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Anti-Judaism and Christian Orthodoxy

Ephrem's Hymns in Fourth-century Syria (Patristic Monograph Series)

Christine Shepardson

Publication Year: 2011

This book investigates the complex anti-Jewish and anti-Judaizing rhetoric of Ephrem, a fourth-century poet, deacon, and theologian from eastern Roman Syria whose Syriac-language writings remain unfamiliar and linguistically inaccessible to centuries of scholars who study the well-known Greek and Latin writings of his contemporaries.

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Series: Patristic Monograph Series (NAPS)


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Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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p. vii

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pp. ix-x

It is my great pleasure to acknowledge the many people who have made this project possible, and first among them are my two exceptional dissertation advisors, to whom I am extremely grateful: Elizabeth A. Clark, an inspirational model of scholarly excellence and a compassionate mentor; and...


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pp. xi-xii

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1. Syria and the Politics of Christian Orthodoxy

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pp. 1-20

One spring in Mesopotamia as Passover and Easter approached, Ephrem’s fourth-century church resounded with the anti-Jewish refrain from another of his Syriac hymns: “Glory be to Christ through whose body the unleavened bread of the [Jewish] People became obsolete, together with the [Jewish...

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2. Defending Nicaea against Jews and Judaizers

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pp. 21-68

In the turbulent Christian controversies of the fourth century, church leaders engaged in the struggle to convert congregants as well as emperors to their views of Christian orthodoxy. While scholars of late antiquity have long scoured early Greek and Latin sources for information about this...

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3. Ephrem’s Use of Scriptural History

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pp. 69-105

While Ephrem’s anti-Judaizing language and concerns for the Judaizing behavior of his local church audience represent one significant means by which he attempts to assert the framework of Nicene orthodoxy in his eastern Syrian context, it is by no means the only one by which he does so. Ephrem’s arguments...

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4. Ephrem, Athanasius, and the “Arian” Threat

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pp. 106-156

Ephrem’s intimately related narratives of Scripture and history produce an ideological framework through which he constructs the social boundaries of his fourth-century community. The anti-Jewish language of his hymns would have been a powerful tool, however, not only against Jews and Judaizers, as...

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5. Syria and the Construction of Christian Orthodoxy

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pp. 157-161

The unique relationship between Judaism and Syriac Christianity has traditionally facilitated eastern Syria’s isolation in scholarship on the Roman Empire and early Christian history.1 Using Ephrem’s Syriac texts as a starting point for understanding the role that anti-Jewish language played in the theological...


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pp. 163-186

General Index

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pp. 187-190

Index of Ephrem’s Writings

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p. 191

Production Notes

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p. 193

E-ISBN-13: 9780813218311
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813215365

Page Count: 207
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Patristic Monograph Series (NAPS)
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OCLC Number: 647932889
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Anti-Judaism and Christian Orthodoxy

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Ephraem, Syrus, Saint, 303-373.
  • Hymns, Syriac -- History and criticism.
  • Christianity and antisemitism.
  • Judaism (Christian theology) -- History of doctrines -- Early church, ca.30-600.
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