The Importance of Syriac Christianity

Diversity is fascinating. The world is a big (big) place, full of all sorts of people, places, and ideas. And while certain schools of thought have elevated “diversity” to a buzzword demanding de-institutionalization and the destruction of truth claims, the term does not have to be used in such disproportionate ways. In the historic ChristianContinue reading “The Importance of Syriac Christianity”

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Scripture in Ephrem’s Madrashe

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Ephrem the Syrian and early Syriac Christianity. While most analysis of Syrian madrashe has focused on its metrical form, authorship, origins, and liturgical setting, comparatively little attention has been paid to the contents of the madrashe. To form a fully contextualized understanding of Syrian madrashe, additionalContinue reading “Scripture in Ephrem’s Madrashe”

Ephrem’s Symbolic Transformation

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Ephrem the Syrian and early Syriac Christianity. In his dissertation on Ephrem, Jeff Wickes argues that Ephrem’s symbolic universe constructs a symbolic self through the scriptural world of his hymns (Wickes, 3). In light of an earlier chapter, this is clarified to mean that Ephrem co-identifiedContinue reading “Ephrem’s Symbolic Transformation”

Investigation and Scripture

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Ephrem the Syrian and early Syrian Christianity. Investigation and Scripture in Ephrem’s Hymns on Faith 1-9 Ephrem scholar Jeff Wickes contextualizes the Hymns on Faith as essentially belonging to the post-Nicaea “homoean” camp that remained anti-subordinationist while problematizing the language of Nicaea.[1] This characterization, I believe,Continue reading “Investigation and Scripture”

Ephrem’s Scriptural Simplicity

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Ephrem the Syrian and early Syrian Christianity. Central to Ephrem’s scriptural presentation of Christ as beyond investigation (i.e., of the same order as the Father) is the relative simplicity of his arguments. Instead of constructing complex metaphysical arguments, Ephrem relies upon the re-presentation of narratives fromContinue reading “Ephrem’s Scriptural Simplicity”

Textual Plurality and Biblical Interpretation

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Ephrem the Syrian and early Syrian Christianity. This article reflects upon considerations of textual plurality and biblical interpretation as found in Lucas Van Rompay’s “The Christian Syriac Tradition of Interpretation”, James Kugel’s Traditions of the Bible, and the pseudepigraphal Jubilees. In each of these works thereContinue reading “Textual Plurality and Biblical Interpretation”

Reflections on “Ephrem, Athanasius, and the ‘Arian’ Threat”

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Ephrem the Syrian and early Syrian Christianity. In her chapter “Ephrem, Athanasius, and the ‘Arian’ threat” of Anti-Judaism and Christian Orthodoxy: Ephrem’s Hymns in Fourth Century Syria (CUA Press, 2008), Christine Shepardson compares the anti-Arian rhetoric of these two great defenders of Nicene Christology, arguing thatContinue reading “Reflections on “Ephrem, Athanasius, and the ‘Arian’ Threat””

Reflections on Ephrem’s Commentaries

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Ephrem the Syrian and early Syriac Christianity. Though said to have written a commentary on every book of the Bible, the only authentic and extant prose commentaries of Ephrem the Syrian are those on Genesis and (part of) Exodus. These commentaries, following the more traditional “textContinue reading “Reflections on Ephrem’s Commentaries”

Ephrem’s Boundaries of Investigation: Scriptural and Natural

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Ephrem the Syrian and early Syriac theology. Throughout his Hymns on Faith, Ephrem remains especially concerned with recasting the terms of the Arian-Orthodox debate concerning the relationship of the Son to the Father. Instead of simply affirming a Nicene, Homoean, or Subordinationist perspective, Ephrem focuses onContinue reading “Ephrem’s Boundaries of Investigation: Scriptural and Natural”

Scriptural Poetics and Ephrem’s Theology of Names

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Ephrem the Syrian and early Syrian Christianity. Those familiar with the contents of the Jewish and Christian scriptures cannot help but notice how the imagery and language of these writings pervades the writings of Ephrem. The problem with Ephrem’s extensive use of the metaphors and terminologyContinue reading “Scriptural Poetics and Ephrem’s Theology of Names”