstateras att denna kulturs ideal byggde pŒ dygder som var nSra sammankopplade med det tidiga egyptiska munkvSsendet och det ortodoxa arv som fsrvaltades av patriarkerna av Alexandria. Mot bakgrund av dessa ideal radikaliserar Johannes Rufus den asketiska id*n om en kosmologiska motsSttning mellan vSrlden och den gudomliga sfSren. VSrlden Sr tillhŒll fsr materiell orenhet, demoner och heretiker, och det Sr endast genom att bevara sig sjSlv frŒn att besmittas av denna orenhet som mSnniskan kan nŒ frSlsningen. I det stSndiga krig mellan gott och ont som genomsyrar hela kosmos trSder heliga mSn in i historien som Guds kSmpar mot demoners och heretikers ondskefulla anslag. Det Sr denna dualistiska kosmologi som utgsr en sSrskilt viktig fsrutsSttning fsr det starka motstŒndet mot Chalcedon i det sstra medelhavsomrŒdet under 4- och 500-talen. Avhandlingen visar att svaret pŒ frŒgan om vad som var de grundlSggande motiven bakom motstŒndet mot kyrkomstet i Chalcedon inte stŒr att finna i terminologiska konnotationer utan i hsgre grad i olika, kulturellt betingade sStt att betrakta relationen mellan Gud och vSrlden. UtifrŒn en kosmologi som starkt betonade den dualistiska motsSttningen mellan materien och de andliga sŒsom en motsSttning mellan gott och ont kunde Chalcedons hSvdande det mSnskliga elementet i Kristi person inte betraktas om annat Sn obegriplig. (Less)
Abstract
The present study deals with the works of John Rufus, disciple of Peter the Iberian at Gaza. There are three works preserved from him, composed in Greek at the turn of the sixth century, and preserved in Syriac: the Life of Peter the Iberian, the Commemoration of the Death of Theodosius, and the Plerophories. This study reads the hagiographic works of John Rufus in search for the basic ideological motive behind the anti-Chalcedonian movement. Through John RufusÕ texts we encounter a culture that identified itself on the basis of the claim of walking in the paths of the holy fathers. It is argued that the ideals of this culture derived from virtues closely associated with Egyptian monasticism and the orthodox heritage of the great... (More)
The present study deals with the works of John Rufus, disciple of Peter the Iberian at Gaza. There are three works preserved from him, composed in Greek at the turn of the sixth century, and preserved in Syriac: the Life of Peter the Iberian, the Commemoration of the Death of Theodosius, and the Plerophories. This study reads the hagiographic works of John Rufus in search for the basic ideological motive behind the anti-Chalcedonian movement. Through John RufusÕ texts we encounter a culture that identified itself on the basis of the claim of walking in the paths of the holy fathers. It is argued that the ideals of this culture derived from virtues closely associated with Egyptian monasticism and the orthodox heritage of the great Alexandrine patriarchs. Its external borders were defined in terms of opposition to a dominant culture that surrounded this community and that was regarded as deeply polluted by the sins of secularism. At the heart of anti-Chalcedonian culture we find a radicalised notion of the struggle between the principles of materiality and the supernatural world. Reading John RufusÕ hagiography we find ourselves in the midst of a cosmological warfare between good and evil, where holy men enter into history as GodÕs warriors against the rebellion of demons and heretics. It is shown that this dualistic cosmology was a specific feature of the strong monastic opposition against the Council of Chalcedon in the fifth and sixth centuries. The study begins with a survey of the historical background of John RufusÕ works, including the Palestinian insurrection against Chalcedon, the monastic milieu at Gaza as the centre of anti-Chalcedonianism in Palestine, the idea of Egypt as the bulwark of orthodoxy and the birthplace of monasticism, the ideological tension between ascetic retreat and monastic involvement into the destiny of the church, and the debate on Emperor ZenoÕ Henoticon. Then follows an inventory of the preserved texts and a discussion of the evidence on the life of John Rufus. The subsequent analysis focuses on three rhetorical themes in John RufusÕ works: the question of the Òholy manÓ in relation to the divine initiative of God, the stories about visions and miracles and the way these function as confirmations of GodÕs judgement against heresy, and the dogmatic presumptions of John Rufus and the idea of heresy as pollution. (Less)
