Sixth century writers of whom I know nothing

A correspondant wrote to me about some writers of the sixth century whom it might be interesting to have online and in English.  Unfortunately he is clearly more erudite than I, because I don’t recognise most of the names!

I was thinking of Anastasius of Antioch who influenced both his time and later debates and also Maximus the Confessor. His sermon “on his return” delivered when he was returned to his patriarchal see (published by Mai) deserves a translation. His other homilies too, actually all what he wrote deserve better concern and translations.

Next to him is Gregory of Antioch, his follower and successor. He left few homilies, those published are in Migne. One very respected scholar told me that these homilies so neglected are a witness for liturgy between the early Armenian and later Georgian texts about the liturgy of Jerusalem and linked of course Antioch to Jerusalem. He was a friend of Pope Gregory the great and was an important figure.

I thought also about Antipater of Bostra (5th century) whom, it seems, only two homilies are genuine. These are so important and have never been translated before (I guess in Italian translation of the syriac text is published by Vona).

There are others too, like a certain Timothy…Chrysippus…

It’s always interesting to look into a fresh area of patristics.  None of these people are known to me.  What can I find out online?

Antipater of Bostra appears in Patrologia Graeca vol. 85, cols. 1763-96; Gregory of Antioch appears in PG. 88; Anastasius of Antioch in PG 89.

Antipater of Bostra was one of the anti-Origenists of the 5th century, at the time of the council of Chalcedon, and is important enough to have a Catholic Encyclopedia article and a Wikipedia entry.  The former tells us that fragments remain of his highly-regarded refutation of the Apology for Origen of the Holy Martyr Pamphilus and Eusebius of Caesarea (CPG 6687), in the Acts of the Seventh Council (787).  This is on cols. 1791-3 of the PG.  The Saint Pachomius webpage for him lists his works; a sermon on John the Baptist and another on the Annunciation, plus four columns of fragments including a fragment against Apollinaris.  The fragments look interesting, the sermons not very.  There is also a BBKL article in German.  Apparently Antipater wrote: “Hail, you who acceptably intercede as a Mediatrix for mankind.” (In S. Joannem Bapt., PG, 1772C), which will not endear him to most of us.  There are entries in the CPG for his works from 6680 to 6698, including an unpublished Greek Homily on Epiphany (CPG 6685).  His sermon on the annunciation exists in both Greek and Syriac.  An Italian edition and translation of the two sermons above exists, I learn from here: C. Vona, L’orazione di Antipatro sulla nascita del Battista e l’orazione sull’Annunciazione, Rome, 1974.  The details of Vona’s publication may not be quite reliable, tho; there seem to be two books, not just one.

An extract from the anti-Origen work is  here:

Antipater, Bishop of Bostra, in his First Book against Eusebius of Cæsarea’s Apology for Origen.

“Since now this man was very learned, having searched out and traced back all the books and writings of the more ancient writers, and having set forth the opinions of almost all of them, and having left behind very many writings, some of which are worthy of all acceptation, making use of such an estimation as this of the man, they attempt to lead away some, saying, that Eusebius would not have chosen to take this view, unless he had accurately ascertained that all the opinions of the ancients required it. I, indeed, agree and admit that the man was very learned, and that not anything of the more ancient writings escaped his knowledge; for, taking advantage of the imperial co-operation, he was enabled easily to collect for his use material from whatever quarter.”

Gregory of Antioch is hardly referred to online.  What about Anastasius of Antioch?  When I search I find this:

” It is clear,” he says, ” that those things which the divine Scripture has passed over are not to be inquired into; for all things which tend to our profit the Holy Spirit has dispensed and administered to us.” 2

2. Quod quae silentio praeteriit Scripture divina non sint scrutanda, est perspicuum. Omnia enim quae faciunt ad nostram utilitatem dispensavit et administravit Spiritus Sanctus. Anastas. Antioch. Anag. Contempt. in Hexam. lib. viii. init. (Bibl. Patr. ed. Col. 1618, et seq. Tom. vi. P. 1. p. 666.)

From which I learn he wrote something about the Six Days of Creation or Hexameron.  He is Anastasius III of Antioch, but he doesn’t have a Wikipedia article.  A portion of one of his works is here, Oratio 4:1-2, taken from PG 89, 1347-49.  Beyond that, he seems no better off than Gregory.

I shall see what the “extra” volume of Quasten has to say about these people!


3 thoughts on “Sixth century writers of whom I know nothing

  1. I think we can safely assume your fellow patristics aficionado is a Eastern Orthodox 🙂

  2. My comment was not meant in any derogatory way. I was only suggesting a plausible explanation for his familiarity with lesser known patristic authors. I myself owe the little I know about the Fathers to the accident of having been born and raised in an Orthodox culture.

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