The Image of Justinianic Orthopraxy in Eastern Monastic Literature
The monastic legislation contained in the Novels of the emperor Justinian reveals a marked imperial preoccupation with the regulation of matters pertaining to the ascetic life. As a program, however, it is commonly viewed as little more than empty rhetoric, the formal response of a beleaguered governing class to a phenomenon largely beyond its control. This article offers a different view. Through analysis of the hagiographies of three prominent holy men of the mid-sixth century (Sabas, Z‘ura, and Abraham of Farshut), it argues the influence of Justinian’s laws may be seen in the literature produced by Eastern monastic communities. These texts evidence the reception of an imperially-sanctioned model of ascetic “orthopraxy,” provoking a range of responses from monks forced to contend with its provisions.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Johns Hopkins University Press via https://doi.org/10.1353/earl.2017.0004