Buchan’s work is an examination of the theological use of the doctrine of Christ's descent to the dead in the works of Saint Ephrem the Syrian (ca. 306-373 C.E.). Ephrem's conception of Christ's descent to Sheol provides us with an important and distinctive vision of the significance of this salvific event. Ephrem's use of Semitic and non-Western poetic forms and structures as a mode of theological discourse, coupled with his preference for imagery and symbolism rather than definition, resulted in a variety of vivid depictions of Christ's descent to Sheol. The doctrine is shown to be an integral and multifaceted component of Ephrem's theology.
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