Thursday, November 22, 2007
History Byzantine Empire Crusades Ecumenical council Baptism of Kiev Great Schism By region Eastern Orthodox history Ukraine Christian history Asia Eastern Christian history Traditions Oriental Orthodoxy Coptic Orthodox Church Armenian Apostolic Church Syriac Christianity Assyrian Church of the East Eastern Orthodox Church Eastern Catholic Churches Liturgy and Worship Sign of the cross Divine Liturgy Iconography Asceticism Omophorion Theology Hesychasm - Icon Apophaticism - Filioque clause Miaphysitism - Monophysitism Nestorianism - Theosis - Theoria Phronema - Philokalia Praxis - Theotokos Hypostasis - Ousia Essence-Energies distinction Salminius Hermias Sozomen (c. 400-c. 450) was a historian of the Christian church. Variations on his name include Sozomen, Salamanes or Salaminius Hermias Sozomenus.
He was born around or before 400 in Bethelia, a small town near Gaza.
Family and Home
Sozomen wrote that his grandfather lived at Bethel, near Gaza, and became a Christian together with his household, probably under Constantius II. A neighbor named Alaphrion was miraculously healed by Saint Hilarion who cast out a demon from Alaphrion, and, as eyewitnesses to the miracle, his family converted, along with Alaphrion's. The conversion marked a turning-point in the Christianization of southern Palestine, according to his account.
The grandfather became within his own circle a highly esteemed interpreter of Scripture. The descendants of the wealthy Alaphrion founded churches and convents in the district, and were particularly active in promoting monasticism. Sozomen himself had conversed with one of these, a very old man. He tells us that he was brought up under monkish influences and his history bears him out.
Sozomen seems to have been brought up in the circle of Alaphrion and acknowledges a debt of gratitude to the monastic order. His early education was directed by the monks in his native place. It is impossible to ascertain what curriculum he followed in these monastic schools, but his writings give clear evidence of the thoroughness with which he was grounded in Greek studies.
As a man he retained the impressions of his youth, and his great work later was to be also a monument of his reverence for the monks in general and for the disciples of Hilarion in particular.
Sozomen wrote two works on church history.
His first work covered the history of the Church, from the Ascension of Jesus to the defeat of Licinius in 323, in twelve books. His sources for it included Eusebius of Caesarea, the Clementine homilies, Hegesippus, and Sextus Julius Africanus.
Although he mentions this first work in his later work, it is no longer extant.
Sozomen's second and longer work was a continuation of the first. He planned to continue the history of Eusebius, covering the period between 323 and 439. The period actually covered in his work ends at 425.
He wrote it in Constantinople, somewhere around the years 440 to 443. He dedicated this work to Emperor Theodosius the Younger.
The nine books of which it is composed begin with Constantine and come down to the death of Honorius (423).
The books are arranged according to the reign of the Roman Emperors:
The existing ninth book is incomplete. In his dedication of the work, he states that he intended cover up the seventeenth consulate of Theodosius, that is, to 439. The extant history ends about 425, so about half a book appears to be missing.
Scholars disagree on why the end is missing. Albert Guldenpenning supposed that Sozomen himself suppressed the end of his work because in it he mentioned the Empress Aelia Eudocia, who later fell into disgrace through her supposed adultery. However, it appears that Nicephorus, Theophanes, and Theodorus Lector did read the end of Sozomen's work, according to their own histories later. Therefore most scholars believe that the work did actually come down to that year, and that consequently it has reached us only in a damaged condition.
I and II: the reign of Constantine (323-37)
III and IV: the reigns of his sons (337-61)
V and VI: the reigns of Julian, Jovian, Valentinian I, and Valens (361-75)
VII and VIII the reigns of Gratian, Valentinian II, Theodosius I, and Arcadius (375-408).
IX: the reign of Theodosius the Younger (408-39). Sources
The source for about three-fourths of his material was the writings of Socrates Scholasticus. The literary relationship of these writers appears everywhere. Valesius asserted that Sozomen read Socrates, and Hussey and Guldenpenning have proved this. For example, Socrates, in I.x, relates an anecdote which he had heard, and says that neither Eusebius nor any other author reports it, yet this anecdote is found in Sozomen, I.xxii, the similarity of diction showing that the text of Socrates was the source.
The extent of this dependence cannot be accurately determined. Sozomen used the work of Socrates as a guide to sources and order. In some matters, such as in regard to the Novatians, Sozomen is entirely dependent on Socrates.
But Sozomen did not simply copy Socrates. He went back to the principal sources used by Socrates and other sources, often including more from them than Socrates did.
He used the writings of Eusebius, the first major Church historian. The Vita Constantini of Eusebius is expressly cited in the description of the vision of Constantine.
Sozomen appears also to have consulted the Historia Athanasii and also the works of Athanasius including the Vita Antonii. He completes the statements of Socrates from the Apologia contra Arianos, lix, sqq., and copies Athanasius' Adv. episcopos AEgypti, xviii-xix.
Rufinus is frequently used. Instructive in this respect is a comparison of Sozomen, Socrates, and Rufinus on the childhood of Athanasius. Rufinus is the original; Socrates expressly states that he follows Rufinus, while Sozomen knows Socrates' version, but is not satisfied with it and follows Rufinus more closely.
The ecclesiastical records used by Sozomen are principally taken from Sabinus, to whom he continually refers. In this way he uses records of the synods from that of Tyre (335) to that of Antioch in Caria (367).
For the period from Theodosius I, Sozomen stopped following the work of Socrates and followed Olympiodorus of Thebes, who was probably Sozomen's only secular source. A comparison with Zosimus, who also made use of Olympiodorus, seems to show that the whole ninth book of Sozomen, is mostly an abridged extract from Olympiodorus.
Sozomen used many other authorities. These include sources relating to Christianity in Persia, monkish histories, the Vita Martini of Sulpicius, the works of Hilarius, logoi of Eustathius of Antioch, the letter of Cyril of Jerusalem to Constantius concerning the miraculous vision of the cross, and Palladius.
He also used oral tradition, adding some of the most unique value to his work.
The work of Sozomen was first printed (editio princeps) by Robert Estienne at Paris in 1544, on the basis of Codex Regius, 1444. There are later editions by Christophorson and Ictrus (Cologne, 1612).
A noteworthy edition was done by Valesius (Cambridge, 1720), who used, besides the text of Stephens, a Codex Fucetianus (now at Paris, 1445), "Readings" of Savilius, and the indirect traditions of Theodorus Lector and of Cassiodorus-Epiphanius.
Hussey's posthumous edition (largely prepared for the press by John Barrow, who wrote the preface) is important, since in it the archetype of the Codex Regius, the Codex Baroccianus 142, is collated for the first time. But this manuscript was written by various hands and at various times and therefore is not equally authoritative in all its parts.
There is an excellent English translation by Chester David Hartranft, with a learned though somewhat diffuse introduction, in the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, II (published New York, 1890). (This text is available on-line at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library.)
Online text of the Ecclesiastical History 
Posted by iamyrfans at 7:43 AM