Published in Dumbarton Oaks Papers 55 (2001) 125-153.




I. Introductory Remarks

My interests lie in the first half millenium of the Eastern Christian world and are focused on a relatively narrow band: the ascetico-mystical literature of the Christian East and early monasticism, and, in still more recent research, on the roots of that literature in the New Testament matrix of Second Temple Judaism. This is five to twelve hundred years -- together with vast cultural and demographic shifts -- away from the central figure in my essay, Nicetas Stethatos. In spite of this apparent -- and real -- anachronism, it is precisely the echoes of an ancient literature from earliest Christian and pre-Christian, Jewish antiquity, together with the important modifications which that literature underwent at the hands of fourth and fifth century monastic writers, which struck me when I recalled what I had read previously in and about Nicetas, and which thus directed me back to his writings in order to discover, once again, yet more echoes -- and those in great abundance -- of the ancient currents and motifs which currently preoccupy me. So I offer this essay as, if nothing else, a sort of preliminary notice of elements and trends which lend further substance to frequent observations about the religious life of medieval Byzantium, and which point as well in certain other directions where further inquiry may prove fruitful, or, at the least, diverting. In what follows, I should like, first, to note the question of the survival of Old Testament pseudepigraphic writings in Christianity, and provide a glimpse in the meantime of the revolution underway over the past twenty years in the study of apocaplyptic literature; then move, second, to illustrate the presence of apocalyptic motifs in Nicetas' writings, albeit in "interiorized form"; in order to conclude in my third section with a second sketch, this time of the fourth and fifth century ascetic writers whom I believe provided Nicetas with the means for his appropriation of the ancient themes. A few observations, questions, and a final anecdote will then complete the essay.

Nicetas Stethatos was born sometime in the opening decade of the second Christian millenium and died, an old man, toward the eleventh century's end. He was a learned monk, perhaps best known as that disciple of St. Symeon the New Theologian (+1022) who wrote the latter's Vita and edited his works (1). Nicetas was also an author in his own right. His treatises, On the Soul, On Paradise, and On Hierarchy, together with a number of letters and shorter works, were edited forty years ago by Jean Darrouzès for Sources chrétiennes (2), while his three hundred chapters on ascetical and mystical topics found their way into Nicodemus Hagiorites' eighteenth-century compendium, the Philokalia, as well as into J.P. Migne's Patrologia Graeca (3). He wrote controversial works as well, which will not occupy us here, and indeed at one point in his career confronted -- not very successfully, as it turned out -- the irascible papal legate, Humbert da Silva. That he was, though, permitted access to so august a personage, together with the fact that he appears to have ended his days as the abbot of the great monastery of the Stoudios, may be taken as evidence that he was man of the highest ecclesiastical culture and status (4). Thus we arrive at the matter that I should like to touch on in this essay: the apparently unlikely relationship between this prominent medieval churchman and certain texts which were written anywhere from eight to twelve hundred years before his birth, and which, with only a couple of notable exceptions, were not included in the canon of either the Old or New Testaments, even though all -- or most -- of them appear under the names of saints from Israel's ancient or mythic past.


II. Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Christian Transmission, and the Definition of Apocalyptic

At the end of her recent book, Ascent to Heaven in Jewish and Christian Apocalypses, Professor Martha Himmelfarb poses my question in somewhat broader terms:

In monasteries East and West, OT Pseudepigrapha continued to be copied into the

Middle Ages and beyond. Just how these texts were understood, and how their

transmission could be squared with existence of a well-defined canon is a subject

worthy of attention. (5)

R. A. Kraft, even more recently, has noted that "from the tenth century onward there is a growing flood of Jewish pseudepigraphic materials in Greek, especially those which deal with the lives and deaths of ancient righteous persons." (6) He also voices a "hunch" that these documents were "preserved in Greek" before the tenth century by "monastics whose concerns for personal piety...led them to ignore prohibitions of such material." (7) For those contemporary scholars anxious to ferret out strains of pre-Rabbinic Judaism in these materials, he also a voices a caution which, I think, points directly toward our subject. How, he wonders, "in a Christian context that is conscious of its Jewish roots and thrives on visions and revelations...can one tell" where the ancient Jew leaves off and the later Christian begins (8)?

Monasteries, visions, revelations, and the tenth century "flood" which Kraft notes all play, I believe, into the matter of Nicetas' works. Before I turn to him, however, I would like to make two qualifications, the first bearing on the matter of a "well-defined canon", in Professor Himmelfarb's phrase, and the second regarding the type of OT Pseudepigrapha which are of most interest to me.

The scriptural canon, particularly of the OT, was slow to achieve a fixed form in the East, at least in all its details (8). Athanasius of Alexandria's festal epistle of 367 did provide a list which corresponds to the OT of the Hebrew canon (9), but the absence of the so-called deutero-canonical books and their persistence , for example, in the present day canon of the Greek and Russian Churches (with some interesting minor differences) indicate that the canon was not fixed by the end of the fourth century (10). Further, at least two of the books to which Athanasius alludes in his epistle as apocryphal and even heretical, probably 1 Enoch (and perhaps 2 Enoch as well) and the Ascension of Isaiah, continued to be read in Egypt even as he was writing and, in fact, found their way into the very ample canon of Alexandria's daughter church in Ethiopia (11). Centuries later in Russia, to the best of my knowledge, there was no "Old Testament", that is, no complete collection of the Old Testament books between two covers, until the publication at the end of the 1490's of the Bible (translated, interestingly enough, from the Vulgate!) sponsored by Archbishop Gennady of Novgorod (12). The Russians seem to have made do up until that time with the Palaia, the OT texts appointed for reading at the Church's feasts. The latter collections often included apocryphal or pseudepigraphical materials now preserved uniquely in Church Slavic, such as, for example, 2 Enoch, the Apocalypse of Abraham, the Ladder of Jacob, together with texts shared with other languages (though not always with Greek), e.g., the second half of the Ascension of Isaiah (13). The Quinisext Council, Canon 2, may, with its scattershot approval of a number of different ancient lists, have set the bounds firmly for the imperial church in 695, but things seem to have been rather more fluid in the wider "Byzantine commonwealth".

There is, secondly, the very broad category of the Pseudepigrapha themselves. Here the reasons for preservation and transmission would surely have varied according to the nature of the particular work. It is not difficult, for example, to imagine why books like the story of Joseph and Aseneth, or the The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, remain well attested in the East into the late Middle Ages and beyond (14). The first is a moving tale of love and conversion, a kind of religious romance, while morality is the very stock in trade of the Testaments. Few if any ancient texts insist more strongly on "familiy values" than these moralizing sermons placed in the mouths of the sons of Jacob. The works which concern me, however, do not belong to the categories of either romance or homely preaching. They are instead examples of the genre called "apocalypse".

Here again I am obliged to introduce a few qualifications. The generally received sense of the terms "apocalypse" or "apocalyptic" immediately evokes images of cosmic catastrophe, or else perhaps of bad Hollywood movies. With some allowances for academic precision, the focus of biblical scholarship had, up until rather recently, been quite similar. Earlier students of apocalyptic literature, whether of the canonical books of Daniel and of Revelation, or of the vast number of similar works written between roughly 200 BC and 200 AD, or indeed of later Christian works from the end of the fourth century on, have concentrated on the eschatological aspects of these texts, such as their view of history (deterministic, the inexorable advance of the divine plan), ex eventu prophecy placed in the mouths of figures set deeply -- in the case of the earlier works -- in Israel's past, the signs of the endtimes, the cosmic struggle and last battle between good and evil, light and darkness, God and the devil, etc. Investigations have usually been accompanied by smug remarks about the decline of prophetic inwardness in Spätjudentum, together with speculation regarding the sociology and psychology represented by the apocalyptic writers whose texts are thus read as expressions of oppressed Jews or Christians under Greek or Roman rule, or of Jewish or Christian sects struggling within an indifferent or hostile majority, and so on (15). While there are certainly insights to be gleaned from this earlier approach, it is also the case that a definition of apocalypse or apocalyptic which focuses exclusively on the characteristics I have just listed will fail to account for many texts which everyone agrees must be included within the genre. This applies first of all to the grandfather of them all, the "Book of the Watchers", i.e., the first thirty-six chapters of 1 or Ethiopic Enoch, whose composition is at present thought to go back at least to around or even before 200 BC. This text betrays little or no preoccupation with the signs of the end, no ex eventu prophecy, only a discrete impression of historical determinism, and not very much sense of the cosmic struggle (other than a set of naughty angels who give the book its name) which would show up with such force a few generations later in Daniel (16). The same generally holds true for the two apocalypses I mentioned above, the Jewish 2 Enoch and the Christian Ascension of Isaiah, and there are many others of similar nature (17). What these three works are primarily interested in is the ascent itself to heaven, the vision of the divine throne, the hosts and ranks of angels, and the contours of that heavenly geography which include the mysteries of the present and future worlds, e.g., the origins of creation, weather-making, and the movements of the heavenly bodies, together with the places and nature of post-mortem rewards and punishments.

I arrive thus at a definition of apocalyptic proposed by Christopher Rowland in his illuminating book, The Open Heaven: "To speak of to concentrate on the direct revelation of heavenly mysteries", together with his observation later on on that these texts assert, in effect, "that certain individuals have been given to understand the mysteries of God, man, and the universe" (18). The twin emphases on "direct revelation" and "certain individuals" will appear prominently in Nicetas. Somewhat more prosaic and circumspect, though still in the same vein, there is the definition of apocalypse which John Collins provided in his introduction to the ground-breaking collection of essays he edited in 1979 for the SBL journal, Semeia: "Apocalypse is a genre of revelatory literature with a narrative framework, in which a revelation is mediated by an otherworldly being to a human recipient, disclosing a transcendent reality which is both temporal, in so far as it envisages eschatological salvation, and spatial, in so far as it envisages another, supernatural world" (19). Again, while the "temporal" dimension will be quite absent in Nicetas (as it is, in fact, largely missing in the three apocalypses cited above), together with much of any "narrative framework", the other elements of Collins' definition will appear.

If both the definitions just given, especially Rowland's, have a "mystical" ring to them, this is not accidental. One of the single most important contributors to this re-evaluation of apocalyptic was the great scholar of Jewish mysticism, Gershom Scholem. It was the latter's thesis that a line of continuity ran back from the medieval Jewish creators of Cabbalism to the ancient apocalypticists, with the mediating element between these two sets of literature, separated as they were by over a millenium and by the rise of Rabbinic Judaism, being the curious body of hekalot literature whose antiquity Scholem successfully demonstrated (20). Hekalot is the plural of hekal, meaning palace or temple, and the palaces or temples which comprised the subject of these texts were the heavens or abodes of the angels and, in the seventh and highest heaven or palace, the chariot or merkavah throne of God's Glory, the kevod YHWH which had formed the object of the prophet Ezekiel's visions in Ezk 1, 9-12, and 43. The hekalot texts are thus concerned with the aliyah bammerkavah, the ascent to the merkavah, and, thanks to Scholem, have been generally dated to the era of the Talmud's composition, that is, to between roughly 200 and 600 AD, for, while it is true that works such as the Lesser and Greater Hekalot, together with 3 or Hebrew Enoch, are all later, medieval compilations, the pericopae which comprise them are much earlier and, moreover, often display the same interest in heavenly ascent and disclosure as the earlier apocalypses of ascent (21). Indeed, they are apocalypses of ascent and, as such and in spite of the fact that they are largely innocent of all of the eschatological emphases which had hitherto been thought to characterize apocalyptic texts, their consideration as apocalypses has forced reconsideration of the genre as a whole (22). At present, therefore, the revelatory emphasis of apocalyptic literature shares center stage with the eschatological, together with the genre's affirmation that some, however few, have gone up to heaven, to the temple or palace on high, to receive the secrets of the celestial realm.

The note of the "heavenly temple" was recently underscored by, among others (though with greater detail), the study of Martha Himmelfarb with which I began this section. Her own book begins by quoting 2 Enoch 9:17-19, in which the patriarch, after having been escorted to the heavenly throne, undergoes a transformation:

And the Lord said to Michael, "Take Enoch and take off his earthly garments and

anoint him with good oil, and clothe him in glorious garments." And Michael took

off from me my garments and anointed me with good oil. And the appearance of

the oil was more resplendent than a great light, and its richness like sweet dew, and

its fragrance like myrrh, shining like a ray of the sun. And I looked at myself, and

I was like one of the glorious ones, and there was no apparent difference. (23)

Enoch, in short, becomes an angel, and he does so through, as Himmelfarb remarks, a "heavenly version of priestly investiture". She goes on to underline the elements in the ancient apocalypses -- e.g., the Ascension of Isaiah, Apocalypse of Abraham, Testament of Levi, Testament of Isaac, etc. (to which I would add the remarkable transformation scene in the rabbinic 3 Enoch which I cite below) -- which are of importance for what I shall have to say about Nicetas and his monastic predecessors: the ascent itself, transformation or transfiguration, the note of light or splendor, isangelic status, and, perhaps most importantly, that status as conferred through participation in the heavenly liturgy (24). I might note as well another detail Himmelfarb points out: the seer shares in the angels' praise by learning their hymns and so taking his place in the celestial choirs, as in the following from Ascension of Isaiah 8:17: "And I was allowed to sing my praises with them, too, and also the angel who was accompanying me, and our praises were like theirs" (25).

III. Selected, Representative Texts from Nicetas

All of these elements appear, some of them repeatedly, in the writings of our medieval churchman, Nicetas. So, too, do the components of both Rowland's and Collins' definitions, notably the communication of heavenly mysteries both to and through the seer, and these mysteries as embracing the knowledge of God, of the angels, of creation, and of the world to come. Even the "otherworldly mediator" shows up in Nicetas, albeit in somewhat altered form. One element alone is missing: the narrative. For Nicetas, who echoes in this respect at once his master, the New Theologian, and the fourth century predecessors of both men, the apocalyptic ascent, transformation, and participation in the angelic liturgy has become an interior event.

I shall return to these predecessors presently, but for now let me cite some representative passages from Nicetas writings, a few out of a very great many. My first sample will also require a little extended commentary, since I understand its dense cluster of scriptural citation and allusion to signal important elements in the traditions from which Nicetas is drawing. The passage is Century III.60 in the collection of three hundred:

To him who dwells in a cave high on a mighty rock will be given the bread of

knowledge and the cup of wisdom unto intoxication, and thus will his water be

worthy of trust [or "assured']. He shall see a king in glory and his eyes will look on a distant land. His soul will study wisdom and he will announce to all the eternal place, outside of whose bounds there is nothing. (26)

This appears at first glance to be a simple paraphrase of the following verses from the Septuagint version of Isaiah 33:14-17:

Who shall announce to us that [He is] fire burning? Who shall announce to us the

eternal place? Whoever walks in righteousness and speaks honestly, who hates

lawlessness and iniquity and whose hands wave bribes away, who stops his ears

from hearing of bloodshed and shuts his eyes so as not to look on iniquity. He

shall dwell in a cave high on a mighty rock; bread shall be given him and his water

[shall be] assured. You shall see a King with glory and your eyes will look on a

distant land.

