EVAGRIUS PONTICUS (346-399 C.E.), prolific author of Christian literature in Greek. After passing the first part of his career as a preacher in Constantinople, Evagrius took up abode in the Egyptian desert and became one of the most renowned of its many ascetics. Evagrius’ theoretical mysticism had a strong influence on Syrian as well as on Byzantine spirituality and most of his writings were translated into Syriac (see Frankenberg and Muyldermans). His Antirrheticus, a collection of scriptural quotations arranged in eight books corresponding to the “eight evil thoughts” which they are intended to counter, is one of several of his works of which the original text is lost. It is extant in Syriac (edited with a “retroversion” into Greek by Frankenberg, pp. 472-545) and in Armenian. In addition, substantial fragments of a Sogdian version (translated from Syriac) were identified by Hansen (pp. 825-42) in the manuscript C2. Some of the Sogdian fragments are preserved in Berlin, in the Turfan collection of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Orientabteilung, but others seem to be lost. The most recent edition is that of Sims-Williams (pp. 168-82).
W. Frankenberg, Euagrius Ponticus, Abhandlungen der Königlichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, Philologisch-historische Klasse, N.F. 13/2, Berlin, 1912 (Figure 1).
O. Hansen, Berliner sogdische Texte II, Abhandlungen der Geistes- und Sozial-wissenschaftlichen Klasse der Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur in Mainz, 1954/15, Wiesbaden, 1955.
J. Muyldermans, Evagriana syriaca, Louvain, 1952.
N. Sims-Williams, The Christian Sogdian manuscript C2 (Berliner Turfantexte XII), Berlin, 1985.
Originally Published: December 15, 1998
Last Updated: January 20, 2012
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Vol. IX, Fasc. 1, pp. 78-79