Odes and John: Determining Literary Dependence (Part 1)

This post is part of an ongoing series examining the relationship between the Odes of Solomon and Gospel of John. However, the perspective of “common milieu” is not without its problems, for affirmations of this relationship are often founded upon an inexact methodology of determining literary dependence. This approach often precludes the possibility of findingContinue reading “Odes and John: Determining Literary Dependence (Part 1)”

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Book Review: Who Made Early Christianity? (Gager)

Contemporary readers of the New Testament are often struck by the overwhelming influence of the Apostle Paul. After not appearing at all in the gospels and barely appearing in the first half of Acts, he comes to dominate most of the rest of the New Testament canon. Despite his popularity, however, Paul remains a controversialContinue reading “Book Review: Who Made Early Christianity? (Gager)”

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”

Book Review: Decoding Nicea (Pavao)

The history of Christianity can be a complex, confusing subject, full of competing claims and interpretations. Perhaps no single event in the life of the Church gathers as much contemplation and controversy as the Council of Nicea. Held in 325 CE outside of the newly established capital city of Constantinople (modern day Istanbul), this gatheringContinue reading “Book Review: Decoding Nicea (Pavao)”

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”