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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 well legally declare the name of Christian orthodoxy have been these whose teachings had the backing of the emperor's felony and army authority. regardless of the concrete judgements of 325 and the ecumenical council's try and create an imperial orthodoxy, the a long time that witnessed ongoing battles among these Christians who supported the council's final result and those that didn't. This publication investigates the complicated anti-Jewish and anti-Judaizing rhetoric of Ephrem, a fourth-century poet, deacon, and theologian from jap 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 serious interpreting of Ephrem's various 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 competitors, either one of whom he accused of being extra like Jews than Christians. via rigorously crafted rhetoric, Ephrem built for his viewers new social and theological parameters that reshaped the non secular panorama of his neighborhood. This booklet exhibits that the anti-Jewish polemic of Ephrem's hymns represents his calculated efforts to depart his Syrian congregation without manageable 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 well known bishop of Alexandria, Christine Shepardson unearths the numerous position that anti-Jewish rhetoric performed extra largely during this severe fourth-century theological clash, and demonstrates that long-ignored Syriac-speaking Christians reminiscent of Ephrem participated absolutely within the fierce fight to outline Christian orthodoxy for the Roman Empire.

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See David Bundy, "Marcion and the Marcionites in Early Syriac Apologetics," Le Museon: Revues d'Etudes Orientates 101 (1998): 21-32; Edmund Beck, Ephrams Polemik gegen Mani und die Manichäer im Rahmen der zeitgenössischen griechischen Polemik und der des Augustinus, CSCO 391, Sub. 55 (Louvain, 1978)· The chapters below will also discuss the fourth-century "Arian" Christianity that Ephrem confronted. 59. For a detailed introduction to these practices, see H. J. W Drijvers's works: Cults and at Edessa (Leiden: Brill, 1980); "The Persistence of Pagan Cults and Practices in Chris­ tian Syria," in East of Byzantium: Syria and Armenia in the Formative Period, eds.

17. Melito of Sardis, Peri Pascha 96 (cf. 359 and leiun. 24; Grg. Naz. Or. 5). See also E. Werner, "Melito of Sardes: The First Poet of Deicide," HUCA 37 (1966): 191-210; S. G. Hall, "Melito in Light of the Passover Haggadah," JTS 21 (1971): 29-46; K. Noakes, "Melito of Sardis and the Jews," Studia Patristica 13, no. 2 (1975): 244-49; Ste­ phen Wilson, "Melito and Israel," in Anti-Judaism in Early Christianity, vol. 2, ed. Stephen Wilson (Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University, 1986), 81-102; Robert MacLennan, Early Christian Texts, 89-116; Lieu, Image.

12 T h u s , the earliest Christian anti- Judaism originated in a context of self-definition in an effort to w i n the tide of God's chosen people away from those w h o already had it. As Christian9. These claims can be seen as early as Paul's writings. See, for example, Rom 9-11, in which he claims that Gentiles who follow Christ have been grafted onto the tree of Israel. ) There is a wealth of scholarship on this topic. See, for example, Karl Ludwig Schmidt, Die Judenfrage im Lichte der Kapitel 9-11 des Römerbriefes (Zürich: Evangelical Press, 1947); Johannes Munck, Christus und Israel: Eine auslegung von Köm.

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