Paideia and Cult: Christian Initiation in Theodore of Mopsuestia

  Schwartz, Daniel L. 2013. Paideia and Cult: Christian Initiation in Theodore of Mopsuestia. Hellenic Studies Series 57. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies.

5. Teaching Liturgy and Performing Theology

Having considered the communal and creedal aspects of Christian initiation, we turn here to the theme of cult and consider the role played by Theodore’s discussion of the liturgy within his catechetical curriculum. The final five sermons in Theodore’s educational program for baptismal candidates comment on the sacramental liturgies, three on baptism and two on the eucharist. The first sermon on each liturgy introduces in somewhat general terms the theological significance of the rite. The sermons then proceed to recount and interpret each statement and act involved in the performance of the liturgies. In particular, Theodore sought throughout these sermons to draw the catechumen’s attention to some of the physical components of the liturgies’ celebration. He focused on the actions, gestures, and dress of those celebrating the eucharist in order to highlight the liturgy as a participation in the life and doctrine of the church.

It has been the practice of liturgical scholars to approach a text such as Theodore’s in the hope of reconstructing early liturgical forms. Some have used material from late fourth-century texts in conjunction with other liturgical texts from this period and earlier for the purpose of reconstructing some sort of a liturgical Ur-text. Other scholarly approaches have more highly valued the manifestation of particular liturgies and have sought to analyze the elements of a particular liturgy, noting its similarities and differences to other liturgies of similar or divergent periods and places. [1]

These approaches each have their merits and drawbacks. However, this study seeks to address a different set of questions and problems. While Theodore’s catechesis does indeed provide considerable detail regarding the form and content of the liturgy in Antioch at the end of the fourth century, this was by no means his purpose in preaching. To be sure, the catechist did want to communicate these things to his students, but his aim in doing so was always to guide them in their experience of liturgy. His extended descriptions of each liturgical moment and consistent application of vivid language to these rites aimed to create the appropriate emotional response among his audience. Chapter four detailed the ways in which Theodore devoted the early sermons of his catechesis to a detailed explanation of the theological content of the creed. It is as if his words on the subject still hung in the air when he took up the teaching of the liturgy in the latter half of his catechetical curriculum. In initiating the catechumens into the mysteries of the Christian church, Theodore repeatedly emphasized the way in which each physical component of the liturgy was pregnant with theological meaning and how its performance brought one into contact with a heavenly reality.

Bell’s approach to ritual has been very influential among ritual theorists, since it provides a way to understand ritual on its own terms rather than as a practice that points to a set of ideas that often vary markedly between different practitioners of the same rites. Our concern with Theodore’s pedagogy, however, presents some difficulties for the application of Bell’s ideas. Theodore clearly did not think in Bell’s terms. Indeed Bell argues that ritualized actors generally do not understand how ritual does what it does. Furthermore, Theodore taught the liturgy in order to insure that the catechumens understood what the rites meant, that they would think rightly about their ritual actions. Just as Theodore never separated theological profession from the believing community, he also never separated ritual action from ritual thought. In other words, Theodore’s theory of ritual and the liturgical pedagogy that flows from it assumes the very dichotomy Bell aims to dismantle. Nevertheless, Bell’s discussion of ritual contributes to our understanding of the role of ritual in these sermons and in the process of Christianization and conversion. The ritualized actions of baptism and the eucharist, as well as Theodore’s teaching on these subjects, fit into the matrix of community and creedal theology we have been considering. Performing the rituals of the confessing community established the community, reinforced its hierarchy, and played a critical role in expressing what it meant to be an initiated Christian. Theodore’s teaching of the liturgy from his position within the hierarchy of the church reinforced the community and the clergy as authoritative experts in the prevailing outlook of the community.

Communicating Awe-Inspiring Rites

Theodore’s strategy for laying out the substance and significance of the baptismal and eucharistic liturgies relies heavily on vivid description of the correspondence between ritual act and the spiritual reality to which it points. We first encountered this emphasis on the awe-inspiring nature of Christian worship as a catechetical theme in chapter two. In expressing this awe, Theodore drew on his rhetorical education and produced elaborately detailed sermons on the liturgy, which strongly bear the marks of the rhetorical genre of ekphrasis (ἔκφρασις). The aim of an ekphrasis, or descriptive speech, was to engage the audience with a particularly striking account of an event, location, or piece of art. [5] Towards the end of the first century AD, Theon defined ekphrasis as “a descriptive speech which brings the subject matter vividly before the eyes.” [6] Vividness, Greek enargeia (ἐνάργεια), was a hallmark of this descriptive technique. This vivid language aimed to captivate the audience and make them feel as though they were eyewitnesses. Quintilian and Longinus also talk in terms of speech that could bring distant things before the eyes of the audience to great rhetorical effect. [7] In producing an ekphrasis, the rhetor sought to describe an event or piece of art in so animated a fashion as to draw the audience members in and make them feel a part of it. Since the subject of an ekphrasis could be significantly removed from the audience both in time and space, the rhetor sought to describe the topic in such a way as to elicit a powerful emotional response. [8] The rhetorical handbooks regularly use the term phantasia (φαντασία) to describe this effect. They wanted to create an overwhelming mental image in their audience, one that would abolish any sense of disbelief. Though no easy task, confidence remained high that this lofty goal could be obtained. [9] In one particularly strong account of the abilities of such speech, Longinus claims that these “oratorical fantasies” have the power to enslave the hearer. [10]

Theodore’s sermons apply many of these techniques in order to engage the catechumens with a vivid interpretation of what he wanted them to see as a totally new Christian life. Theodore structured these sermons to introduce the catechumens to the full range of the experience they were about to have but also took great pains to instruct them in the appropriate way to engage with these experiences intellectually and emotionally. The candidate was about to take part in a divine drama. Whether in baptism or the eucharist, he or she would witness firsthand and for the first time the priestly services. These liturgical services were supposed to express profound realities, and Theodore wanted to ensure that his pupils missed nothing. The candidates needed to know the stages of the rituals and their place in them. He instructed them about each component of the ritual experience: the registrar of baptism, the deacons, the priest, the font, the table, and the elements of the ritual meal, unpacking the significance of each of these, its appearance or dress, its physical nature, and the spiritual reality to which it corresponded. He also taught the catechumens their place in this liturgical drama. One cannot miss Theodore’s profound conviction that catechumens needed instruction in worship. He taught them about their own posture, dress, and actions. He even treated the mental, emotional, and ethical states appropriate for the catechumens.

Theodore used these five sermons to guide his pupils through the many aspects of the liturgies they were about to experience. This chapter seeks to capture his concern for such a holistic introduction to liturgy. When the catechumens took part in the liturgies, he wanted them to know that they performed theological truths and experienced these truths as physically manifest in their bodies. Theodore did not leave the recognition of this process to chance; he never assumed that a spontaneous response to Christian teaching and liturgy would be a proper response. He took pains to insure that ritual performance had its proper impact on the catechumen. Where the sermons on the Nicene Creed had taught the catechumens how they should believe in God, these five sermons present Theodore’s attempt to teach them how to experience God.

Clerical Roles and Heavenly Reality

One aspect of the liturgical experience that deserves special attention pertains to the roles of the various clerics involved in the administration of the sacraments. The consecrated water, bread, and wine did not exhaust the symbols of the two liturgies. The officiating churchmen also fulfilled important symbolic functions in the course of the liturgies. Theodore invested their physical presence and appearance with great meaning. Their actions at the baptismal font or before the eucharist portrayed to all witnesses a heavenly reality that he urged the catechumens to recognize.

