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Theological Interpretation of Paradise in the Works of St. Ephrem the Syrian and its Application in Liturgical Hymns of Syrian Traditions Churches in India

Robert Nawara

Abstract

Ephrem made specifically poetic exegesis of the biblical text in his works. That exegesis is both complemented and expanded with his own theological interpretation. In the description of the biblical paradise Ephrem, referring to his well-known time-space methods to read the description of the garden of Eden, consciously turns the reader's attention towards a distinction between: sacred space (and time), and ordinary space (and time). The whole Ephrem’s theology is expressed using figurative language of symbols and poetry. The form of expression is smart. The Syrian’s poetry is suffused with Semitic influences of targumic traditions and Haggadah and is expressed in the Syriac language, which is a dialect of Aramaic. Semitic influences are noticeable, not only for the use of literary forms, but especially in the way of thinking, whose expression is a language. The symbol is thus a key to interpret the works of Ephrem. The letter is the only gate through which one can fathom what is revealed beyond the letter. It is distinctive and original that in the spatial description of paradise Ephrem, like Dante a few centuries later, saw the paradise as a mountain. Among the forms of anticipation of human in the paradise happiness the Syrian is considering: the role of faith, the importance of the sacraments (baptism and Eucharist), and spiritual-ascetic life. At each of these topics, in a characteristic manner does he develop the importance of such symbols as the robe of glory, glowing charcoal, pearl and parallels of Adam - Christ, Adam - man. The overall vision of the importance of redemption leads Ephrem to take up matters of eschatological nature. Ephrem sees the eschatic paradise as the same one from which the man came out, but not the same, because improved with the work of salvation of Christ. The Syrian develops these topics using symbols, metaphors and paradoxes. Getting familiar with the liturgical and theological tradition of Christians of the circle of the Syrian language leads not only to the discovery of similarities in the forms of expression and worship, with the Semitic environment of Damascus and Edessa of the 4th century, not only reveal the same source of the Biblical text of Peshitta, but also directly refer to the theology of the Poet of Edessa. In the liturgical hymns of the Westsyrian tradition (Syro-Malankara Church) and Eastsyrian Church (Syro-Malabar Church) one can find Ephrem’s hymns in the pure version, sung to this day, as they were written. You can also find the use of the same metaphors and symbols in the same theological context. All this justifies the conclusion that the theological legacy of Ephrem still has a huge influence on the liturgy, and through it, on the spiritual and doctrinal formation of the Christians of the rites Syrian.
Record ID
UAM371b51aab3304483a781e5adc6d222a4
Diploma type
Doctor of Philosophy
Author
Robert Nawara Robert Nawara,, Undefined Affiliation
Title in Polish
Teologiczna interpretacja raju w dziełach świętego Efrema Syryjczyka i jej aplikacja w liturgicznych hymnach Kościołów tradycji syryjskich w Indiach
Title in English
Theological Interpretation of Paradise in the Works of St. Ephrem the Syrian and its Application in Liturgical Hymns of Syrian Traditions Churches in India
Language
pol (pl) Polish
Certifying Unit
Faculty of Theology (SNH/WyT/FoT) [Not active]
Discipline
theology / (humanities)
Status
Finished
Year of creation
2015
Start date
11-02-2015
Defense Date
11-02-2015
Title date
11-02-2015
Supervisor
Bogdan Kazimierz Częsz Bogdan Kazimierz Częsz,, Wydział Teologiczny [nowa struktura organizacyjna] (SNH/WyT)Szkoła Nauk Humanistycznych [nowa struktura organizacyjna] (SNH)
URL
http://hdl.handle.net/10593/12705 Opening in a new tab
Keywords in English
paradise; robe of glory; medicine of life; liturgical hymns; Christianity in India
Abstract in English
Ephrem made specifically poetic exegesis of the biblical text in his works. That exegesis is both complemented and expanded with his own theological interpretation. In the description of the biblical paradise Ephrem, referring to his well-known time-space methods to read the description of the garden of Eden, consciously turns the reader's attention towards a distinction between: sacred space (and time), and ordinary space (and time). The whole Ephrem’s theology is expressed using figurative language of symbols and poetry. The form of expression is smart. The Syrian’s poetry is suffused with Semitic influences of targumic traditions and Haggadah and is expressed in the Syriac language, which is a dialect of Aramaic. Semitic influences are noticeable, not only for the use of literary forms, but especially in the way of thinking, whose expression is a language. The symbol is thus a key to interpret the works of Ephrem. The letter is the only gate through which one can fathom what is revealed beyond the letter. It is distinctive and original that in the spatial description of paradise Ephrem, like Dante a few centuries later, saw the paradise as a mountain. Among the forms of anticipation of human in the paradise happiness the Syrian is considering: the role of faith, the importance of the sacraments (baptism and Eucharist), and spiritual-ascetic life. At each of these topics, in a characteristic manner does he develop the importance of such symbols as the robe of glory, glowing charcoal, pearl and parallels of Adam - Christ, Adam - man. The overall vision of the importance of redemption leads Ephrem to take up matters of eschatological nature. Ephrem sees the eschatic paradise as the same one from which the man came out, but not the same, because improved with the work of salvation of Christ. The Syrian develops these topics using symbols, metaphors and paradoxes. Getting familiar with the liturgical and theological tradition of Christians of the circle of the Syrian language leads not only to the discovery of similarities in the forms of expression and worship, with the Semitic environment of Damascus and Edessa of the 4th century, not only reveal the same source of the Biblical text of Peshitta, but also directly refer to the theology of the Poet of Edessa. In the liturgical hymns of the Westsyrian tradition (Syro-Malankara Church) and Eastsyrian Church (Syro-Malabar Church) one can find Ephrem’s hymns in the pure version, sung to this day, as they were written. You can also find the use of the same metaphors and symbols in the same theological context. All this justifies the conclusion that the theological legacy of Ephrem still has a huge influence on the liturgy, and through it, on the spiritual and doctrinal formation of the Christians of the rites Syrian.

Uniform Resource Identifier
https://researchportal.amu.edu.pl/info/phd/UAM371b51aab3304483a781e5adc6d222a4/
URN
urn:amu-prod:UAM371b51aab3304483a781e5adc6d222a4

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