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Excluded From Power? The Boundaries Of Orthodoxy In The Works Of Athanasius And John Of Ephesus

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Chapter Summary

Athanasius of Alexandria provides an example of a man frequently excluded from imperial support, but who relied on the support of monasteries, the urban mob and the reputation of a desert ascetic, the famous Antony, to acquire and retain power. The chapter compares Athanasius to the sixth century hagiographer and historian John of Ephesus. Like Athanasius, John was periodically excluded from the patronage and protection of the state. John offers two forms of history that justify the orthodoxy of his protagonists: the canons that demonstrate the orthodoxy of the Miaphysite priests in Constantinople and the ascetic traditions that justify the defiance of Zuʿra or Sergius. Both men encouraged their readers to observe the religious boundaries that they asserted, to construct an opposition group that behaved in the manner of pagan persecutors or departed from the norms of orthopraxy.

Keywords: ascetic traditions; Athanasius; John of Ephesus; Miaphysite priests; orthodoxy; orthopraxy; pagan persecutors



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