Syrian Clothing Terminology and the Goal of the Christian Life

Aramean-Edessa_AbgarThe use of “clothing terminology” by early Christians offers an opportunity to investigate the development of an important theological metaphor, one that would become rife with Christological implications by the fourth century. While Paul certainly employed clothing imagery in several of his letters (one immediately thinks of Romans 13, 1 Corinthians 15, and Ephesians 6), Syrian Christianity seems to have found a particular affinity for this theme. This is especially true for early Syrian documents like the Song of the Pearl and Odes of Solomon, which enhance clothing terminology and connect it with their respective theological teleologies, their understandings of the goal of the Christian life. This reflection will note several uses of clothing imagery in these early Syrian Christian writings before briefly exploring how these concepts may be developed by a later Syrian thinker, Ephrem of Nisibis. Continue reading

Book Review: Introduction to the History of Christianity (Dowley)

Introduction to the History of Christianity, DowleyWriting history is something of a difficult task, in no small measure due to the incredible amount of information that historians must shift through and subsequently leave out when offering their account of the past. Even a rote retelling of a single day in the life of a human leaves out certain contexts and events which occurred; how much harder is summarizing hundreds or thousands of years filled with the lives of millions of human beings and condensing their stories into mere pages. And yet, this is the task to which historians devote themselves. And it is the historical project of the Christian Church to which Tim Dowley and his team of contributors turn to in the second edition of the Introduction to the History of Christianity (Fortress Press: Minneapolis, 2013). Continue reading