Who were the philoponoi?

…[Zacharaias] introduces a group of Alexandrian philoponoi (Christian students like Zacharias who also had ties to the anti-Chalcedonian monastery of Enaton), and he recounts a series of events involving a student named Paralius. Zacharias then shifts settings to Berytus, the location of Severus’ legal study. Here too, Zacharias focuses upon a group of students with close ties to anti-Chalcedonian Palestinian monasteries, a group Severus joined part of the way through law school. Some of these students were former Alexandrian philoponoi and all worked to bolster the religious enthusiasm of their fellow students while combating pagan influence in the law schools. Collectively, they provided peer-directed religious instruction and led raids against pagans suspected of magical activity within the schools of Berytus.

— Edward Watts, “Winning the Intracommunal Dialogues: Zacharias Scholasticus’ Life of Severus,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 13:4 (2005): 440.

φιλόπονος (phi^lopon-os , on) A. laborious, industrious (Liddell & Scott)


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