Nicetas' paraphrase nonetheless incorporates certain changes which I take to be significant. He eliminates the shift in the concluding verse from the third person singular to the second person plural. The opening verse of the scriptural passage, "Who shall announce", now comes after the originally final verse, or, put another way, the annunciation of the "eternal place" becomes a consequence of the vision of the "King in glory". We also find the addition of the phrases, "[bread]of knowedge" and "cup of wisdom unto intoxication" to the "bread" and "water" of the prophet, and "His soul will study wisdom" to the concluding sentence. Overall, Nicetas' use of Isaiah 33:14-17 first of all incorporates other and for him related reminiscences from elsewhere in the scriptures and, second, is intended to tie all of them up into a single portrait, that of the holy man or inspired elder. I shall come back to the second point a little below, but for now allow me to prepare the way for it by elaborating on the several scriptural echoes which I believe to have been at play for both Nicetas and for his intended readers.

The first of these echoes concern the "cave " and "rock " of the first sentence which I think would have recalled for our author two of the great theophanies of the Old Testament: the experience of divine presence accorded Elijah in the cave on Mt Horeb in I Kings 19:9-18, and the visio gloriae awarded Moses, sheltered "in the cleft of the rock" in Exodus 33:21-23. In the case of the latter, we might also recall both the subsequent transformation of the Lawgiver's person in Ex. 34:29-35, his face still shining with the reflection of the divine kavod and veiled to avoid frightening the Israelites, and then the use to which St. Paul puts this episode, in 2 Cor. 3:7-4:6, in order to underline the permanent and greater transfiguration afforded the Christian through Christ (27). Overall, then, the echoes here are all to do with the visio dei, especially the visio dei luminis, together with the attendant transfiguration of the seer. Perhaps it is also of some note that, at least in the contemporary Orthodox Church, these two Old Testament passages are both read at the Vespers of the Feast of the Transfiguration.

In Nicetas' additions of the "[bread] of knowledge" and "cup of wisdom", we surely find an allusion to the the cup, table, and bread which Wisdom offers in Prov. 9:2-5. He may also have had in mind the Eucharist, especially via John 6:33 and 51, the "living bread", "bread from heaven", etc., or "the cup of salvation" of Ps 116:13, which features in the contemporary Orthodox Church's precommunion prayers. The note of "intoxication" also recalls the phrase, "sober intoxication", used by Philo and later Church Fathers for the encounter with God, i.e., the higher levels of mystical experience. Then there is the phrase. In its scriptural context, it appears to mean simply that the righteous will not need to worry about either food or drink in the eschatological city. In the perfected Jerusalem, one's water will be "assured", guaranteed. Nicetas is using it, I think, for the preaching or teaching of the seer, or saint, who has seen God, thus partaken of Wisdom's feast, and so is "worthy of trust". I would therefore understand the phrase as linked in Nicetas' mind to two scriptural texts, the of I Tim. 1:15 (cf. also Tit. 1:9 and Rev. 21:5), and, perhaps as well, the "living water" which, as Christ promises in John 7:38-39, will stream from all who believe in Him, and which the Evangelist then goes on to identify with the Holy Spirit. I might also point to the related image in Rev. 22:1, the "river of life" flowing from beneath the throne of God and the Lamb, as well as to the latter's source in the vision of Ezk. 47:1ff, the river streaming from the eschatologically renewed temple to water the earth (28).

The second sentence of Chapter III.60, Isaiah 33:17, strikes the specific note of theophany: "He ["You" in Isaiah] shall see a king with glory and his ["your"] eyes a distant land". Patristic writers from the second century Epistle of Barnabas and Justin Martyr routinely apply this verse to the eschatological vision. Eusebius of Ceasarea (+339), however, and Aphrahat the Persian (fl. 330's-340's) both -- the former with especial clarity -- link it to the ascetic life, and Aphrahat, at least against the larger background of his work, suggests that the visio dei is not limited solely to the world to come, but may also be anticipated in this life. Eusebius writes that the prophet wishes us: understand by these words the asceticism of the blessed ones, their way of life as the

supreme philosophy. Thus he adds: "bread shall be given him and his bread is assured", for such a man, having exercised himself with bread and water in the present life, will enjoy [literally, "have"] the prize and fruit of asceticism which is the glorious vision of the King.

Aphrahat cites the text from Isaiah in tandem with an obvious allusion to the visio dei promised the "pure in heart" in Mt. 5:8, "Qui cor suum a dolo emundat, Regem in decore suo videbunt oculi eius" (29). Aphrahat's Syriac Bible, the Peshitta, renders the verse following the Hebrew, "Your eyes will see the King in his beauty", while Eusebius' (and Nicetas') LXX source changes "beauty" into "glory" (30). That the two terms, "beauty" and "glory", were both taken as signifying the same splendor or radiance of divinity appears clearly, I think, in a second rather interesting feature of Eusebius' and Aphrahat's -- and, later on, Nicetas' -- use of this text. The three Christian writers, in particular Aphrahat and Nicetas, the first two from the early fourth century and the third from the eleventh, share a visionary use of Isaiah 33:17 with an important representative of Jewish mystical literature, the medieval compilation of older, amoraic (i.e., Talmudic-era) texts called Hekalot Zutarti, the Lesser Hekalot. Peter Schäfer's Konkordanz zur Hekalot Literatur lists Is 33:17 as occurring ten times in the space of six paragraphs in Hekalot Zutarti. The context is R. Ishmael's discussion of the perilous passage through the sixth hekal to the seventh in order to see the Glory of God enthroned, "the King in His beauty" (31). I will add that I have the impression that the phrase also occurs elsewhere in rabbinic literature, but this one, repeated instance will suffice, thirdly, to raise an interesting question about Nicetas' sources. To be sure, given especially Eusebius, we do not need to postulate Stethatos' direct dependence on Jewish sources for his use of Is 33:17, but there is still an intriguing parallelism here. Eusebius and Aphrahat are rough contemporaries of the Amoraim, the sages of the Talmud, and thus contemporary as well with the Rabbis who wrote the passages which would be assembled later in such compilations as Hekalot Zutarti, and there is apparently evidence that, again, both of these two fourth century, Christian writers (especially Aphrahat) were somewhat familiar with Jewish traditions. Nicetas, in turn, is the rough contemporary of the medieval, Jewish assemblers of the merkavah texts, and of nascent Cabbalism as well, and we know that there was an interest in mystical traditions in medieval Byzantine Jewry. Might we then not suggest that Nicetas may possibly have had some contact with the Judaism of his time and place in a way more or less analogous to the contacts which Eusebius and Aphrahat had with the Rabbis of, respectively, fourth century Palestine and Mesopotamia (32)? At the least, we have in these mystical streams the example of a certain parallel flow in the two great religious traditions, Christianity and Judaism, two branches of a current which finds its wellsprings in the apocalyptic literature of the Second Temple era. Both Eusebius and Aphrahat, on the one hand, and Nicetas, on the other, suggest that there may also have been, at least on occasion, a kind of seepage, as it were, between the sister religions. They had common roots, after all, and a shared territory. Why should we then assume that there was never any percolation of ideas through that common earth?

The final scriptural echoes which should be pointed out are those which I take to be associated for Nicetas with the "eternal place", aijwvnio" tovpo", of Isaiah 33:14. These are, I think, both Ex. 24:10, "the place [tovpo"] where stood", which the LXX inserts in front of the Hebrew, "the God of Israel", in the sentence, "They saw [the place where stood] the God of Israel", and the song of the cherubim in Ezk. 3:12, "Blessed be the Glory of God from His place" (Hebrew maqom, !wqm, Greek tovpo") (33). The "eternal place" is thus the dwelling of God, and perhaps a stand-in for the reign or kingdom of God which Nicetas' seer is to "announce to all". The divine tovpo" is also, I might add, a term with a considerable history in Eastern ascetical-mystical literature, especially prominent in Evagrius Ponticus (34). In any case, I hope this exercise has shone that Nicetas' Century III.60 is not a simple paraphrase, but is instead quite soaked with theophanic and eschatological allusions, including perhaps even a remarkable echo of the rabbinic merkavah lore. But all of this comes with a difference. While we are obviously here in the realm and vocabulary of apocalyptic visions -- seeing the enthroned King, the eschatological river, the heavenly temple, perhaps an echo of the angelic liturgy in the "eternal place", and (not least) the prophetic and inspired calling of the seer -- it should also be clear from his subtle manipulations of the original scriptural verse that, for Nicetas, it is the seer, the transfigured visionary, who is the subject of interest and whose role is being described. The human recipient is to become himself the spring of living water, and this because, at least by implication, the vision itself has taken place within him, such that it is he who becomes in fact the throne of divinity and locus of the Presence, at once the temple on high and -- recalling my discussion above of Martha Himmelfarb on vision and transformation -- the priest, with the angels, of the heavenly mysteries.

I am emboldened to make these assertions because Nicetas himself elsewhere in his writings makes every single one of them explicitly, repeatedly, and in detail. His entire treatise, On Paradise, is devoted to the siting of the spiritual (nohtov") and eternal paradise of heaven within the sanctified soul. As he remarks at the conclusion of the treatise, it is there, within the soul, that one is to find the presence of the Holy Spirit and so the reality of the third heaven to which St. Paul says he ascended in 2 Cor. 12:2-4. This interior and more spacious paradise, the "great world in the small", is the "palace [palavtion -- and recall hekal] of Christ" (35). Thus, too, the hallowed intellect is "the altar within us", the "throne of God" (36). The inner altar as "throne of God" suggests, furthermore, the liturgy of heaven. In Century III.16, to cite one example, Nicetas spells this out:

So long as the nature of the powers within us is in a state of inner discord, we do

not participate in God's supernatural gifts. And if we do not participate in these

gifts, we are also far from the mystical liturgy [lit., "priestly work", iJerourgiva] of the heavenly altar, celebrated by the intellect through its spiritual activity...[but, once the intellect has been purified through ascesis and prayer] we participate in the ineffable blessings of God, and worthily, together with God and God the Word, offer up the divine mysteries of the intellect's spiritual [noerovn] altar as initiates [jjjjjejpovptai] and priests [JiJerei'"] of His mysteries. (37)

The liturgy of the intellect, nou'", at the heavenly altar is no mere theory or metaphor. Nicetas understands it as entailing a genuine experience, indeed as a transformation -- ajlloivwsi", change -- and he holds, as in the apocalypses of ascent, that this transformation includes a share in the life of the angels. Thus the following from Century II.43:

If while striving actively to practice the commandments, one should feel suddenly,

with inexpressible and ineffable joy, that he is being transformed [ajlloiwqh'nai] with a strange and unaccountable change...then he should know that this is God's

sojourning [ejpidhmiva] with him...[which] here and now bestows on him the state

[or condition, katavstasi"] of the heavenly beings. (38)

The note of concelebration with the angels occurs often in Nicetas' works, but nowhere at greater length than in his treatise, On Hierarchy, which is devoted more or less exclusively to this theme. At one point he supplies a particularly striking echo of the ancient apocalypses and, even more so, of the later merkavah literature: each triad of the angelic hierarchy and its corresponding triad in the human -- or ecclesiastical -- hierarchy has its own special hymn in heaven. The first angelic triad sings the cherubim's praise from Ezk. 3:12, "Blessed is the Glory of God from His place", while the equivalent human triad is assigned the opening doxology of the Divine Liturgy, "Blessed is the Kingdom...etc." (an additional point, surely, linking the "eternal place" of Century III.60 with the idea of the kingdom or reign of God). The second triad in each hierarchy is assigned the trisavgion of Is. 6:3, and in the third triad angels and people both sing the "Alleluia" (39). To the objection that the human side of these hierarchies has, at the least, a very ecclesiastical ring, and that some bishops (or maybe most) do not really deserve to be singing with the angels either here or even especially in the world to come, Nicetas offers a kind of escape clause which at the same time underlines the primacy he places on the inner life. Echoing Origen eight hundred years earlier, he explains in On Hierarchy V that the "true bishop" is one whose "apostolic rank [tavgma ajpostolikovn] the Holy Spirit has made manifest in the Church" (40), and who is therefore, by virtue of that experience, both an initiate and communicator of heavenly mysteries, muvsth" and mustagwgov" (41).

The "true bishop", "initiate", "mystagogue" and "priest of the divine mysteries" has a number of other titles as well. These include mediator (mesivth"), leader or abbot (hJgouvmeno"), law-giver (nomoqevth"), guide (oJdhgov"), teacher (didavskalo"), physician (ijatrov"), nazirite (nazirai'o"), prophet (profhvth"), sage, friend of God, spiritual father "begetting other souls in Christ", theologian, apostle, and finally "earthly angel [ejpivgeio" a[ggelo"]" and "heavenly man [a[nqrwpo" oujravnio"]" (42). This list, particularly the first and last titles noted, mediator and earthly angel/heavenly man, leads me to suggest that, for Nicetas, the place of the otherworldly being in the ancient apocalypses who acts as guide and interpreter for the seer, the angelus interpres, is taken over by the spiritual father. The latter, in and for himself, stands surely in the place of the ancient seer of apocalyptic. He is transformed into light (thus my remarks a little below) and has acquired angelic status, but, and precisely in view of the latter change, he becomes indeed for others their "guide" and "interpreter", the one who directs his disciples to a like experience of heaven and who then explains the vision's meaning. Nicetas certainly had two striking models for this figure, his own avowed master, Symeon the New Theologian, and the latter's spiritual father, Symeon the Pious of the Stoudios. In the former's Vita, Nicetas describes his master's veneration, against the objections of contemporary Church authorities, of the elder Symeon as a saint, and quotes the New Theologian as replying to his opponents that he had, after all, seen his venerable elder standing "at the right hand of the Glory of God" (43). This is an allusion to the incident recorded both in the Vita and by Symeon himself in his twenty-second Catechetical Discourse: the latter's first vision, as a young man, of the uncreated light and of his elder standing within it (44).

