John F. Matthews
Matthew R. Crawford
Serving as bishop of Alexandria from 412 until his death in 444, Cyril was one of the two most influential episcopal leaders of the city during Late Antiquity, second only to Athanasius in terms of his involvement in ecclesiastical politics and his significance as an authority for later Christian traditions. His career was marked by attempts to oppose Jews, pagans, and Christians whose theology he regarded as contrary to the Nicene faith. In pursuit of this goal he proved to be a politically savvy tactician, as well as a rhetorically and intellectually powerful polemicist in pamphlets, letters, florilegia, and treatises. He was also an effective bishop who exhibited pastoral concern for the organization and vitality of the Egyptian church as well as its unity with other churches throughout the empire.
E. D. Hunt
Bishop from c. 350
Bishop Damasus of Rome was the builder of Christian Rome and papal power in the 4th century. Following a double election, Damasus succesfully fought the schism instigated by his rival Ursinus. Damasus established the cult of the martyrs in the Roman catacombs and commissioned Jerome to revise the Latin translation of the Bible. A great promoter of the preeminence of Rome (“primacy of Peter”) among the churches, Damasus enjoyed the support of Emperor Theodosius I, but his relations with the East were strained.
Gregory D. Wiebe
The background of early Christian demonology was in both Hebrew and Greek culture. Jews associated the Greek word daimōn with the false gods of the surrounding nations. This was in many ways an intuitive application of the Greek term. It carried the sense of ambivalent divine or semi-divine power, which significant philosophical traditions understood to mediate between humans and gods. The New Testament carries this theme, though its focus is more on Christ’s exorcisms of demons, and his gift of that power to his disciples, with the early church tying the two together in the theological literature, as well as baptismal exorcisms and renunciations of the devil and idolatry.
Demons were widely thought to have aerial bodies, which allowed them to perform various marvels, like foretelling the future. They were ultimately taken to be fallen angels with Satan as their leader, though this was not a given early in the tradition. While the Christian understanding was that Christ had defeated them on the cross, this was not taken to preclude the ongoing influence of demons in human affairs prior to the final judgement. Indeed, they constituted a significant moral problem for the Christian life, which absolutely opposed them. For Christians, Christ and the demons were the two sides of the fundamental dilemma of every human soul. The problem of demons manifested differently depending on the context, whether in its encounter with false religion, from idolatry to the persecutions the gods inspired; or in the innumerable tempting thoughts encountered in the pursuit of ascetic discipline.
Andrew Lintott and Andrew Louth
An Athenian converted at Athens by St *Paul (Acts 17: 34). Four treatises—The Celestial Hierarchy, The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, The Divine Names, and The Mystical Theology—and ten letters are ascribed to him. These works, the product of a single mind, belong almost certainly to the early 6th cent.
William Hugh Clifford Frend and Todd Breyfogle
David E. Wilhite
The Donatist party began around 312
Blossius Aemilius Dracontius was one of the most remarkable Latin poets in Vandal North Africa. He lived in Carthage around 500
Magnus Felix Ennodius (473/4 –521
Henry Chadwick and John F. Matthews
Ephraem Syrus was born at *Nisibis where he lived until Jovian's surrender of the city to the Persians (363) forced him to move to *Edessa. He wrote (mainly verse) in Syriac; he could read Greek and was influenced by Hellenistic rhetoric. His ‘hymns’ contain many historical references, e.g. to the death of *Julian ‘the Apostate’ and the surrender of Nisibis, to the sufferings of the Church under Julian and the restoration of Church life under the Persians, and to the Arian controversy (see
Martin J. Brooke
Henry Chadwick and M. J. Edwards
Epiphanius (c. 315–403
Greek Christian apology of uncertain authorship, date (perhaps 3rd cent.
Averil M. Cameron
John Francis Lockwood and Robert Browning
A deacon, ascetic teacher, and prolific writer, Evagrius Ponticus lived from c. 345 to 399
Lionel Michael Whitby
Evagrius was born in the Syrian city of Epiphania into a wealthy family that could support the extended legal study necessary to qualify as a scholasticus. This education enabled him to pursue a career in the patriarchate of Antioch, where he ended up as legal advisor to the Chalcedonian Patriarch, Gregory I, whom he helped to rebut an accusation of sexual misconduct. He is known for composing an Ecclesiastical History, which continued the work of Socrates Scholasticus, and to a lesser extent those of Sozomen and Theodoret, and is the last classical example of this genre. He also compiled a collection of documents, speeches, and other material issued by Gregory and a work celebrating the birth of Emperor Maurice’s son Theodosius in 584, neither of which survives. Emperor Tiberius had awarded him the honorary rank of quaestor in return for a literary work, and Maurice that of prefect, probably for the work on Theodosius (6.24).