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 perhaps 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 a long time that witnessed ongoing battles among these Christians who supported the council's end result and those that didn't. This ebook investigates the advanced anti-Jewish and anti-Judaizing rhetoric of Ephrem, a fourth-century poet, deacon, and theologian from jap Roman Syria whose Syriac-language writings stay surprising and linguistically inaccessible to centuries of students who research the well known Greek and Latin writings of his contemporaries. A severe studying 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 neighborhood within the very act of defining it his so-called Judaizing and Arian Christian competitors, 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 depart his Syrian congregation without plausible 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 well known bishop of Alexandria, Christine Shepardson unearths the numerous position that anti-Jewish rhetoric performed extra commonly during this serious fourth-century theological clash, and demonstrates that long-ignored Syriac-speaking Christians resembling Ephrem participated absolutely within the fierce fight to outline Christian orthodoxy for the Roman Empire.

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58. Arguments against these three leaders permeate Ephrem's writings. See especially his Politics o f C h r i s t i a n O r t h o d o x y 17 various forms continued to be a visible presence through the fourth centu­ ry. 59 I n particular, The Syrian Goddess, attributed to L u c i a n of Samosata, de­ scribes the cult of the goddess Atargatis i n nearby Hieropolis, and the Teaching of Addai notes the many pagan temples (especially to B e l and Nebo) i n Edessa. 60 Worship o f these deities continued to thrive in Edessa at least until 61 the strict fifth-century leadership o f Bishop R a b b u l a .

Gribomont, "Le triomphe de Päques d'apres S. Ephrem," PdO 4 (1973): 147-89; J. Gribomont, "La tradition liturgique des Hymnes Pascales de Saint Ephrem," PdO 4 (1973): 191-246; Edmund Beck, "Das Bild vom Sauerteig bei Ephram," OC 63 (1979): 1-19; Pierre Yousif, "Les controverses de S. Ephrem sur ! Eucharistie," Euntes Docete 33 (1980): 405-26; Pierre Yousif, "Le sacrifice et roffrande chez Saint Ephrem de Nisibe," PdO 15 (1988-89): 21-40; Dominique Cerbelaud, "L'antijudaisme dans les Hymnes de Pascha d'Ephrem le Syrien," PdO 20 (1995): 201-7.

See also the list of insults listed in Jean juridique, economique, et sociale, vol. r (Paris: Paul Geuthner Library, 1914), 44-48; as well as G. Stanton, "Aspects of Early Christian-Jewish Polemic and Apologetic," NTS 31 (1985): 377-92. 30 D e f e n d i n g N i c a e a against J e w s & Judaizers justification for Christian persecution o f Jews. It was in this fourth-century setting of newly Christian political power that E p h r e m and his contempo­ raries wrote their anti-Jewish polemic. W i t h the establishment o f a politically dominant orthodoxy at the C o u n c i l o f Nicaea (325), Christian Judaizing, as­ sociated largely w i t h the easternmost parts of the R o m a n Empire, became a problematic breach of that orthodoxy.

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