The picture of the old man "at the right hand of the Glory" recalls, first of all, Acts 7:55-56 and Stephen's vision of "the Glory of God" and of Christ "standing at the right hand of God". The spiritual father as alter Christus, or imago Christi, is certainly quite at the heart of the notion of the sanctified elder as a kind of theophany for his disciple precisely in light of the former's function as mediator of the divine presence. This particular, Eastern Christian, and especially monastic variant on the theme of the imitation of Christ is surely well enough known for me not to have to belabor it here, though I am obliged to note that it must have been a central -- or, better, the central -- element in Nicetas' portrayl of his own elder and of Symeon the Pious. Recalling, however, the matter of the continuing presence of and interest in the apocryphal Old Testament in Christian circles, the fact of apocalyptic literature's own influence on the portrayl of Christ in the New Testament, and Nicetas' use of the motifs of transformation into angelic status amd sharing in the heavenly priesthood, I do not think it unreasonable to point as well to the echo in his picture of Symeon the Pious "at the right hand of the Glory" of the ministering angel of the apocalypses who steps forward from his place beside the heavenly throne to assist the seer and explain his vision. In the canonical scriptures, one might think of Gabriel, clearly an intimate of the Presence, who is sent to explain things to Daniel in Dan 8:16 ff., and then again, as a heavenly man with overtones of Ezekiel's figure on the chariot throne, appearing for the same duties in Dan 10:5 ff. In the Pseudepigrapha, the same pattern is repeated in the angel of the Presence, Jaoel, sent to conduct Abraham on his heavenly tour in the Apocalypse of Abraham (45), or the angel of the seventh (i.e., highest) heaven, who is dispatched to provide the same service to the prophet in the Ascension of Isaiah (46), and perhaps I should note that both of these pseudepigrapha were circulating among Slavic-speaking Orthodox monks within a century or so of Nicetas (47). Given the latter's -- and, as I have argued elsewhere, the New Theologian's -- fondness for Dionysius Areopagites (48), I cannot resist adding that Dionysius himself may well have been playing off of the Ascension of Isaiah in Celestial Hierarchy13, where, and not present in the canonical text of Is 6:1-6, the prophet is conducted up to the throne of Glory and visio dei by an angel who then explains the vision and the heavenly liturgy. Unlike the pseudepigraphon, however, and equally unlike both Nicetas and the New Theologian, Dionysius spends considerable energy explaining why the angelus interpres is merely an ordinary angel and not from the first level of the heavenly hierarchy, i.e., one of the seraphim. The angels, he continues, doubtless to underscore one his principal reasons for composing his very own New Testament pseudepigraphon, are to their highest officers as our priests are to their bishops (49). In other words, even ascetic visionaries, here represented by Isaiah, require the instruction of the clergy (50)! From rabbinic circles roughly contemporary to Dionysius, we can point to the analogous figure of Metatron, the Angel of the Presence and even called "the Lesser YHWH", who provides, in the opening chapters of 3 Enoch, safe passage to the heavenly courts together with an elaborate explanation of their hierarchies and of the heavenly throne to Rabbi Ishmael (51).

3 Enoch, secondly, also features perhaps the most spectacular description of transformation into light and fire available in any of the apocalypses. Metatron was, after all, once the man Enoch, and he becomes an angel at the moment of his exaltation:

When the Holy One, blessed be He, took me to serve the throne of

once my flesh turned to flame, my sinews to blazing fire, my bones to juniper

coals, my eyelashes to lightning flashes, my eyeballs to fiery torches, the hairs of

my head to hot flames, all my limbs to wings of burning fire, and the limbs of my

body to blazing fire...(52)

References to the vison of light, glory, or fire are so frequent in both Nicetas and the New Theologian that I will limit myself here to just a single incident, albeit a spectacular one. This is Nicetas' description of one of Symeon's experiences in chapters 69-70 of the Vita. The master is taken wholly outside of himself, o{lw" ejxivstato, finds himself permeated -- not unlike Metatron above -- by the immaterial light (fw'" a[u>lon) of divinity, and is told by a heavenly voice, twice, that this is the transformation of the saints in the age to come (53). Here we do not a have a mere vision, but an actual if temporary transfiguration.

IV. "Interiorized Apocalyptic": Four Precedents from Fourth Century Ascetical Writers

Participation in the angelic liturgy within the purified heart and the portrait of the transfigured elder or gevrwn that we have found in Nicetas, together with the themes of light and the visio dei gloriae, are all instances of what I choose to call "interiorized apocalyptic", by which expression I mean the transposition of the cosmic setting of apocalyptic literature, and in particular of the "out of body" experience of heavenly ascent and transformation, to the inner theater of the Christian soul, to "the great world", as Nicetas puts it, borrowing from Gregory Nazianzus, "within the small" (54). It seems clear, at least to me, that Nicetas could well have actually read and found profitable some of the ancient Pseudepigrapha. It is certainly the case that he incorporated into his thought materials and motifs stemming from the ancient literature at the same time as he recast them into a new, inner-oriented model.

Or was that model really so very new? We can surely find some basis for it in the foundational documents themselves of Christianity, such as, for example, St. Paul's promise of the "light of the glory of God in the face of Christ" shining within the Christian heart in 2 Cor. 4:6, or the words of Christ in John 14:21-24 and 17:22-24, which speak of indwelling, epiphany, and of the gift of the same glory which He had with the Father "before the world was" (John 17:5). As one late fourth century, ascetic author put it, with Christ "everything [i.e., all the company of heaven] is to be found within" (55).

It is indeed to the fourth century emergence of monasticism and the latter's earliest documents that I should like to turn, of necessity very briefly, in this penultimate section of my essay. If there are certain new emphases in what we have seen of Nicetas, of which more anon, there is still virtually nothing in his writings which does not have precedents in fourth- and early fifth-century monastic literature. Let me begin with the last item in our accounting above, the portrait of the transfigured elder, and then conclude with the merest sketch of four fourth-century writers in whom we can see the same process of interiorization at work as we have sketched in Nicetas.

The Christian holy man of late antiquity has been in the scholarly spotlight ever since Peter Brown's seminal article on the subject over a generation ago. Brown's focus was also precisely on the mediatorial capacity and function of the sainted ascetic, the latter as a meeting place between heaven and earth, and thus as a social force (56). More recent -- and less sociologically driven -- research into the leading figures, and their portraits, of early Egyptian monasticism (Brown had concentrated on fifth-century Syria, especially on the figure of Symeon Stylites [57]) in the fourth century has come up with similar pictures. I might point, for example, to the stress on the direct link with the prophets and apostles which the Pachomian Koinonia saw embodied in its founder, together with the portrayal of Pachomius as locus of the divine presence and even, in one text, as intercessor at the heavenly throne (58). At least according to the Bohairic Life, the great koinobiarch was also a visionary, and the content of three of the visions in the same source bears an unmistakable resemblance to accounts in the ancient apocalypses of the heavenly throne (59). One may turn for stories of actual ascents to heaven to the Historia monachorum in Aegypto, which is rife with them, as well as, and still more often, monastic conversation and comparison with angels (60). The Apophthegmata Patrum present us with at least two examples of ascent to the throne of Glory in Abba Silvanus, while the latter, together with the Abbas Sisoes, Pambo, and Arsenius, also provide instances of transformation via heavenly light or fire (61). The lovgo" or rJh'ma of the desert abbas, with its power to inform and shape the disciple for salvation, provided the latter take it to heart, should recall the u{dwr pistovn we saw Nicetas above ascribing to the ascetic visionary. It is a word of life, pregnant with the Holy Spirit and thus authoritative, backed by the elder's experience (62). Regarding the phrase, "earthly angel-heavenly man", I can point in the Apophthegmata Pateron to the analogous and indeed even more extraordinary expression, qeo;" ejpivgeio", applied at least once to one of the abbas, Macarius the Great, because he "covered the sins of the brethren" (63). In sum, virtually all the long list of titles for the spiritual father which I singled out above in Nicetas, together I think with their occasionally implicit and even explicit evocation of the apocalyptic angelus interpres, appear in the words or certainly in the substance of the original literature of monasticism.

Turning to my promised quartet of fourth century writers, I have chosen these exemplars in order, first, to provide a certain variety of backgrounds and locations, second, to give examples of authors who are relatively contemporary with each other, and thus, third, to illustrate the simultaneity across linguistic and national boundaries of a process involving ascetics in the interiorization of the apocalyptic motifs we noted in Nicetas, particularly of the visio dei in the heavenly temple. Two of my choices wrote exclusively in Syriac, Ephrem Syrus and the anonymous author of the Liber Graduum, the first from within Roman Syria and the latter from across the border in Sassanid Persia (64). Neither of them would have been known to Nicetas, whose knowledge of Ephrem would certainly have been limited to the writings of "Ephrem Graecus" which are not, in fact, the authentic products of the Syrian poet. The second pair, Evagrius Ponticus (+399) and the unknown author of the Macarian Homilies, Nicetas would certainly have known of and likely read, at least in part. Evagrius was an accomplished Hellenist, learned and philosophically inclined (65). The Macarian Homilist was clearly fluent in Greek, much less interested in systematizing and versed as well in local Syrian traditions (66). The two Syriac writers' formal knowledge, in Ephrem's phrase, of "the poison of the Greeks", was modest at best. There is no evidence, finally, that any one of the four knew any of the others, though certainly Evagrius and probably "Macarius" had some acquaintance with the Cappadocians, and both were aware of and used the traditions of Alexandrian spiritual exegesis. Yet, in spite of this mutual ignorance, each writer is, in his own idiom, engaged in the same project of interiorization which I have sketched in Nicetas.

In Ephrem, to begin with possibly the earliest of my quartet, this engagement appears particularly in the cycle of the Hymns on Paradise (67). Woven throughout these fifteen songs, especially in the second and third, is a series of parallels: the mountain of paradise, with the Sinai of theophany, with the temple of Jerusalem, with the human being who is body, soul, and spirit (ajwr, ruho) (68). In paradise Adam was the intended priest of the sanctuary of theTree of Life: his "keeping of the commandments", says Ephrem, "was to be his censer. Then he might enter before the Hidden One into that hidden Tabernacle" (69). Christ has restored access to the hidden sanctuary and is Himself both the Tree of Life and the Shekinto (atnykc) there enthroned. By implication, thus, it is the calling of the Christian to enter and worship before that same Presence (shekinto, equivalent to the Rabbinic Shekinah) within the holy of holies of the human spirit (70). To ascend the mount of theophany with Moses is therefore to enter before the inner throne of the heart, there to discover paradise, heaven, within.

At about the same time, or perhaps a little later, the Liber Graduum is struggling to hold together freelance ascetics, disdainful of institutions and clergy, and ecclesiastics suspicious of unruly, charismatic wanderers. The Liber wants to affirm both experience and institution, vision and sacraments. It finds a solution in the declaration that "there are three churches, and [that each and together] their ministries possess life". The three are the church "on high" (l[l, l'el, or "heavenly", anymc, shmayyono), that is, the heavenly temple, the church on earth with its sacraments and clergy, and the "little church" of the heart (71). Through God's economy in Christ, the second is the necessary and mediating term which has been called into being in order to open up the first, the heavenly temple, to access for the third, the human heart. As the Liber puts it:

By starting from these visible things, and provided our bodies become temples and

our hearts altars, we may find ourselves in their heavenly counterparts...migrating

there and entering in while we are still in this visible church. (72)

In other words, the liturgy of heaven becomes an accessible experience -- even "in this world", bhon olmo (aml[ Nhb), as the Liber remarks elsewhere (73) -- through the visible church's sacraments and a corresponding ascesis of heart and body. To disdain the visible church, on the other hand, means that our body "will not become a temple, nor our heart an altar...nor shall we have revealed to us that church on high with its altar, its light, and its priesthood" (74). It is surely not difficult to discern in these passages themes dear to the apocalypses.

In the fifty-second homily of the longer and less well known Collection I of the Macarian Homilies, the homilist presents us with a second ascetic writer who is concerned to affirm that the Holy Spirit is "present and takes part in all the liturgy of the holy church of God" (75). The worship of the church carries a "real presence", as it were, but, at the same time, in its outward and visible form it is also an "icon...[given] in order that...faithful souls may be made again and renewed, and having received transformation [metabolhv], be enabled to inherit life everlasting" (76). Thus, the homilist continues, this

...visible temple [is a type] of the temple of the heart, and the priest [a type] of the

true priest of the grace of Christ...[and the whole] arrangement and manifestation

of the church a pattern [uJpovdeigma] for [what is] at work in the soul by grace. (77)

So far, then, we find the notes of inner church, temple, and priesthood expressed in terms that Nicetas effectively will duplicate seven hundred years later. It also becomes clear, a little later in the same homily, that "Macarius" -- to give this writer the name he has gone by for centuries -- understands the inner shrine and its liturgy as a participation in the worship and priesthood of heaven. The "arrangement", oijkonomiva, of the church which he mentions above signifies the "geography", as it were, of the assembled worshippers, with its progression from the narthex or porch to the laity in the nave, to the deacons (lit., ministers, leitourgoiv) serving before, and the presbyters (lit., pavredroi) standing beside, the bishop's throne in the apse (78). Likewise, Macarius concludes, the soul which struggles and progresses in the virtues "is made worthy of promotion and of spiritual rank" , in order to be included "with the blameless ministers and assistants [lit., leitourgoi; kai; pavredroi] of Christ", which is to say, as I read this passage, with the angelic ministers (recall Ps.103:4, LXX, the "ministers [leitourgoiv] of fire") and the heavenly beings who stand beside the throne of glory (and cf. Wis. 9:4 for wisdom as angelic pavredro" of the heavenly throne) (79).

Stronger still along the same lines is the first homily in the more familiar Collection II, the Fifty Spiritual Homilies, where Macarius begins with the chariot vision of Ezk. 1. He cites the latter in full, and then goes on to state that "the prophet beheld the mystery of the soul that is going to receive its Lord and become His throne of glory" (80). This deliberate interiorization of Ezekiel's throne vision was noticed sixty years ago by Gershom Scholem, who rightly pointed out that the homilist was offering his readers "a mystical reinterpretation of the merkavah tradition" (81). Neither is Macarius' "mystery of the soul" confined to the eschaton, since he also means it to signify the experience of the same light, "shining within the heart, as will shine from the bodies of the blessed in the age to come" (82). Indeed, Homily VIII of Collection II, just quoted, also expressly mentions a "robe of light not made with hands" as one of the modalities of the light which Macarius later admits that he has seen within himself. The robe must surely remind us of the glorious robe we saw being given to the biblical forefather in the citation from 2 Enoch above with which I began (83). Heaven is therefore obtainable, be it only for a moment, even now -- ajpo; tou' nu'n , as Macarius is fond of repeating (and recall the Liber above, bhon olmo) (84). Christ and His angels, as the homilist writes elsewhere, make their throne within the heart (85), such that: "He ministers to her [the soul] in the city of her body, and she in turn ministers to Him in the heavenly city" (86).

Evagrius Ponticus, the last of my quartet, spent his final twelve years in the desert of the Cells, between Nitria and Scete, dying there in 399. While his name and many of his works fell under official sanction in 553, he is nonetheless recognized today as one of the great architects of Eastern Christian spirituality (87). Nicetas would surely have known of Evagrius' treatise, the Praktikos, which continued to circulate under the latter's own name, as well as other materials, including the exceedingly influential De oratione, which were preserved in Greek under the respectable name of Nilus of Sinai, just as they continue to be today in Nicodemus Hagiorites' Philokalia and in volume seventy-nine of Migne's Patrologia (88). In one of the latter works, Evagrius takes the eucharistic words of Christ and applies them to the intellect, nou'", in order to conclude, by way of an added reference to the throne vision of Isaiah 6, that the intellect is the "divine throne". "For it is there", he continues, "that God takes His seat and there that He is known" (89). In two passages taken, respectively, from the Kephalaia Gnostica and the corpus of Evagrius' letters, works presently extant only in Syriac translation, we hear echoes of, first, the temple:

The intelligible temple is the pure intellect which now possesses in itself the "wisdom of God, full of variety"; [and] the temple of God is he who beholds the

sacred unity, while the altar of God is the contemplation of the Holy Trinity. (90)

and, second, in the following from Epistle 39, of the theophany at Sinai and the angelic liturgy: the grace of God the intellect both turns away from [the passions] and

puts off the old man, then it will as well see its own constitution at the time of

prayer like a sapphire or in the color of heaven, which also recalls what the

scriptures call "the place [tovpo"] of God", seen by the elders on Mt. Sinai...For

another heaven is imprinted upon the heart, the vision of which is both light and

the spiritual place...within one beholds the meaning of beings and the holy angels. (91)

Here Evagrius takes up and interiorizes the theophany at Sinai in exactly the same way that Macarius dealt with Ezekiel's chariot throne (92). For both, this interiorization of the throne of heaven includes the angelic liturgy. The ascent to heaven of the ancient apocalypses is thus identified with entry into the sanctuary of the purified intellect or heart.

