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Aphrahat: A Witness Of Pre-Nicene Syrian Theology

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Chapter Summary

In the past, various scholars have attempted to discern a primitive creed in the writings of the early fourth-century author Aphrahatthe first Syriac Church Father. This chapter adopts the basic orientation of these scholars, that despite the non-theological nature of the Demonstrations it is possible to discern in Aphrahat certain core notions reflecting a basic theological outlook and representing an independent tradition. It thus aims to reassess Aphrahats theology while reexamining the principal views of our predecessors and offering some new suggestions. Focusing on explicit and implicit theological notions in Aphrahats corpus, the chapter deems it advantageous, however, to eschew further attempts to reconstruct a quasi-creedal formula underlying his thought. It shows that Aphrahats theology is essentially a hierarchic one, where the logos is neither the creator nor the agent of creation. Moreover, the logos generation from the Father appears to depend on the soteriological context of Christs mission.

Keywords: Aphrahat; Demonstrations; Syrian theology



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