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RELIGIOUS PROFILING IN THE MIRACLES OF THECLA Linda Honey Examining the socio-religious relations as revealed in healing accounts from the fifth-century Miracles of Thecla,1 this paper argues that the terms “pagan,” “Christian,” and “Jew” were recognized, accepted, and actively employed in Seleucia of Rough Cilicia and the surrounding region in Late Antiquity and are not, as some would argue, a result of historiographical construction. Thecla, a young Iconian woman of noble birth, thought to have been converted by Saint Paul during his first missionary journey, shortly after her conversion and under divine imperative, traveled to Seleucia of Rough Cilicia (present day Silifke, Turkey), a city in which the legacy of Greece and Rome united with Asia Minor in a kaleidoscope of peoples and races resulting in a unique religious and cultural milieu.2 Thecla took up residence a short distance from the bustling seaport city, spending the rest of her life preaching , instructing, baptizing, performing miracles, and ministering to the needs of the people (Life 28). Others joined her and a Christian community, Hagia Thecla, took root.3 1  All translations from the Miracles of Thecla (hereafter, the Miracles) and from The Virtuous Deeds of the Holy Apostle and Protomartyr Thecla in the Myrtle Wood (hereafter, Myrtle Wood) are my own from the Greek texts provided by G. Dagron, Vie et miracles de Sainte Thècle. Texte grec, traduction et commentaire. Subsidia Hagiographica 62. (Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1978). The Greek text of the Myrtle Wood is contained in Dagron, Vie et miracles de Sainte Thècle , Appendix, 216–21. All biblical quotations are taken from the New American Standard Version, First Edition. For a detailed study on Thecla and a complete translation of the Miracles, see Linda Honey, “Thecla: Text and Context with a First English Translation of the Miracles” (doctoral dissertation, University of Calgary, 2011) Ann Arbor, MI: ProQuest/UMI. 2 Mercedes Lopéz-Salvá, “Los Thaumata de Basilio de Seleucia,” Cuadernos de Filologia Clásica 3 (1972), p. 217 and 219 : Seleucia was a mosaico de culturas, razas, y costumbres. 3  Initially, it was women who joined Thecla, however, the community grew to include both men and women. Egeria, upon her visit to Hagia Thecla (c. 381–84), records in her Itinerarium that the community was composed of a great number of women and men: “monasteria sine numero vivorum ac mulierum” and “visis etiam sanctis monachis vel aputactitis tam viris quam feminis, qui ibi erant.” For Egeria’s account, see Itinerarium Egeriae , ed. by A. Francheschini and R. Webber, Itineraria et alia Geographica. Itineraria Hierosolymitana. Interi6 p&c 00 book.indb 27 2017.09.20. 16:22 LINDA HONEY 28 Over time, the site achieved city-like proportions.4 From the fifth- to the mid-seventh century, Hagia Thecla flourished as a major pilgrimage center. The community of Hagia Thecla claimed witness to countless posthumous miracles of the saint.5 In the mid-fifth century, one of Thecla’s devotees, a local rhetor, whose name may have suffered damnatio or was simply lost with time,6 and to whom, hereafter, we shall refer as Pseudo-Basil, was unabashedly desirous of climbing the ecclesiastical cursus honorum. He sought to gain distinction by styling himself as the personal biographer of Saint Thecla as well as the authorized archivist of her miracles. Pseudo-Basil invested up to forty years of his life investigating Thecla’s thaumaturgical activity. After interviewing ‘reliable’ individuals, both recipients of and witnesses to the miracles, he documented and recorded his findings, finally compiling them in a forty-six miracle corpus, commonly known as the Miracles of Thecla that function as a companion piece to the Life of Thecla, which itself is an amplification of the much earlier Acts of Thecla adapted and recast by Pseudo-Basil as a foundation legend for Seleucia.7 Throughout the remainder of this paper, I shall refer to these texts simply as the Miracles, the Life, and the Acts, respectively, along with the Myrtle Wood.8 Pseudo-Basil presented his work as having been authorized by the saint herself.9 He underscored his claim to “authorization” by noting both Thecla’s assistance with and her expressed approval for his work (Mir. 41). According to Pseudo-Basil, so great was Thecla’s interest in his project, that at one juncture, when his enthusiasm had conaria Roman. Geographica. Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina 175, ed. by P. Geyer et al. (Turnhout: Brepols, 1965), 37–90, (section 66. 23. 12, 32). 4  Life of...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9789633862568
Related ISBN
9789633862551
MARC Record
OCLC
1019979655
Pages
382
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-21
Language
English
Open Access
No
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