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Theodore Lector

THEODORE LECTOR

Church historian. Exact birth and death places and dates unknown. Theodore was a reader (anagnōstēs ) of the Hagia Sophia Church of Constantinople in the first half of the sixth century. He wrote two significant ecclesiastical histories in Greek. The first, the Historia tripartita, written probably after 520 and completed by 530, recounted in four books the fortunes of the Church from the reign of Emperor Constantine I up to 439. It was a collection of extracts taken from the fifth-century Church histories of socrates Scholasticus, sozomen, and theo doret of cyr. Theodore selected those texts that in his opinion provided the most accurate source for particular events. His estimate of the relative value of each historian's account of different subjects is still useful. The Historia tripartita is also of service in establishing the textual history of the respective narratives of Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret. cassiodorus consulted this work in composing his own Historia tripartita. Unfortunately, only books one and two have been largely preserved, with the rest being preserved only in fragments.

Theodore wrote also a Historia ecclesiastica as a continuation of the Historia tripartita. It was divided into four books, and described the history of the Church from 439 up to the accession of Emperor justin i (518). Only a few fragments of this history, an important source for the obscure fifth century, have been preserved in such works as the De imaginibus of St. john damascene, the Acts of the Council of Nicaea, the Historia ecclesiastica of Evagrius Scholasticus, and Pseudo-Codinus. Fragments of both the Historia tripartita and the Historia ecclesiastica owe their preservation to a lost epitome of Church history composed in the seventh or eighth century. Fragments of this epitome, which has not had a critical edition, are preserved in Cod. Paris. gr. 1555 a, Cod. Baroccianus 142, Paris. suppl. 1156, and Cod. Athous Vatopedi 286.

Bibliography: Patrologia Graeca 86.1:157228. h. g. opitz, Paulys Realenzyklopädie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft, ed. g. wissowa et al. (Stuttgart 1893) 5.2A (1934) 186981. É. amann, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al. (Paris 190350) 15.1:232233. j. bidez, La Tradition manuscrite de Sozomène et la Tripartite de Théodore le Lecteur (TU 32.2b;1908).

[w. e. kaegi, jr.]

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