Thursday, 5 February 2015

Benedict Guevin: Dialogue between Death and the Demon in the Gospel of Nicodmeus, and in the writings of St. Ephrem the Syriac and St. Romanus the Melodist

In this paper, I will be examining three dialogues between Death and the Demon.  These dialogues are found in the Gospel of Nicodemus, the writings of St. Ephrem the Syriac, and St. Romanus the Melodist.  My hypothesis is that Romanus owes more to Ephrem than is usually believed.  It appears that both Ephrem and Romanus were familiar with the Gospel of Nicodemus.  To what extent they are indebted to the Gospel of Nicodemus will be the first issue I will address.  But it also seems that Romanus was indebted to Ephrem as well.  How so?  Ephrem wrote in Syriac; Romanus wrote in Greek even though he was a native of modern day Turkey where Ephrem had been born. lived, died.  In addition, both writers employ a poetic form of writing through means of which they convey their theology: called memre with respect to Ephrem andkontakion with respect to Romanus.  To what extent was Romanus inspired by Ephrem to use this poetic form for theological expression?  Are there common themes that can be discerned in the dialogues of Ephrem and Romanus?  If there is, did these themes reach them through the Gospel of Nicodemus, or did Romanus get them from Ephrem? 

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