Theodore explained the role of the clergy most clearly in his teaching on the eucharistic liturgy, where the bread and wine are the most obvious symbols in the sacrament. They are the true body and blood of Christ and point to his death and resurrection as a memorial. They provide spiritual nourishment, sustenance for those who had entered the kingdom through baptism and who sought to persevere in the faith. However, throughout Theodore’s discussion of the eucharist, the catechist sought to show complete correspondence between the physical manifestation of the liturgical act and the spiritual reality to which it corresponded. He seems to have in mind something like a defense against the very charge he leveled at the services of the heretics in his teaching on exorcism. Theodore clearly saw such heretical worship as a threat and took to mocking the services of the heretics by comparing them to theatrical performances: [11]

Heretics had liturgical symbols, perhaps even ones that appeared to be the same as those taught by Theodore, but he insisted that they were empty, offering only a hollow imitation of the true Christian worship. Bolstered by this conviction, Theodore ridiculed the sacraments of the heretics by comparing them to a farcical play or base pantomime. [

The cosmological assumptions at work here come from a nearly ubiquitous, if not always technically detailed, Platonism not uncommon in Late Antiquity. In a nice turn of phrase, Polymnia Athanassiadi refers to this pervasive Platonic backdrop to religious discourse as “the late antique spiritual Commonwealth.” [14] That which is truly real exists in heaven, while the things of this earth partake of reality only insofar as they reflect or participate in heavenly things. Theodore’s “heretics” would have likely shared this cosmology and undoubtedly made similar claims regarding their own services. In fact, this problem was as widespread as the Platonism that stood behind the original claims. Iamblichus and Proclus both advocated highly ritualized interpretations of the Chaldean Oracles and did so based in part on a similar theory of correspondence between human worship and a divine reality. [15] In defending theurgy against the charges of Porphyry, Iamblichus admitted that there were cultic abuses, usually carried out by the uneducated and certainly not enjoying divine participation. [16] Nevertheless, he insisted on the validity of proper divination, arguing for the way in which daimones, or contingent divinities, ensured interaction with true divinity: “These classes of beings, then, bring to completion as intermediaries the common bond that connects gods with souls, and causes their linkage to be indissoluble. They bind together a single continuity from top to bottom, and render the communion of all things indivisible.” [17] The Emperor Julian, who looked to the writings of Iamblichus as a model for his “pagan church,” also noted the importance of divine intermediaries in securing right worship of the gods. [18] He also stressed another concern shared by his Christian opponents, the purity of the priest, who was also an intermediary. Julian articulated an elaborate program to ensure the ritual purity, moral rectitude, and philosophical acumen of his pagan priests as a further means of making sure that sacrifices were performed properly and temple worship did not fall into disrepute. [19] He did not want the human link between the one sacrificing and the divine to disrupt the requisite continuity between worshiper and divinity.

Theodore voices a similar set of concerns when he says that “Service of Satan is also that service which is found among the heretics under the name of religion, because although it has some resemblance to an ecclesiastical service, yet it is devoid of the gift of the grace of the Holy Spirit, and is performed in impiety.” [20] Rather than a spiritual connection between sacramental elements and a heavenly reality, heretical sacraments corresponded with the evil work of Satan himself. Having raised the issue of theatrical performances, Theodore seems to have recognized that even as he critiqued the worship of those outside his church community as satanic farce, he also needed to ensure that the worship he taught rightly participated in the profound reality of God and the saints in heaven. The repeated insistence on the spiritual reality of the orthodox sacraments, along with their immutability, eternal permanence, and ineffability, suggest that he understood that his critique could be turned against him. Though apparently aware of this potential problem, he was nevertheless willing to use this charge against the heretics. Behind the claim of possessing the Holy Spirit and the charge of heretical impiety clearly stood the authority of the bishop and priest. As we saw in chapter three, the bishop held a position of great authority in the hierarchy of the Christian clergy. Occupying the place just below God invested the bishop with an ability to stand in the place of God and in this role to confirm the validity of Christian worship. However, Theodore’s method of refuting the opposition would really only appeal to those who already agreed with him. Insofar as his audience was generally sympathetic to, and even enthusiastic about, his teaching, it seems a mistake to look for a more sophisticated argument in this context. Theodore relied on his audience sharing the “good mind” he taught them to have as he preached the creed to them. Regardless of how convincing the argument might appear to an outsider, Theodore’s position was clear enough. Only his liturgical drama possessed the kind of correspondence with reality that rendered it efficacious.

The particular language in this passage rewards a closer look. The priest stands as an image of Christ, who remains in heaven. The Syriac term yuqnā meaning “icon” is a transliteration of Greek eikōn (εἰκών). Though we would do well to avoid importing later notions of Christian icons into this context, the term is certainly employed here to draw a strong link between the priest and Christ. We ought to think in terms of a statue of the emperor that represented his imperial dignity and authority. [23] In the year 387, when the citizens of Antioch dared violate the statues of the Emperor Theodosius I, they rightly feared harsh retribution for this act of insolence. Theodore’s language reinforces the strength of this image. The term ṣalmā has a range of meaning similar to yuqnā and also translates Greek eikōn. [24] Ršam, to mold, is often used of the plastic arts and pertains to the act of giving something shape. It can also be used of writing, particularly inscribing. [25] The Syriac term šragrāgyātā is a bit difficult in this context. It deals with images held in the mind but normally has a rather negative connotation. It most often deals with false images, occasionally even false images that torment a person. The translator of Theodore uses it in a significantly different sense here. In this context, emphasis is laid on the power of the mental image. It is best understood as capturing the meaning of the Greek term phantasia, which we encountered earlier in conjunction with the definition of ekphrasis. [26] Theodore wanted the catechumens to be captivated by the liturgy. He wanted the actions of the priest during the eucharist to bring heaven before the eyes of the catechumens, and the vivid prose of his lessons was structured to help them do that.

The deacons also had their own role to play in representing the heavenly reality of the sacrifice. Theodore developed various aspects of the way in which the deacons offered the image of the angelic hosts of heaven. [27] New Testament precedent had established angelic service to the incarnate Christ as a relatively common occurrence. For example, angels had declared the birth of Christ among the shepherds [28] and ministered to Christ following his temptation in the desert. [29] Likewise, Theodore set apart those holding the office of deacon because they served Christ through their ministry at the altar: “This name, however, is especially applied to those who perform this ministry, and are called by all ‘deacons,’ as they are alone appointed to perform this ministry, and represent a likeness of the service of the spiritual messengers and ministers.” [30] The English “deacon” translates both the Greek diakonos (διάκονος) and Syriac mšamšānā (ܡܫܡܫܢܐ), both literally meaning “servant” or “minister.” [31] We have already seen that the creation of deacons in the church originally came about because the apostles were being distracted from their ministry of preaching by spending too much time serving the communal meal. [32] Thus deacons initially gave assistance to the apostles and rendered service to the congregation. Theodore, maintaining the original meaning of diakonos (servant), redirected the focus of the activity carried out by the deacons. Their service, just like that of the angels in the New Testament, was rendered unto Christ. Theodore further expanded this image of angelic service to Christ by introducing Isaiah 6 and the awe-inspiring scene of a host of Seraphim declaring God holy while one of their number flew toward Isaiah to cleanse his lips with a fiery coal. [33] The catechist urged his pupils to consider this heavenly reality that the host of deacons reflected during the celebration of the liturgy. The clothing of the deacons also reflected their vocation of service to Christ. The catechist emphasized how the outer garment and stole of the deacons suggested service to Christ, who was present on the altar during the eucharistic meal. Theodore stated that the outer garments of the deacons befitted the elevated nature of the one they served. The sublimity of their clothing testified to the glory of Christ, before whom the deacons served. [34] The stole also suggested divine service as the deacons arranged it just as a household servant would have. [35]

Physical Participation in the Liturgy

Thus far we have focused primarily on the passive experience of the catechumens. To press the metaphor of drama a bit further, we have seen the catechumens as the audience of a liturgical drama in which clerical actors with sacramental props put on an elaborate production choreographed by Christ for the purpose of reflecting a heavenly reality. However, the catechumens were not properly an audience to this cosmic drama. Rather, insofar as it was designed to incorporate them into the church and initiate them into its mysteries, it required the catechumens to participate. As actors alongside the clergy, they had their own roles to play. This section focuses more precisely on the catechumens as participants in these liturgies. We will turn here to the variety of ways in which catechumens participated physically in these rites.


