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Appendix I: The Priority and Historicity of the Greek Version of Mark the Deacon’s Life of Porphyrius of Gaza

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Chapter Summary

Mark the Deacon's life of Porphyrius of Gaza is the most detailed account of the Christianization of a smaller Greek city that we possess. It is therefore necessary to deal with certain criticisms of its content as a historical document. Peeters' view that a shorter Syriac recension preceded the Greek is based on two faulty axioms: first, that any piece of literature arising from a partially Aramaic-speaking environment like Gaza must necessarily have been composed in "Syriac"; and, second, that by some necessary law early redactions of hagiographie texts are invariably shorter than later ones, which are subject to conflation and pious embellishment. There is one other point of chronology that Peeters criticizes, and that is the formula used by Mark the Deacon to characterize the years of Porphyrius' episcopate after the completion of the Eudo-xiana cathedral in 407.

Keywords: Christianization; Eudo-xiana cathedral; Greek city; hagiographie texts; Peeters; Porphyrius of Gaza; Syriac recension

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