Syriac and the “Syrians”

Philip Wood

in The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780195336931
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Syriac and the “Syrians”

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Classical Studies
  • Ancient Roman History


Show Summary Details


This article discusses the history of Syriac and Syrians in Late Antiquity. It reveals the complex and contradictory ways that Syriac-speakers invented and re-invented their own history. The local history of the city of Edessa was closely tied to the prestige the city had earned in Eusebius' use of the Abgar legend, with its Christian presentation of the city's pre-Roman kings and its focus on the city's role as a missionary base. The Doctrina Addai would build on this tradition, first by emphasizing the apostolic authority of local ascetic custom and the Christian heritage of the local notables, and secondly by placing this Edessene history into a Roman imperial framework. Ephrem shares many of the heresiological concerns of the Doctrina, especially in his opposition to Jews and Marcionites—a cultural and religious contest which took place within the boundaries of Syriac Christianity and culture. Yet the struggle against Arianism also shows him becoming ever more involved with the imperial church (which remains on the sidelines in the Doctrina).

Keywords: Late Antiquity; Syriac; history; Doctrina Addai; Ephrem

Article.  11898 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Ancient Roman History

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.