By Christine Shepardson

The politically embroiled and sharply divided Council of Nicaea (325) supplied a turbulent commencing to Christianity's fight for self-definition within the political enviornment. Questions of final fact apart, those that may legally declare the identify of Christian orthodoxy have been these whose teachings had the backing of the emperor's criminal and armed forces authority. regardless of the concrete judgements of 325 and the ecumenical council's try to create an imperial orthodoxy, the many years that witnessed ongoing battles among these Christians who supported the council's final result and those that didn't. This e-book investigates the complicated anti-Jewish and anti-Judaizing rhetoric of Ephrem, a fourth-century poet, deacon, and theologian from japanese Roman Syria whose Syriac-language writings stay strange and linguistically inaccessible to centuries of students who examine the well known Greek and Latin writings of his contemporaries. A severe interpreting of Ephrem's a number of poetic writings demonstrates that his sharp anti-Jewish and anti-Judaizing language helped to solidify a pro-Nicene definition of Christian orthodoxy, removing from that neighborhood within the very act of defining it his so-called Judaizing and Arian Christian rivals, either one of whom he accused of being extra like Jews than Christians. via conscientiously crafted rhetoric, Ephrem built for his viewers new social and theological parameters that reshaped the non secular panorama of his group. This booklet exhibits that the anti-Jewish polemic of Ephrem's hymns represents his calculated efforts to go away his Syrian congregation without doable replacement yet to comply to the Council of Nicaea, his personal version for Christian orthodoxy.Comparing Ephrem's texts with the modern Greek writings of Athanasius, the popular bishop of Alexandria, Christine Shepardson finds the numerous function that anti-Jewish rhetoric performed extra largely during this serious fourth-century theological clash, and demonstrates that long-ignored Syriac-speaking Christians equivalent to Ephrem participated totally within the fierce fight to outline Christian orthodoxy for the Roman Empire.

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And whoever is joined together in their festivals, to that one the sprinkling of the blood also comes. 27. The People that does not eat from a pig is a pig that wallows in much blood. 28. Flee and distance yourself from [the People]! Look, it shakes itself off! Do not let the sprinkling of the blood contaminate you! 40 38. Compare also Ephrem, Comm. Diat. 13. 39. Compare Ignatius of Antioch's earlier language of the Eucharist as a life-giving drug in contrast to a deadly drug (Ep. Trail. 6, 11; Ep.

Ephrem sur ! Eucharistie," Euntes Docete 33 (1980): 405-26; Pierre Yousif, "Le sacrifice et roffrande chez Saint Ephrem de Nisibe," PdO 15 (1988-89): 21-40; Dominique Cerbelaud, "L'antijudaisme dans les Hymnes de Pascha d'Ephrem le Syrien," PdO 20 (1995): 201-7. 33. 17-20. 34. 18. See also S. Bacchiocchi, Anti-Judaism and the Origin of Sunday (Rome, 1975). 86. 35. 19. For further evidence, see also the Didascalia 21 (and Rouwhorst, Les , D e f e n d i n g N i c a e a against J e w s & Judaizers 31 Antioch (341 C E ) also refers to this Nicene decision in the act of suggesting that church leaders in the East must do even more to make sure that their 36 churches uphold this Nicene i n j u n c t i o n .

Again, however, this rhetoric is in the service of his ultimate 20 Politics o f C h r i s t i a n O r t h o d o x y goal of fostering a pro-Nicene Christian Empire. " E p h r e m offers his audience a worldview in w h i c h rhetori­ cal insult and historical narrative meet. T h r o u g h o u t history, E p h r e m suggests, there have been two types of people—those w h o follow G o d (Christians) and those w h o reject G o d (Jews). E p h r e m pleads with his audience to flee from the contemporary "Jewish" threats to the safety of (Nicene) Christianity.

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