Friday, June 15, 2012

New books from Peeters

Aphrahat's Demonstrations
A Conversation with the Jews of Mesopotamia

Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium, 642
Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium, Subsidia, 642

Authors: Lizorkin E.

Year: 2012
ISBN: 978-90-429-2574-8
Pages: XVI-176 p.
Price: 70 EURO

Various opinions on the nature of Aphrahat’s interactions with the Jews have essentially revolved around either accepting or rejecting the claim that the Persian Sage had contact with (Rabbinic) Jews and/or may have been influenced by them. The issue was never settled.
To provide answers to the related questions the author uses a textual comparative methodology, juxtaposing texts from both sources and analyzing them in relation to each other. Every section that deals with such comparison is organized into three sub-sections: 1) agreement, 2) disagreement by omission; and 3) disagreement by confrontation. The study is structured around the general theme of ritual as addressed by Aphrahat in his work. It compares the treatment of circumcision, prayer, Passover, Kashrut and fasting in Aphrahat’s Demonstrations with the treatment of the same themes in Babylonian Talmud. In addition to dealing with primary conclusions that answer the questions regarding the nature of Aphrahat’s encounters with the Jews, the researcher provides a set of additional or secondary conclusions that concern variety of topics such as the nature of Jewish missions to the (Jewish) Christians and Aphrahat’s treatment of the Christian Pascha in relationship to the idea of the Christian Sabbath.

Mundus primus
Die Geschichte der Welt und des Menschen von Adam bis Noach im Genesiskommentar Ephräms des Syrers

Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium, 641
Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium, Subsidia, 641

Kremer T.

ISBN: 978-90-429-2566-3
Pages: LVI-534 p.
Price: 120 EURO

Albeit famous as a composer of liturgical hymns, the exegetical works of Ephrem the Syrian are almost unknown. This monograph deals with Ephrem's commentary on Genesis in which he provides a specific explanation of the biblical primordial history. His exegesis proves to be apologetic (refuting the positions of his main opponents Marcion, Bardaisan and Mani), ascetic and critical towards allegorical interpretations of an allusive type. By applying principles of a complex typology, he interprets the primordial events by relating them to particular contexts (cosmology, anthropology, ethics and eschatology). Thus he assumes that Gen 1:1–9:17 describes the contours of a first world (mundus primus), which is in a paradigmatic way a typological pre-image of the second world (mundus secundus) in which we live. According to Ephrem, with the landing of the Ark and God's covenant with Noah, the history undergoes its decisive turning point. This study may prove both Ephrem's close proximity to rabbinic exegesis and his great originality. As a starting point for a specific Syriac interpretation tradition of the first book of the Bible Ephrem’s commentary is highly interesting for patristic exegesis and inspiring for the theological interpretation of the primordial history and a lively dialogue with modern exegesis.
Ephrem shows some familiarity with Jewish traditions in his Genesis commentary. I have written about this in my book The Provenance of the Pseudepigrapha.