The Macarian Legacy: The Place of Macarius-Symeon in the Eastern Christian Tradition

By Marcus Plested | Go to book overview

7 The Asceticon of Abba Isaiah

The Asceticon of Abba Isaiah is a compilation of occasional pieces: homilies, letters, monastic precepts, sayings and other fragments pieced together in the course of the fifth and sixth centuries ad. 1 The manuscript tradition is extremely complex, as witnessed by the sheer diversity of form amongst the Greek, Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopic, Arabic, and Armenian manuscript traditions. 2 The Greek still awaits a critical edition. The Göttingen Project, begun in the early 1960s, has not yet borne fruit. 3 A working text of the Greek Asceticon has been prepared by Fr Derwas Chitty, while the most recent edition of the French translation incorporates the extensive researches into the Greek tradition made by René Draguet. 4 Both depend on a wider manuscript base than that used in Augustinos' 1911 edition. 5

In examining the manuscript tradition of Abba Isaiah one is often reminded of the Macarian textual tradition. Both represent the culmination of a process of organic development, bring together pieces of diverse genres, and lack a truly satisfactory stemma codicum. 6 Furthermore, the identity of the authors of both traditions remains hotly debated. Thus the difficulties that beset the study of the Asceticon of Abba Isaiah can only be compounded

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The Macarian Legacy: The Place of Macarius-Symeon in the Eastern Christian Tradition
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Place of Macarius-Symeon in the Eastern Christian Tradition v
  • Contents ix
  • Abbreviations xii
  • Introduction 1
  • I the Macarian Writings and Their Historical Context 9
  • 2 The Lineaments of the Macarian Vision 30
  • The Background 46
  • The Background 59
  • 5 Mark the Monk 75
  • The Legacy 133
  • 7 The Asceticon of Abba Isaiah 176
  • 8 Maximus the Confessor 213
  • Conclusion 255
  • Bibliography 259
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