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E05693: The Miracles of Saint Thekla recounts how *Thekla (follower of the Apostle Paul, S00092) appeared to him in a vision and encouraged him to continue work on writing down her miracles. Written in Greek at Seleucia ad Calycadnum (southern Asia Minor) in the 470s.

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posted on 11.06.2018, 00:00 by julia
Miracles of Saint Thekla, 31

Ἐν ᾧ δὲ καιρῷ τὴν περὶ τοῦ θαύματος τούτου ἐποιούμην γραφήν—οὐδὲ γὰρ τὸ τότε μοι παρὰ τῆς μάρτυρος ὑπάρξαν σιωπῆσαι καλόν—, συμβαίνει τι καὶ τοιοῦτο. Ὀλιγώρως μὲν γὰρ εἶχον ἤδη περὶ τοῦ συλλέγειν καὶ γράφειν αὐτὰ ταῦτα, ὁμολογῶ, καὶ ῥᾳθύμως ἡπτόμην λοιπὸν καὶ δέλτου καὶ γραφίδος, ὡς ἂν καὶ ἀπειρηκὼς λοιπὸν περὶ τὴν τῶν θαυμάτων τούτων ἔρευνάν τε καὶ συλλογήν. Οὕτω δὲ ἔχοντί μοι καὶ χασμιῶντι λοιπὸν ἔδοξεν ἡ μάρτυς πλησίον ἐν ὄψει μου παρακαθέζεσθαι, οὗπερ καὶ ἔθος ἦν μοι τὴν πρὸς τὰ βιβλία ποιεῖσθαι συνουσίαν, καὶ ἀφαιρεῖσθαί μου τῆς χειρὸς τὴν τετράδα, ἐν ᾗπερ καὶ ταῦτα ἐκ τῆς δέλτου μετεγραφόμην. Καὶ δὴ καὶ ἀναγινώσκειν ἐδόκει μοι καὶ ἐφήδεσθαι καὶ μειδιᾶν, καὶ ἐνδείκνυσθαί μοι τῷ βλέμματι ὡς ἀρέσκοι τότε τοῖς γραφομένοις, καὶ ὡς δέοι με ἀναπληρῶσαι τὸν πόνον τοῦτον καὶ μὴ ἀτέλεστον καταλιπεῖν, μέχρις ἂν ἐξῇ μάλιστα, ἃ ἕκαστος οἶδε καὶ ἅπερ σὺν ἀκριβείᾳ δυνατόν, παρ’ ἑκάστου μανθάνειν· ὥστε με μετὰ τὴν ὄψιν ταύτην δέους τε πληρωθῆναι καὶ προθυμίας ὑποπλησθῆναι καὶ ἅψασθαι πάλιν δέλτου καὶ γραφίδος, καὶ τοῦτο ποιεῖν μέχρι περ ἂν αὐτὴ κελεύῃ.

'At the very moment when I was writing down this miracle - it is not good to be silent about what the martyr did for me then – something like this happened. I had been neglectful in collecting and committing these events to writing, I confess, and I was lazily holding my writing tablet and stylus, as if I had already given up researching and collecting these miracles. While I was in such a state and in the midst of a yawn, the martyr seemed to appear before my eyes, sitting down beside me in the place where I normally consult my books, and she took from my hand the notebook on which I was transcribing this previous miracle from the writing tablet. Indeed, she seemed to me to read and enjoy it, and to smile and to show me by her expression that she was pleased with what I had written. She also seemed to indicate that I should complete this task and not leave it unfinished - at least up to the point that I could learn from each person what he knows and what can be known with accuracy. As a result, after this vision I was consumed with fear, but even greater was my desire to take up my writing tablet and stylus once again and to continue this work as long as she might command.'

Text: Dagron 1978. Translation: Johnson 2012.

