Walters, James Edward. Aphrahat and the Construction of Christian Identity in Fourth-Century Persia. Ph.D. Dissertation, Princeton Theological Seminary, 2016.A past post on another publication that seems to come to somewhat different conclusions is here.
My dissertation began—as many dissertations do, I imagine—with a simple question: What in the world is going on in this text? The text in question came from the Demonstrations, a fourth-century Syriac corpus attributed to an author known as Aphrahat, the Persian Sage. More specifically, the text to which my question referred was Demonstration 17, in which Aphrahat makes the argument that Jesus is both Messiah and Son of God by using only proof texts from the Hebrew Bible because this argument was directed “against the Jews.” I had only just learned Syriac, so I dove in head first, working out Syriac grammar and puzzling rhetorical arguments with equal amounts of confusion on both. As I continued reading the rest of the Demonstrations, along with all the secondary literature I could get my hands on, that question of “what is going on here?” just kept nagging me.
Monday, June 27, 2016
Walters, Aphrahat and the Construction of Christian Identity in Fourth-Century Persia
ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Dissertation Spotlight | James Walters.