Stephen Bar-Sū Dhailē
STEPHEN BAR-SŪ DHAILĒ
Syrian mystic and heretical theologian; b. Edessa, Syria, c. 500; d. c. 550. Stephen became a monk in Edessa and migrated to the desert of Egypt, where he composed books that betray the influence of the Origenist evagrius ponticus, prompting the Monophysite Jacob of Serugh (d. 521) to warn him not to believe with Evagrius that the punishments of the damned have an end. philoxenus of mabbugh states that Stephen had to flee Edessa c. 512 to 515 and, finding no support in Philoxenus, had gone to the deserts of Jerusalem. By 541 to 543 he had returned to Edessa and oblivion.
Stephen's only extant work, Liber de occultis mysteriis domus Dei (The Book of Hierotheus ), written in Syriac, survived because it was later attributed to the Hierotheus whom pseudo-dionysius the areopagite had earlier claimed as his master. Its doctrine, however, is a radically pantheistic development of the thought of Evagrius Ponticus: a world created after the Fall and the reascent of the soul toward (in Stephen) virtual unity with God. Philoxenus says Stephen wrote on the wall of his cell: "Every nature is consubstantial with the divine essence." Stephen's work had little influence on later times.
Bibliography: Works, ed. and tr. f. s. marsh (London 1927). h. erharter, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–65) 9:1042. h. g. beck, Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich (Munich 1959) 351, 395. a. guillaumont, Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique. Doctrine et histoire, ed. m. viller, et al. (Paris 1932–) 4:1481–88; Les "Kephalaia gnostica" d'Evagre le Pontique (Paris 1963). i. hausherr, Orientalia Christiana 30 (1933) 176–211.
[d. b. evans]