Hymns on Paradise

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St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1990 - Religion - 240 pages
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St Ephrem the Syrian's cycle of fifteen hymns on paradise offers a fine example of Christian poetry, in which the author weaves a profound theological synthesis around a particular Biblical narrative. Centered on Genesis 2 and 3, he expresses his awareness of the sacramental character of the created world, and of the potential of everything in the created world to act as a witness and pointer to the creator. God's two witnesses, says Ephrem, are: 'Nature, through man's use of it, [and] Scripture, through his reading it." In his writing, Ephrem posits an inherent link between the material and spiritual worlds. St Ephrem's mode of theological discussion is essentially Biblical and Semitic in character. He uses types and symbols to express connections or relationships to 'reveal' something that is otherwise 'hidden,' particularly expressing meanings between the Old Testament and the New, between this world and the heavenly, between the New Testament and the sacraments, and between the sacraments and the eschaton. His theology is not tied to a particular cultural or philosophical background, but operates by means of imagery and symbolism basic to all human experience.

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User Review  - antiquary - LibraryThing

Some of the hymns of St. Ephrem are among the most beautiful I have ever read, so far as I can judge from translation. Read full review

About the author (1990)

Sebastian P. Brock is Reader in Syriac Studies at the Oriental Institute at Oxford and is the author of "The Luminous Eye: The Spiritual World Vision of Saint Ephrem" (Kalamazoo, 1992). Susan Ashbrook Harvey is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Brown University and author of "Asceticism and Society in Crisis: John of Ephesus and the Lives of the Eastern Saints" (California, 1990).

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