Syriac Christological Dialogues and the Transmission of Theodotus of Ancyra’s Contra Nestorium

  • Luise Marion Frenkel
  • Aramaic Studies, January 2016, Brill
  • DOI: 10.1163/17455227-01402004

Greek Christological Dialogues in Syriac: Theodotus of Ancyra’s Against Nestorius

What is it about?

It deals with the Syriac translation of a refutation of Nestorian excerpts attributed to Theodotus of Ancyra. Analysing Syriac dialogue poems (soghyatha) on Christology helps to illuminate the context for the transmission and translation of Theodotus’ work among Syriac intellectual communities of the sixth and seventh centuries. The article examines the reception of Cyrillian dialogues as a form of anti-Nestorian invective in Greek, Syriac and Arabic literary communities

Why is it important?

It encourages scholars to raise questions about formative influences in early Syriac translation projects. Bridging empires and cultures, Syriac played a key role in the intellectual world of Late Antiquity as it appropriated and engaged texts and traditions from both west and east, and then in turn served as a conduit for transmitting these onward. Benefiting from recent scholarship on the Syriac reception of Christological dialogues, the article presents a snapshot of the lively and rich cultural and religious setting in which late-antique texts were written, translated and copied. The resulting scenario is more complex than those prompted by either the ancient Near Eastern Syriac tradition of soghyatha, or the Graeco-Roman dialogical literature in Syriac translation taken separately. In that scenario, the context influenced not only the interpretation of earlier works, but the texts themselves, especially during translation.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Luise Marion Frenkel