V. Concluding Remarks, Questions, and a Final Anecdote

I think that now we can begin to offer a provisional answer to the question of Martha Himmelfarb with which I began my second section, and, together with it, begin to glimpse something of the monastic Sitz im Leben for that tenth through fifteenth century "flood" of manuscripts of the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha which Robert Kraft noted. For the Byzantinist, this increase of interest in ancient literature must obviously be connected with the mystical renaissance of later Byzantium, so often and not without justice linked to Symeon New Theologian and his disciples, which has been widely noted and repeated in the standard accounts of the era (93). With the qualification of that quality of interiorization which I have stressed is so characteristic of both Nicetas and his master, as well as of their common sources in the earliest monastic literature, I venture to suggest that Nicetas could easily have read these much older texts as testimonies to the same experience of the light and liturgy of heaven which both he and, especially, Symeon claimed as their own. Certainly, Symeon had himself insisted that he did no more than preach the teaching of "the Master and the Apostles that some have perverted" (94). Is it not therefore reasonable to suppose that, in the old apocalypses, both he and his disciples, together with legions of other monks throughout the empire and its "commonwealth", could have welcomed the witness of the "grandfathers", the saints of Israel, who had seen and known beforehand the coming of Messiah and the light of the Trinity? This is pretty much exactly the view, for example, that we meet three hundred years later in the opening paragraphs of Gregory Palamas' Tome of the Holy Mountain (95). As for the ancient patriarchs' and prophets' accounts of the ascent to heaven and personal transformation, these appear clearly to have been read as testimonies to the transfiguration which, in Christ, begins even now within the Christian. With Christ, to repeat my citation above from Macarius, "everything is within", and, on occasion, this was taken as meaning the accessibility and even vision of the divine Presence and the heavenly court. It is not difficult thus for me to imagine how a cultivated man like Nicetas, who believed that the eschatological liturgy of the Lamb and the priesthood of the angels were present, equally, in the ordered offices of the monastery katholikon and in the person of the hallowed elder, bright and fragrant already with the presence of the age to come, could and might well in fact have approved the copying and reading of the old apocalypses by the monks of the Stoudios. We are obliged to acknowledge that other abbots were so disposed, simply in order to explain the manuscripts which have come down to us. So, why not Nicetas?

Some years ago the late Archbishop Basil Krivocheine wrote an article demonstrating the presence of motifs, vocabulary, and occasional passages from the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles -- whose years of manuscript efflorescence, by the way, almost precisely match those of the OT Pseudepigrapha -- in the writings of Symeon the New Theologian (96). The presence of the still older apocalypses is, I should think, also discernible in Symeon, though I know of no study which has pursued that line of inquiry. Given the manuscript traditions noted just above and by Kraft earlier on, the renewed interest in the apocrypha of both the Old and New Testaments is clearly part of the same general phenomenon, the resurgence of interest in mystical texts and, more widely still, perhaps, in harmony with that overall renewal of enthusiasm for the recovery of Byzantium's links with the distant past which appears in a more secular vein in such contem-poraries of Nicetas as, for example, the philosopher and courtier, Michael Psellos (97). What were, I wonder, the sparks which set off the specifically religious side of that renaissance? How much did the translation, and arrival of Isaac of Nineveh's corpus in the capital sometime during the tenth century contribute to it (98)? Were there other stimuli, besides of course the older body of ascetical literature which had never vanished and which drew on the same sources? How much else, besides Isaac, came up to "the city" from that still largely Christian Palestine of earlier Umayyad and later Abbasid rule which has just lately begun to attract scholarly attention? And were there, perhaps, some impulses generated through contact with the empire's Jewish population, of which we may have caught at least one or two hints in Nicetas? I have many questions, but so far, at least to my knowledge, there are not many answers.

There is also the matter of all those materials which remain extant in Church Slavic and which it is most reasonable to suppose were translated from Greek at or around the time of Nicetas and immediately thereafter (99). Could their subsequent disappearance in Greek be connected with the near loss of the New Theologian's own corpus, and the complete loss of the service which Nicetas wrote in his honor? Between the latter's time and the rise of Byzantine Hesychasm there was a long period when the authorities of Church and State looked with a very dim eye on the charismatic ascetic. Was it, perhaps, through association with the always potentially difficult figure of the holy man, or else, relatedly, as part of the same emphasis on "law and order" within Church and Empire which we find reflected in, for example, the great twelfth century canonists, that what had before been tolerated or ignored as simply extra-canonical became, in the eyes of authority, uncanonical and, even, heretical (100)? Here, too, we would have a fourth century precedent. The same Athanasian epistle I cited above, which set out the bounds of the biblical canon and forcibly denounced other writings claiming like authority, was written, as Athanasius tells us himself, in order to shut the mouths of certain uppity ascetics, the Meletians, who had been giving the Archbishop problems, and whose "boasting" over the apocalypses he wishes to silence (101). How many bishops, I wonder, felt the same way in later Byzantium?

By way of farewell, I cannot resist the following observation and anecdote. Throughout this essay I have spoken of the interiorization of the ascent to heaven and other motifs from Second Temple and early Christian apocalypses. The fact, however, that one also finds warnings in monastic literature, and condemnations, directed against taking the notions of visions and ascents literally, in an exterior sense, condemnations which begin in the fourth century and continue into the fourteenth and beyond, strongly suggests that a number of the brethren persisted in doing just that (102). For the latter, whom I take to have been mostly monks, the old imagery was not merely the clothing of the visio dei in symbolic forms -- as we find it interpreted in, for example, Dionysius Areopagites (103) -- but rather actual descriptions of the heavenly realities as well as of a possible experience of the same. Here I think of Abba Silvanus' ascent to the throne and standing "before the Glory" in the Apophthegmata, of the several heavenly journeys in the Historia Monachorum, of the descriptions of Symeon Stylites' encounters in his Syriac Vita, or, and more proximate to Nicetas' own era, of several of the stories in Paul of Monembasia's Edifying Tales (104). I am sure that such stories are legion, and I would imagine that they are particularly frequent in hagiography. Apocalyptic imagery continued to nourish popular imagination and devotion at the same time as it served the more exalted and refined masters of spiritual discourse (105).

This brings me to my anecdote, which comes from a collection of modern, twentieth century Athonite sayings, vignettes, and spiritual talks (106). While this anthology features a number of contributions exactly along the lines of what we found in Nicetas and his predecessors (107), there is also one little story which rings so strongly and artlessly of the apocalyptic journey to heaven that I cannot help but believe that it represents either a genuine experience or, for the more sceptical among us, at least the belief in such experiences. As I learned later, this story came from a famous contemporary gevrwn of the Holy Mountain, the late Fr. Paissios of Karyes (+1994), speaking about his own elder, Papa Tikhon the Russian of Kapsala (+1968). According to Fr. Paissios then, the old man was a prodigious faster, prayed unceasingly, wept constantly, and engaged in frequent and numerous prostrations. All of these actions, by the way, are not only traditional monastic practice, but also feature regularly in the ancient apocalypses as part of the preparation for visions (108). We arrive thus at the conclusion of Fr. Paissios' narrative, and of my essay -- a little taste of, as it were, "Christian merkavah" coming to us from the late twentieth century:

When Papa Tikhon celebrated the holy liturgy in the chapel of his hermitage, he would often interrupt himself at the moment of the Great Entrance during the

Cherubimic Hymn...and, entering into ecstasy, would become a stranger to every-

thing earthly. At the end of a half hour...he would take up the celebration again, very slowly...When someone once asked him what had happened, he answered in his broken Greek:

"Guardian angel take me up. Guardian angel take me back down."

"And what did you see?", the other persisted.

"Angels, Archangels, Cherubim, Seraphim...heavenly choir...t'ousands, ten t'ousands..." (109)


Hieromonk Alexander (Golitzin)

Marquette University

Sunday of Myrrhbearers, 1999



1. Nicetas' life is briefly covered in both I. Hausherr's edition of his Vita of Symeon New Theologian, Un grand mystique byzantin: Vie de Syméon le nouveau théologien, Orientalia Christiana XII (Rome:1928) xv-xxxvii, and in J. Darrouzès' "Introduction" to his edition of Nicetas' works, Nicétas Stéthatos: Opuscules et lettres, SC 81 (1961) 7-24.

2. Darrouzès' edition includes the following works: On the Soul, pp. 56-153; Contemplation of Paradise, 154-227; Letters (8) Appended to the Treatise on Paradise, 228-291; On Hierarchy, 292-365; On the Limits of Life, 366-411; Against the Jews, 412-443; On the Profession of Faith, 444-463; On the Canons, 464-485; On Studite Customs, 486-507; and New Heavens and New Earth, 508-515.

3. Nikh'ta monacou' kai; presbutevrou: Prwvth praktikw'n kefalaivwn e{katonta", Deutevra fusikw'n kefalaivwn e{katona", Trivth gnwstikw'n kefalaivwn e{katonta" (henceforth C I-III), in Nicodemus Hagiorites, Filokaliva tw'n iJerw'n nhptikw'n (rep., Athens:1961), Vol. III:273-355; PG 120:852-1010; ET: The Philokalia: The Complete Text, tr. G.E.H. Palmer, P. Sherrard, K. T. Ware (London:1995), IV:79-174. I shall take my Greek citations of C from Nicodemus' text.

4. The addressees of his several epistles alone suggest this, thus Darrouzès, 18-24.

5. M. Himmelfarb, Ascent to Heaven in Jewish and Christian Apocalypses (Oxford/NY: 1993) 99.

6. R. A. Kraft, "The Pseudepigrapha in Christianity", in J. C. Reeves, ed., Tracing the Threads: Studies in the Vitality of the Jewish Pseudepigrapha (Atlanta:1994) 55-86, here 68.

7. Ibid., 70.

8. The best and practically the only short discussion I know of concerning the canon of Scripture in the Orthodox Church is that of M. Prokurat, "Orthodox Interpretation of Scripture", in K. Hagen, ed., The Bible in the Churches (Milwaukee:1994) 59-99, esp. 65-93.

9. For a translation of Athanasius' Paschal Epistle of 367, which includes important remarks on the Pseudepigrapha preserved only in the Coptic, see D. Brakke, Athanasius and the Politics of Asceticism (Oxford:1995) 326-332 (Coptic addition 330-2). On the similar reactions of other, contemporary bishops to the pseudepigrapha, see E. Earle Ellis, "The Old Testament Canon in the Early Church", in MIKRA: Text, Translation, Reading and Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity, ed. M. J. Mulder and H. Sysling (Philadelphia:1988) 653-690, esp. 665-70.

10. See again Prokurat, "The Orthodox Interpretation of Scripture" 70-74.

11. See E. Isaac's "Introduction" to his translation of 1 Enoch in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, ed. J. H. Charlesworth (NY:1983), I:5-10, as well as Charlesworth's "Introduction for the General Reader" I: xxiii-xxiv. On the reading of the Ascension of Isaiah in late fourth century Egypt, see Abba Ammonas in n.47 below.

12. See Prokurat, "Orthodox Interpretation", 80-93 on the Slavic Bible, esp. 83 on the Palaia: "a 'Reader's Digest' version of the 'historical books' dressed up with apocryphal legends" -- i.e., the Pseudepigrapha -- which "completed the list" of the available OT, together with the Psalter, the prophets, and certain of the Wisdom books. See also E. Turdeaunu, "La Palea byzantine chez les Slaves du sud et les Roumains", RES 40 (1964) 195-206, reprinted in, idem, Apocryphes slaves et roumains de l'Ancien Testament (Leiden:1981), 392-403.

13. I do not know of any one scholarly work in a West European language which focuses on the Slavic pseudepigrapha as a group, save E. Turdeaunu's essays in Apocryphes slaves et roumains. For something more readily to hand and quickly synoptic, see the "Introductions" and (the now somewhat dated) bibliographies prefacing each of these works in Charlesworth, I:91-100 (2 Enoch); 681-688 (Apocalypse of Abraham); Vol. II:143-155 (Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah); and 401-406 (Ladder of Jacob).

14. See the discussion of the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs and of Joseph and Aseneth by, respectively, H. C. Kee and C. Burchard, in Charlesworth, I:775-780 and II:177-201.

15. For examples of this earlier approach to apocalyptic literature, see J. Bright, A History of Israel: Third Edition (Philadelphia:1981) 428-457; G. von Rad, Theology of the Old Testament, tr. D. M. G. Stalker (NY:1965) II:300-315; idem, Wisdom in Israel, tr. J. D. Martin (NY:1972) 263-83; and D. S. Russell, The Method and Message of Jewish Apocalyptic (Philadelphia:1964), esp. 73-103. More recently, however, see R. A. Horsely and J. S. Hanson, Bandits, Prophets and Messiahs: Popular Movements at the Time of Christ (San Francisco:1985) 135-89 on the continuation of prophecy into NT times, and S. L. Cook, Prophecy and Apocalypticism: The Post-Exilic Social Setting (Minneapolis:1995), esp. 19-84, proposing that the primary matrix of later apocalyptic literature and thought was the Temple establishment of post-Exilic Palestine.

16. See Himmelfarb, Ascent to Heaven, 5-6; and, at greater length on 1 Enoch, M. Dean-Otting, Heavenly Journeys: A Study of the Motif in Hellenistic Jewish Literature (Frankfurt am Main:1984) 39-58; and J. Collins, The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to the Jewish Matrix of Christianity (NY:1984) 1-32 and 35-46. On the roots of the Enochic literature in the Ancient Near East, see G. Widengren, The Ascension of the Apostle and the Heavenly Book (Uppsala:1950) 7-37. On the relationship of this Enochic and related literature to Christian origins and asceticism, see R. Murray, "Jews, Hebrews and Christians: Some Needed Distinctions", NT 24.4 (1982) 195-208; idem, "'Disaffected Judaism' and Early Christianity: Some Predisposing Factors", in To See Ourselves as Others See Us (Chico, CA:1985) 263-81; M. Barker, quite radically, in The Great Angel: A Study of Israel's Second God (Louisville:1992), esp. 190-231; and, most recently, C. Fletcher-Louis, Luke-Acts: Angels, Christology, and Soteriology (Tübingen:1997) 72-107 and 137-215, esp. 145-56.

17. Himmelfarb, Ibid. 3, distinguishes eight apocalypses of ascent written between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D. These include: "The Book of the Watchers" (=1 Enoch 1-36, esp. 14); "The Similitudes of Enoch" (=1 Enoch 37-71, esp. 71); 2 Enoch; The Ascension of Isaiah; The Testament of Levi (esp. chps. 2-5 and 8); The Apocalypse of Zephanaiah; The Apocalypse of Abraham; and 3 Baruch.