At various points in his discussion of the elements of the baptismal and eucharistic liturgies, Theodore described to the catechumens various gestures that they would perform during the services. In each case, these added to the meaning of what was taking place. He gave detailed attention to the physical position of the catechumens throughout the exorcism and signing. He described the exorcism by means of a courtroom scene with God as judge, Satan as the accuser, and the exorcist as the catechumens’ advocate. Interestingly, Theodore told the catechumens little about what would happen to them during this court scene, such as what the exorcist might say or do to rid them of demonic influence. Rather, he focused on the courtroom setting and interpreted the actions of the catechumens in light of this vivid metaphor: “In this same way when the words called the words of exorcism are pronounced you stand perfectly quiet, as if you had no voice and as if you were still in fear and dread of the Tyrant.” [40] Thus the catechumens, accused by Satan, remained silent while the exorcist pled their case. This state of fear and dread also found expression in the gestures assumed by the catechumens. They were to stand barefoot with heads bowed and arms outstretched. In this way, their posture would reflect the harsh servitude that had characterized their relationship with the Devil: “In all this you are in the likeness of the posture that fits the words of exorcism, as in it you have shown your old captivity and the servitude which through a dire punishment you have rendered to the Tyrant.” [41] The catechumens also held this position as an appeal for mercy from God the judge. Gestures reminiscent of suppliants demonstrated the humility of the candidates who had served Satan but who had come to recognize their need for salvation through Christ and a realignment of their loyalties towards his Father.

The supplicating gestures of the catechumens continued as they fell to their knees to receive the words of the exorcism. They did this while keeping their heads bowed and their arms extended as they had earlier. [43] If the soles of their feet had not been sufficiently affected by the sackcloth underneath them, surely the thinner and more sensitive skin of their knees would have been. Not only would the discomfort remind the catechumens of their sin, the actual descent to the floor was to draw their minds to the complicity of every person in the fall of Adam: “As we have all of us fallen into sin and been driven to the dust by the sentence of death, it behooves us to ‘bow our knees in the name of Jesus Christ,’ as the blessed Paul said, [44] and to ‘confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God His Father.’ ” [45] Again the gestures and posture of the catechumens reflected the spiritual reality of sin and the need for redemption that Theodore sought to ingrain through his teaching. The catechumens maintained this position throughout the exorcism, abjurations, promises, and signing. Only after all of this, when the sponsors had spread a linen orarium on their heads, did they rise to their feet:

Theodore further highlighted the efficacy of this act, stating, “but it is right that after you have cast away that posture and those memories you should draw nigh unto the Sacrament which implies participation in the future benefits.” [48] Thus immediately following the exorcism, the catechumens entered the baptismal font. All of the words spoken in the font came from the priest, not the catechumens, but their actions and gestures still bore significance. As the priest said, “So-and-so is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” [49] he immersed the catechumens in conjunction with each of the divine names. However, Theodore suggested an interesting conjunction of actions in this rite: “The priest places his hand on your head and says ‘of the Father,’ and with these words he causes you to immerse yourself in water, while you obediently follow the sign of the hand of the priest and immediately, at his words and at the sign of his hand, immerse yourself in water.” [50] Thus the priests immersed the catechumens but they also immersed themselves. One could read this simply in light of the logistics of performing the rite. It would indeed have been difficult for the priest to immerse the catechumens without their cooperation. However, Theodore used this reality to develop the meaning of the ritual more fully. He interpreted the cooperation of the catechumens as a declaration of assent to the words of the priest: “By the downward inclination of your head you show as by a hint your agreement and your belief that it is from the Father that you will receive the benefits of baptism, according to the words of the priest.” [51] As in the exorcism, the gesture of the catechumens implied their agreement with the words spoken as a part of the rite. The treatment of the exorcism stressed the words of the catechumens and mentioned none of the words of the exorcist, although surely the posture of the catechumens in that context was meant to show agreement with the words spoken by both parties. In baptism, however, the catechumens spoke no words, and the gesture of a bowed head indicated complete agreement with the words of the priest. In fact, Theodore explicitly states that the inclination of the head took the place of speech on the part of the catechumen: “If you were allowed to speak at that time, you would have said: ‘Amen,’ a word which we believe to mean that we subscribe to the things said by the priest.” [52]

Into these few simple gestures of the catechumens, Theodore imported the whole of baptismal symbolism and Trinitarian doctrine. The gestures performed in the baptismal font constituted the assent of the catechumens to these ideas as well as their initiation into the faith. The gestures associated with the eucharistic liturgy, the rite that sustained Christians in the faith, also functioned similarly. We have seen the elaborate symbols of the eucharist and how the catechist presented them to his students. The catechumens really only performed one simple act in this context: they ate the bread and drank the wine. Again, Theodore’s lengthy description of this meal, its depth and varieties of meaning, and the heavenly reality to which it pointed all culminated in the act of consuming the elements. At this point, the catechumens were to enter into that heavenly reality and take their place alongside the priests and deacons at the heavenly meal attended by Christ the high priest and his angels. Unlike exorcism and baptism, the gesture performed by the candidates in the eucharist would not serve as a constitutive element of the rite, but rather the rite would even go on without any individual parishioner being in attendance. Nevertheless, Theodore’s approach to liturgical action stressed the participation of the catechumens as actors on a stage of cosmic significance when they partook of the eucharistic elements.


Thus the clothing of the catechumens served primarily to denote the spiritual reality reflected in their actions. It joined words and gestures in the exorcism to declare the great need they had to rid themselves of satanic dominion and associate themselves with Christ. The orarium denoted the freedom from Satan acquired through exorcism. The nudity of the baptismal font reinforced the catechumens’ stated need for salvation, and their white robes held out the promise of heavenly fulfillment of divine promise. At each stage, the attire of the catechumens served as a reminder to themselves of these realities. As they removed and added clothing, they acted out the realities that lay behind the sacramental rite in which they engaged.

Signing and anointing

Priests and exorcists were the primary actors in the anointing and signing of the catechumens. However, through the physical effects of these rites, the catechumens were meant to receive a spiritual transformation. [61] One sees this most clearly with the signing administered after the exorcism. After the words of exorcism and the abjurations and promises of the catechumens’ declarations, the priest signed the catechumens. Theodore explained this with reference to the branding of animals and the tattooing of soldiers: “The sign with which you are signed means that you have been stamped as a lamb of Christ and as a soldier of the heavenly King.” [62] The imagery is clear; the signing serves as a declaration that the one about to be baptized is wholly under the authority of God. Lambs are to be docile and devoted to their master. Likewise, soldiers are to be faithful. Both bear the marks of this service, and Theodore extends the attendant symbolism of branding to catechumens: “In this same way you also, who have been chosen for the Kingdom of Heaven, and after examination been appointed a soldier to the heavenly King, are first stamped on your forehead.” [63] However, this signing bore another essential component—that is, its apotropaic function. The sign of the cross appearing on the forehead provided sure protection against Satan. Theodore explained that,

Theodore wanted the catechumens to understand that the sign of the cross struck fear in the hearts of the demons. Thus they need not worry about diabolical attack. The demons could see from afar that Christians bore the mark of God and would hesitate to attack them. One must also note the reason that the sign frightened the demons. It demonstrated the confidence of the Christian who had entered into the presence of God and who had looked him in the face as one of his own.

