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Jacob of Sarug’s Homily on the Tower of Babel


Metrical Homilies of Mar Jacob of Sarug


Translation and Introduction by Aaron Michael Butts
This edition of Mar Jacob of Sarug's (d. 521) homily on the Tower of Babel develops an extended word-play between “morduto” ‘rebellion’ and “marduto” ‘discipline.’ As is characteristic of Jacob, the characters, their personalities, and their motivations are developed far more than they are in the biblical narrative. The volume constitutes a fascicle of The Metrical Homilies of Mar Jacob of Sarug, which, when complete, will contain the original Syriac text of Jacob's surviving sermons, fully vocalized, alongside an annotated English translation.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-60724-000-6
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Jul 20,2009
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 68
Languages: English, Syriac
ISBN: 978-1-60724-000-6
$35.00
$21.00

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 homily on the Tower of Babel. 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. Part of a series of fascicles containing the bilingual Syriac-English editions of Saint Jacob of Sarug’s homilies, this volume contains his homily on the Tower of Babel. 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.

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Contributor Biography

Aaron Butts

Aaron M. Butts is an assistant professor, focusing on the Christian Near East, in the Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures at the Catholic University of America.

  • Table of Contents (page 5)
  • Acknowledgements (page 7)
  • Introduction (page 9)
  • Text and Translation (page 15)
    • I. Proem introducing God's mercy in the form of discipline (page 16)
    • II. The rebellion of humanity (page 20)
    • III. The cause of the rebellion at Babel (page 24)
    • IV. The weariness and suffering that resulted from the rebellion (page 28)
    • V. The people's act of rebellion and God's merciful response of discipline (page 34)
    • VI. God descends to see the construction of the tower and decides to scatter the people of Babel (page 36)
    • VII. Interpretation of 'Come, let us descend' (page 40)
    • VIII. Defense that God has a Son (page 42)
    • IX. The Son was revealed at the scattering of the people of Babel because it was a creative act (page 46)
    • X. The creative acts of the Son (page 50)
    • XI. The confusion resulting from the divided languages (page 54)
    • XII. God's scattering of the people was an act of mercy (page 60)
    • XIII. Recapitulation of God's mercy in the form of discipline (page 62)
  • Bibliography of Works Cited (page 69)
  • Index of Names and Themes (page 71)
  • Index of Biblical References (page 72)
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