Jumping straight in at the deep end, we may begin with a brief account of the physical nature of the Macarian corpus. The Macarian writings make up an extensive body of material containing over a hundred pieces in the form of discussions, homilies, treatises, and letters. The manuscript tradition is, it must be admitted, rather complex and remains unclear in many respects. For instance, we know very little about the transmission of the writings prior to the eleventh century and are still guessing about the exact nature of the relationship between the various collections of Macarian material. What follows is essentially a summary of the main forms in which the Macarian writings have come down to us. The Greek manuscript tradition gives us four principal collections. These collections each contain a substantial amount of overlapping material and are conventionally numbered in reverse order of antiquity. 1
Collection I is the largest collection, comprising sixty-four Logoi. Logos 1 is the Epistola magna, or Great Letter, which has been separately edited by Jaeger and by Staats. The Epistola magna is particularly interesting in that it attracted the attention of Gregory of Nyssa, who paid it the compliment of reworking it as his De instituto christiano. A forthcoming edition by Desprez promises to rely more heavily than Staats on the most ancient manuscripts. 2
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Publication information: Book title: The Macarian Legacy: The Place of Macarius-Symeon in the Eastern Christian Tradition. Contributors: Marcus Plested - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 2004. Page number: 9.
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