chapter  4
12 Pages

An Education through Gnomic Wisdom: The Pandect of Antiochus as Bibliotheksersatz


In terms of the contents of the Pandect, the list of the titles of the kephalaia/ homilies in the appendix provides an overview of their subject matter. Given the status of the Pandect in Eastern Orthodox spirituality, modern scholarly interest has remained sparse and uneven. What little work has been done on the Pandect, other than the brief descriptions in reference works,8 is philological and codicological9, primarily related to finding fragments of lost works that Antiochus cited10 or to mining the text for historical information.11 We are clearly dealing with a text made of texts, where pride of place is taken, of course, by the Bible, which has been distilled in gnomic sayings: ‘The point [or aim] is a maximum of meaning in a minimum of words.’12 On the basis of what little work has been done we also know that Antiochus is quoting Irenaeus, Ignatius, Clement of Alexandria (Quis dives salvetur), the letter of Polycarp to the Philippians, Evagrius (including the works de Oratione and de octo spiritibus malitiae traditionally ascribed to Saint Nilus)13 and, above all, his favourite ps. Clement’s Letter to the Virgins. There are also several allusions to the works of Dionysius the Areopagite. One of the very few scholars who studied the Pandect, mostly in search of quotations of ps. Clement’s Letter to the Virgins, has remarked on Antiochus’ working methods thus: ‘Antiochus so seldom names the author from whom he borrows, that the reader of the Homilies has to rely entirely upon his perception of a change in Antiochus’ style, and in the savour of his language for the detection of a quotation.’14 This calls for more philological research in order to fully document Antiochus’ sources. Despite the efforts of the editors of the PG and of other scholars there remains a lot to be done in regard to the sheer bulk of unattributed sources that need to be traced.