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Symbols of Church and Kingdom

By / T&T Clark / 1975

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Print: $65.00


This volume is a study of Syriac Christianity up to the early fifth century C.E.: its beliefs and worship; its life and art. In this classic work, Robert Murray offers the fullest and most vivid picture yet available of the development and character of the culture, illustrating both its original close relationship to Judaism and its remoter background in Mesopotamian civilization. He is interested in the subsequent influence of Syriac Christian culture, particularly on European literature.

The Introduction locates Syriac as an Aramaic dialect, then traces the origins of Syriac Christianity, its relationship to Jewish Christianity and the Syriac Bible version, the character of Syriac asceticism (including Marcionism and Manichaeism), and of the Christian schools. Key Syriac terms are explained, and all citation of Syriac texts throughout the work are given in translation either by other scholars or by the author. The second part of the introduction reviews the literature studied in the following chapters, concentrating on Aphrahat and Ephrem.

This resource is also available as part of the Church Origins Collection (10 volumes).

This volume deals with a topic of interdisciplinary importance, at the cultural crossroads of the ancient and medieval worlds of east and west, and of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. It will be of interest to a wide range of scholars and students.

Praise for the Print Edition

A superb work.

—Wayne A. Meeks, Yale University

This scrupulous book with an unfailing historical sense is alive to the language of the Late Romans, laying bare with sympathy the way in which Syriac-speaking Christians spoke of the Church.

The New York Times Review of Books

Product Details

  • Title: Symbols of Church and Kingdom: A Study in Early Syriac Tradition
  • Author: Robert Murray
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 416

About Robert Murray

Robert Murray, a Jesuit priest and former lecturer in Heythrop College (University of London), is also the author of The Cosmic Covenant: Biblical Themes of Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition