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The Use of the Gospel Parables in the Writings of Aphrahat and Ephrem


Kuriakose Valavanolickal

This book shows how, in the reapplication of the parables in their particular situations, Aphrahat and Ephrem have given a paradigmatic character to the parables and were not concerned with any techniques or rules of exegesis but rather with the suitability of the exegesis for the needs of their community. In character their exegesis can range from straightforward interpretation to something that is more allegorical. The book throws light on how they have given equal importance to Scripture and tradition in their exegesis. Contrary to the common opinion, our study revealed at least two instances where Ephrem probably knew the works of Aphrahat. Finally the study shows evidence for the probable dependence of Aphrahat and Ephrem on both Diatessaron and on a form of Old Syriac for the Gospel texts.
Contents: The terms used to denote the parables in Aphrahat and Ephrem; Matla, Tahwita, Pel'eta, Dmuta, Dumya and Sarba. Their methods of interpretation; interior and exterior or spiritual and historical interpretations - Adaptation of the parables to the needs of the fourth-century Church community - Their use of the Gospel versions - Reading of Aphrahat and Ephrem of uncertain origin - Agreements and divergences between Aphrahat and Ephrem.