Rethinking his Work and his World
Edited by Aaron M. Butts, Kristian S. Heal, and Robert A. Kitchen

[Narsai. Sein Werk und seine Welt neu durchdacht.]

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Narsai († ca. 500) was a founding theologian of the Church of the East. He creatively synthesized his native Syriac tradition with exegesis and theology from Antioch. This groundbreaking collection sheds new light on this important Late Antique thinker.
Narsai († ca. 500) was a founding theologian of the Church of the East. Active first at the School of the Persians in Edessa and later at the School of Nisibis, Narsai creatively synthesized his native Syriac tradition with the newly translated works of Antiochene theology and exegesis. In a time of theological upheaval, his works helped forge a new theological tradition in Syriac. This groundbreaking collection of original essays refocuses attention on this fascinating Late Antique thinker and illustrates his importance for understanding Christianity in Late Antiquity. The essays highlight Narsai's contributions to exegesis, asceticism and moral formation, Jewish-Christian relations, liturgical theology, and place his work and thought within the cultural and intellectual world of two leading Christian centers in the Roman-Persian frontiers in the fifth century.
Survey of contents
Aaron M. Butts: Narsai's Life and Work – Daniel Becerra: Exegesis, Askesis, and Identity: Narsai's Mēmrā on the Parable of the Ten VirginsAdam H. Becker: Names in Fervent Water: Ritual and the Mediating Power of the Divine Name in Narsai's MēmrēDmitrij F. Bumazhnov: Jewish-Christian Anti-Paulinism and Merkabah Mysticism around the Schools of Edessa and of Nisibis: Narsai's Polemics against Deniers of Biblical Studies in Context – Jeff W. Childers: In Search of Jesus: Performative Christology in Narsai's Mēmrē on Baptism – Philip Michael Forness: The Construction of Metrical Poetry in the Homilies of Narsai of Nisibis and Jacob of Serugh – Kelli Bryant Gibson: An Early Syriac Apologia Crucis Mēmrā 54 'On the Finding of the Holy Cross'Kristian S. Heal: Narsai and the Scriptural Self – Robert A. Kitchen: The Ascetic Narsai: Ascetical and Monastic Practice and Theology in the Mēmrē of Narsai – Craig E. Morrison: The Faculty of Discernment in Narsai – Ellen Muehlberger: Extraordinary Conceptions: Insemination and Theories of Reproduction in Narsai's Thought – Eva M. Rodrigo Gómez: Painting Metaphors as a Means of Theological Expression in Narsai – Erin Galgay Walsh: »How the Weak Rib Prevailed!«: Eve and the Canaanite Woman in the Poetry of Narsai – J. Edward Walters: Where Soul Meets Body: Narsai's Depiction of the Soul-Body Relationship in Context

Aaron Michael Butts Born 1981; 2013 PhD from University of Chicago; currently Associate Professor in the Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures and Director of the Institute of Christian Oriental Research (ICOR) at The Catholic University of America.

Kristian S. Heal Born 1971; 2008 PhD from the University of Birmingham; currently Research Fellow at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University.

Robert A. Kitchen Born 1948; 1997 DPhil from the University of Oxford; currently Senior Lecturer in Patristics at Sankt Ignatios Theological Academy.


The following reviews are known:

In: Zeitschr.f.Antikes Christentum — 6 (2022), pp. 181–184 (Dietmar W. Winkler)
In: Journal of Ecclesiastical History — 73 (2022), pp. 389–392 (Kathleen McVey)
In: Journal of Theological Studies — 73 (2022), pp. 395–399 (Nathan Witkamp)