Aphrahat the Persian Sage and the temple of God: A study of early Syriac theological anthropology

Stephanie K Skoyles Jarkins, Marquette University


Aphrahat the Persian Sage, (fl. 337-345 C.E.), was a Syriac Christian author who wrote twenty-three treatises entitled The Demonstrations . In comparison to other Patristic areas of study, very little has been done in the field of Syriac Christian studies. What little has been written about the Syriac Fathers usually cites Aphrahat as an aside while focusing upon Ephrem or some other more famous Syriac author. When Aphrahat has been the primary topic of study, the areas of sacraments in the early Syriac Church or the ascetic community of his time are the most popular issues written about. The purpose of this study is an analysis of "temple" as a key image for Aphrahat's theological anthropology. The temple image is the lens through which the author has examined various aspects of his thought including: asceticism, sacramentology, Christology, and ecclesiology. For Aphrahat, the devout Christian person may be a micro-temple which then allows one to encounter the divine both within oneself and through a vision ascent to the heavenly temple. The community on earth is also a temple, but Aphrahat writes more extensively about the individual person and the person's relation with God. Aphrahat, a mid-fourth century Christian author, uses themes and ideas with ancient roots, including Merkabah traditions of the temple and applies these traditions to the Christian experience of God.

Recommended Citation

Skoyles Jarkins, Stephanie K, "Aphrahat the Persian Sage and the temple of God: A study of early Syriac theological anthropology" (2005). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI3172501.