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The Commentary of Gabriel of Qatar on the East Syriac Morning Service on Ordinary Days


Text, Translation, and Discussion


This volume provides a study and an original edition and translation from Syriac into English of Discourse Two of Gabriel of Qatar's liturgical commentary, written in the first half of the seventh century.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-3924-4
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Sep 21,2018
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 432
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-3924-4
$80.00
$48.00

In the middle of the seventh century, Catholicos-Patriarch Išoʿyahb III of the Church of the East enacted a series of liturgical reforms. These reforms came in an extremely significant time period – right after the fall of the Sassanid Empire to the invading Arab Muslim armies. The changes put in place by Išoʿyahb have been extremely stable and can still be seen in the liturgy of the East Syriac tradition today, but the nature of the liturgical tradition of the Church of the East before his reforms continues to be uncertain.
The liturgical commentary of Gabriel of Qatar, written in the first half of the seventh century, is an extremely important source for the study of the East Syriac liturgical tradition, precisely because it describes this tradition before the reforms of Išoʿyahb III. The commentary presents Gabriel’s explanation of both the Eucharistic Liturgy and the Liturgy of the Hours, but translations of his work have focused almost exclusively on Gabriel’s commentary on the Eucharistic Liturgy. Given the relevance of this text to the study of East Syriac Christianity, it is both surprising and unfortunate that only parts of the text have thus far been edited and translated into any modern language. This volume provides an original edition and translation from Syriac into English of Discourse Two of Gabriel’s liturgical commentary: his interpretation of the East Syriac Morning Service on Ordinary Days. This study briefly introduces the author of the commentary and the manuscript in which his commentary is found, reviews the secondary literature thus far written about Gabriel’s commentary, provides a description of his comments on the ferial Morning Service, and analyses these comments, comparing the ferial Morning Service in the time of Gabriel with that used by the East Syriac tradition today and noting several other points of interest.

In the middle of the seventh century, Catholicos-Patriarch Išoʿyahb III of the Church of the East enacted a series of liturgical reforms. These reforms came in an extremely significant time period – right after the fall of the Sassanid Empire to the invading Arab Muslim armies. The changes put in place by Išoʿyahb have been extremely stable and can still be seen in the liturgy of the East Syriac tradition today, but the nature of the liturgical tradition of the Church of the East before his reforms continues to be uncertain.
The liturgical commentary of Gabriel of Qatar, written in the first half of the seventh century, is an extremely important source for the study of the East Syriac liturgical tradition, precisely because it describes this tradition before the reforms of Išoʿyahb III. The commentary presents Gabriel’s explanation of both the Eucharistic Liturgy and the Liturgy of the Hours, but translations of his work have focused almost exclusively on Gabriel’s commentary on the Eucharistic Liturgy. Given the relevance of this text to the study of East Syriac Christianity, it is both surprising and unfortunate that only parts of the text have thus far been edited and translated into any modern language. This volume provides an original edition and translation from Syriac into English of Discourse Two of Gabriel’s liturgical commentary: his interpretation of the East Syriac Morning Service on Ordinary Days. This study briefly introduces the author of the commentary and the manuscript in which his commentary is found, reviews the secondary literature thus far written about Gabriel’s commentary, provides a description of his comments on the ferial Morning Service, and analyses these comments, comparing the ferial Morning Service in the time of Gabriel with that used by the East Syriac tradition today and noting several other points of interest.

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Contributor Biography

Alex Neroth van Vogelpoel

Alex Neroth van Vogelpoel is researching Eastern Christian theology and liturgical studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Table of Contents (vii)
Acknowledgements (xi)
Part I: Discussion (1)
   Introduction: The Importance of the Manuscript (3) 
   Chapter 1: A Brief Description of the Manuscript and Presentation of the Author and of His Context (7)
      A: The Manuscript (7) 
      B: The Author (7) 
      C: Gabriel’s Historical, Political, and Ecclesiastical
      Context (11)

   Chapter 2: Literature Review (17)
      A: Editions and Translations of Gabriel’s Commentary (17)
      B: Literature about the Identity of Gabriel (18)
      C: Scholarship about Gabriel’s Eucharistic Commentary (23)
         1: General Eucharistic Considerations (23)
         2: Gabriel’s Theology of Consecration (28)
         3: The Institution Narrative in the Anaphora of Addai and Mari (31)
         4: Iconography in the East Syriac Tradition (34)
      D: Scholarship about Gabriel’s Commentary on the Liturgy of the Hours (36)
         1: Gabriel’s Commentary on the Evening Service (36)
         2: Gabriel’s Commentary on the Morning Service (37)
      E: Other Literature about Gabriel (40) 

   Chapter 3: A Synopsis of Mēmrā Two of Gabriel’s Commentary (45) 
      A: Chapters One through Three: An Overview of the Ferial Morning Service (45)
      B: Chapters Four through Fifteen: The Components of the Ferial Morning Service (47)
         1: The First Half of the Service: The Nine Initial Psalms (47)
         2: The Second Half of the Service (60)
      C: Chapters Sixteen and Seventeen: Other Times of Prayer (70)

   Chapter 4: An Analysis of Mēmrā Two of Gabriel’s Commentary (73)
      A: Elijah and the Son of Perdition (73)
      B: Structural Considerations (75)
         1: The Refrains Attached to the Initial Psalms (79)
         2: The Removal of the Diaconal Litanies (84)
         3: The Frequency of the Diaconal Litanies and of the Lāku Mārā Chant (88)
         4: The Lamp-Lighting in the Evening and Morning Services (89)
         5: The Introduction of the Responses of the Martyrs (92)
         6: The Introduction of the ‘Our Father’ (95)
         7: The Composition of the ‘To You Be Praise’ Hymn (97)
      C: Gabriel’s Scriptural Source (97)
      D: Terminological Considerations (99)
         1: The Term Suyyākā (99)
         2: The Terms Šubbāḥā and Hullālā (101)
         3: The Diaconal Exhortation (104)
      E: Analytical Conclusion (105) 

   Overall Conclusion: An Evaluation of Gabriel’s Theological Method of Mystagogy (109)

   Appendix 1: A Summary of the Various Structures of the East Syriac Ferial Morning Service (114)

   Appendix 2: Various Versions of the Refrains of the Psalms (118)

   Appendix 3: Gabriel’s Interpretations, the Psalm Refrains, and the Psalm Headings (122)

   Bibliography (127)

Part II: Text and Translation (139)

   A Note about the Transcription (141)

   Mēmrā 2 (142) 
      Chapter 1: General Aim of the Morning Service (145) 
      Chapter 2: Benefits from Understanding (163)
      Chapter 3: Reason for Praying in the Morning (179)
      Chapter 4: First Psalm (187)
      Chapter 5: Second Psalm (197)
      Chapter 6: Third Psalm (207)
      Chapter 7: Fourth Psalm (215)
      Chapter 8: Explanation of the Four Šurrāyē (235)
      Chapter 9: Further Explanation (243)
      Chapter 10: Lāku Mārā (253)
      Chapter 11: Psalm 51 (263)
      Chapter 12: Diaconal Litanies (281)
      Chapter 13: Lack of Litanies among the Monks (293) 
      Chapter 14: Tešboḥtā (311)
      Chapter 15: Trisagion (331)
      Chapter 16: Seven Times of Prayer (333)
      Chapter 17: Distribution of the Psalter (359)
      Admonition about Prayer (401)
      Colophon (410)
   Index (417)

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