A large dossier of primary sources survives for Symeon the Stylite the Younger from Late Antiquity. These sources include not only hagiographical evidence, but also archaeological remains from his cult site, homilies, and at least one letter. They offer insight into the varied voices which shaped Symeon’s identity, sanctity, and ministry in the sixth and early seventh centuries CE. The state of scholarship on these sources is uneven, however, with the result that scholars have primarily studied the saint and his cult through the lens of the hagiographic material, the Life of Symeon Stylites the Younger in particular. In order to lay the foundation for a full inquiry into the saint and his cult, this article disentangles the dossier of evidence on Symeon in Late Antiquity. It introduces each source in chronological order; provides an overview of authorship, date, and the state of scholarship for each source; and makes preliminary recommendations for paths forward. It is meant to be a guide for art historians and archaeologists unfamiliar with the sizeable literary corpus, textual scholars who do not often work with material sources, and, for both groups, an introduction to problems in the dossier. It encourages scholars to treat each source on its own terms and re-evaluate the rich interconnections between the textual and archaeological evidence.
Steps toward a Study of Symeon the Stylite the Younger and His Saint’s Cult*
Dina Boero is the author of the introduction, conclusion, and sections on the archaeological materials. Charles Kuper is the author of the sections on the textual materials. We thank Philip Forness for reading a draft of this article and Catherine Conybeare for aiding with references during the pandemic. We thank Lucy Parker and Ayşe Belgin-Henry for being partners in conversation about Symeon the Younger; their research will substantially move forward scholarship, as we note throughout the article. We are grateful to the editors at Studies in Late Antiquity for facilitating the process of pairing our article and the article by Joseph Glynias. Finally, the comments of the two anonymous reviewers greatly improved the quality of this article.
Dina Boero, Charles Kuper; Steps toward a Study of Symeon the Stylite the Younger and His Saint’s Cult. Studies in Late Antiquity 1 November 2020; 4 (4): 370–407. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/sla.2020.4.4.370
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