History

Evidence ID

E05693

Saint Name

Thekla, follower of the Apostle Paul : S00092

Saint Name in Source

Θέκλα

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

470

Evidence not after

476

Activity not after

476

Place of Evidence - Region

Asia Minor

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Seleucia ad Calycadnum

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Seleucia ad Calycadnum Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of an individual

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Apparition, vision, dream, revelation Other specified miracle

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

Registers of miracles

Source

The anonymous text known under the title of The Life and Miracles of Thekla was written in the city of Seleucia-on-the-Calycadnum in the province of Isauria in southern Asia Minor around 470. It was certainly written before c. 476, which is approximately when Thekla's shrine outside Seleucia (modern Meriamlik/Ayatekla in Turkey) was monumentalised by the emperor Zeno (r. 474-491), since this activity is not mentioned in the text. The text consists of two parts: the first half is a paraphrased version of the second-century Acts of Paul and Thekla, a text which was widely known in Late Antiquity and translated into every early Christian language; this early text was rendered by our author into Attic Greek, and contains many minor changes to the original story, with one major change at the end: instead of dying at the age of 19 years, Thekla descends into the earth and performs miracles in and around the city of Seleucia in a spiritual state. The second half, from which this passage is drawn, comprises a collection of forty-six miracles, preceded by a preface and followed by an epilogue. It is written in a high literary style which distinguishes it among other hagiographical texts, which were typically composed in a low style of Greek. The text was for a long time attributed to a 5th century bishop, Basil of Seleucia (fl. c. 448-468); but in 1974 Dagron demonstrated conclusively that the Miracles could not have been authored by Basil, since there is an invective directed against him in chapter 12. The anonymous author is himself the subject of a few miracles, including miraculous interventions on his behalf in ecclesiastical disputes.

Discussion

Here is the translator's explanation for the possibilities of rendering the word tetras into English, in the phrase 'the notebook (Gr. tetras) on which I was transcribing this previous miracle from the writing tablet': 'What I have rendered here as 'notebook' (tetras) could also be rendered as 'quire' (i.e., four double-folded sheets). Therefore, instead of understanding this as loose sheets comprising a notebook/working copy of a limited amount of text – i.e., a three-step process overall: from tablet (deltos) to notebook (tetras) to a parchment-manuscript (unmentioned here) – it is conceivable from his language that the author produced one quire of his manuscript at a time and that he represented his final version – i.e., a two-step process: from tablet (deltos) to parchment-quire (tetras).' (Johnson 2012, 425, n. 112).

Bibliography

Edition: Dagron, G., Vie et miracles de sainte Thècle (Subsidia hagiographica 62; Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1978), with French translation. Translations: Johnson, S.F., Miracles of Saint Thekla, in : S.F. Johnson and A.-M. Talbot, Miracle Tales from Byzantium (Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 12; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012), 1-201. Festugière, A.-J., Collections grecques de Miracles: sainte Thècle, saints Côme et Damien, saints Cyr et Jean (extraits), saint Georges (Paris: Éditions A. et J. Picard, 1971). Further reading: Barrier, J., et al., Thecla: Paul's Disciple and Saint in the East and West (Leuven: Peeters, 2017). Dagron, G., “L'auteur des Actes et des Miracles de Sainte Thècle,” Analecta Bollandiana, 92 (1974), 5–11. Davis, S., The Cult of Saint Thecla: A Tradition of Women's Piety in Late Antiquity, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001). Honey, L., “Topography in the Miracles of Thecla: Reconfiguring Rough Cilicia,” in: M.C. Hoff and R.F. Townsend (eds), Rough Cilicia: New Historical and Archaeological Approaches, Proceedings on an International Conference held at Lincoln, Nebraska, October 2007 (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2013), 252–59. Johnson, S.F., “The Life and Miracles of Thecla, a literary study” (University of Oxford, doctoral thesis, 2005). Kristensen, T.M., "Landscape, Space and Presence in the Cult of Thekla in Meriamlik," Journal of Early Christian Studies 24:2 (2016), 229-263.

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