Date of Award

Spring 2005

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Golitzin, Alexander

Second Advisor

Dempsey, Deirdre

Third Advisor

Hughson, D. T.


This study of Aphrahat the Persian Sage comes at a time when Syriac studies is coming into its own as an area of scholarly interest. Syriac Patristic research is in many ways the poor cousin to the greater Greco-Roman studies in Patristics. Syriac studies has gone through waves of interest; the first wave in modem times was in the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century with Gustav Bickell, Jacob Forget Salomon Funk, Jean Parisot, Louis Ginzberg, Frank Gavin, Richard H. Connolly, and Francis C. Burkitt. The second wave of scholarship on Aphrahat was from the 1930s to the 1950s and was, by necessity, smaller, but no less important, with the writings of Freidrich Loofs, Mother Mary Maude, and Irenee Hausherr. The third wave is the larger one emanating from the writings of Robert Murray in the 1970s and Sebastian Brock in the 1980s through to the present. Today, the interest in Syriac studies is booming in comparison to previous decades. I am quite happy to be part of the expansion and promotion of Syriac studies to the English speaking reader. My personal agenda is to show Aphrabat as the great theologian he is. This dissertation is very broad in scope, tracing the theme of temple through Hebrew scriptures, Second Temple Literature, New Testament, significant forbearers to Apbrahat and a few later authors. But the heart of my study is Aphrahat's own use of temple in his writings. My dissertation shows that Apibrahat is not a lone voice crying in the wilderness of the Persian Empire in the mid-fourth century. He uses ideas and themes with ancient lineage and he transmits them to his audience and to us. In my view, Aphrahat needs to be brought out from under the shadow of his younger contemporary Ephrem the Syrian; and my work helps to do this. I also wish to show the Syriac Fathers as they are; a group of authors who can help modem people to deepen their understanding of the scriptures and spirituality.



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