Experiencing Heaven

Theodore presented to his catechumens a liturgical experience designed to affect the entirety of who they were as persons. In the course of the liturgy, the catechumens would speak words, perform actions, and adopt gestures that would transform them physically, mentally, and spiritually into Christians. Theodore’s teaching on the Creed had presented to the catechumens the cognitive content of the faith. However, in their experience of the baptismal and eucharistic liturgies, they were actually to realize those truths. There the catechumens would declare their sinful state along with their intention to associate themselves with Christ. Their gestures and the posture of their bodies would likewise assert these things as truths that they had appropriated. Furthermore, they would be initiated into a lifelong experience of nourishing themselves on the eucharistic meal. The drama of the eucharistic liturgy portrayed spiritual realities that the catechumens would perform. This participation served to keep their minds focused on the things of Christ and his perpetual work on behalf of his people. Thus, throughout their liturgical experience, the actions of the catechumens were supposed to recall and cement the ideas that they had been taught. Theodore’s instruction showed a deep concern to link ideas with actions and concentration on theological truths with the performance of those truths.

Even after baptism, Theodore continued this approach. Since they had received the sign of baptism, the catechumens possessed full membership in the church and the ability to partake of the eucharist. This ritual meal would offer them sustenance throughout the Christian life and would preserve them in Christ until the end of their lives. However, even then, a future reality still awaited them:

Theodore maintained a constant tension between the possession of the benefits of Christianity and the future fulfillment. The vision of the Christian life that he offered to the catechumens is therefore thoroughly eschatological. [
67] The rites of initiation and sustenance consistently increase in their profundity, but the fulfillment comes only at the resurrection. His holistic approach thus incorporated every aspect of his students’ being into the liturgical experience, and he attempted to present each stage as possessing its own crescendo while always directing them to place their hope in a future consummation.

Ultimately, however, he wants to stress the current, but ontologically quite distinct, actions of Christ in heaven. This experience is separated from him as well as from the uninitiated catechumens. His instruction amounts to an exhortation to the catechumens to see the eucharist itself as an ekphrasis of what is going on in heaven. The language he uses here also appears in the rhetorical handbooks. As we saw earlier, the aim of getting an audience to picture things in the mind as if they were present was a standard component of ekphrasis. That this would be described as the production of a “fantasy” is also very common. Quintillian discusses the power associated with the production of this type of fantasy:

Theodore employs a similar notion of the power of fantasies (šragrāgyātā). [
70] Fantasies engage the intellect and emotions to make imagined things real to the person good at using them. Particularly vivid description, the kind that Theodore hoped to provide, could produce the feeling of “meeting face-to-face the characters in the orator’s story.” [71] Thus the benefit of such engagement was a personal encounter with the subject of the liturgy’s ekphrasis, Christ himself. Theodore hoped to produce Christians who were euphantasiōtos, who had powerful skills of imagination that were focused on seeing heaven in their regular worship.


[ back ] 1. For the former view, see Dix 1954; also Saxer 1988. For the latter view, see Yarnold 1999; and Riley 1974. For a critique of a number of the methodological and theological assumptions of much of this literature, see Bradshaw 2002.

[ back ] 2. Greer 1961:78–85. On the theological content of Theodore’s teaching on the liturgy, see Bruns 1995:291–383.

[ back ] 3. Bell 1992.

[ back ] 4. Bell 1992, especially 104–107.

[ back ] 5. See Webb 2001 and 2000 for general discussion of ekphrasis.

[ back ] 6. Theon Progymnasmata 118.7: Ἔκφρασις ἐστὶ λόγος περιηγηματικὸς ἐναργῶς ὑπ’ ὄψιν ἄγων τὸ δηλούμενον; trans. Webb 2000:221.

[ back ] 7. Quintilian Institutes 6.2.31 and 8.3.62; Longinus On the Sublime 15.1–2.

[ back ] 8. On the issue of ekphrasis as an emotional appeal, see Webb 1997.

[ back ] 9. For some examples of where it fell short, see Webb 1997:125.

[ back ] 10. Longinus On the Sublime 15.9.

[ back ] 11. Another example of this appears in John Chrysostom’s anti-Jewish sermons. These sermons betray a deep concern regarding participation in anything other than “orthodox” Christian worship. For a fuller discussion, see Wilken 1983.

[ back ] 12. WS 6.42; Homélies Catéchétiques 13.97v:

ܐܟܙܢܐ ܗܟܝܠ ܕܗܠܝܢ ܕܒܬܐ‌ܛܪܘܢ ܘܒܫܥܬܐ ܗ̇ܘ̇ܝܢ ܡ̈ܠܟܐ܇ ܠܐ ܗܘ̣ܐ ܡ̈ܠܟܐ ܚ̇ܫܒܬ ܡܛܠ ܕܘܡܝܐ ܕܐܣܟܡܐ ܐܠܐ ܟܠܗܝܢ ܫܥܬܐ ܐ̣ܢ̈ܝܢ ܘܡܘܝܵܩܐ ܘܒܘܙܚܵܐ ܘܫܘܝܸܬ ܠܓܘܚܟܿܐ܇ ܡܛܠ ܕܨܒܘ̈ܬܐ ܡ̣ܢ ܐܣܟܡܵܐ ܕܥܠܡܵܐ ܡܚܘ̈ܝܢ ܩܕܡ ܥܝ̈ܢܐ܆ ܗܟܝܠ ܐܦ ܐܝܠܝܢ ܕܠܘܬ ܗܪ̈ܤܝܘܬܐ ܡܣܬܥܪ̈ܢ ܕܝܘܠܦܢܵܐ܇ ܐܢ ܡܥܡܘܕܝܬܐ ܘܠܐ ܩܘܪܒܢܐ܇ ܘܐܢ ܡܕܡ ܐܚܪܢܐ ܕܓܘܚܟܐ ܐܝܬܝ̈ܗܝܢ܇ ܘܐܝܟ ܕܡܢ ܛܫܡܫܬܐ ܕܫܛܢܐ ܘܵܠܐ ܠܢ ܕܢܓܥܨ ܡܢܗܝܢ ܡܛܠ ܕܟܠܗܝܢ ܠܥܘܬܕܐ ܕܪܘܫܥܐ ܗ̈ܘܝܵܢ.

[ back ] 13. For a recent treatment of classical views on the theater and theatrical performers, see Duncan 2006. For early Christian perceptions of theater, see Dox 2004; and Leyerle 2001.

[ back ] 14. Athanassiadi 1999:180. The literature on late antique Platonism is truly colossal. Among the many available titles, see Bowersock 1990; and A. Smith 2004. While the intricacies of this phenomenon are interesting in their own right, they need not concern us here. The Platonism implicit in Theodore’s teaching need not be any particular type or system. It need not even be thoroughly conscious on the part of Theodore or his audience. The important thing is that it exists for his audience, or at least Theodore believes it does, on the level of an assumed worldview.

[ back ] 15. Athanassiadi 1999:164.

[ back ] 16. On the Mysteries 3.13: Ταῦτα δὴ οὖν τὰ γένη μέσα συμπληροῦνται τὸν κοινὸν σύνδεσμον θεῶν τε καὶ ψυχῶν, καὶ ἀδιάλυτον αὐτῶν τὴν συμπλοκὴν ἀπεργάζεται, μίαν τε συνέχειαν ἄνωθεν μέχρι τοῦ τελοῦς συνδεῖ, καὶ ποιεῖ τῶν ὅλων τὴν κοινωνίαν εἶναι ἀδιαίρετον.

[ back ] 17. On the Mysteries 1.5.

[ back ] 18. Letter to a Priest 293.

[ back ] 19. Letter to a Priest 298.

