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Jacob of Sarug's Homilies on Praise at Table


Edited and Translated by Jeff W. Childers
Part of a series of fascicles containing the bilingual Syriac-English editions of Saint Jacob of Sarug’s homilies, this volume contains his homilies on Praise at Table. These homilies offer a glimpse into the efforts of one late antique author to construct distinctly Christian meaning from the experience of communal meal-sharing. The Syriac text is fully vocalized, and the translation is annotated with a commentary and biblical references. The volume is one of the fascicles of Gorgias Press’s The Metrical Homilies of Mar Jacob of Sarug, which, when complete, will contain all of Jacob’s surviving sermons. Recognized as a saint by both Chalcedonian and non-Chalcedonian Christians alike, Jacob of Sarug (d. 521) produced many narrative poems that have rarely been translated into English. Of his reported 760 metrical homilies, only about half survive.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-0605-5
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Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Jun 15,2016
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 150
Languages: English, Syriac
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0605-5
$55.25
$33.15

In these eight brief homilies, entitled Praise at Table, Jacob of Sarug summons his listeners to praise God for his provision of their food and to celebrate their table fellowship. Unlike many of Jacob’s homilies, these are neither exegetical-dogmatic in focus, nor do they evoke the liturgical setting of a congregation gathered to observe the Eucharist or other ritual festivals. Rather, these homilies evoke a communal meal setting in the tradition of the ancient Agape, in which Christians have gathered to share a simple meal of ordinary food. The meal observance contains ritual elements, including the preacher’s intonation of a brief meditation at the end of the repast, when the diners should be moved to return thanks to God. Yet the homilies are not mere thanksgivings. Through the power of Jacob’s vivid imagery, the flavors and aromas of the food and wine—indeed the dining experience itself—are transformed into an extraordinary opportunity for the diners to glimpse powerful unseen realities and to be shaped spiritually as a result, under Jacob’s insightful and capable pastoral direction.

These homilies offer a glimpse into the efforts of one late antique author to construct distinctly Christian meaning from the experience of communal meal-sharing.

Recognized as a saint by both Chalcedonian and non-Chalcedonian Christians alike, Jacob of Sarug (d. 521) produced many narrative poems that have rarely been translated into English. Of his reported 760 metrical homilies, only about half survive. Part of a series of fascicles containing the bilingual Syriac-English editions of Saint Jacob of Sarug’s homilies, this volume contains his homilies on Praise at Table. The Syriac text is fully vocalized, and the translation is annotated with a commentary and biblical references. The volume is one of the fascicles of Gorgias Press’s The Metrical Homilies of Mar Jacob of Sarug, which, when complete, will contain all of Jacob’s surviving sermons.

Jeff W. Childers is Carmichael-Walling Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity in the Graduate School of Theology at Abilene Christian University.

In these eight brief homilies, entitled Praise at Table, Jacob of Sarug summons his listeners to praise God for his provision of their food and to celebrate their table fellowship. Unlike many of Jacob’s homilies, these are neither exegetical-dogmatic in focus, nor do they evoke the liturgical setting of a congregation gathered to observe the Eucharist or other ritual festivals. Rather, these homilies evoke a communal meal setting in the tradition of the ancient Agape, in which Christians have gathered to share a simple meal of ordinary food. The meal observance contains ritual elements, including the preacher’s intonation of a brief meditation at the end of the repast, when the diners should be moved to return thanks to God. Yet the homilies are not mere thanksgivings. Through the power of Jacob’s vivid imagery, the flavors and aromas of the food and wine—indeed the dining experience itself—are transformed into an extraordinary opportunity for the diners to glimpse powerful unseen realities and to be shaped spiritually as a result, under Jacob’s insightful and capable pastoral direction.

These homilies offer a glimpse into the efforts of one late antique author to construct distinctly Christian meaning from the experience of communal meal-sharing.

Recognized as a saint by both Chalcedonian and non-Chalcedonian Christians alike, Jacob of Sarug (d. 521) produced many narrative poems that have rarely been translated into English. Of his reported 760 metrical homilies, only about half survive. Part of a series of fascicles containing the bilingual Syriac-English editions of Saint Jacob of Sarug’s homilies, this volume contains his homilies on Praise at Table. The Syriac text is fully vocalized, and the translation is annotated with a commentary and biblical references. The volume is one of the fascicles of Gorgias Press’s The Metrical Homilies of Mar Jacob of Sarug, which, when complete, will contain all of Jacob’s surviving sermons.

Jeff W. Childers is Carmichael-Walling Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity in the Graduate School of Theology at Abilene Christian University.

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Contributor Biography

Jeff Childers

Jeff W. Childers is Carmichael-Walling Professor of New Testament & Early Christianity in the Graduate School of Theology at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. He has a DPhil in Syriac Studies from the University of Oxford and specializes in the literature and history of Oriental Christianity.

  • Table of Contents (page 7)
  • Acknowledgments (page 9)
  • Abbreviations (page 11)
  • Introduction (page 13)
    • Basic Character of the Homilies (page 13)
    • Author (page 14)
    • The Setting of the Homilies (page 16)
    • Form, Content, and Terminology (page 24)
    • Outlines and Titles (page 27)
      • Homily 139: Homily 1 on Praise at Table - Providence (page 27)
      • Homily 140: Homily 2 on Praise at Table - Bread & Wine (page 28)
      • Homily 141: Homily 3 on Praise at Table - The Word of Life and Moderation (page 28)
      • Homily 142: Homily 4 on Praise at Table - The Bee and the Rose (page 29)
      • Homily 143: Homily 5 on Praise at Table - Fruits of Righteousness (page 29)
      • Homily 144: Homily 6 on Praise at Table - The Lush Meadows of Scripture (page 30)
      • Homily 145: Homily 7 on Praise at Table - Moderation and Contentment (page 31)
      • Homily 146: Homily 8 on Praise at Table - Gratitude (page 31)
    • Manuscripts with These Homilies (page 32)
      • Jacob Collections (page 34)
      • Scattered Homilies of Jacob (page 36)
    • The Translation (page 38)
  • Text and Translation (page 39)
    • Homily 139: On Praise at Table 1 - Providence (page 40)
    • Homily 140: On Praise at Table 2 - Bread & Wine (page 52)
    • Homily 141: On Praise at Table 3 - The Word of Life and Moderation (page 64)
    • Homily 142: On Praise at Table 4 - The Bee and the Rose (page 76)
    • Homily 143: On Praise at Table 5 - Fruits of Righteousness (page 88)
    • Homily 144: On Praise at Table 6 - The Lush Meadows of Scripture (page 100)
    • Homily 145: On Praise at Table 7 - Moderation and Contentment (page 114)
    • Homily 146: On Praise at Table 8 - Gratitude (page 126)
  • Bibliography (page 139)
  • Index of Names, Terms, and Subjects (page 143)
  • Index of Biblical References (page 149)
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