18. C. Rowland, The Open Heaven: A Study of Apocalyptic in Judaism and Early Christianity (NY:1982) 14 and 76.

19. J. Collins, "Towards the Morphology of a Genre", Semeia 14 (1979) 9.

20. G. Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (Jerusalem: 1941, rep. 1973), esp. 40-79; idem, Jewish Gnosticism, Merkabah Mysticism and the Talmudic Tradition (NY:2nd ed. 1965); and, idem, On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead: Basic Concepts in the Kabbalah, tr. J. Neugroschel (NY:1991), esp. 15-55.

21. See, for example, I. Gruenwald, Apocalyptic and Merkabah Mysticism (Leiden:1980), C. R. A. Morray-Jones, "Transformational Mysticism in the Apocalyptic-Merkabah Tradition", JJS 43 (1992) 1-31; and, on this current among the Qumran sectaries, idem, "The Temple Within: The Embodied Divine Image and Its Worship in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Early Jewish and Christian Sources", SBL Seminar Papers 37.1 (1998) 400-431, together with J. Baumgarten, "The Qumran Sabbath Shirot and the Rabbinic Merkabah Tradition", Revue de Qumran 13 (1988) 199-213. For an important analysis of the hekalot texts as varying medival compilations of much earlier pericopae, however, see P. Schäfer, "Aufbau und redaktionelle Identität der Hekhalot Zutarti", JJS 33 (1982) 569-82, and for criticism of Scholem at greater length, D. Halperin, Faces in the Chariot: Early Jewish Responses to Ezekiel's Vision (Tübingen:1988), esp. 1-114. For the critical texts of the hekalot literature, see P. Schäfer, Synopse zur Hekhalot Literatur (Tübingen:1981), as well as Schäfer's four volume set of translations into German, Übersetzung der Hekhalot Literatur (Tübingen:1987, 1989, 1991, and 1995). In English, see P. Alexander's translation of 3 Enoch in Charlesworth I:223-315, as well as M. S. Cohen, The Shi'ur Qomah: Texts and Recensions (Tübingen:1985). On kavod, glory, in the OT, see M. Weinfeld, dwbk, Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, ed. G. J. Botterwick, H. Ringgren, and H.-J. Fabry, tr. D. E. Green (Grand Rapids:1995) 7:22-38; and, in the OT and NT, the older but still valuable article on dovxa by G. Kittel, TDNT 3:233-53; and see also P. Deseille, "Gloire de Dieu", DSp 6:421-63, for a sketch, if without reference to the Jewish background, of the word's use in early and medieval Christian literature.

22. Thus the inclusion within Semeia 14 of A. J. Saladini's article, "Apocalypses and 'Apocalyptic' in Rabbinic Literature and Mysticism", 187-205.

23. Himmelfarb, Ascent to Heaven, 3, citing the translation by A. Pennington, in H. F. D. Sparks, ed., The Apocryphal Old Testament (Oxford:1984), 337-338. On the heavenly temple, see also, for example, P. Prigent, Apocalypse et liturgie (Neuchatel/Paris:1964) 7-13 and 46-68; J. Levenson, Sinai and Zion: An Entry into the Jewish Bible (San Francisco:1985) 89-184, esp. 179-184; G. Vermes, "Introduction", The Dead Sea Scrolls in English (3rd ed., Pelican:1990) 46-51; A. Acerbi, L'Ascensione di Isaia: Christologia e profetismo in Siria nei primi decenni del II Secolo (Milano:1989) 50-56; and J. Collins, "A Throne in the Heavens: Apotheosis in pre-Christian Judaism", in J. Collins and M. Fishbane, editors, Death, Ecstasy, and Otherworldly Journeys (Albany:1995) 43-58.

24. Ibid., 9-46.

25. Ibid., 56, citing J. M. T. Barton's translation in Sparks, Apocryphal OT 801.

26. Filokaliva III:342; ET: Ware et alii, IV:158 (translation slightly amended).

27. On St. Paul's use of Moses and Ex 33-34 in 2 Cor 3:3, see A. Segal, Paul the Convert: The Apostolate and Apostasy of Saul the Pharisee (New Haven:1990), 58-61; and C. C. Carey, Paul's Glory Christology: Tradition and Rhetoric (Leiden:1992), 229-235.

28. See Himmelfarb, Ascent 17, on Ezk 47:1 ff. in apocalyptic generally, esp. the flowing river of fire from beneath the heavenly throne; also R. Brown, The Gospel of John, The Anchor Bible 29, (NY:1966) I:320-324; and J. P. Swete, Revelation (Philadelphia:1979) 307-311, for the prophet's eschatological river in the Fourth Gospel and Apocalypse. On "sober drunkeness", see H. Lewy, Sobra ebrietas: Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der antiken Mystik, ZNW 9 (Giessen: 1929).

29. See Epistle of Barnabas 11 (PG 2:757B); Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 70 (PG 6:641A); also Hippolytus, De Antichristo 44.9 (PG 10:761A-4A), in the third century (and interesting for its linkage of Is 33:17 with Dan 7:13); and in the later fourth and early fifth centuries, Apollinaris, Fragmenta in Psalmos 67.3 (text in E. Mühlenberg, ed., Psalmenkommentaren aus der Katenenüberlierferung, Band I [Berlin:1975] 26-27); Didymus the Blind, De Trinitate 32 (PG 39:428), included in a string of scriptural praises of Christ which, most interestingly in light of the merkavah traditions' link with Ezekiel, joins Isaiah 33:17 immediately to Ezk 3:12 (and see our discussion below and n.33 on the "eternal place"); Cyril of Alexandria, Comm. in Isaiam (PG 70:729D-32A) ; and Theodoret of Cyrrhus, Comm. in Isaiam (PG 91:388AB). The most important for my purposes, however, and discussed above, remain Eusebius, Commentarius in Isaiam 2.5, GCS (1975) 217:17-21; Aphrahat, Demonstration VI.1, PS I:252, lines 7-9: yhwn|y[ Nyzj|n hrpwcb aklml alkn Nm hbl akdmd Nm, and cf. also, for an echo elsewhere in Aphrahat of the apocalyptic ascent tradition, Dem XIV.35, 661:6 - 664:7; and for comment, J. Rausch, "The Monastic Concept of Purity of Heart and Its Sources", Studia Monastica 11.2 (1969), 281-282, who rightly discerns a recollection here of 1 Enoch and parallels. See also M.-J. Pierre's remarks, in Aphraate le sage persan: Les Exposés, SC 349 (1988) 947, n. 269.

30. The MT of Is. 33:17 is ^yny[ hnyzjt wypyb ^lm, where wypyb (byaphyo), "in his beauty", is rendered hrpwcb (bshuphreh, "in his beauty") in the Peshitta, and meta; dovxh" ("with glory") in the LXX. On the LXX deployment of dovxa to cover a number of related, theophanic terms in the Hebrew, see Carey, Paul's Glory Christology 134-53.

31. P. Schäfer, Konkordanz zur Hekhalot Literatur (Tübingen:1986) I:300, for "the king in his beauty"; and, idem, Synopse, paragraphs 407-412, pp.172-4, for the passages from Hekalot Zutarti. For the German translation, idem, Übersetzung III:145-152.

32. I know of no studies devoted to this question, but see A. Scharf, Byzantine Jewry: From Justinian to the Fourth Crusade (NY:1971), 168-70, for at least the mention of Cabbalists in Byzantine territories at or around the time of Nicetas, and, earlier, S.W. Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews, vol. VIII: Philosophy and Science (NY:1958) 30-31, who indeed argues for medieval Jewish mysticism as stemming from Byzantine Jewry. On Syrian Christian use of Jewish traditions, see S. Brock, "Jewish Traditions in Syriac Sources", JJS 30 (1979) 212-232; and particularly for Aphrahat's acquaintance with Jewish thought, N. Koltun-Fromm, "A Jewish-Christian Conversation in Fourth-Century Iran", JJS 47 (1996) 45-63. See also Nicetas' own work, Against the Jews, which I think displays a certain greater familiarity with Jewish thought, particularly in paragraph 10's description of the Word incarnate in the "letters" (gravmmata) which comprise the Torah (SC, p. 424), than one might expect, together with a surprisingly sympathetic (other than the opening citation of Jer 4:5-5:20) approach, e.g., the closing reference in paragraph 24 to R 11:26 (440-442) with its invocation of a unity within the "Israel of God" that demands the inclusion of both Christians and Jews. I cannot think offhand of a more pleasingly eirenic recourse to R 9-11 in either patristic or later Byzantine literature. For Christian-Jewish relations in Byzantium, and perhaps for modern ecumenism as well, this little treatise of Nicetas might repay closer attention than I can give it here.

33. Of some note, perhaps, is the use in Rabbinic literature of maqom as itself a divine name whose resonances overlap with those of the Shekinah. See in this regard E. E. Urbach, The Sages: Their Concepts and Beliefs, tr. I. Abrahams (Jerusalem:1975; rep. Cambridge, MA:1995) 37-79, esp. 66-79.

34. See my discussion of Evagrius on Ex. 24:10 below.

35. On ParadiseVIII.53 (SC, p. 216) for the "palace of Christ"; II.19 (176) for the "greater world" and inner "paradise", and for " the great world in the small", On the Soul 27 (88). For similar evocations of the inner "paradise" and/or "palace", see C II.12 (Filokaliva III:301; ET IV:110); II.44 (308;119); II.50 (310;121); III.23 (331;146); III.38-39 (335;149-150); On the Soul XI.60 (SC, p.122); On Paradise VIII.58 (224); Ep. 6.2 (260-2); 6.9 (270); and 6.10 (272).

36. Ep. 6.8-10 (SC, pp. 268-272), on the "inner paradise" and "throne of the Trinity", in the course of a discussion of 2 Cor 12:2-4. For the divine throne: 1) as theological problem, not to be considered kat! ai[sqhsin, see Ep. 5.6-10 (252-258) -- and note that the discussion begins with the issue of the supporting cherubim, thus recalling Ezk. 1 and the hekalot literature; 2) as the inner Presence, see C II.42 (Fil.308; ET 118); II.50 (310-11;121), God descending upon the intellect "as upon a throne"; III.49 (338;153-54); and 3), relatedly, see III.26 (332;146), for souls as "like cherubim", i.e., bearing the throne, and the virtues as like "chariots" in III.95 (353;171). For the soul as "altar" (qusiasthvrion), "temple" (naov"), "sanctuary" (aJgiasthvrion), "place" (tovpo"), "dwelling place" (katoikhthvrion), "house" (oi\ko"), "mountain [of God]" (o{ro"), and "tabernacle" (skhnhv) -- in short, the language of the temple and so, relatedly, of theophany and divine indwelling, see: C I.25 (Fil.278; ET 85); I.49 (284;91); I.54 (285;93); II.38 (307;117); II.49 (310;120); II.63 (314; 125); III.16 (330;144); III.52 (339-40;155), referring to Tabor; III.55 (340-1;156), Zion and "house of God"; III.60 (342;158); III.79 (348-9;165); On the Soul IX.51 (SC, p.114); and On Paradise II.20 (176).

37. C III.16 (Fil. 330; ET 144, tr. slightly amended). For other references to concelebration with or otherwise becoming like the angels, see just below, as well as: I.90 (Fil. 295; ET 103); II.47 (309;120); II.63 (314;125); III.99 (354-5;172-3); Vie 33 (p.44); 113 (156); 133-4 (192-7); On the Soul III.16 (SC, pp. 78-80); X.54 (116); XIII.70-71 (132-4); XIV.79-80 (144-6); XV.83 (150); On Hierarchy I.2-4 (302-4); VII.59 (356-8); On the Canons 10 (474); and On Studite Customs 1 (486-8). Both of the latter two citations speak of the ties between the heavenly and earthly liturgies.

38. C II.43 (Fil. 308; ET 118, tr. slightly amended).

39. On Hierarchy III.22-3 (SC, pp. 326-8), and recall our remarks drawn above from Himmelfarb, Ascent 35-6 and 55-6. I cannot offhand recall any instance in the ancient apocalypses where the several angelic hymns in the different heavens are quoted, but this does occur in the merkavah texts. Thus see, for example, Ma'aseh Merkavah 6, cited at length in Morray-Jones, "The Temple Within" 416-17 (Hebrew in Schäfer, Synopse 555, pp. 209-10): each of the angelic choirs in the seven heavens has its own hymn, starting with the trisavgion in the first heaven. On this text from Nicetas' On Hierarchy and its relation at once to Symeon New Theologian and Dionysius Areopagites, including their common stress on the liturgies of heaven and earth as both "inner" and "outer" realities, see A. Golitzin, "Hierarchy vs. Anarchy? Dionysius Areopagites, Symeon New Theologian, Nicetas Stethatos, and Their Common Roots in Ascetical Traditon", SVThQ 38.2 (1994) 131-179, here 142-152 and ff.

40. Ibid. V.37-8 (SC, pp. 340-2). The recollection of Origen comes from In Mt, PG 13:161BC, which I found cited by I. Hausherr, Spiritual Direction in the Early Christian East, tr. A. Gythiel (Kalamazoo:1990) 22.

41. Ibid. V.39 (SC, p. 342). On the knowledge of "heavenly mysteries", recall Rowland's remarks above on this as a virtual definition of apocalyptic, and then note the frequent use of this and like phrases -- "hidden mysteries", "unutterable mysteries" (surely a recollection of 2 Cor 12:4's a[rjrJhta rJhvmata), "mysteries of the Kingdom", "God's mysteries", etc. -- in Nicetas. See C I.1 (Fil. 273; ET 79); I.9 (275;81); I.45 (283;90); I.63 (288;96); I.89 (294;103); II.40 (307;117); II.41 (307-8;118); II.49 (310;120); II.61 (313-14; 124); II.64 (314;125); II.67 (315;127); II.91 (322;134); III.13 (329;143); III.16 (330;144); III.20 (331;145); III.31 (333;148); III.37 (334;149); III.43-4 (336-7;151-2); III.72 (346;163); III.80 (349;166); III.83 (350;167); III.86 (351;168); Ep. VIII.2 (SC, pp. 280-2); On Limits 26 (390); and New Heavens 1 (508). For an echo of this language in a late fourth century, ascetic writer, see the Letters of Ammonas VIII (Syriac version), and Ammonas' prayer for his correspondent that the Spirit reveal to him "all the mysteries of heaven" ( any|mc azar| lwk), PO 10:587, line 10; and cf. also my remarks on Nicetas' fourth century roots in Part IV below, together with nn. 47, 58-61, 66, and 83-4.

42. On the several titles: for 1) mesivth", see C I.35 (Fil. 281; ET 88); 2) hJgouvmeno", see Vie, chps. 35-58 (pp. 46-78); 3) nomoqevth", see On Hier II.11 (314); 4) oJdhgov", see C II.10 (300;110); 5) didavskalo", see C II.10 (300;110); Vie, chps. 10-12 (pp. 18-22); chp. 149 (220-222); Ep. VII.7 (280); and On Limits 32-34 (394-8); 6) ijatrov", see C II.11 (301;110); and II.22-23 (303-4;113); 7) nazirai'o", see C II.7 (300;109); 8) profhvth", see C II.34 (306;116); II.63 (314;125); II.66 (315;126); III.58 (341-2;157); III.89 (352;169); and On Limits 27 (390-2), on "false prophets"; 9) sofov", see III.44 (336-7;151-2); III.54 (340;156) lit., partaking of wisdom; and, negatively, On the Canons 1-2 and 9 (464-6 and 472); 10) fivlo" tou' qeou', fivlo" tou' aJgivou pneuvmato", see C II.34 (306;116); and III.58 (341;157); 11) path;r pneumatikov", see C II.53-4 (311;122); III.12 (329;143), on spiritual begetting; and Vie, chps. 35-58 (pp. 46-78); 12) qeolovgo", see C III.44 (337;151-2); Vie, chp. 150 (p. 224); and On Hier V.37 (340); 13) ajpovstolo", see On Hier. V.36 (338); 14) a[ggelo" ejpivgeio", a[nqrwpo" oujravnio", see C II.51 (311;121); Vie, chp. 113 (p. 156); On Soul III.16 (78); and X.54 (116).

43. Vie, chp. 5 (p. 10, lines 20-21): to;n aujtou' patevra ejk dexiw'n parestw'ta th'" dovxh" oJrw'n tou' qeou'. See also chp. 90 (p. 124, lines 17-18) where the speaker is Symeon himself: "You were shown to me standing at the right hand of God", wJ" ejmoi ejdeivcqh" ejk dexiw'n tou' qeou' paristavmeno", and note the New Theologian's prayer just above (line 16) to become th'" aujth'" soi dovxh" koinwnov".

44. Ibid., chp. 5 (pp. 8-10): "He [Symeon] received the power to see by virtue of the light and, behold, he saw the form of a brilliant cloud, without form or shape, and full of the ineffable Glory of God at the height of heaven, and he saw his own [spiritual] father, Symeon the Pious, standing at the right hand of this great cloud [ejn gou'n tw/' toiouvtw/ fwti; ejnergouvmeno" ei\de, kai; ijdou; ei\do" fwteinotavth" nefevlh" ajmovrfou te kai; ajschmativstou kai; plhvrou" ajrjrJhvtou dovxh" qeou' eij" to; u{yo" tou' oujranou', ejk dexiw'n de; th'" toiauvth" nefevlh" iJstavmenon eJwvra to;n eJautou' patevra Sumewvnhn to;n eujlabh']". So see also Symeon's own description in Catechetical Discourse 22, SC 104, pp. 102-4; ET: C. de Catanzaro, tr., Symeon the New Theologian: The Discourses (NY:1980) 246.

45. Apoc.Abr 10:3-16; Charlesworth I:693-4. Note also Jaoel teaching Abraham the angelic song, which he is to "recite unceasingly", in 17:4-21 (697), followed by the patriarch's vision of the merkavah and "indescribable light" in the seventh heaven, 18:3-13 (698). On the important relationship of this pseudepigraphon to the later hekalot tradition of visionary ascent, see Gruenwald, Apocalyptic and Merkabah 52-57: particularly the elements of fasting, angelic song, and unceasing repetition. The last is perhaps of interest in view of the ancient monastic emphasis on "unceasing prayer", and especially so in light of later developments regarding the "Jesus Prayer". Though I know of no one who has sought to link the latter with ancient apocalyptic, even though the expression "pray without ceasing" is attested as early as the first century in St. Paul (I Thess 5:17), let alone chart its parallels in the hekalot texts, the possibilities seem nonetheless to be there and awaiting exploration. With regard to the hekalot literature, see the fascinating, eleventh-century Jewish text cited by Morray-Jones, "Temple Within" 425, with its near precise equivalence to later (?) Hesychast practice: "...who wishes to behold the Merkabah and the palaces... must sit in fast for a certain number of days and lay his head between his knees and whisper to the ground many hymns and songs...He then gazes into the inner rooms and chambers as if he were seeing the seven palaces with his own eyes." For a reliable summary of "unceasing prayer" in Eastern ascetic literature, see K. T. Ware, "Ways of Prayer and Contemplation: Eastern", in Christian Spirituality I:Origins to the Twelfth Century, ed. B. McGinn, J. Meyendorff, J. LeClerc (NY:1989) 395-414, esp. 402-12. Likewise, the related Byzantine Hesychast emphasis on the "uncreated light" seems to find an analogue in the Rabbinic "splendor of the Shekinah [hnykvh wyz]". On the latter, see I. Chernus, Mysticism in Rabbinic Judaism (Berlin/NY:1982), esp. the chapter "Nourished by the Splendor of the Shekinah" 74-87, and, for similar language in Symeon and Nicetas, above nn. 43-44 and below n. 53, together with nn. 83-4 on the fourth century Macarian Homilies and later works.

46. Asc Is 7:2 ff.; Charlesworth II:165 ff.

47. See M. A. Knibb, "Introduction", Charlesworth II:145-6 for Asc Is, and R. Rubinkiewicz, "Introduction", Ibid. I:681-2, for Apoc Abr, and in greater detail for both, Turdeanu, Apocryphes slaves et roumains 145-200. It is clear that at least the Ascension had been circulating among Christian ascetics since virtually the time of its composition by a Christian group near Antioch in the early second century. Thus see Acerbi, L'Ascensione di Isaia 277-294. On this and other OT pseudepigrapha, such as 2 Enoch, as favored reading among the medieval Bogomils, see I. Ivanov, Bogomil Books and Legends (Sofia:1925) 131-227 (in Bulgarian). It was also, clearly, read and copied by Orthodox Slavic monks, and indeed by fouth century monks as well. Thus recall Athanasius' allusion above (and n. 9) to an apocryphal book of Isaiah, and cf. another late fourth century work, once again the Letters of Ammonas (Syriac version), here Ep. X, quoting Asc Is 8:21, the prophet's ascent to the seventh heaven, and then adding quite like Nicetas above: "... sunt homines super terram qui ad hanc mensuram pervenere", PO 10:594 (lines 12-13 Latin, with the Syriac above, line 11). If not the complete text of the ancient work, Nicetas may well have had available the Greek Legend of Isaiah, based on the apocryphon, and extant today in a twelfth century MS. See R. H. Charles, The Ascension of Isaiah (London:1900), xxvii-xxviii on the Legend, and 141-8 for an edition of the text with phrases from the ancient apocryphon marked in heavy type. For Nicetas' use of Isaiah as an illustration of the heavenly ascent and transformation, see C II.26 (Fil. 304; ET 114).

48. See again Golitzin, "Anarchy vs. Hierarchy?", and, expanding on the latter with further documentation of Symeon's admiration for Dionysius, esp. with regard to the language of mystical experience: I. Perczel, "Denys l'Aréopagite et Syméon le nouveau théologien", in Y. de Andia, ed., Denys l'Aréopagite et sa posterité en Orient et en Occident (Paris:1997) 341-57.

49. See Celestial Hierarchy 13.4, PG 3:304B-5D; crit. text: G. Heil and A. M. Ritter, Corpus Dionysiacum II (Berlin:1991) 46:22 - 49:1; ET: P. Rorem and C. Luibheid, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works (NY:1987) 179-180.

50. The usual account of the Dionysian hierarchies reads them as a kind of thinly Christianized adaptation of late Neoplatonist, triadic ontology, thus most recently in A. M. Ritter, "Gregor Palamas als Leser des Dionysios Pseudo-Areopagita", in Y. de Andia, Denys l'Aréopagite 565-79. For a contrary view, see A. Golitzin, Et introibo ad altare dei: The Mystagogy of Dionysius Areopagita (Thessalonica: 1994) 167-230 and 359-392, arguing that they are instead based in great part on ascetical traditions, esp. of Syrian provenance, and are designed to reconcile the ascetic visionary tradition with the sacramentally based polity of the Church. A striking illustration of this presence of ascetical tradition in the Areopagitica would be to compare Celestial Hierarchy 8.2 (240D; Heil/Ritter 34:14-16), "the all-embracing principle that beings of the second rank receive enlightenment from beings of the first rank" (ET: Luibheid/ Rorem 168), with Palladius' "Letter to Lausus", prefacing his Lausiac History, which offers a virtually identical statement about angelic mediation, including the triadic form, with the purpose of illustrating the principle of spiritual instruction and obedience, i.e., that no one may trust his own will, experiences or visions, but must test them against the counsel of those wiser than he: "The first order of beings have their learning from the most high Trinity, the second learns from the first, the third from the second, and so on ... Those who are higher in knowledge and virtue teach the lower.", ET: R. T. Meyer, Palladius: The Lausiac History, ACW 34 (NY:1964) 21; Greek text by C. Butler, The Lausiac History, Vol. II (Cambridge:1904) 7. Dionysius simply puts the bishop ("hierarch") in the place of the monastic elder, exactly the point of his exegesis here of Is 6:1-7.

51. See 3 Enoch 1:9 ff., tr. P. Alexander, in Charlesworth I:256 ff.

52. Ibid.15, I:267. See Morray-Jones, "Transformational Mysticism" 7-11; and M. Idel, "Enoch is Metatron", Immanuel 24/25 (1990) 220-40, esp. 231-7, on Enoch's experience here as that of exemplary mystic.

53. Vie, chps. 69-70 (pp. 92-6). For more citations from Symeon on the visio luminis, and a discussion of his sources for it in Scripture and the Fathers, though regrettably without reference either to apocalyptic literature or to parallels in later Jewish mysticism, see the consequently very preliminary remarks in A. Golitzin, St Symeon the New Theologian on the Mystical Life: The Ethical Discourses, Vol. III: Life, Times, Theology (Crestwood, NY:1997) 81-105; H. Alfeyev, "The Patristic Background of St. Symeon the New Theologian's Doctrine of the Divine Light", StP 32 (1997) 229-238 (very good for the echoes of Evagrius, Macarius, and Isaac); and J.A. McGuckin, "The Luminous Vision in Eleventh Century Byzantium: Interpreting the Biblical and Theological Paradigms of St. Symeon the New Theologian", in Work and Worship at the Theotokos Evergetis 1050-1200, ed. M. Mullett and A. Kirby (Belfast:1997) 90-123. For Nicetas' references to transforming glory, light, or, as in 3 Enoch 15 above, fire, see: C I.9 (Fil. 275; ET 81); I.20 (277;84); I.56 (286;93); I.63 (288;95-6); I.90 (295;103): "the divine realms [tovpoi] of glory"; I.94 (295-6;104); II.5 (299;108); II.43 (308;118); II.45 (309;119): "immaterial, primal light [aju?lou prwvtou fwtov"]"; II.50 (310-11;120-1): the "descent [katavbasi"]" of God in light on the "throne" of the intellect; II.100 (325;137-8): the eschaton anticipated in the experience of "eternal light"; III.20-1 (331;145); III.31 (333;148); III.37-8 (334-5;149-50); III.48 (338;153); III.82-3 (350;166-7); Vie chp. 5 (pp. 8-10); 9 (16-18); 19 (28); 23 (32); 29 (40); 33 (44); 90 (124); 111 (154); 133 (192-4); 143 (210-12); On Soul VI.30 (SC, p. 92); XI.61 (122-4); XIII.70 (132); and XIV.79 (144-6).

54. See again Nicetas' On the Soul 27 (SC, pp. 88-90) and n.35 above. With the expression, "interiorized apocalyptic", I also find myself happily, and quite by chance, mirroring in reverse Nicholas Constas' concluding observations, elsewhere in this volume, in "'To Sleep, Perchance to Dream': The Middle State of Souls in Patristic and Byzantine Literature": "In Byzantium, the afterlife was the inner life turned inside out and writ large upon the cosmos. The contours and dimensions of the inner world shaped the landscape of the outer world, producing an alternative world through the subjective transformation of self" -- apocalypse, in other words, as exteriorized mystical experience. We were both of us startled and, of course, delighted to find our respective contributions reflecting each other in this unexpected way. Our essays should therefore be read in concert, even though neither of us was aware of the other's work until literally hearing the paper read. Perhaps that very fact may be taken as a kind of confirmation of our two investigations, especially given that there is relatively little overlap in the texts each of us is considering.

55. Macarian Homilies, Collection III, Homily 8.1.5; text in SC 275, p. 144, line 50. For the great frequence in "Macarius" of just those NT texts cited above, together with other and related passages (e.g., Eph 4:13; Phil 3:21; etc.), see the citations in A. Golitzin, "Temple and Throne of the Divine Glory: Pseudo-Macarius and Purity of Heart", in Purity of Heart in Early Ascetic and Monastic Literature, ed. H. Luckman and L. Kulzer (Collegeville, MN:1999) 107-29, esp. 121-4, and as well in n. 84 below.

56. P. Brown, "The Rise and Function of the Holy Man in Late Antiquity", JRS 61 (1971) 80-101, now in expanded form in a collection which includes several of Brown's other essays on the subject, Society and the Holy in Late Antiquity (Berkeley:1982) 103-52.

57. For an account of Simeon Stylites which is peculiarly sensitive to the themes of this essay -- light and fire, transformation, converse with angels, identification with the prophets, and "new Moses" (recall Nicetas' nomoqevth" in n. 42 above, and cf. n. 58 below), etc. -- see S. A. Harvey, "Sense of a Stylite: Perspectives on Symeon the Elder", VChr 42 (1988) 376-94, esp. 381-6 on the Syriac Vita.

58. For the insistence on continuities with the prophets and apostles, see, e.g., the opening two paragraphs of the Vita Prima, with its implicit comparison of Pachomius to Abraham, Moses, the martyrs, Elijah, Elisha, and John the Baptist, in A. Veilleux, ed. and tr., The Pachomian Koinonia (Kalamazoo:1980)Vol. I:297-8, and for comment, see P. Rousseau, Ascetics, Authority, and the Church (Oxford:1978) 18-67; idem, Pachomius: The Making of a Community in Fourth Century Egypt (Berkeley:1985) 77-148; and esp. M. S. Burrows, "On the Visibility of God in the Holy Man: A Reconsideration of the Role of the Apa in the Pachomian Vitae", VChr 41 (1987) 11-33, for the themes of mediator, physician, law-giver and father --the imago Christi, in short -- and 22-3 for Burrows' offhand parallel of the Apa with the Rabbi as the latter appears in Talmudic literature. For Pachomius as intercessor, see The Tenth Sahidic Life, fragment VIII, in Veilleux I:457. Comparison with the apostles and prophets had become virtually formulaic by the time of Besa's Life of Shenute; see D. N. Bell's translation, The Life of Shenute by Besa (Kalamazoo:1983), e.g., pp. 41 and 48 ff. On the figure of the spiritual father in two other, fourth- century ascetics, see G. Bunge, Geistliche Vaterschaft: Christliche Gnosis bei Evagrios Pontikos (Regensburg:1988), esp. 33-36 (imitatio Christi), 40-4 ("true gnostic" and visio dei), 45-50 (physician and teacher), and 69-72 (the "mystagogue"); and H. Dörries, Die Theologie des Makarios/Symeon (Göttingen:1978), esp. 336-66 on "The Charismatic Teacher".

