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Kanały informacyjne

Journal of Eastern Christian Studies
  • The Alexandrian Christology of Shenoute of Atripe poj©peeters-leuven.be

    Scholars in the last century have argued strongly for a reading of Shenoute of Atripe’s Christological thought as being primarily influenced by the work of Cyril of Alexandria and Dioscorus of Alexandria. A subsequent conviction that both Cyril and Dioscorus defended a ‘one nature Christology’ have led some to argue – e.g., Stephen J. Davis and Aloys Grillmeier – that Shenoute held this Christological position as well. This paper evaluates – in extensive dialogue with Stephen J. Davis – the textual grounds for these claims: is Shenoute demonstrably influenced in his Christological thought by the work of Cyril of Alexandria and is there evidence of Miaphysite tendencies in his writings? I argue against the majority view, based largely on Shenoute’s tractate Contra Origenistas, that there is no evidence in Shenoute’s work leading to a conclusion that he held Miaphysite convictions. Moreover, this paper aims to show that Shenoute is not more influenced by the thought of Cyril than by that of Athanasius and Theophilus. My argument, therefore, leads to the conclusion that what one encounters in work of Shenoute is a broadly Alexandrian Christology, reflecting a dependency on Alexandrian Christological positions held and defended by the Alexandrian patriarchs from Athanasius up to Cyril.


  • Free Will and Ascetical Labor poj©peeters-leuven.be

    In his commentary on Evagrius’s Gnostic Chapters, Babai the Great, the Syriac-speaking abbot of the monastery of Mount Izla from 604-628, appropriates Evagrius’s Platonic conception of the soul and then reinterprets and fixes what he perceives as problems with it to make it better suited to withstanding criticism from his anonymous polemical opponents, who say that the human soul is inherently evil. The assumption of these opponents is that evil cannot arise from something that is inherently good, so the obvious existence of evil in the world implies that creation itself, and the human soul in particular, is inherently evil. In order to make sure that his Platonic conception of the soul could successfully withstand this criticism, Babai adopts a distinctively Syriac concept of the free and authoritative will as expressed by such thinkers as Bardaisan, Ephrem, and the anonymous fifth-century translator of Evagrius’s Gnostic Chapters. Babai uses this concept of the free and authoritative will to explain why the soul produces passions that disrupt its natural harmony. Free will directs the irascible and concupiscible parts of the soul either towards virtuous ends that help stimulate spiritual knowledge or else towards evil ends that cause distraction in the soul and hinder the attainment of spiritual knowledge. In order to convince his readers that all three parts of the soul (rational, irascible, and concupiscible) are naturally devoid of evil, Babai shows how each part can overcome distractions and work towards virtuous ends instead of evil. According to Babai, ascetical labor trains the free will to direct the soul towards activities that enable it to return to a harmonious state of undistracted contemplation called spiritual knowledge.


  • A Note on the Syriac Pseudo-Chrysostomic Sermon In peccatricem, CPG 5140.10v poj©peeters-leuven.be

    The present note deals with the Syriac Pseudochrysostomic sermon In peccatricem, CPG 5140.10; a new manuscript witness is discussed and partially collated against the current edition by Joseph-Marie Sauget.


  • The Evolution of Judicial Procedures in East-Syrian Canon Law after the Islamic Conquests poj©peeters-leuven.be

    From the seventh century C.E. on, canonical East-Syrian law developed in the shadow of Islamic rule as Islamic courts imposed new standards for dispute resolution. Yet, interactions between Muslim practices and East-Syrian law in the first centuries of Islam remain little studied. This article examines the evolution of East-Syrian canon law regarding oath-taking up to the early ninth century. It argues that formal oath prohibition, formulated by canon law based on the Gospel of Matthew, became controversial among jurists. At the end of the eighth and the beginning of the ninth century, Isho' bar Nūn authorized this procedure, while Isho῾ bokht gave it theoretical foundations by assessing the historical significance of Jesus’s requirements and by appealing to the concept of necessity. The integration of oath-taking into the East-Syrian judicial process can therefore be interpreted as a response to its widespread use in Islamic courts, allowing Christians to better defend their cases.


  • A New Autograph by 'Abdīšō' Marūn poj©peeters-leuven.be

    The paper presents an unedited document by the hand of 'Abdīšō' of Gāzartā, drafted on a leaflet found inside a manuscript today at the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana of Florence. The leaflet contains the original Syriac version of a portion of the confession of faith that 'Abdīšō' wrote in Rome, in 1562, as the Eastern Syriac Catholic Patriarch. The text displays a list of the dioceses that 'Abdīšō' considered as being under his jurisdiction at the time. As only a sixteenth century Latin version of 'Abdīšō'’s confession was available to us so far, this autograph sheds some light on several doubtful readings and helps to better reconstruct the geographical distribution and hierarchical configuration of the Eastern Syriac dioceses that supported 'Abdīšō'’s reunion with the Catholic Church at the time.


  • Cultural Exchange and Scholarship on Eastern Christianity poj©peeters-leuven.be

    Western scholarship on eastern Christianity expanded during the sixteenth century through increased contact with Middle Eastern Christian communities. Complex processes of cultural exchange resulted. Western scholars encountered new saints, texts, and histories of Christianity, while scholars from Middle Eastern Christian communities asked new questions about their own traditions. This article explores an early modern debate regarding the Christology of Jacob of Serugh (451-521) as a case study on cultural exchange through scholarship on eastern Christianity. Jacob of Serugh advocated miaphysite Christology and belonged to the emerging Syriac Orthodox Church. Yet he rarely engaged in overt polemical attacks, and this enabled his reception as a saint in a variety of traditions. Maronite scholars played an important role in introducing Jacob to western scholarship. A debate over Jacob’s Christology developed in the early eighteenth century in response to the influx of Syriac manuscripts in Paris and Rome. Eusèbe Renaudot (1646-1720), a French Roman Catholic theologian, included Jacob among the non-Chalcedonian authors in a collection of eastern Christian liturgical materials published in 1716. Renaudot’s questions about Jacob’s Christology led Joseph Simonius Assemani (1687-1768), the scriptor of the Vatican Library involved in the rapprochement between Maronite and Roman traditions, to defend his Maronite tradition’s view that Jacob adhered to Chalcedonian Christology. Assemani addresses Renaudot’s arguments as well as new manuscript evidence in the first volume of his Bibliotheca orientalis published in 1719. His arguments held sway until the late nineteenth century. In this first debate, scholarship on Jacob of Serugh’s Christology served as a site for cultural exchange among scholars from eastern and western Christian traditions.


  • Orthodox Christians, Human Rights and the Dignity of the Person poj©peeters-leuven.be

    Based on an analysis of the writings of Charles Malik (1906-1987), this essay examines the late Lebanese philosopher-diplomat’s understanding of human rights from his self-identification as a Chalcedonian Orthodox Christian. This perspective has been overlooked by scholars who have identified Malik with western Scholasticism. The essay attempts to place Malik’s own religious and intellectual contributions within the context of his concerns for the fate of Arab Christians in the Middle East and their relationship to the broader contours of the Orthodox Catholic world in which Malik declared himself to be a member. The essay concludes by offering some perspectives on how Malik’s contribution to human rights concerns, centered on the human person and not the individual, should inform contemporary and future Orthodox engagement with human rights issues.


  • Book Reviews poj©peeters-leuven.be

    Book reviews


  • Book List 2018 poj©peeters-leuven.be

    Books received


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