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Bride of Light


Hymns on Mary from the Syriac Churches


Translated by Sebastian P. Brock
Syriac is particularly rich in poetry on Mary. Not only is some of this of great tenderness and beauty, but much is also highly imaginative. The present selection of translations includes lyric poems (several by St Ephrem), five lively dialogues, and a longer narrative poem on Mary and Joseph.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-59333-845-9
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Series: Moran Etho 6
Publication Date: Apr 14,2010
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 206
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-59333-845-9
$79.00
$47.40

Syriac is particularly rich in poetry on Mary. Not only is some of this of great tenderness and beauty, but much is also highly imaginative and dramatic. Three different genres are represented in the present selection, lyric, dialogue and narrative poems; almost all are likely to date from the fourth or fifth century. First come five poems by St Ephrem himself, followed by a series of 15 Hymns on Mary attributed to him, but which must date from somewhat later. The section on lyric poems ends with nine charming short poems on the Nativity by Simeon the Potter, a contemporary of St Jacob of Serugh, and a lament put in the voice of Mary at the Crucifixion. Of the five dialogue poems, the first three are based on moments in the opening chapters of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke—Mary and the angel at the Annunciation, Mary and Joseph at the moment when Joseph discovers his betrothed is pregnant, and Mary and the Magi. By contrast, the last two are set on the morning of the Resurrection, where the Mary of chapter 20 of the Gospel of John is identified as Mary, the mother of Jesus, following an early tradition, and not as Mary Magdalene. The collection concludes with three narrative poems, of which the longest, on Mary and Jacob, makes use of themes in the Protogospel of James. A series of indexes includes ones listing the titles of Christ and of Mary that occur, as well as biblical references.

Syriac is particularly rich in poetry on Mary. Not only is some of this of great tenderness and beauty, but much is also highly imaginative and dramatic. Three different genres are represented in the present selection, lyric, dialogue and narrative poems; almost all are likely to date from the fourth or fifth century. First come five poems by St Ephrem himself, followed by a series of 15 Hymns on Mary attributed to him, but which must date from somewhat later. The section on lyric poems ends with nine charming short poems on the Nativity by Simeon the Potter, a contemporary of St Jacob of Serugh, and a lament put in the voice of Mary at the Crucifixion. Of the five dialogue poems, the first three are based on moments in the opening chapters of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke—Mary and the angel at the Annunciation, Mary and Joseph at the moment when Joseph discovers his betrothed is pregnant, and Mary and the Magi. By contrast, the last two are set on the morning of the Resurrection, where the Mary of chapter 20 of the Gospel of John is identified as Mary, the mother of Jesus, following an early tradition, and not as Mary Magdalene. The collection concludes with three narrative poems, of which the longest, on Mary and Jacob, makes use of themes in the Protogospel of James. A series of indexes includes ones listing the titles of Christ and of Mary that occur, as well as biblical references.

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Contributor Biography

Sebastian Brock

Emeritus Reader in Syriac Studies, Oxford University, and Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. Author of a number of contributions in the area of Syriac studies (including several books published by Gorgias Press).

  • Table of Contents (page 5)
  • Preface (page 9)
  • Introduction (page 11)
    • The Pattern of Salvation History: Fall and Restoration (page 12)
    • Images of the Incarnation (page 13)
    • The Role of Mary (page 19)
    • The Text Translated: Poetic Forms (page 22)
    • Authorship and Date (page 23)
  • Sources (page 27)
  • I. Prayer Songs (page 31)
    • 1 (St. Ephrem, Hymns on the Nativity , no. 11) (page 31)
    • 2 (St Ephrem, Hymns on the Nativity , no. 16) (page 33)
    • 3 (St Ephrem, Hymns on the Nativity , no. 17) (page 37)
    • 4 (St Ephrem, Hymns on the Church, no. 36) (page 41)
    • 5 (St Ephrem, Hymns on the Church, no. 37) (page 44)
    • 6 (Hymns on Mary, no. 1) (page 46)
    • 7 (Hymns on Mary, no. 2) (page 49)
    • 8 (Hymns on Mary, no. 3) (page 51)
    • 9 (Hymns on Mary, no. 4) (page 52)
    • 10 (Hymns on Mary, no. 5) (page 55)
    • 11 (Hymns on Mary, no. 6) (page 57)
    • 12 (Hymns on Mary, no. 7) (page 59)
    • 13 (Hymns on Mary, no. 8) (page 61)
    • 14 (Hymns on Mary, no. 9) (page 63)
    • 15 (Hymns on Mary, no. 10) (page 65)
    • 16 (Hymns on Mary, no. 11) (page 72)
    • 17 (Hymns on Mary, no. 12) (page 75)
    • 18 (Hymns on Mary, no. 13) (page 77)
    • 19 (Hymns on Mary, no. 14) (page 78)
    • 20 (Hymns on Mary, no. 15) (page 80)
    • 21 (Hymns on Mary, no. 16) (page 82)
    • 22 (Soghitha 1) (page 84)
    • 23 (Soghitha 2) (page 93)
    • 24 (Soghitha 3) (page 97)
    • 25 (Hymns on Mary, second series, no. 1) (page 105)
    • 26 (Hymns on Mary, second series, no. 2) (page 108)
    • 27 (Hymns on Mary, second series, no. 3) (page 111)
    • 28 (Hymns on Mary, no. 6 in British Library manuscript Add. 14,520) (page 117)
    • 29 (Hymns on Mary, no. 16 in British Library manuscript Add. 14,520) (page 119)
    • 30 (Hymns on Mary, no. 17 in British Library manuscript Add. 14,520) (page 121)
    • 31…39 (Simeon the Potter) (page 123)
      • 31 (Simeon the Potter, no. 1) (page 123)
      • 32 (Simeon the Potter, no. 2) (page 124)
      • 33 (Simeon the Potter, no. 3) (page 125)
      • 34 (Simeon the Potter, no. 4) (page 126)
      • 35 (Simeon the Potter, no. 5) (page 127)
      • 36 (Simeon the Potter, no. 6) (page 128)
      • 37 (Simeon the Potter, no. 7) (page 129)
      • 38 (Simeon the Potter, no. 8) (page 130)
      • 39 (Simeon the Potter, no. 9) (page 131)
      • 40 (The Lament of Mary at the Cross) (page 132)
  • II. Dialogue Poems (page 135)
    • 41 Dialogue between Mary and the Angel (page 135)
    • 42 Dialogue between Mary and Joseph (page 143)
    • 43 Dialogue between Mary and the Magi (page 149)
    • 44 Dialogues between Mary and the Gardener (page 156)
      • (a) East Syriac poem (page 156)
      • (b) West Syriac poem (page 158)
  • III. Verse Homilies (page 161)
  • 45 Verse Homily on the Virgin Mary, 1 (page 161)
  • 46 Verse Homily on the Virgin Mary, 2 (page 167)
  • 47 Verse Homily on Mary and Joseph (page 173)
  • Select Bibliography (page 187)
  • Index 1 „ Biblical References (page 191)
  • Index 2 „ Names (page 195)
  • Index 3 „ Subjects (page 197)
  • Index 4 „ Titles and Types of Christ (page 199)
  • Index 5 „ Titles and Types of Mary (page 203)
  • Index 6 „ First Lines (page 205)
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