59. See BoLife 73, 76, and 184 in, respectively, Veilleux I:95-6, 99-100, and 219-20. All three are classical throne visions, the seated Majesty (here Christ) accompanied by the angels of the Presence, and cf. Pachomius' several ascents to Paradise in BoLife 114 (Veilleux I:166-8). A. Guillaumont, "Les visions mystiques dans le monachisme oriental chrétien", in idem, Aux origines du monachisme chrétien (Bellefontaine:1979) 139-142, perhaps put off by their 'primitive' quality, thinks these visions late and not genuinely Pachomian. I am not so persuaded. Thus see also the Pachomian Paraleipomena 18 (Veilleux II:40; Greek text in F. Halkin, S. Pachomii vitae graecae, SubsHag 19 [Brussels: 1932] 141-3, here 142, lines 13-14), and Pachomius' vision of Christ, "the Lord of Glory", as a "youth" (neanivsko") of "ineffable countenance" accompanied by angels, and cf. the introduction of Metatron as "youth", na'ar (r[n), in 3 Enoch 2:2. For comment on the latter, see Alexander's note 3a, in Charlesworth I:257; Scholem, Jewish Gnosticism 50-51; and, on its presence earlier in the Enochic tradition, A. A. Orlov, "Titles of Enoch-Metatron in 2 Enoch", Journal of the Pseudepigrapha 18 (1998) 71-86, esp. 80-82.

60. In the Historia monachorum in Aegypto, crit. text by A.-H. Festugière (Brussels:1971), see Patermuthis 21-22 (Festugière pp. 83-4), Sourous 5-7 (91-2), and Macarius 5-12 (125-6) for trips to Paradise and, in Sourous' case, to the heavenly court. On converse with angels, see Apollo 5-6 (48-9), 16-17 (52-3), 38-41 (62-3), 44-7 (63-5); Helle 1-4 (92-3) and 14-15 (96-7); Sourous 8 (92); and Paphnutius 23-4 (109-10). See also "Prologue" 5 (Festugière p. 7) on the "angelic life" of the monks, and John of Lycopolis 6 (34) on the monk as "standing in the presence of God" and participating in the angelic choirs. Note at the same time a clear instance of polemic against visions of the merkabah type in Or 9 (Festugière, p. 38), and cf. Palladius, Lausiac History 25.4-5 on the monk Valens, who is deceived by the devil posing as Christ atop a "fiery wheel" (trovco" puvrino"); Greek in Butler 80, line 1, ET in ACW, p. 85. Ananisho, Palladius' seventh-century translator into Syriac, renders the "fiery wheel" as a arwnd atbkrm, "chariot of fire" (CSCO 398, p.213, lines 13-14). Related to the polemic, see my remarks on Evagrius et alii, below n. 102, and at greater length in "Forma lui Dumnezeu si Vederea Slavei: Reflectii asupra Controversei Anthropomorphite din Annul 399 d. Hr.", in Hieromonah Alexander Golitzin, Mistagogia: Experienta lui Dumnezeu in Ortodoxie tr. I. Ica jr. (Sibiu:1998) 184-267, esp. 196-208 and 243 n.81. On the theme of monasticism as the "angelic life", though without reference to the OT Pseudepigrapha and Jewish background, see the older studies of P. Suso Frank, Angelikos Bios: Begriffsanalytische und begriffsgeschichtliche Untersuchung zum "engelgleichen Leben" im frühen Mönchtum (Münster Westfalen:1964), and P. Nagel, Die Motivierung der Askese in der alten Kirche und der Ursprung des Mönchtums (Berlin:1966), esp. 20-79.

61. Silvanus 2-3 (PG 65:409A). In Silvanus 3 the old man's disciple asks him what he saw in a trance. After much insistence, the elder finally tells him: "I was caught up into heaven [eij" to;n oujrano;n hJrpavghn] and saw the Glory of God [ei\don th;n dovxan tou' qeou'], and there I was standing [Jijstavmhn] until now, and now I have been sent away." The rapture, aJrpaghv, surely recalls 2 Cor 12:2 ff.; the visio dei gloriae is likewise out of apocalyptic throne visions, while the "standing" is itself a feature of angelic ministry before the throne in Jewish literature: "There is no sitting in heaven; the angels have no joints [i.e., to bend in order to sit]", yBerakot 2c, cited in Gruenwald, Apocalyptic and Merkabah Mysticism 66. Cf. also Symeon the Pious in nn. 43-4 above, paristavmeno", iJstavmeno", and John of Lycopolis, n.60. On monastic transformations into fire or light, see Arsenius 27 (PG 65:96BC), Joseph of Panephysis 7 (229CD), Pambo 12 (372A), Sisoes 14 (396BC), Silvanus 12 (412C), and, for brief comment, G. Gould, The Desert Fathers on Monastic Community (Oxford:1993) 177-82. See also, if from a polemical perspective (anti-Palamite) and with no sense of the Jewish background, the still valuable article by H. V. Beyer, "Die Lichtlehre der Mönche des vierzehnten und des vierten Jahrhunderts, erörtet am Beispiel des Gregorios Siniaites, des Evagrios Pontikos, und des Ps-Makarios/Symeon", JÖB 31.1 (1981) 473-512, and, more recently on the phenomenon, C. Stewart, Cassian the Monk (Oxford:1998) 55-60 and 114-122.

62. "The abba ... was the one who discerned reality and whose words, therefore, gave life ... the word that was sought was not a theological explanation, nor was it 'counseling' ... it was a word ... that would give life to the disciple if it were received." B. Ward, "Translator's Foreword" to The Desert Christian: The Sayings of the Fathers, the Alphabetical Collection (NY:1980) xix-xx.

63. Macarius the Egyptian 32 (PG 65:273D). See also Burrows, "On the Visibility of God" 16, applying the same expression to Pachomius. On the expression, ejpivgeioi a[ggeloi, as "the Jewish equivalent of the Hellenistic qei'oi a[ndre"", see Fletcher-Louis, Luke-Acts 201.

64. For Ephrem's Paradise Hymns, cited below, see E. Beck's edition of the critical text in CSCO 174, and ET by S. Brock, Hymns on Paradise (Crestwood, NY:1990). For the Liber Graduum, see M. Kmosko's critical text in PS III, and the ET of Mimro 12 (= PS III:284-304) by S. Brock, The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life (Kalamazoo:1987) 45-53. On Ephrem's links with Jewish traditions, see esp. N. Séd, "Les Hymnes sur paradis de saint Ephrem et les traditions juives", Le Muséon (1968) 455-501 -- esp. 468 and 482 for echoes of the hekalot texts and the Rabbinic shekinah-- and, more briefly, in Brock, "Introduction", Hymns on Paradise 39-74.

65. On Evagrius, the literature is large and growing. For the texts cited below, see W. Frankenberg, Evagrius Ponticus (Berlin:1912); A. Guillaumont, Kephalaia Gnostica, PO 28:17-257; A. and C. Guillaumont, Traité pratique ou le moine, SC 170-171; ET: J. E. Bamberger, The Praktikos and the Chapters on Prayer (Spencer, MA:1970); De oratione, under the name of Nilus of Sinai, PG 79:1165A-1290C, and Nicodemus Hagiorites, Filokaliva I:176-89; ET: Ware et alii, Philokalia I:55-71 . For secondary studies, see A. Guillaumont, Les 'Kephalaia Gnostica d'Évagre le Pontique (Paris:1962); idem, "Les visions mystiques" and "Un philosophe au désert: Évagre le Pontique", Aux origines 136-48 and 185-212; idem, "La vision de l'intellect par lui-même dans la mystique évagrienne", Mélanges de l'Université St. Joseph 50.1-2 (Beirut:1984) 255-262; N. Séd, "La shekinta et ses amis 'araméens'", in Mélanges Antoine Guillaumont: Contribution à l'étude des christianismes orientaux, ed. P. Cramer, Cahiers d'Orientalisme XX (1988) 233-242; G. Bunge, "On the Trinitarian Orthodoxy of Evagrius of Pontus", Monastic Studies 17 (1987) 191-208; idem, "Nach dem Intellekt Leben? Zum sogenannten 'Intellektualismus' der evagrianischen Spiritualität", in Simandron, der Wachklopfer: Gedankenschrift für Klaus Gamber, ed. W. Nyssen (Köln:1989) 95-109; idem, "Palladiana I: Introduction aux fragments coptes de l'Histoire Lausiaque", Studia Monastica 33 (1991) 7-21; and J. Driscoll, The Mind's Long Journey to the Holy Trinity: the Ad Monachos of Evagrius Ponticus (Collegeville, MN:1993).

66. "Macarius", not the writer's actual name which remains unknown, has come down to us in four medieval collections. The oldest, Collection IV, has not yet appeared in a critical text. The other three include V. Desprez' edition of Collection III for SC, cited above n.55; H. Dörries, E. Klostermann, and M. Kröger, ed.s, Collection II, Die 50 geistlichen Homilien des Makarios (Berlin:1964); H. Berthold's edition of Collection I, Makarios/Symeon. Reden und Briefen: Die Sammlung I des Vaticanus Graecus 694 (B) (Berlin:1973); and R. Staats' of the Great Letter, Makarios-Symeon: Epistola Magna (Göttingen:1980). Secondary works of particular note include: H. Dörries, Symeon von Mesopotamien. Die Überlieferung des messalianischen Makarios-Schriften (Leipzig:1941); idem, Die Theologie des Makarios/Symeon; G. Quispel, "Sein und Gestalt" in Studies in Religion and Mysticism Presented to Gershom Scholem (Jerusalem:1967); idem, Makarios, das Thomasevangelium, and das Lied von der Perle (Leiden:1967) (very suggestive for Macarius' background in both the Thomas tradition and Jewish thought); R. Staats, "Messalianerforschung und Ostkirchenkunde", Makarios Symposium über das Böse, ed. W. Strothmann (Göttingen:1983) 47-71; V. Desprez, "Introduction" SC 275, 13-70; idem, "Le baptême chez le Pseudo-Macaire", Ecclesia Orans V (1988) 121-155; C. Stewart, "Working the Earth of the Heart": The Messalian Controversy in History, Texts, and Language to A.D. 431 (Oxford:1991); K. Fitschen, Messalianismus und Antimessalianismus: Ein Beispiel ostkirchlicher Ketzergeschichte (Göttingen:1998); and see also A. Golitzin, "Hierarchy vs Anarchy?" 157-62; Et introibo 373-385; and "Temple and Throne of the Divine Glory".

As the bibliography indicates, much space has been devoted to Macarius' place in the "Messalian" controversy of ca. 380-431, with a great deal of confessional polemic clouding the picture. Staats, Desprez, Stewart, and Fitschen have been instrumental for clearing Macarius of the heretical Messalian charge and revealing him as instead, in Desprez' phrase, standing at the "confluence" ("Intro", SC 275, pp. 54-6) of several different currents of tradition -- Greek Alexandrian, Cappadocian, and Syrian Christian, including the Thomas tradition and Manicheanism. Quispel's suggestion of continuities with Jewish traditions has, unfortunately, not been taken up by the scholarship, save for some very preliminary efforts in my "Temple and Throne of the Divine Glory". It is a subject which awaits investigation and promises considerable results, up to and including, I believe, the sources of "Messalianism" itself in apocalyptic ascent and vision traditions. On the antiquity of these currents in Christianity, especially in Christian Syria, see the essays collected in J. Fossum's The Image of the Invisible God: Essays on the Influence of Jewish Mysticism on Early Christology (Göttingen:1995); again A. Acerbi, L'Ascensione di Isaia 83-98 and 210-53; and A. DeConick, Seek to See Him: Ascent and Vision Mysticism in the Gospel of Thomas (Leiden:1996) 21-3, and 41-147 on ascent, Christ as Glory, and the visio dei luminis. On the Gospel of Thomas as our oldest source for the use of the word, monacov", to signal a Christian ascetic, see esp. F. E. Morard, "Monachos, Moine. Histoire du terme grecque jusqu'au IVe siècle", Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Theologie 20 (1973) 332-411, and esp. on Thomas, 362-77.

67. For an argument that the Liber Graduum is in fact older, see Fitschen, Messalianismus 108-119, who reckons it as contemporary with Aphrahat, i.e., mid-fourth century.

68. For a synoptic sketch of these parallels, see the chart which Brock supplies in Hymns on Paradise 53, and the brief discussion in Golitzin, Et introibo 368-71.

69. De par 3.16 (CSCO 174, p.12; ET: Brock 96). On Adam as priest and Eden as sanctuary in the OT Pseudepigrapha -- Jubilees in particular -- and in Rabbinic thought, see G. Anderson, "Celibacy or Consummation in the Garden? Reflections on Early Jewish and Christian Interpretations of the Garden of Eden", HTR 82.2 (1989) 121-48, citing Ephrem in 142-5.

70. Ibid. 2.12; 3.1, 6, and 12-13 (CSCO pp. 7, 9, and 11; ET: pp. 88-89, 92, and 94-5). See also Séd, "Les Hymnes sur Paradis" 482, on shekinto in Ephrem and the Rabbinic shekinah.

71. PS III:293, lines 23-24 and 296, lines 8-10 (ET: Brock 49). On the Liber's and Macarius' coordination of the churches of heaven, earth, and the heart, its setting, background and future in Syrian Christianity, see R. Murray, Symbols of Church and Kingdom: A Study in Early Syriac Tradition (Cambridge:1975) 262-76; Desprez, "Le baptême" 125-30; S. Brock, "Fire from Heaven: From Abel's Sacrifice to the Eucharist. A Theme in Syrian Christianity" StP 25 (1993) 229-243; and C. Stewart, "Working the Earth of the Heart" 218-221. On the presence and continuity of this coordination in later Byzantine theology, including Dionysius, Symeon and Nicetas, see Golitzin, "Anarchy vs. Hierarchy?", and, drawing instead chiefly on Maximus Confessor and without mention of the Syrians (or of either Dionysius or Symeon), M. Van Parys, "La liturgie du coeur chez S. Grégoire le Sinaïte", Irénikon 51 (1978) 312-37.

72. Ibid. 288, line 23-289, line 1 (46).

73. Mimro 15, PS III:373, lines 12-13.

74. Mimro 12, 289, lines 14-22 (Brock 46).

75. Berthold, Makarios/Symeon. Reden und Briefen, Vol. II:139, lines 7-9 (ET: Golitzin, "Anarchy vs. Hierarchy" 177).

76. Ibid. 139, line 40-140, line 2.

77. Ibid. 140, lines 3-8 (ET: Golitzin 177-8).

78. Ibid. 141, lines 13-15 (178-9). I am borrowing the use and sense here of the expression, "geography" of the Church, from A. Louth, Denys the Areopagite (Wilton, CT:1989) 54-5.

79. Ibid. 142, lines 9-16 (179).

80. Collection II, Homily 1.1-2; Dörries, Die 50 geistlichen Homilien, pp. 1-2; ET: G. Maloney, Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter (NY:1992) 37-8. Cf. also Hom. 33.2 (Dörries 258-9; Maloney 202) for Ezekiel's chariot as a type of the soul.

