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Ephrem the Syrian is known as one of the greatest Christian poets and as a unique author whose mode of thought is usually described as “symbolic.” In this work, Kees den Biesen explores the literary, intellectual, and theological mechanisms at work in Ephrem’s writings with the specific aim of identifying the exact nature of his “symbolic thought” and evaluating its contemporary relevance. Den Biesen elaborates a comprehensive approach that integrates a variety of methods into a genuinely theological methodology. He then proposes his own comprehensive understanding of the nature and merits of Ephrem’s symbolic thought.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-0388-7
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Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Jun 18,2014
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 459
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0388-7
$57.26

Ephrem the Syrian is known as one of the greatest Christian poets and as a unique author whose mode of thought is usually described as “symbolic.” In this work, Kees den Biesen explores the literary, intellectual, and theological mechanisms at work in Ephrem’s writings with the specific aim of identifying the exact nature of his “symbolic thought” and evaluating its contemporary relevance.

Critically reviewing modern research into Ephrem, den Biesen develops the avenues opened up by scholars such as Robert Murray, Sebastian Brock, Tanios Bou Mansour and Phil Botha, and elaborates a comprehensive approach that integrates a variety of methods into a genuinely theological methodology. He exemplifies and fine-tunes this methodology through an analysis of the polarity “word vs. silence” in Ephrem’s madrāšē and of the way Ephrem constructs his thought in the epistemological treatise comprised in the First Discourse for Hypatius.

On the basis of these innovative explorations, den Biesen examines the most important scholarly interpretations of Ephrem’s theology. With great vision, den Biesen then proposes his own comprehensive understanding of the nature and merits of Ephrem’s symbolic thought. Thanks to his mastery of the art of the word and his familiarity with the world of sacred ritual, Ephrem develops open symbols and concepts into a carefully articulated system whose intelligence far surpasses the cleverness of analytic and logical thought. Ephrem’s symbolism constitutes a linguistic, artistic and intellectual model for a Christian theology that wishes to overcome today’s rationalism and fundamentalism and wisely express and celebrate the mystery of God and life.

Kees den Biesen is a theologian with a special interest in symbolism and poetry, a patristic scholar of early Syriac literature and the spirituality of the Christian Orient, and a specialist in architectural theory and liturgical form. He has lectured and conducted research in the Netherlands, Ireland, Egypt and the Ukraine and has published the Bibliography of Ephrem the Syrian. He now lives in Italy and works as a freelance translator in the field of contemporary spirituality and psychology.

Ephrem the Syrian is known as one of the greatest Christian poets and as a unique author whose mode of thought is usually described as “symbolic.” In this work, Kees den Biesen explores the literary, intellectual, and theological mechanisms at work in Ephrem’s writings with the specific aim of identifying the exact nature of his “symbolic thought” and evaluating its contemporary relevance.

Critically reviewing modern research into Ephrem, den Biesen develops the avenues opened up by scholars such as Robert Murray, Sebastian Brock, Tanios Bou Mansour and Phil Botha, and elaborates a comprehensive approach that integrates a variety of methods into a genuinely theological methodology. He exemplifies and fine-tunes this methodology through an analysis of the polarity “word vs. silence” in Ephrem’s madrāšē and of the way Ephrem constructs his thought in the epistemological treatise comprised in the First Discourse for Hypatius.

On the basis of these innovative explorations, den Biesen examines the most important scholarly interpretations of Ephrem’s theology. With great vision, den Biesen then proposes his own comprehensive understanding of the nature and merits of Ephrem’s symbolic thought. Thanks to his mastery of the art of the word and his familiarity with the world of sacred ritual, Ephrem develops open symbols and concepts into a carefully articulated system whose intelligence far surpasses the cleverness of analytic and logical thought. Ephrem’s symbolism constitutes a linguistic, artistic and intellectual model for a Christian theology that wishes to overcome today’s rationalism and fundamentalism and wisely express and celebrate the mystery of God and life.

Kees den Biesen is a theologian with a special interest in symbolism and poetry, a patristic scholar of early Syriac literature and the spirituality of the Christian Orient, and a specialist in architectural theory and liturgical form. He has lectured and conducted research in the Netherlands, Ireland, Egypt and the Ukraine and has published the Bibliography of Ephrem the Syrian. He now lives in Italy and works as a freelance translator in the field of contemporary spirituality and psychology.

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Kees den Biesen

  • Table of Contents (page 7)
  • Preface (page 11)
  • Part 1. Approaching Ephrem (page 25)
  • Introduction (page 27)
  • The Discovery of Symbolical Theology (page 31)
  • The Literary Vehicles of Symbolical Theology (page 71)
  • Some Conclusions and Reflections (page 115)
  • Part 2. Word and Silence (page 125)
  • Introduction (page 127)
  • Between Word and Silence (page 133)
  • The Complementary Nature of Word and Silence (page 171)
  • Some Conclusions (page 225)
  • Part 3. Symbol and Intellect (page 229)
  • Introduction (page 231)
  • The Gift of the Word and the Intellect (page 235)
  • The Intelligence of Symbolic Thought (page 303)
  • Ephrem the Artist with Words (page 345)
  • Selection of Texts (page 359)
  • Teaching Song on the Church 9 (page 359)
  • Teaching Song on Faith 38 (page 365)
  • First Discourse for Hypatius (page 368)
  • Index (page 389)
  • Bibliography (page 417)
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