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Texts from Christian Late Antiquity

TeCLA (Texts from Christian Late Antiquity) is a series presenting ancient Christian texts both in their original languages and with accompanying contemporary English translations.

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Jacob of Sarug’s Homilies on the Six Days of Creation (The Third Day)

The Third Day
Edited and Translated by Edward G Mathews Jr
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0615-4
In this third part of Homily 71, On the Fashioning of Creation, Jacob treats the God's separation of the waters from the earth, and the bringing forth of vegetation on the newly-revealed dry land.

Jacob of Sarug's Homilies on Women Whom Jesus Met

ISBN: 978-1-4632-0580-5
Five homilies by Jacob of Sarug on women whom Jesus met: the Canaanite Woman, the Samaritan Woman, the Hemorrhaging Woman, the Woman Bent Double, and Jairus' Daughter.

Jacob of Sarug's Homilies on Praise at Table

Edited and Translated by Jeff W. Childers
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0605-5
Part of a series of fascicles containing the bilingual Syriac-English editions of Saint Jacob of Sarug’s homilies, this volume contains his homilies on Praise at Table. These homilies offer a glimpse into the efforts of one late antique author to construct distinctly Christian meaning from the experience of communal meal-sharing. The Syriac text is fully vocalized, and the translation is annotated with a commentary and biblical references. The volume is one of the fascicles of Gorgias Press’s The Metrical Homilies of Mar Jacob of Sarug, which, when complete, will contain all of Jacob’s surviving sermons. Recognized as a saint by both Chalcedonian and non-Chalcedonian Christians alike, Jacob of Sarug (d. 521) produced many narrative poems that have rarely been translated into English. Of his reported 760 metrical homilies, only about half survive.

Dadishoʿ Qaṭraya’s Compendious Commentary on The Paradise of the Egyptian Fathers

in Garshuni
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0566-9
The Compendious Commentary by the Church of the East monk Dadishoʿ Qaṭraya (7th cent.) was originally written in Syriac but was eventually translated into Garshuni or Syro-Arabic. It is a work aimed at immersing the novice monk in the spiritual lore of the monastic vocation, and saturating his mind and spirit with advice and warnings about the pitfalls of aiming to be perfect while remaining nevertheless an imperfect human being. This is a critical edition and translation of the Compendious Commentary in Garshuni that uses all available manuscripts.

Jacob of Sarug's Homilies on the Solitaries

Edited and Translated by Colby A. Scott & Morgan Reed
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0562-1
Jacob of Sarug's pastoral concern and rhetorical acumen have appropriately earned him the title “the lyre of the Holy Spirit”. This volume presents Jacob's admonitions to those living a life of consecrated singleness to God.

Jacob of Sarug's Homily on the Chariot that Prophet Ezekiel Saw

Metrical Homilies of Mar Jacob of Sarug
Translation and Introduction by Alexander Golitzin; Edited with Notes by Mary T. Hansbury
ISBN: 978-1-59333-735-3
This volume gives a bilingual Syriac-English edition of Saint Jacob of Sarug’s homily on the Chariot which the Prophet Ezekiel saw. The Syriac text is fully vocalized, and the translation is annotated with a commentary and biblical references. The volume constitutes a fascicle of Gorgias’s Complete Homilies of Saint Jacob of Sarug. In Syriac and English.

Jacob of Sarug's Homily on the Lord's Prayer

Edited and Translated by Morgan Reed
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0561-4
Jacob of Sarug's pastoral concern and rhetorical acumen have earned him the title “the lyre of the Holy Spirit”. This volume presents both a text and translation of Jacob’s exposition of a passage central to Christian liturgy and piety.

The Gnomai of the Council of Nicaea (CC 0021)

Critical text with translation, introduction and commentary
Edited and Translated by Alistair C. Stewart
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0260-6
The first English translation and first complete critical text of a neglected moral treatise from fourth-century Egypt, throwing fresh light on the social history of Egyptian Christianity and on the growth of the church-order tradition.

The Vision of Theophilus

The Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt
Edited and Translated by Juan Pedro Monferrer-Sala
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0550-8
A critical edition of a fragmentary Arabic manuscript (Mingana Chr. Arab. 18), together with a study which suggests that the three Arabic versions do not represent three different texts, but rather three versions all drawing on the same original text.