81. Scholem, Major Trends 79. I know of no one in Macarian studies who has picked up on Scholem's observation here, even though it is so obviously right.

82. Homiliy 8.3 (Dörries 78-79; Maloney 81-2).

83. Ibid. (79; 82). On the notion of the luminous robe, or robe of light, see S. Brock, "Clothing Metaphors as a Means of Theological Expression in Syriac Tradition", Typus, Symbol, Allegorie bei den östlichen Vätern und ihren Parallelen im Mittelalter, ed. M. Schmidt and C. F. Geyer (Regensburg:1982) 11-38, and relatedly, A. Goshen-Gottstein, "The Body as Image of God in Rabbinic Literature", HTR 87.2 (1994) 171-95, esp. 178-83 and 190-5 on the "body of light". Cf. also the clothing of Thomas with the robe of light which carries -- or equates with -- the imago dei, and therewith his ascent to the "gate of greeting" to worship Christ, the "Radiance [fevggo"] of the Father", in the Acta Thomae 112-13, ed. M. Bonnet, Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha Vol. II.1 (1903, rep. Hildesheim:1959) 223-4; ET: New Testament Apocrypha Vol. II: Writings Related to the Apostles, Apocalypses and Related Subjects, ed. W. Schneemelcher, tr. R. McL. Wilson (rev. ed., Louisville:1992) 384-5. Macarius' robe and vision of light, via the Thomas literature, are clearly in the lineage of Jewish traditions, and, just as clearly, Nicetas and his master are in continuity with Macarius. Thus see above, nn. 36-7 and 53, and below, n. 84.

84. For the expression, ajpo; tou' nu'n, see, for example, in Collection I: Homilies 33.3.6 (Berthold Vol. II:31, line 14); 34.1 (34, lines 4-5); 50.2.3 (127, line 1); 54.4.6 (157, line12); and 58.2.5 (184, line 25). Each of these citations occurs in a context which is clearly related to that current we have tracing, e.g., the heavenly "palaces" in the first example as now an interior reality, and in the remarkable catena of texts -- 2 Cor 4:6, Ps 12:4, Ps 118:18, Ps 42:3, Acts 26:13 ff (Paul's conversion, the light on the Damascus road), I Cor 15:48, Jn 3:6, Jn 1:13, I Cor 14:49 (the "man from heaven), R 13:14, Phil 3:21 (Christ's "body of glory"), and I Cor 2:9 -- which Macarius uses in Hom. 58 to support his insistence that the heavenly light which comes to the blessed even in this life is not a novhma, a creation of the human intellect, but a bevbaion uJpostatiko;n fw'" (183, lines 14-15). 2 Cor 4:6, I Cor 15:48-9, and Phil 3:21 are also particularly redolent of the Jewish background of the "luminous image" and "body of light". See thus above, n.83, and A. Segal, Paul the Convert 9-22, on the Lucan account of Paul's conversion, and 58-64 on "Paul's Mystical Vocabulary", where several of the same texts that Macarius cites here turn up in Segal's argument for the Apostle as a first century "witness to merkabah mysticism" (Paul the Convert 11). Along these same lines, see also J. Tabor, Things Unutterable: Paul's Ascent to Heaven in its Greco-Roman, Judaic, and Early Christian Contexts (Lanham, MD:1986), esp. 11-21 and 83-97 on merkabah elements in Paul; and, more recently, C. R. A. Morray-Jones, "Paradise Revisited (2 Cor 12:1-12): The Jewish Mystical Background of Paul's Apostolate", HTR 86 (1993) 177-217 and 265-92. See thus again above, n.36, for Nicetas on the ascent of 2 Cor 12 as denoting entry into the "inner Paradise" and before the "throne of the Trinity". Cf. Symeon on the same text and the light of the Trinity in Ethical Discourse III, SC 122, pp. 247-309, together with Alfeyev, "The Patristic Background", on Symeon's sources for the divine light, and Golitzin, Symeon the New Theologian: Life, Times, Theology 182 and n.27 on this interpretation of the Pauline text in Gregory Palamas, Triads I.iii.5 and 21-22, together with E. Lanne, "L'interprétation palamite de la vision de Saint Benoît", Le millénaire de Mont Athos (Venezia:1963) II:21-47. Taken all together, the outlines of a remarkable continuity seem to me to be unmistakable. Thus, and given esp. his complete and quite pardonable innocence of any acquaintance with Eastern Christianity (as evident, e.g., in his remarks in Paul the Convert 61), Segal's merkabah-inspired account of Paul's mysticism, Christology, and soteriology as amounting in sum to a sketch of the central Eastern Christian doctrine of theosis -- down to and including what is effectively an early version of the fourteenth-century Hesychasts' mysticism of the "uncreated light"! -- is almost eerie.

85. Collection II, Homily 15.33 (Dörries p. 146; Maloney pp. 120-1).

86. Collection II, 46.4 (Dörries 303; Maloney 231).

87. For example: "Evagrius established the categories [of Eastern Christian spirituality]; Macarius ... provided the affective content", V. Desprez, "Macaire", DSp10:39.

88. See above, n. 65. For a handy (if slightly dated) sketch of the Evagrian inheritance, Bamberger, The Praktikos and the Chapters on Prayer xlviii-lix.

89. De malignis cogitationibus 24, PG 79:1228C.

90. KG V.84, PO 28:213

91. Ep. 39; Frankenberg, Evagrius Ponticus 593; cf. also "Supplementary Chapters" 2, 4, and 25 (Frankenberg 425, 427, and 449).

92. Thus N. Séd on these passages as: " première intériorisation [of the Exodus theophany] dont nous ayons une attestation écrite", in "La shekinta et ses amis" 242. See also G. Bunge, "Nach dem Intellekt Leben?" 101-4, on Evagrius' related idea of the nou'" as "feeding on the bread of angels", a notion which I take as akin to the Rabbinic phrase for eschatological beatitude, "feeding on the splendor of the Shekinah", and which in turn is based, precisely, on an exegesis of Ex 24:10-11. For the Rabbis, see Chernus, Rabbinic Mysticism 75-6, on bBerakot 17a.

93. See, for example, J. M. Hussey, Church and Learning in the Byzantine Empire:867-1185 (Oxford:1937, rep. 1960), esp. 201-25; and R. Browning, The Byzantine Empire (rev. ed., Washington DC:1992) 141-2.

94. See Cat. Discourse 34, SC 113, lines 248-63; ET: de Catanzaro 354.

95. See the @Agioreivtiko" Tovmo", in Filokaliva IV:188-9; ET: Ware et al., IV:418-19. The passage is built on the explicit parallel between the prophets, who saw the Trinity then, and "those who have been purified through virtue" sufficiently in the present life to be vouchsafed the vision of the "mysteries" of the eschaton -- the holy ascetic fathers, in other words, as the continuation of the prophetic line, i.e., of the "grandfathers". On the "grandfathers" as also seers of the uncreated God in Eastern ascetico-mystical literature, see J. S. Romanides, "Notes on the Palamite Controversy and Related Topics", GOTR 6.2 (1960/1) 186-205, and 9.2 (1963/4) 225-70, esp. 194-205 and 257-62.

96. B. Krivocheine, "@O ajnuperhvfano" qeov": St. Symeon the New Theologian and Early Christian Popular Piety", StP 2 (1957) 485-94. On the MS tradition for the Greek of the Apocryphal Acts, see the accounting prior to the ET of each of the Acts in Schneemelcher II:104-6 (AAndrew); 156-9 (AJohn); 216-17 (APaul); 277-9 (APeter); 322-4 (AThomas). The MSS tend to cluster between the tenth and fifteenth centuries. The same holds for the three MSS of the related and remarkable, fourth century Acts of Phillip -- two of which are Athonite; see F. Amsler, F. Bovon, and B. Bouvier, Actes de l'apôtre Phillipe (Brepols:1996) 23-5. More generally on the widespread, medieval Byzantine regard for the apocryphal acts, see F. Bovon, "Byzantine Witness for the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles", in The Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, ed. F. Bovon, A.G. Brock, and C.R. Matthews (Cambridge, MA:1999) 87-98. I owe thanks to Professor Bovon for kindly sending an offprint of his article.

97. See again Hussey, Church and Learning 37-50 and 73-88, and Browning, Byzantine Empire138-41. We in fact owe much, perhaps exclusively, to Psellos and to a number of his students and contemporaries, e.g., John Italos (Hussey, 89-102), for the preservation of the texts of the later Neoplatonists.

98. See Dana Miller, "Introduction", The Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac the Syrian (Boston: 1984) lxxiv-vii and lxxxv-xciv on Isaac's rapid dissemination and translation. So far as I know, however, there is as yet no significant monograph on Isaac's thought and influence, one of the many glaring lacunae in the scholarship on Eastern Christianity.

99. See above, nn. 12-13 and 47.

100. On the frigid attitudes of the authorities toward the charismatic holy man which are frequent in late Macedonian and Comnene times, see K. Holl, Enthusiasmus und Bussgewalt beim griechischen Mönchtum (Leipzig:1898), esp. 291-301 on the twelfth century canonists; J. M. Hussey, Ascetics and Humanists in XIth Century Byzantium (London:1960); J. Gouillard, "Quatre procès de mystique à Byzance (vers 960-1143)", REB 36 (1978) 5-81; and P. Magdalino, "The Byzantine Holy Man in the Twelfth Century", in The Byzantine Saint: Studies Supplementary to Sobornost, ed. S. Hackel (London:1981) 51-66.

101. Brakke, Athanasius and the Politics of Asceticism 332.

102. Evagrius makes a special and repeated point of warning against the manifestation of "forms" in prayer in de oratione, e.g., esp. de orat. 73: ...oiJ daivmone"...uJpotivqentai ga;r aujtw/' (=tw/' nw/') dovxan qeou' kai; schmatismovn tina, in Fil I:183; ET I:64, "The demons ... suggest to it an illusion of the Glory of God in a form" (emphasis mine, tr. slightly amended). The point continues to be repeated, e.g., in Diadochus of Photiki's Gnostic Chapters 36 and 40, SC 5bis: pp. 105 and 107; and Dionysius Areopagita, Mystical Theology IV, PG 3:1040D (Heil/Ritter p. 148). Cf. above, n. 59, on Pachomius' visions, and nn. 60-61 on polemic vs chariot visions and Silvanus on seeing "the Glory", together with Golitzin, "Forma lui Dumnezeu" in Mistagogia 197-223 and 241-5, nn. 77-83. In the fourteenth century, see, e.g., Gregory of Sinai "On Prayer" 7, Fil IV:84-8; ET IV:271-6; and, relatedly, Gregory Palamas against visionary journeys "out of the body" in "On those who practice stillness" 4-8, Fil IV:126-8; ET IV:335-8.

103. See, e.g., Celestial Hierarchy II.5, PG 3:145B (Heil/Ritter 16, lines 7-13), where Dionysius cites the strange forms of the angels in (not stated, but evidently) Ezk 1 ff. as a spur for his own composition; also CH IV.3, 180C (22); Divine Names I.8, 645C (Suchla 132); IX.5, 912B-13B (209-10); and Ep. IX.1, 1105 BC (Heil/Ritter 196-7). Cf. also Romanides, "Notes on the Palamite Controversy", loc.cit. above, n. 95.

104. See again above n. 60, and for Symeon Stylites, see the Syriac Vita 3 and 98-9 on the manifestation of angels, 41 for the appearance of Christ atop the angelic ladder, and 42-3 for Elijah's brilliant form in the heavenly chariot; in R. Doran, The Lives of Symeon Stylites (Kalamazoo:1992) pp. 105, 171-2, 125-6, and 126-7, resp. In The Spiritually Edifying Tales of Paul, Bishop of Monembasia, ed. and tr. J. Wortley (Kalamazoo:1996), note the frequent appearances of angels with faces "bright as the sun", or robed with splendor and light, as in "The Man Called to Account" (Wortley, p. 70); "The Man Who Made his Confession" (73); "The Child Who Had a Vison at his Baptism" (93); the angel consecrator of the Eucharist in "The Drunken Priest" (128); and a tour of heaven in "The Woman Who Died and Came Back to Life" (108-10) which greatly resembles the ancient apocalyptic tours of heaven and hell. On the latter, see M. Himmelfarb, "From Prophecy to Apocalypse: The Book of the Watchers and Tours of Heaven", in Jewish Spirituality I: From the Bible to the Middle Ages, ed. A. Green (NY:1988) 145-70, esp. 146-8.

105. This essay has not dealt with what J. Collins refers to as "historical apocalypses", esp. those with no "otherworldly journey", "Morphology of a Genre" 13-14. A. Y. Collins also notes that the first Christian apocalypses tend not to be interested in the precise, future unrolling of history, "The Early Christian Apocalypses", Semeia 14 (1979) 63-7. This early difference between Jews, identifying with their own land and polity, and early Christians, who "have here below no city which abides" (Heb 13:14), no longer applies once Christianity acquires its own earthly turf in the Roman Empire of the fourth century. Thus see P. J. Alexander, The Byzantine Apocalyptic Tradition, ed. D. deF. Abrahamse (Berkeley: 1985), with its account of the long line of Byzantine historical apocalypticism which begins late in the fourth century (13-60) -- about the right length of time, I would think, for the idea of the "Christian Empire" to sink into popular piety -- and carries on to the end of the empire and beyond. This phenomenon, though, would seem to me to derive more from piety specific to the Reichskirche -- thus see, e.g., E. von Ivanka, Romäerreich und Gottesvolk (Freiburg/Munich: 1968) -- than from those earlier currents of faith and, indeed, mystical experience which I have been tracing.

106. The Living Witness of the Holy Mountain: Contemporary Voices from Mount Athos, tr., with introduction and notes, by A. Golitzin (South Canaan, PA:1996).

107. See the talks and sermons of Archimandrite Aemilianos, ibid. 165-215, esp. "The Experience of the Transfiguration" 194-215, and certain of the other fathers in the "Contemporary Athonite Paterikon", 134-57, esp. 148-57.

108. On fasting, at least temporary celibacy, prostrations, weeping, and constant prayer as features known in Second Temple Judaism and particularly associated with apocalyptic visionaries and continuing into the rabbinic-era merkavah texts, see S. P. Fraade, "Ascetical Aspects of Ancient Judaism", Jewish Spirituality I:253-88, esp. 261-9, 280 nn.30-31, and 281 n.33; M. D. Swartz, "'Like the Ministering Angels': Ritual and Purity in Early Jewish Mysticism", AJS Review 19 (1994) 135-67; and M. Himmelfarb, "Practices of Ascent in the Ancient Mediterranean World", in Death, Ecstasy, and Otherworldly Journeys 123-37. For earlier though related considerations on the Jewish roots of Christian asceticism, see A. Guillaumont, "À propos du célibat des Esséniens" and "Monachisme et éthique Judéo-Chrétienne", Aux origines 13-23 and 47-58, resp.

109. Living Witness 142. See also the story of "Father Augustine the Russian", ibid. 140-1, with his daily experience of "the uncreated light" and deathbed scene reminiscent of Abba Sisoes (PG 65: 396BC).