Sunday, 10 February 2019
Bogdan Draghici: Theological Conservatorism in an Age of Irenicism: Dionysius Bar Salibi’s Anti-Chalcedonian Rhetoric.
The Crusader period (1098-1291), which partly coincides with that of the so-called Syriac Renaissance (c. 1025-1318), is characterized by intensive positive interactions between Christian factions as well as Christians and Muslims.One of the central and understudied figures of this period is Dionysius Bar Salibi (d. 1171), a polymath, prolific author and bishop of the Syrian Orthodox Church. His heresiological project was extensive and comprised disputations against the Jews, Arabs, Armenians, Nestorians, Chalcedonians and epistolary treatises against Rabban cYeshu, Catholicos George II and Nerses Shnorhali.This paper will focus on the differences between the treatise Against Rabban cYeshu, incorrectly identified by Mingana as Against the Melchites,and the unedited text of Against the Chalcedonians. Starting from these disputations I will critically analyse the theological contents and rhetorical techniques in order to provide a clearer image of intra-Christian relations during the Syriac Renaissance. Likewise, I intend to challenge the hypothesis that Latin-Jacobite relations were amicable, and investigate whether or not, and to what extent, Bar Salibi was aware of the theologically irenic developments within the Syriac theological world. More broadly, through this study of Bar Salibi’s rhetorical method, I hope to provide more insights into the way in which his polemical corpus was designed, functioned and circulated.