Jacob of Sarug’s Homilies on Jesus' Temptation

Edited and Translated by Adam Carter McCollum
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0285-9
This volume presents, with introduction and annotations, two metrical homilies (Bedjan nos. 82, 126) of Jacob of Sarug in which he reflects on the Temptation of Jesus as combat between Satan and Jesus, the latter emerging as the humble victor.

The Syriac Book of Steps 3

Syriac Text and English Translation
Translation and Introduction by Robert A. Kitchen & Martien F. G. Parmentier
ISBN: 978-1-59333-981-4
The Syriac Book of Steps collects 30 sermons by a late 4th century anonymous author in the Persian Empire. The author details the spiritual life, highlighting the duties and problems of two ranks of committed Christians, the Upright and the Perfect.

The Armenian Prayers attributed to Ephrem the Syrian

Edited and Translated by Edward G Mathews Jr
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0262-0
Armenian text of the Prayers attributed to Ephrem the Syrian, with the first-ever translation into a western language. Utilizing a highly developed poetic rhythm, the author manifests a profound spirituality laying his own emptiness before the inexhaustible Mercy of God.

Commentary on Myron

Translation and Introduction by Fr. Baby Varghese
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0214-9
Moses bar Kepha: Commentary on Myron is an important witness to the history of the West Syriac Liturgy. Fr. Baby Varghese has translated the Syriac text into English for the first time.

Jacob of Sarug's Homily on the Creation of Adam and the Resurrection of the Dead

Translation and Introduction by Edward G Mathews Jr
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0264-4
Mêmrâ 72 is a meditation on the fall of Adam and its consequences, subjecting all creation to corruption. God’s mercy, however, will restore everything to a spiritual, incorruptible state that will exist eternally in the unending light of Christ.

Jacob of Sarug’s Homily on the Partaking of the Holy Mysteries

Translation and Introduction by Amir Harrak
ISBN: 978-1-60724-086-0
This edition of Mar Jacob of Sarug's (d. 521) homily on Partaking in the Holy Mysteries is one of Jacob’s memre on the sacraments. In this homily, Jacob is shocked that some of his congregants are leaving the service early, before the eucharist has been celebrated. He emphasizes the importance of the liturgical celebrations for a Christian life in a message still applicable today. The volume constitutes a fascicle of The Metrical Homilies of Mar Jacob of Sarug, which, when complete, will contain the original Syriac text of Jacob's surviving sermons, fully vocalized, alongside an annotated English translation.

John the Solitary on the Soul

Translation and Introduction by Mary T. Hansbury
ISBN: 978-1-60724-044-0
In this treatise, John the Solitary (ca. 390) enters into a dialogue with two disciples who have come past the beginning stage of the spiritual life and have brought him their struggle against the passions in the life of the inner person (barnâšâ gawwâyâ). John’s description of the life of the soul is outlined here in a framework of the stages of the spiritual life. Included is his analysis of the passions, showing very little if any Evagrian influence. The Dialogue on the Soul is a difficult text. It is hoped that this Syriac-English presentation will enable others to take the discussion forward. John’s genial thought merits this.

Jacob of Sarug’s Homily on the Sinful Woman

Translation and Introduction by Scott Fitzgerald Johnson
ISBN: 978-1-61719-834-2
This edition of Mar Jacob of Sarug's (d. 521) homily on the sinful woman who anoints Jesus at the banquet – widely identified in the west as Mary Magdalene – focuses on the theme of weeping which Jacob describes as the dominant characteristic of repentence. For him, the sinful woman is the example of true Christian contrition. The volume constitutes a fascicle of The Metrical Homilies of Mar Jacob of Sarug, which, when complete, will contain the original Syriac text of Jacob's surviving sermons, fully vocalized, alongside an annotated English translation.

The Martyrdom of St Phokas of Sinope

The Syriac Version
Introduction, translation and edition by Sebastian P. Brock
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0189-0
The fame of the martyr St. Phokas, first bishop of Sinope (on the Black Sea) and patron of seafarers, had spread to many parts of the Christian world by the fifth and sixth centuries. Although the Acts of his martyrdom under Trajan were composed in Greek, the earliest witness to them is the Syriac translation which is edited and translated here from two early manuscripts.

