Saint Macarius the Egyptian’s (c. 300–390) virtue and spiritual exploits gave rise to various tales and sayings. These were recounted, some hundred years later, in hagiographical form, and were then disseminated in various languages of the Christian Orient, including Coptic, Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopic, Greek, and Georgian. This book presents a rare study of a text, taking into account its transmission in multiple languages, accompanied by newly re-edited Coptic and Syriac versions of the Life. This book also provides a commentary on the life of the “historical Macarius”, as well as the Life seen as a literary, hagiographical, work.
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Saint Macarius the Egyptian (c. 300–390) was one of the earliest monks in Egypt, whose virtue and spiritual exploits gave rise to various tales and sayings, preserved notably in the Apophthegmata patrum. Some hundred years later, his life was recounted anew in the form of hagiography (i.e., life of a saint), and was then diffused in various languages of the Christian Orient: Coptic, Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopic, Greek, Georgian and so forth. It is extremely rare that such a multilingual tradition of a text is studied together in a detailed fashion, and this is precisely what is presented in this book; accompanied by its Coptic and Syriac versions newly reedited, this book constitutes a “multilingual pack”, so to speak, of the Life of Macarius the Egyptian. In addition to this aspect which is rather concerned with Macarius of the legend, this book also provides a commentary which deals with the life which was really lived by the “historical Macarius”, as well as with the Life seen as a literary (especially hagiographical) work. This book will give impetus, it is hoped, to the study of various other texts of the Christian Orient which are handed down to us in multilingual transmissions, as it can be said that the Christian Orient presents a kaleidoscopic view of Christianity, i.e., Christian unity presented in multiple diversity.