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II. Works. Except for the works previously cited, which contain some historical data, and the Hymni de Fide adversus scrutatores, which speak of the struggle with the Arians in Edessa, a chronology of Ephrem’s works is hard to establish. In general it is preferred to classify the doctor’s writings according to their different literary genres. Here we will cite only the main works, which have generally benefited from a recent edition, marking those whose authenticity is disputed with a dagger Ephrem are de Abraham Qidunaya, de Juliano Saba, de Confessoribus et Martyribus, de Maria Virgine. III. Ephrem as poet, exegete and theologian. Like an immense litany, Ephrem’s essentially poetic work reflects an Aramaic and Mesopotamian Christianity, which appears terribly archaic when compared to that of contemporaries like Basil or Gregory of Nyssa. In fact the doctor of Nisibis is a privileged witness of the tradition of the primitive Persian church, which lived at the margins of Greek culture; he himself did not know Greek and he rejected the rationalism that was the prerogative of heretics, the curious, whom he had to combat ceaselessly: Bardesanes, Marcion, Mani and above all the Arians.

Hence, notwithstanding his vehement polemic against the Jews, his greatest affinities are with the Jewish, Jewish Christian and pre-Nicene Asiatic traditions of which the school of Antioch would be, with that of Edessa, the main heir. His OT exegesis is often close to the targumic and midrashic traditions and, for the NT, he makes use of testimonia and typological parallelism, Angola Map Tourist Attractions like Melito of Sardis. In his poetic-contemplative approach to the mystery of God, though he betrays a secondhand knowledge of some Stoic themes and at times uses terms that would later become technical, such as kyana nature or qnoma person, hypostasis, Ephrem isolates himself in a radical agnosticism reflected in silence and humility inner harmony; this preserves him from modalist, tritheist and subordinationist deviations, and led to his being adopted as spiritual father of different factions of the church in the 5th and 6th c.

The heart of his faithful search concerned to preserve the integrity of human freedom and not simplistic, since he rejects from the outset the Scriptural fundamentalism of the speculatives resides in his semantic openness, his polysemy of symbols, in the divine names drawn not just from Scripture King, Shepherd, Bridegroom or from ancient Mesopotamia Maker, Physician, Vital Remedy, but also from nature. Indeed the perfect harmony of God and his creation, rooted in the dialectical mystery of the Son’s incarnation, opens the door to this analogical experience of God R. Murray even sees Ephrem as the precursor of the philosophy of P. Ricoeur: This Jesus has multiplied symbols for us; I have fallen into a sea of symbols, which show me in parables the resurrection of the dead through every kind of symbol and figure Carmina Nisibena 39, Angola Map Tourist Attractions 17. Hence Ephrem describes the Trinity through the image of sunfire, ray, heat; paradise through the images of Noah’s ark, Mt. Sinai, or the different facets of the human being, God’s likeness body, soul and spirit. He speaks of the relation between the Father and the Son as like that between the tree and its fruit; of the Spirit who hovers over the sacraments baptism, orders, Eucharist; of the economy of salvation as a road that extends from the tree to the cross, from the wood to the wood, from Eden to Sion, from Sion to the holy Church and from the church to kingdom H. de Fide 26, 4. Ephrem’s symbolic, christocentric method makes a systematic exposition of his doctrine difficult.

Nevertheless, studies of different aspects of his thought have multiplied in recent years. We will confine ourselves to reference works and to the most recent works. Editions and translations: The old editions of J.S. Assemani 6 vols., Rome 1732 43, with Lat. tr., the Mechitarists 4 vols., Venice 1836, in Armenian, J. Overbeck Oxford 1865 and T.J. Lamy 4 vols., Paris 1882 1902, Lat. tr. are now out of date. Recent publications are largely in CSCO; all those of Beck are followed by a German tr.

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