Ephrem the Syrian's Hymns on the Unleavened Bread

Translation and Introduction by J. Edward Walters
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0159-3
In this set of homilies Ephrem (306-373) invites the reader into a world of symbolic interpretation filled with imagination brimming beneath the surface of word-plays, alliteration, and typological comparisons. These hymns thrust the reader into the middle of a context in which Christians and Jews maintain competing practices of a Passover service to the extent that Ephrem feels the need to distinguish between the symbol and the reality. These homilies are presented in their Syriac original alongside an annotated English translation.

The Syriac Book of Steps 2

Syriac Text and English Translation
Translation and Introduction by Robert A. Kitchen & Martien F. G. Parmentier
ISBN: 978-1-59333-980-7
The Syriac Book of Steps collects 30 memre by an anonymous late 4th century author in Persia. It describes the struggle of an actual Christian community, not an idealized one, to live a life in the pursuit of perfection in the midst of a hostile culture. The author details the aspirations and standards of the two ranks of Christians prior to the advent of monasticism: the Upright—married people who work and perform acts of charity—and the Perfect who are celibate, do not work, but live a life of prayer, wandering through the region teaching and mediating conflicts.

Mary and Joseph, and Other Dialogue Poems on Mary

ISBN: 978-1-59333-839-8
What was Joseph’s reaction when he arrived home to find Mary pregnant? How did Mary manage to persuade him that her child was none other than the Son of God? The Syriac literary tradition had a unique way of answering these sorts of questions raised by the Bible. Dialogue poems (sughyotho) offer lively, thought-provoking, and often delightful re-imaginings of Biblical events. They expand the Biblical stories, giving the familiar characters more dialogue and describing their inner thoughts. The collection provides five dialogue poems featuring Mary, in Syriac original with facing English translation.

The Correspondence of Severus and Sergius

Translation and Introduction by Iain Torrance
ISBN: 978-1-59333-971-5
Severus of Antioch was the Patriarch of Antioch and a moderate Miaphysite. Sergius the Grammarian is a lesser-known figure, but the content of his letters demonstrates that he was a more extreme Miaphysite. The early 6th century correspondence between the two consists of a set of three letters apiece and an apology by Sergius. Made available in Syriac along with Torrance’s translation, these letters are an important part of the working out of concerns associated with the Council of Chalecedon.

Jacob of Sarug’s Homily on Zacchaeus the Tax Collector

Metrical Homilies of Mar Jacob of Sarug
Translated by Dana Miller; Edited with Notes and Introduction by Mary T. Hansbury
ISBN: 978-1-61719-660-7
This edition of Mar Jacob of Sarug's (d. 521) homily on Zacchaeus the tax-collector makes the point that Christ’s path goes by those most in need of repentance. Zacchaeus recognizes his shortcomings and is healed by Christ, who then makes Zacchaeus a mirror or sign for all humanity to see. The volume constitutes a fascicle of The Metrical Homilies of Mar Jacob of Sarug, which, when complete, will contain the original Syriac text of Jacob's surviving sermons, fully vocalized, alongside an annotated English translation.

Jacob of Sarug’s Homilies on Elisha

Metrical Homilies of Mar Jacob of Sarug
Translation and Introduction by Stephen A. Kaufman
ISBN: 978-1-60724-302-1
This edition of Mar Jacob of Sarug's (d. 521) homilies on the prophet Elisha deals with some of the more difficult stories in the Old Testament, how to understand the story of the bears who ravage the children who made fun of the prophet and why the sacrifice by the King of Moab of his son to his pagan god was seemingly successful. The volume constitutes a fascicle of The Metrical Homilies of Mar Jacob of Sarug, which, when complete, will contain the original Syriac text of Jacob's surviving sermons, fully vocalized, alongside an annotated English translation.

The History of the Great Deeds of Bishop Paul of Qentos and Priest John of Edessa

ISBN: 978-1-60724-670-1
Desiring to lead an ascetic life during the 5th century, Paul abandons his bishopric in Italy and travels to Edessa. John realizes that Paul is a wonderworker, and so begs to accompany him on his travels. The two leave Edessa to visit the monks on Sinai, but instead of reaching their destination they are abducted and taken to Yemen by tree-worshipping Arabs. After a battle with a tree-god, they succeed in converting the Arabs to Christianity. During the journey home, they encounter a wandering band of monks among whom is a woman disguised as a man.