The Relationship of St. Basil's Hexameron to the Physiologus

Beryl Rowland

in Gabriel Bianciotto & Michel Salvat, ed., Épopée Animale, Fable, Fabliau: Actes du IVe Colloque de la Société Internationale Renardienne, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1984, 489-498

"The spirit and content of St Basil's treatment of nature sets him apart not only from earlier writers such as Origen but from those who chistianized the animal fables. He may repeat the stereotyped values... but there is very little of the elaborate allegorization that is characteristic of the Physiologus. ... St Basil prefers simple analogies: 'As smoke puts bees to flight', he remarks, 'as as a foul smell drives away doves, so also lamentable and foul sin keeps away the angel, the guardian of our life'. ... St Basil...has the latitude and the inclination to look at natural phenomena with affection... The relationship of St Basil's writing to the Physiologus is a matter of dispute. ... The work with which I am the Syrian redaction, the so-called Phisiologus Leidensis, made after the year 500. ... Thirty-two of the eighty-one chapters of the Phisiologus Leidensis draw largely on St Basil's work as we know it." - Rowland

Language: English


Last update December 11, 2021