[ back ] 20. WS 6.42; Homélies Catéchétiques 13.97r: 

ܬܫܡܫܬܐ ܕܣܛܢܵܐ ܐܦ ܬܫܡܫܬܐ ܗ̇ܝ ܕܠܘܬ ܗܪ̈ܤܝܘܛܐ ܫܟܝܚܐ ܒܫܡܐ ܕܕܚܠܬ ܐܠܗܐ ܡܛܠ ܕܐܦܢ ܒܐܤܟܡܐ ܕܘܡܝܐ ܡܕܡ ܬܤܬܒܪ ܕܐܝܬ ܠܗ̇ ܠܗ̇ܝ ܬܫܡܫܬܐ ܠܘܬ ܬܫܡܫܬܐ ܥܕܬܢܝܬܐ: ܐܠܐ ܓܠܝܙܐ ܗܝ ܡܢ ܡܘܗܒܬܐ ܕܛܝܒܘܬܐ ܕܪܘܚܐ ܕܩܘܕܫܐ: ܘܒܪܘܫܥܐ ܡܤܬܥܪܐ

[ back ] 21. WS 6.79–83; Homélies Catéchétiques 15. For the priesthood according to the order of Melkizedek, see Hebrews 5–7. The extant fragments of Theodore’s commentary on the book of Hebrews include his discussion of Hebrews 7.3, in which he also discusses Christ as a high priest according to the order of Melkizedek.

[ back ] 22. WS 6.83 (translation modified); Homélies Catéchétiques 15.125r:

ܘܡܛܠ ܕܡܪܢ ܡܫܝܚܵܐ܇ ܗ̣ܘ ܩܪܒ ܢܦܫܗ ܚܠܦܝܢ ܕܒܚܬܐ܇ ܘܗܟܢܐ ܗܘܸܐ ܠܢ ܪܒ ܟܘܡܪ̈ܐ ܒܗ̈ܝܢ ܒܨܒܘܬܐ܆ ܝܘܩܢܐ ܗ̣ܘ ܕܗ̇ܘ ܟܗܢܵܐ ܙܕܩ ܠܢ ܢܼܣܒܿܪ ܕܨܿܐܪ. ܗܢܐ ܕܗܫܐ ܩܪܝܒ ܠܡܕܒܚܵܐ ܗܢܐ ܕܠܐ ܗܘ̣ܐ ܕܒܚܬܐ ܕܝܠܗ ܡܩܪܒ ܐܝܟܐ ܕܐܦܠܐ ܗܘܝܘ ܫܪܝܪܐܝܬ ܪܒܟܘܡܪ̈ܐ. ܐܝܟ ܕܒܝܘܩܢܐ ܕܝܢ ܡܕܡ ܠܬܫܡܫܬܐ ܕܗ̇ܝ ܕܒܚܬܐ ܕܠܐ ܡܬܡܠܠܐ ܓܡ̇ܪ ܕܒܐܝܕܗ ܨܠܡܐ ܕܗ̈ܢܝܢ ܨܒ̈ܘܬܐ ܫܡܝܵܢܝܬܐ ܕܠܐ ܡܼܬܡ̈ܠܠܢ ܐܝܟ ܕܫܪܓܪ̈ܓܝܬܐ ܪܫ̇ܡ ܠܟ ܘܕܚܝ̈ܠܘܬܐ ܡܬܝܕܥܢ̈ܐ ܘܕܠܐ ܓܫܘܡ.

[ back ] 23. Lampe 1961:410.

[ back ] 24. Payne Smith 1879, 2:3408–3409.

[ back ] 25. Payne Smith 1879, 2:3985–3986.

[ back ] 26. For the connection between Syriac šragrāgyātā and Greek phantasmata, see Payne Smith 1879, 2:3805. The negative uses of the term do predominate. In Genesis 19.11, 2 Kings 6.18, and Bar Hebraeus Carmina de amore divine 1.72, it is associated with blindness. In Wisdom of Solomon 17.3 it is used for a strange and troubling vision. Nevertheless, a similar range of meaning pertains to Greek phantasia and phantasma; see Lampe 1961:1471. Furthermore, in the Syriac text of Eusebius of Caesarea Theophania 4.6.31, šragrāgyātā is used in the context of images capable of overcoming a person.

[ back ] 27. WS 6.84–87; Homélies Catéchétiques 15.

[ back ] 28. Luke 2.14

[ back ] 29. Matthew 4.11

[ back ] 30. WS 6.84; Homélies Catéchétiques 15.125v:

ܐܠܐ ܗܢܐ ܫܡܐ ܕܗܠܝܢ ܗ̣ܘ ܒܠܚ̈ܘܕ ܢܗܘܢ܆ ܕܗܠܝܢ ܕܗܕܐ ܬܫܡܫܬܐ ܡܡܠܝܢ ܘܡܫܡ̈ܫܢܐ ܡ̣ܢ ܟܠܢܫ ܗܠܝܢ ܗ̣ܘ ܡܬܩܪܝܢ܆ ܕܗܢܘܢ ܒܠܚܘܕܝܗܘܢ ܣܝܡܝܢ ܕܢܡܠܘܢ ܗܕܐ ܬܸܫܡܫܬܐ ܘܕܘܡܝܐ ܡܚܘܝܢ ܕܗ̇ܝ ܬܸܫܡܫܬܐ ܕܡܸܫܬܕܪ̈ܢܐ ܘܡܫܡܡܢ̈ܐ ܪ̈ܘܚܢܐ.

[ back ] 31. Lampe 1961:352A; and Payne Smith 1879 2:4227.

[ back ] 32. Acts 6.1–7; see discussion in chapter three.

[ back ] 33. WS 6.100–102; Homélies Catéchétiques 16.

[ back ] 34. The text contains a difficult turn of phrase here (Homélies Catéchétiques 15.126r):

ܐܝܬ ܠܗܘܢ ܕܝܢ ܐܦ ܐܣܟܝܡܵܐ ܕܦܐܐ ܠܗ̇ ܠܨܒܘܬܐ. ܕܡܥܠܝܐ ܡܢܗܘܢ ܬܟܣܝܼܬܗܘܢ ܒܪܝܬܐ.

Mingana translates the sentence, “They have also an apparel which is consonant with their office, since their outer garment is taller than they are, as wearing such an apparel in such a way is suitable to those who serve” (WS 6.84). What it means for the garment of the deacon to be “taller than they are” is unclear. Tonneau and Devreesse (Homélies Catéchétiques, p501) translate this phrase as “parce que plus sublime qu’eux.” This comes much closer to the meaning of the text. The garment is more sublime than or superior to the deacon himself. Theodore refers to the common practice of wealthy families dressing their household slaves in fine clothing. The clothing denoted a service to a superior master.

[ back ] 35. Again the wording is difficult (Homélies Catéchétiques 15.126r):

ܥܠ ܩܕܠܗܘܢ ܓܝܪ ܡ̣ܢ ܬܪ̈ܝܗܘܢ ܓܒܐ ܠܐ ܪܡ̇ܝܢ ܐܘܪܪܐ ܟܕ ܘܠܝܬ ܠܩܕܡܝܗܘܢ. ܡܛܠ ܕܠܝܬ ܐܢܫ ܕܬܫܡܫܬܐ ܒܒܝܬܐ ܡܡܠܐ܆ ܕܗܢܐ ܐܣܟܡܐ ܪܡ̇ܐ.

Mingana renders this as, “They do not place the stole on their neck in a way that it floats on either side but not in front, because there is no one serving in a house who wears such an apparel” (WS 6.84–85). A better translation is, “They do not hang the stole upon their neck from both sides without it being in front of them.” The point, however, is clear enough. They wear their stole in the same way as domestic servants.

[ back ] 36. WS 6.45; Homélies Catéchétiques 13.99v:

ܡܵܐ ܓܝܪ ܕܥܒܕܬ ܗܠܝܢ ܩܝܵܡ̈ܐ ܘܬܸܢܘܝ ܩ̇ܪܒ ܡܟܝܠ ܟܗܢܵܐ. ܠܘ ܟܕ ܡܥܛܦ ܐܤܟܡܵܐ ܕܥܝܕܐ ܘܠܐ ܟܕ ܠܒܝܼܫ ܠܒܘܫܐ ܗ̇ܘ ܕܡ̣ܢ ܩܕܝܡ ܡܥܵܕ ܠܡܠܒܫ. ܐܠܐ ܚܠܦ ܬܟܣܝܼܬܐ ܗ̇ܝ ܕܡ̣ܢ ܠܒܪ ܡܥܵܕ ܠܡܸܬܟܣܝܘ.

