Anti-Judaism and Christian Orthodoxy: Ephrem's Hymns in by Christine Shepardson

By Christine Shepardson

The politically embroiled and sharply divided Council of Nicaea (325) supplied a turbulent starting to Christianity's fight for self-definition within the political enviornment. Questions of final fact apart, those that may legally declare the identify of Christian orthodoxy have been these whose teachings had the backing of the emperor's criminal and armed forces authority. regardless of the concrete judgements of 325 and the ecumenical council's try to create an imperial orthodoxy, the many years that witnessed ongoing battles among these Christians who supported the council's final result and people who didn't. This publication investigates the advanced anti-Jewish and anti-Judaizing rhetoric of Ephrem, a fourth-century poet, deacon, and theologian from japanese Roman Syria whose Syriac-language writings stay strange and linguistically inaccessible to centuries of students who research the well known Greek and Latin writings of his contemporaries. A severe analyzing of Ephrem's quite a few poetic writings demonstrates that his sharp anti-Jewish and anti-Judaizing language helped to solidify a pro-Nicene definition of Christian orthodoxy, removing from that group within the very act of defining it his so-called Judaizing and Arian Christian rivals, either one of whom he accused of being extra like Jews than Christians. via rigorously crafted rhetoric, Ephrem developed for his viewers new social and theological parameters that reshaped the spiritual panorama of his group. This booklet indicates that the anti-Jewish polemic of Ephrem's hymns represents his calculated efforts to go away his Syrian congregation with out workable substitute yet to comply to the Council of Nicaea, his personal version for Christian orthodoxy.Comparing Ephrem's texts with the modern Greek writings of Athanasius, the popular bishop of Alexandria, Christine Shepardson unearths the numerous position that anti-Jewish rhetoric performed extra generally during this serious fourth-century theological clash, and demonstrates that long-ignored Syriac-speaking Christians resembling Ephrem participated totally within the fierce fight to outline Christian orthodoxy for the Roman Empire.

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Extra resources for Anti-Judaism and Christian Orthodoxy: Ephrem's Hymns in Fourth-century Syria (Patristic Monograph Series 20)

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35 T h e Council of 31. The problem of identifying the days of Jesus' death and resurrection goes back at least as far as the writing of the canonical Gospels, which disagree about whether Jesus' last supper on the evening before he was killed was a Passover meal (Matt 26, Mark 14, Luke 22), or whether he was killed on the day of the upcoming Passover meal (John 19). 32. See Wolfgang Huber, Passa und Ostern: Untersuchungen zur Osterfeier der alten Kirche (Berlin, 1969); Stephen Wilson, "Passover, Easter, and Anti-Judaism: Melito of Sardis and Others," in "To See Ourselves as Others See Us": Christians, Jews, "Others" in Late Antiquity, eds.

Mark Edwards et al. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 59-80. 21. See, for example, Justin Martyr, Dial. 11,12,14,34,117,118,122. 22. See Justin Martyr, Dial. 125,135. 23. Ep. Barn. 4,14 (Ex 32). See, for example, S. Lowy, "The Confrontation of Judaism in the Epistle of Barnabas," JJS 11 (i960): 1-33; L. W. " VC15 (1961): 8-22; MacLennan, Texts, 21-48; Horbury, "Jewish-Christian," 315-45; Har­ vey, True Israel, 251-53. Some later texts, such as the Didascalia and some of Ephrem's writings, also reflect this narrative, as discussed in chapter 3.

Krauss's early work ("The Jews in the Works of the Church Fathers," JQR 6 [1894]: 82-99), which maintained that Ephrem's anti-Jewish polemic was a theo­ logical response and that Ephrem hardly ever came into contact with any Jews, an argument that was denounced by Kazan, "Isaac" (1963), 92. More recent scholarship has begun to temper Kazan's very trusting read by at least recognizing the anti-Arian focus of many of Ephrem's writings. See, for example, Han J. W. Drijvers, "Jews and Christians at Edessa," JJS 36, no.

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