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author
opponent
  • Prof Ashbrook Harvey, Susan, Brown University, Rhode Island, USA
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
History of the Christian church, here, visions, holy man, propaganda, hagiography, Anastasius I, Zeno, Peter the Iberian, Severus of Antioch, John Rufus, Gaza, Palestine, asceticism, monasticism, monophysitism, anti-Chalcedonianism, Chalcedon, Patristics, Byzantine Empire, Late Antiquity, Kristna kyrkans historia, General, systematic and practical Christian theology, Kristen teologi (allmän, systematisk och praktisk)
pages
207 pages
defense location
Samarkand, Akademiska Föreningen, Sandgatan 2
defense date
2001-04-05 10:00
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
1d819111-a809-4cae-a187-56ab56119d17 (old id 20348)
date added to LUP
2007-05-25 13:23:44
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:16
@phdthesis{1d819111-a809-4cae-a187-56ab56119d17,
  abstract     = {The present study deals with the works of John Rufus, disciple of Peter the Iberian at Gaza. There are three works preserved from him, composed in Greek at the turn of the sixth century, and preserved in Syriac: the Life of Peter the Iberian, the Commemoration of the Death of Theodosius, and the Plerophories. This study reads the hagiographic works of John Rufus in search for the basic ideological motive behind the anti-Chalcedonian movement. Through John RufusÕ texts we encounter a culture that identified itself on the basis of the claim of walking in the paths of the holy fathers. It is argued that the ideals of this culture derived from virtues closely associated with Egyptian monasticism and the orthodox heritage of the great Alexandrine patriarchs. Its external borders were defined in terms of opposition to a dominant culture that surrounded this community and that was regarded as deeply polluted by the sins of secularism. At the heart of anti-Chalcedonian culture we find a radicalised notion of the struggle between the principles of materiality and the supernatural world. Reading John RufusÕ hagiography we find ourselves in the midst of a cosmological warfare between good and evil, where holy men enter into history as GodÕs warriors against the rebellion of demons and heretics. It is shown that this dualistic cosmology was a specific feature of the strong monastic opposition against the Council of Chalcedon in the fifth and sixth centuries. The study begins with a survey of the historical background of John RufusÕ works, including the Palestinian insurrection against Chalcedon, the monastic milieu at Gaza as the centre of anti-Chalcedonianism in Palestine, the idea of Egypt as the bulwark of orthodoxy and the birthplace of monasticism, the ideological tension between ascetic retreat and monastic involvement into the destiny of the church, and the debate on Emperor ZenoÕ Henoticon. Then follows an inventory of the preserved texts and a discussion of the evidence on the life of John Rufus. The subsequent analysis focuses on three rhetorical themes in John RufusÕ works: the question of the Òholy manÓ in relation to the divine initiative of God, the stories about visions and miracles and the way these function as confirmations of GodÕs judgement against heresy, and the dogmatic presumptions of John Rufus and the idea of heresy as pollution.},
  author       = {Steppa, Jan-Eric},
  keyword      = {History of the Christian church,here,visions,holy man,propaganda,hagiography,Anastasius I,Zeno,Peter the Iberian,Severus of Antioch,John Rufus,Gaza,Palestine,asceticism,monasticism,monophysitism,anti-Chalcedonianism,Chalcedon,Patristics,Byzantine Empire,Late Antiquity,Kristna kyrkans historia,General,systematic and practical Christian theology,Kristen teologi (allmän,systematisk och praktisk)},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {207},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {John Rufus and the World Vision of Anti-Chalcedonian Culture},
  year         = {2001},
}