[ back ] 37. WS 6.36; Homélies Catéchétiques 13. The consistent position taken by many Christian sources in Late Antiquity is that baptism ought to take place with the candidate naked, Greek γυμνός. Γυμνός has a range of meaning from completely naked to simply plain or unadorned; see Lampe 1961:324B–325A. A recent article (Guy 2003) notes this range of meaning and suggests that something closer to the latter definition ought to be understood as the normal method of Christian baptism, as it is unlikely that a woman would be naked in the presence of a male deacon. The Apostolic Constitutions suggest that deaconesses actually entered the font with the women being baptized and so presumably would have anointed the naked women as well: Διακόνισσα οὐκ εὐλογεῖ, ἀλλ’ οὐδέ τι ὧν ποιοῦσιν οἱ πρεσβύτεροι ἢ οἱ διάκονοι ἐπιτελεῖ, ἀλλ’ ἢ τοῦ φυλάττειν τὰς θύρας καὶ ἐξυπηρετεῖσθαι τοῖς πρεσβυτέροις ἐν τῷ βαπτίζεσθαι τὰς γυναῖκας διὰ τὸ εὐπρεπές (Apostolic Constitutions, 8.28.6). Riley (1974:145n4) insists that whatever measures may have been taken to preserve propriety, the symbolism of nudity had to be somehow preserved. Theodore does not give much hint about whether he used γυμνός in a literal or figurative sense. It seems he simply relied on the rhetorical force of the term in speaking to an audience that would not have known one way or the other.

[ back ] 38. Bedard 1951:17–36.

[ back ] 39. Yarnold (1994:66) suggests that this emphasis on the “awe-inspiring” nature of the rites stems from a desire to capture some of the language and appeal of the pagan mysteries. He argues that late fourth-century catechists found this a desirable approach on account of the mass conversions following the conversion of Constantine. Whether the conversion of Constantine brought about such a mass of conversions or whether the mysteries played any role in shaping catechesis in the late fourth century does not affect my position here. One must note Theodore’s use of very emotionally charged language.

[ back ] 40. WS 6.31; Homélies Catéchétiques 12.90v–91v:

ܒܗ ܒܙܢܐ ܐܦ ܗܫܐ ܒܗܠܝܢ ܕܡܬܐ‌ܡܪ̈ܢ ܡܘܡܝ̈ܬܐ: ܟܕ ܫܠܐ ܐܢܬ ܘܠܓܡܪ ܐܝܬܝܟ ܕܠܐ ܩܠܐ ܩܐܡ ܐܢܬ ܐܝܟ ܗ̇ܘ ܕܥܕܟܝܠ ܙܐܠ ܐܢܬ ܘܕܚܠ ܐܢܬ ܡ̣ܢ ܛܪܘܢܵܐ.

[ back ] 41. WS 6.36; Homélies Catéchétiques 13.93v:

ܘܒܟܠܗܝܢ ܒܗ̇ܘ ܐܣܟܡܐ ܕܡܘܡܝ̈ܬܐ ܡܕܡܝܬܘܢ ܒܗ ܐܘܕܥܬܘܢ ܫܒܝܟܘܢ ܥܬܝܩܵܐ܇ ܘܫܘܥܒܕܟܘܢ ܗ̇ܘ ܕܨܝܕ ܛܪܘܢܐ ܡ̇ܠܝܬܘܢ ܒܡܣܡܒܪܫܵܐ ܡܪܝܪܐ.

[ back ] 42. WS 6.32; Homélies Catéchétiques 12.91r:

ܩܝܡܼܬ ܕܝܢ ܐܦ ܥܠ ܡ̈ܐܢܐ ܕܣܥܪܐ. ܘܒܠܚܘܕ ܕܠܐ ܗܘ̣ܐ ܡܬܕܒܨܘ ܡܬܕ̈ܒܨܢ ܪ̈ܓܠܝܟ ܘܡܙܩ̈ܬܢ ܒܦܪ̈ܣܐ ܕܡܢ ܡܠܝܢ ܒܝܼܫ̈ܬܟ ܥܬܝ̈ܩܬܐ ܬܸܥܗܕ ܘܬܬܚܙܐ ܕܚܫܝܫ ܐܢܬ ܘܡܬܬܘ̇ܝܬ ܥܠ ܚܨ̈ܗܐ ܕܐܒܗܝ̈ܟ.

[ back ] 43. WS 6.36; Homélies Catéchétiques 13.

[ back ] 44. Philippians 2.10–11.

[ back ] 45. WS 6.36; Homélies Catéchétiques 13.93v:

ܒܚܛܝܬܐ ܓܝܪ ܢܦܠܢܢ ܟܠܢ ܘܒܝܕ ܓܙܪ ܕܝܢܐ ܕܡܘܬܐ ܠܘܬ ܐܪܥܐ ܗ̣ܘ ܐܸܣܬܚܦܢܢ. ܙ̇ܕܩ ܠܢ ܕܝܢ ܕܒܫܡܗ ܕܝܫܘܥ ܡܫܝܚܐ܇ ܢܟܘܦ ܒܘܪ̈ܟܝܢ ܐܝܟ ܡܸܠܬ ܛܘܒܢܐ ܦܘܠܘܤ ܫܠܝ̣ܚܵܐ܆ ܘܢܘܕܐ ܕܡܪܝܐ ܗ̣ܘ ܝܫܘܥ ܡܫܝܚܐ܇ ܠܫܘܒܚܐ ܕܐܠܗܐ ܠܒܘܗܝ.

[ back ] 46. WS 6.47; Homélies Catéchétiques 13.100v–101r:

ܘܒܩܘܪܟ ܕܡܢ ܤܝܡ ܒܘܪܟܐ ܡܚܘܐ ܐܢܬ܆ ܕܡܦܘܠܬܟ ܥܲܬܝܼܩܬܐ ܣܡܬܗ̇. ܘܠܝܬ ܠܟ ܠܘܬ ܐܪܥܐ ܘܠܘܬ ܨܒܘ̈ܬܐ ܐܪ̈ܥܢܝܬܐ ܫܘܬܦܘܬܐ. ܐܬܩܒܸܬܐ ܣܓܕܬܟ ܘܒܥܘܬܟ ܕܠܘܬ ܐܠܗܐ. ܫܩܠ̣ܬ ܪܘܫܡܐ. ܐܬܸܐ ܕܐܬܓܒܝ̣ܬ ܠܦܠܚܘܬܐ ܕܠܐ ܡܸܬܡܠܠܐ. ܠܫܡܝܐ ܐܬܩܪܝ̣ܬ ܡܟܝܠ. ܘܠܘܬ ܗ̇ܘ ܥܘܡܪܐ ܘܗܘܦܟ̣ܵܐ ܙ̇ܕܩ ܠܟ ܕܬܸܐ‌ܙܠ. ܘܬܪܚܩ ܡ̣ܢ ܟܠܗܝܢ ܐܪ̈ܥܢܝܬܐ.

[ back ] 47. Elm 2003.

[ back ] 48. WS 6.36; Homélies Catéchétiques 13.93v:

ܡܛܠ ܕܟܐܢܐ ܕܡܐ ܗ̇ܘ ܐܣܟܡܵܐ ܘܡ̣ܢ ܗ̇ܢܘܢ ܥܘܗ̈ܕܢܐ ܐܪܚܩܬܘܢ܆ ܬܸܬܩ̇ܪܒܘܢ ܠܐܪܙܐ ܕܡܫܬܡ̣ܐ ܫܘܬܦܘܬܐ ܕܛܒܵܬܐ ܕܥܬܝ̈ܕܢ.

[ back ] 49. WS 6.58; Homélies Catéchétiques 14.108v:

ܥܡܕ ܦܠܢ ܒܫܡ ܐܒܐ ܘܒܪܐ ܘܪܘܚܐ ܕܩܘܕܫܐ.

