Gravitas in the Desert: An Analysis of Selected Letters of Isidore of Pelusium and his Influence on the Secular and Ecclesiastical Affairs of the Fifth Century CE.
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With the 2,000 letters that have come down to us under his name, Isidore of Pelusium has long been considered an important Church father not only for the quality of his doctrinal exegesis, but also for the meticulous craftsmanship of his writing. Isidore is also known for the myriad of subjects on which he could write, including teaching, rhetoric, philosophy, and even science. However, one aspect of Isidore’s output that needs further study is his correspondence with powerful secular and ecclesiastical officials of the first half of the fifth century CE. This paper begins with an examination of Isidore’s upbringing and education and a review of the manuscript tradition of his letters. An analysis of selections of his correspondence with crucial officials of the empire then follows, as well references to John Chrysostom in relation to Cyril of Alexandria and aspects of Isidore’s theological thinking. The paper will conclude with the suggestion that, besides being a Church father of note, Isidore was also a very well-connected holy man during the time of the First Council of Ephesus of 431 CE.