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Ephraem the Syrian's Hymns 'Against Julian': Meditations on History and Imperial Power Author(s): Sidney H.

Griffith Source: Vigiliae Christianae, Vol. 41, No. 3 (Sep., 1987), pp. 238-266 Published by: BRILL Stable URL: Accessed: 18/09/2009 19:56
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Vigiliae Christianae 41 (1987), 238-266, E. J. Brill, Leiden




Modern students of the life and reign of the emperor Julian have called the attention of scholars to the relevance of Ephraem the Syrian's hymns against this emperor as sources of information about the popular Christian attitudes toward him shortly after his death in 363 A.D. So, for example, almost twenty years ago now, when Edmund Beck had already published his critical edition of the Syriac hymns of Ephraem "Against Julian," with a German translation,1 Walter Kaegi pointed out that their author had been "one of Julian's most severe Christian critics".2 Not only so, but as Robert Browning has emphasized more recently, Ephraem wrote these hymns in Nisibis in the very year of Julian's death, after he saw the emperor's embalmed corpse lying in state before the city's gates, with a Persian flag flying from the ramparts of the citadel!3 Furthermore, a number of concrete details which Ephraem mentioned in the hymns, such as the emperor's issue of coins with the famous bull iconography on them, and his account of the attempt during Julian's reign to rebuild Jerusalem's temple, have also attracted the attention of historians. And Glen Bowersock has written that this attention to what he calls Ephraem's invectives is "one of the most fruitful developments in the study of Julian".4 Given all of this testimony to the relevance of Ephraem's Hymns Against Julian to modern historical inquiry, it is somewhat surprising to notice that few scholarly studies have in fact ever been devoted to the Hymns for their own sake. Accordingly, the purposes of the present article are to provide a brief summary of the previous scholarship, to discuss the textual structure and transmission of the Hymns, and to provide a precis of their dominant ideas, all with the hope that such a review will entice more readers to these little known compositions of Ephraem the Syrian.



I Ephraem'sHymns Against Julian were first edited for the eyes of western scholarsby J. J. Overbeckin 1865, as one of a selection of worksfrom severalancientSyriacwriters.5 Thenin 1878GustavBickell publisheda Germantranslationof the Hymns, based on Overbeck's text. Bickellrendered poems in a prosaicGermanstyle, which prothe vided no opportunityto accomodate the peculiaritiesof the Syriac poetic form, and he contributedonly a few explanatorynotes.6 But the translationitself was sufficient to excite the interestof Johannes Geffcken, who in 1908publishedan articleon Julianand the polemics of his enemies,in whichhe surveyedEphraem's HymnsAgainst Julian as a literaryunity, and compared them to Gregory of Nazianzen's SebastianEuringer speechesagainstthe same emperor.7 Subsequently, redidthe Germanversionof the JulianHymns, with an eye to Bickell's with work, and he publishedthem in the Bibliothekder Kirchenvdter, a long introduction,and numerousexplanatory notes.8Finally,in 1957, Edmund Beck publishedthe critical edition and Germantranslation mentionedat the beginningof the presentarticle,9and the matterhas remainedright there ever since. To date no versions of the Hymns Against Julianhave been publishedin any modernlanguageotherthan German.But the futurepromisesan Englishversionof the Hymns by Prof. KathleenMcVey, of PrincetonTheologicalSeminary,to appear in her forthcomingvolume of selections from Ephraem'shymns in translation,in the Paulist Press series, "Classicsof WesternSpirituality." II Ephraem'sHymns Against Julian have been preservedin a unique BL manuscript, add. MS 14 571, ff. 105v-114r.0In fact, it is the earliest datedof all the Ephraem Its manuscripts. colophonsays, in part, "This book belongsto the presbyter, ... Shemcun It was completedin the year in TeSriII, accordingto the reckoningof Apamea, and writtenby 830, Julian,the Edessanscribe"." The date, givenaccordingto the count of the Seleucid era, correspondsto November, 519 A.D.'2 The scribe, Julian, and the presbyter,Simeon, are otherwiseunknown. It is true that both namesdo appearin the SyriacVitatraditionof MarEphraem designatingdisciplesand scribeswho used to write down the master's