[ back ] 50. WS 6.62; Homélies Catéchétiques 14.111r:

ܒܗܠܝܢ ܕܝܢ ܟܗܢܐ ܤ̇ܐܡ ܐܝܕܗ ܥܠ ܪܫܟ. ܘܐܡ̇ܪ. ܒܫܡ ܐܒܐ ܘܥܡܗ̇ ܕܡܸܠܬܐ ܕܬܛܒܥ ܒܡ̈ܝܐ̣ ܥܵܒܕ. ܐܢܬ ܕܝܢ ܡܬܛܦܝܼܣܬ̣ ܘܐܬ̇ܐ ܐܢܬ ܒܬܪ ܪܡܙܐ ܕܐܝܕܗ ܕܟܗܢܐ. ܘܒܡܠܬܗ ܘܒܙܘܥܵܐ ܕܐܝܕܗ ܐܟܚܕ ܥܵܡܕ ܐܢܬ ܒܡܵܝܐ܀

[ back ] 51. WS 6.62; Homélies Catéchétiques 14.111r:

ܘܠܝܟ ܗ̇ܘ ܕܟܕ ܡ̇ܪܟܢ ܐܢܬ ܪܝܫܟ ܒܪܡܙܐ ܡܚܘܐ ܐܢܬ ܒܗ̇܆ ܫ̇ܠܡ ܐܢܬ ܘܡܘܪܐ ܐܢܬ܆ ܕܡ̣ܢ ܐܒܐ ܬܩܒܠ ܛܒ̈ܬܐ ܕܡܥܡܘܕܝܬܐ. ܐܝܟ ܒܪܬ ܩܠܗ ܕܟܗܢܵܐ.

[ back ] 52. WS 6.62; Homélies Catéchétiques 14.111r:

ܐܠܘ ܓܝܪ ܫܠܝܛ ܗܘ̣ܐ ܠܟ ܠܲܡܡܠܠܘ܆ ܗܝܕܝܟ܆ ܐܡܪ ܗܘ̣ܝܬ ܐܦ ܐܡܝܢ. ܒܪܬ ܩܠܐ ܕܘܒܪܝܢܢ ܥܠܝܗ̇ ܕܐܝܬܗ̇ ܡܘܕܥܢܝܼܬܐ܆ ܕܫܠܡܝܢܢ ܠܗܠܝܢ ܕܡܬܐܡܪ̈ܢ ܡ̣ܢ ܟܗܢܐ.

[ back ] 53. WS 6.63; Homélies Catéchétiques 14.111v:

ܐܝܟ ܕܟܠܚܕ ܚܕ ܡܢ ܗܠܝܢ ܡܫܬܡܗ. ܫܘܝܐܝܬ ܓܡܝܪܐ ܬܕܥ ܕܐܝܬ ܘܣܦܩ ܠܡܸܬܠ ܛܒ̈ܬܐ ܕܒܝܕ ܡܥܡܘܕܝܬܐ.

[ back ] 54. WS 6.63; Homélies Catéchétiques 14.111v–112r:

ܚܕܐ ܐܘܪܚܐ ܥܒܕ ܐܢܬ ܡܲܚܬܬܐ ܕܠܡ̈ܝܐ܆ ܬܠܬ ܕܝܢ ܐܘܪ̈ܚܝܢ ܛܒ̇ܥ ܐܢܬ ܒܗܘܢ ܐܝܟ ܒܪܬ ܩܠܗ ܕܟܗܢܵܐ. ܘܚܕܐ ܐܘܪܚܐ ܒܬܪ ܗܠܝܢ ܣ̇ܠܩ ܐܢܬ. ܐܝܟ ܕܬܕܥ ܕܚܕܐ ܗܝ̣ ܡܥܡܘܕܝܬܐ ܘܚܕܐ ܗܝ̣ ܛܝܒܘܬܐ ܕܡܬܓܡܪܐ ܒܗ܆ ܡ̣ܢ ܐܒܐ ܘܒܪܐ ܘܪܘܚܐ ܕܩܘܕܫܵܐ. ܗ̇ܢܘܢ ܕܡ̣ܢ ܚܕܕ̈ܐ ܠܓܡܪ ܠܐ ܡܬܦܪܫܝܼܢ.

[ back ] 55. For a variety of approaches to the social significance of Roman dress, see the essays collected in Sebesta and Bonfante 1994. See also Vout 1996; and George 2002.

[ back ] 56. WS 6.35–36; Homélies Catéchétiques 13. See n37 above for a discussion of the range of meaning in the term γυμνός, naked. Here we see more clearly that the metaphor of nudity is what matters to Theodore rather than the actual nudity.

[ back ] 57. WS 6.47; Homélies Catéchétiques 13.101r:

ܠܘܩܕܡ ܓܝܪ ܥܪܛܠܐܝܬ ܩ̇ܐܡ ܐܝܬ. ܡܛܠ ܕܗ̇ܢܘ ܐܣܟܡܐ ܕܫ̈ܒܝܐ ܘܕܥܒ̈ܕܐ܆ ܡܐ ܕܝܢ ܕܐܬܪܝܼܫܡܬ ܪܡ̇ܐ ܐܢܬ ܥܠ ܪܫܟ ܟܬܢܵܐ ܕܐܝܬܘܗܝ. ܐܬܸܐ ܕܚܐܪܘܬܐ ܕܠܗ̇ ܐܸܬܩܪܝܼܬ. ܠܕܐܝܟ ܗܠܝܢ ܓܝܪ ܐܝܬ ܥܝܕܐ ܕܥܠ ܩܪܩܦܬܗܘܢ ܢܦܪܣܘܢ ܟܬܢܐ ܘܗܢܐ ܨܸܒܬܐ ܗܘܸܐ ܐܝܼܬ ܠܗܘܢ ܐܦ ܒܒܝܬܐ ܐܦ ܒܫܘܩܵܐ.

[ back ] 58. Genesis 2.25.

[ back ] 59. Genesis 3.7.

[ back ] 60. WS 6.54; Homélies Catéchétiques 14. Filoramo 1999:402.

[ back ] 61. Kalleres 2002.

[ back ] 62. WS 6.46; Homélies Catéchétiques 13.100r:

ܐܝܬܘܗܝ ܕܝܢ ܪܘܫܡܵܐ ܗܢܐ ܕܡܬܪܫܡ݂ܬ ܗܫܐ܆ ܐܬܸܐ ܕܐܬܛܒܥ݂ܬ ܡܟܝܠ ܐܝܟ ܥ݂ܪܟܐ ܕܡܫܝܚܐ. ܐܝܟ ܦܵܠܚܐ ܕܡܠܟܐ ܫܡܝܵܢܐ.

On the tattooing of soldiers, see Jones 1987.

[ back ] 63. WS 6.46; Homélies Catéchétiques 13.100r:

ܒܗ ܒܙܢܐ ܐܦ ܐܢܬ ܗܫܐ ܕܐܬܓܒܝܬ ܠܡܠܟܘܬܐ ܫܡܝܵܢܝܬܐ. ܘܐܬܝܕܥܬ ܒܒܘܩܝܐ ܕܬܗܘܸܐ ܦܠܚܐ ܠܡܠܟܐ ܫܡܝܵܢܐ. ܒܩܕܡܝܬܐ ܥܠ ܒܝܬ ܥܵܝܢܝܟ ܫ̇ܩܠ ܐܢܬ ܛܒܥܐ.

