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Marriage and the Sacraments

Early Eastern Christianity


Originally delivered as one of the St. Margaret’s Lectures for 1904, the contents of this booklet are focused on aspects of the Syriac-speaking Church. Extracted from Burkitt’s book Early Eastern Christianity, the fourth lecture concerns the development of marriage and the role of sacraments in the early Syriac Church. Burkitt finds that marriage was not early regarded as a sacrament and the married faithful were not permitted the sacraments of baptism or communion in the early tradition represented by Aphraates.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-60724-129-4
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Publication Status: In Print
Publication Date: Apr 2,2009
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 42
Languages: English
ISBN: 978-1-60724-129-4
$39.00
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Originally delivered as one of the St. Margaret’s Lectures for 1904, the contents of this booklet are focused on aspects of the Syriac-speaking Church. Extracted from Burkitt’s book Early Eastern Christianity, the fourth lecture on marriage and the sacraments points out that earliest Christianity was not ascetical. Beginning with Aphraates, Burkitt examines the various sacraments stating with the Eucharist. In discussing baptism, the implication seems to be that only the celibate, according to Aphraates, are to receive the rite. He knows of no sacrament of marriage and holds celibacy to be one of the constraints of a true Christian life. Burkitt then provides a rendition of the strict ruling for monastics laid down by Rabbula in connection with the sacramental institutions discussed under Aphraates. Although he attempted to discover at what point the Syriac Church admitted a blessing of Christian marriage, Burkitt was unable to locate this information. He notes that this practice, from early times in the western church, seems to have been a later development in the east, according to the information available from the early Syriac sources.

Francis Crawford Burkitt (1864-1935) began his academic career as a student of mathematics. While at Cambridge University he moved to Divinity, becoming the Norrisian Professor. His interest in the text of the New Testament led him to study Syriac manuscripts and to publish widely in the field. He was a fellow of the British Academy.

Originally delivered as one of the St. Margaret’s Lectures for 1904, the contents of this booklet are focused on aspects of the Syriac-speaking Church. Extracted from Burkitt’s book Early Eastern Christianity, the fourth lecture on marriage and the sacraments points out that earliest Christianity was not ascetical. Beginning with Aphraates, Burkitt examines the various sacraments stating with the Eucharist. In discussing baptism, the implication seems to be that only the celibate, according to Aphraates, are to receive the rite. He knows of no sacrament of marriage and holds celibacy to be one of the constraints of a true Christian life. Burkitt then provides a rendition of the strict ruling for monastics laid down by Rabbula in connection with the sacramental institutions discussed under Aphraates. Although he attempted to discover at what point the Syriac Church admitted a blessing of Christian marriage, Burkitt was unable to locate this information. He notes that this practice, from early times in the western church, seems to have been a later development in the east, according to the information available from the early Syriac sources.

Francis Crawford Burkitt (1864-1935) began his academic career as a student of mathematics. While at Cambridge University he moved to Divinity, becoming the Norrisian Professor. His interest in the text of the New Testament led him to study Syriac manuscripts and to publish widely in the field. He was a fellow of the British Academy.

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