Syriac Christian, Greek Christian and Contemporaneous Jewish Hermeneutics (4th–5th centuries): Paradigms of Interaction

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The independent Christian Syriac identity that can be discerned in early Syriac literature later succumbed to Greek patristic hegemony. Nevertheless the special cultural circumstances of the emergence of a Syriac-speaking Church engendered peculiar traits of thought and expression to be found in early Syriac sources. However, the traffic of ideas and perceptions between Syriac and Greek discourse in Syria did not flow only one way; it appears that some fundamental attitudes and theological notions prevalent among Aramaic-speaking Christians were absorbed by their Greek brethren, eventually attested in what is called the Antiochene school. The texts discussed here engender a number of general observations: a. Early Syriac sources retain distinctive traditions apparently reflecting native Syrian Christian culture–including a strong emphasis on the low anthropology and christology evident in Aphrahat and Ephrem, which might have influenced the emerging Antiochene tradition. b. Some of these texts are also characterized by an abundance of quasi-midrashic motifs, bearing witness to close contacts and polemics with Jews. c. Moreover, this development may be seen as complemented by the ramifications in the complex attitudes of early Syriac Christianity toward Greek Christianity. d. These findings confirm a plausible model of an indigenous early Syriac Christianity gradually entering into a dynamic interaction with Christian Greek tradition mediated by Greek Christianity in Syria, with the latter’s influence eventually becoming dominant.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-367
Number of pages15
JournalКирило-Методиевски студии
StatePublished - 2016


  • Language and Literature Studies
  • Cultural history
  • Syriac Christianity
  • Greek Christianity


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