[ back ] 64. WS 6.47; Homélies Catéchétiques 13.100v:

ܐܠܨܐܝܬ ܒܡܢܵܬܐ ܕܠܥܸܠ ܡ̣ܢ ܦܪܨܘܵܦܐ ܣܝܡܐ ܡܩܒܠܝܢܢ ܪܘܫܡܵܐ܆ ܐܝܟ ܕܡܢ ܪܘܚܩܐ ܗܘܝܢܢ ܕܚܝܼܠܝܢܢ ܥܠ ܕܝ̈ܘܐ܆ ܘܠܐ ܡܟܝܠ ܡܫܟܚܝܼܢ ܠܡܬܩܪܒܘ ܠܘܬܢ ܘܠܡܒܐܫܘܼ ܠܢ. ܘܕܬܬܝܼܕܥ ܕܐܝܬ ܠܢ ܦܪܗܤܝܐ ܠܘܬ ܐܠܗܐ܆ ܕܒ̈ܐܦܐ ܓܲܠܝ̈ܬܐ ܚܵܝܕܝܢܢ ܡܟܝܠ ܠܘܬܗ ܐܝܟܐ ܕܐܦ ܛܲܒܥܐ ܡܚܘܝܢܢ ܩܕܡܘܗܝ ܕܒܗ ܡܸܬܚܙܝܢܢ ܕܐܝܬܝܢ ܒܝ̈ܬܝܐ ܘܦܵܠܚܵܐ ܕܡܪܢ ܡܫܝܚܐ܀

[ back ] 65. WS 6.53–54; Homélies Catéchétiques 14.105r:

ܗ̇ܢܘ ܚܝܠܐ ܕܡܥܡܘܕܝ̣ܬܐ ܩܕܝ̣ܫܬܐ. ܝܗܒܐ ܠܟ ܣܒܪܐ ܕܗ̈ܢܝܢ ܕܥܬܝ̈ܕܢ. ܡܩܪܒܐ ܠܟ ܠܫܘܬܦܘܬܐ ܕܗܠܝܢ ܕܡ̈ܣܬܟܝܵܢ. ܒܟܘ̈ܦܣܐ. ܘܒܐܪ̈ܙܐ ܕܗܠܝܢ ܛܒ̈ܬܐ ܕܥܬܝ̈ܕܢ ܥܵܒܕܐ ܠܟ ܒܡܘܗܒܬܐ ܕܪܘܚܐ ܕܩܘܕܫܐ ܕܪܫܝܼܬܗ ܡܩܲܒܠ ܐܢܬ ܡܵܐ ܕܥܡܕ ܐܢܬ.

[ back ] 66. WS 6.82; Homélies Catéchétiques 15.124r:

ܒܗܝܡܢܘܬܐ ܗ̣ܘ ܓܝܪ ܡܗܠܟܝܢܢ. ܘܠܐ ܒܚܙܝܐ ܒܕܠܐ ܥܕܟܝܠ ܗܘ̣ܝܢܢ ܒܗ̈ܝܢ ܒܨܒܘ̈ܬܐ. ܡܛܠ ܕܠܐ ܗܘ̣ܝܢ ܥܕܡܸܫ ܒܗ̈ܢܝܢ ܛܒ̈ܬܐ ܫ̈ܡܝܵܢܝܬܐ. ܒܝܕ ܗܝܡܢܘܬܐ ܗܘ̣ ܕܝܢ ܕܗܫܐ ܡܟܬܪܝܢܢ܆ ܥܕܡܵܐ ܕܠܫܡܝܐ ܣܵܠܩܝܢܢ ܘܚܙܩܝܢܢ ܠܘܬ ܡܪܢ. ܘܠܐ ܡܟܝܠ ܒܡܚܙܝܼܬܐ ܐܘ ܒܦܠܐܬܐ ܚ̇ܙܝܢܢ܆ ܐܠܐ ܐܦܝܼ̈ܢ ܠܘܩܒܠ ܐܦܝ̣̈ܢ ܚ̇ܝܪܝܢܢ. ܐܠܐ ܡܛܠ ܕܗܠܝܢ ܒܗܘܢ ܒܥܒܕ̈ܐ ܒܙܒܢܵܐ ܕܚܪܝܼܩ ܡ̣ܢ ܐܠܗܐ ܒܝܕ ܩܝܡܬܐ ܡܣܟܝܢܢ ܠܡܸܣܒ: ܗܫܐ ܕܝܢ ܒܗܝܡܵܢܘܬܐ ܠܪܫܝܼܬܐ ܕܛܒ̈ܬܐ ܗܠܝܢ: ܠܡܫܝܼܚܐ ܡܪܢ ܪܒ ܟܘܡܪ̈ܐ ܕܗܠܝܢ ܕܝܼܠܢ ܩ̇ܪܒܝܢܢ܆

[ back ] 67. Mazza 1991; and Bruns 1995:390–402.

[ back ] 68. WS 6.83 (translation modified); Homélies Catéchétiques 15.125r:

ܟܠ ܐܡܬܝ ܗܟܝܠ ܕܬܫܡܫܬܐ ܕܗܕܐ ܕܒܚܬܐ ܕܚܝܼܠܬܐ ܡܸܫܬܡܠܝܵܐ܆ ܕܓܠܝܐܝܬ ܕܘܡܝܐ ܐܝܬܝܗ̇ ܕܨܒܘ̈ܬܐ ܫܡܝܵܢܝ̈ܬܐ. ܗ̇ܝ ܕܡܐ ܕܐܬܓܡܪܸܬ ܒܝܕ ܡܸܐܟܘܠܬܐ ܘܡܫܬܝܵܐ: ܡܫܬܘܝܢܢ ܠܡܤܒܗ̇ ܥܠ ܐܦܝ̈ ܫܘܬܦܘܬܐ ܫܪܝܪܬܐ ܕܛܒ̈ܬܐ ܕܥܬܝܕ̈ܢ܆ ܙ̇ܕܩ ܠܢ ܕܢܨܘܪ ܒܬܪܥܝܼܬܢ ܐܝܟ ܕܒܫܪܓܪ̈ܓܝܬܐ܆ ܕܐܝܟ ܗ̇ܘ ܕܒܫܡܝܐ ܐܝܼܬܝܢ. ܘܒܝܕ ܗܝܡܢܘܬܐ ܚܙܘܐ ܕܨܒܘ̈ܬܐ ܫܡܝܢܝ̈ܬܐ ܢܪܫܘܡ ܒܡܕܥܢ. ܟܕ ܡܬܪܥܝܢܢ ܕܡܫܝܚܐ ܗ̇ܘ ܕܐܝܬܘܗܝ ܒܫܡܝܐ܆ ܗ̇ܘ ܕܚܠܦܢܢ ܡܝܼܬ ܘܩ̣ܡ ܘܠܫܡܝܐ ܣܠ̣ܩ. ܗ̣ܘ ܐܦ ܗܫܐ ܒܝܕ ܛܘܦܣ̈ܐ ܗܠܝܢ ܡܬܢܟܣ.

[ back ] 69. Quintilian Institutes 6.2.29–30 (trans. Webb 1997:118): “Quas φαντασίας Graeci vocant (nos sane visiones appellemus), per quas imagines rerum absentium ita representantur animo ut eas cernere oculis ac praesentes habere videamus, has quisquis bene ceperit is erit in adfectibus petentissimus. Quidam dicunt εὐφαντασίωτον qui sibi res, voces, actus secundum verum optime finget.”

[ back ] 70. See n26 above for a discussion of šragrāgyātā and phantasia.

[ back ] 71. Dionysius of Halicarnassus Lysias 7.

[ back ] 72. WS 6.36; Homélies Catéchétiques 13.93v:

ܗܟܢܐ ܕܝܢ ܥܘܗܕܢܐ ܕܗ̈ܢܝܢ ܒܝܫ̈ܬܐ ܥܬܝܼܩ̈ܬܐ ܥܵܒܕܝܬܘܢ ܕܬܕܥܘܢ ܡ̣ܢ ܐܝܠܝܢ ܡܲܪܚܩܝܬܘܢ܆ ܘܠܘܬ ܐܝܠܝܢ ܥܬܝܕܝܬܘܢ ܕܬܫܢܘܢ.