teaching (malpanutd).'3 But the present manuscript was written almost 150 years after the death of Ephraem! In all probability, BL add. MS 14 571 was one of a number of collections of selected madrase by Mar Ephraem which circulated around the time when major collections of the poet's works were being put together.14 The evidence for the production of comprehensive volumes of Ephraem's hymns is found in remarks which occur in a number of manuscripts which transmit his works. But the principal document which has given scholars an insight into the final form taken by these volumes is Sinai Syriac MS 10, a text which in the judgment of Andre De Halleux may have its own roots back as far as the sixth century.'5 From this source, which is meant to be a register of the forty-five melodies used in the whole collection of Ephraem's hymns, one learns of nine volumes of the author's collected madrase. And one finds the melody-lines appropriate to the Julian hymns assigned to volume VIII,16 called variously a volume of hymns against erroneous doctrines, or a volume of hymns on doctrines and on paradise.17 One learns from James of Sarug's homily on Ephraem, the Teacher, how important the correct performance of his madrase was for the deacon of Nisibis and Edessa. He reportedly spent time and energy rehearsing the choirs which would perform them.'8 So it is no surprise to notice in the manuscripts which transmit his hymns that musicological considerations, such as melody, metre, incipit, theme, and acrostic patterns, played a major role in the collection and preservation of the madrase. As Dom Outtier has shown in regard to the Paschal Hymns, these sorts of considerations affected even the assignment of individual verses in the collections.'9 Accordingly, as was already mentioned earlier, it seems clear that the four Hymns Against Julian were included in the collection of hymns found in BL add. MS 14 571 because metrically, and melodically, and even thematically, they were related to a hymn of the same metre-melody, whose incipit is "estmekw Cal qustad, Rely on the Truth," which immediately precedes the Julian hymns in the manuscript (ff. 104-105r). This hymn in turn was probably included with the collection of hymns De Paradiso because, as the compiler's notation states, it is to be sung "Calqald dpardaysa," that is, according to the melody which all fifteen Paradise hymns share.20 The theme of the hymn, "Rely on the Truth," however, is very different from themes found in the hymns De Paradiso, a circumstance which inspired Dom Edmund Beck to give this singular hymn the name



De Ecclesia, which is more in accord with its contents.21 For, as Robert Murray has shown, it is in fact a meditation, and a prayer, to do with the situation of the church in the Roman empire, when it came under pressure from Julian, after almost fifty years of enjoying official, imperial favor.22This circumstance is unmistakable in the last verse of the hymn, which is:
The kings who once gave shade, (i.e., Constantine, Constantius) had refreshed us in the heat. We ate their fruit, but were ungrateful for their branches. We had our heart's delight of good things and shade, But our mouths became mad and attacked our Creator. Wars in the shade we waged by our speculations; Now he has withdrawn our shade to let us feel the heat.23

As Beck observed, De Ecclesia was probably written when Julian was still alive, while the Julian hymns so called, which presume the emperor's death, must have been composed later. Since they are all written in the same metre-melody, one might then speak of five Julian hymns.24 And there is manuscript support for this suggestion. In BL add. MS 14 571 the four Julian hymns follow De Ecclesia, and they are introduced with the following title:
Against Julian, the king who apostatized, and Against erroneus teachings, and Against the Jews.25

Then, at the end of the four Julian hymns, and indeed at the end of the manuscript, just prior to the colophon, one finds the following notice: "The end of the five madra?e against Julian, the pagan king".26There is no real contradiction here. No number is mentioned in the title to the four Julian hymns. And Beck's hymn De Ecclesia, plus the four hymns inspired by Ephraem's contemplation of Julian's dead body, do in fact compose the five compositions "against Julian, the pagan king," attributed to Ephraem the Syrian. The only real problem is the question of the authenticity of the hymn De Ecclesia. There is a startling feature to the De Ecclesia hymn which attracts the reader's attention almost immediately. The first letters of the first lines



of the fifteen stanzas of the composition display an acrostic pattern. The five initial letters, in sequence, with 2, 4, and 7 repetitions of the first, third and fifth letters, spell out the name Ephraem ( )J;.l )!27 Such a phenomenon can hardly be accidental. So the only question is whether or not Ephraem himself was responsible for it. Already in 1867 Geiger noticed this feature in others of Ephraem's hymns, and simply accepted it as a device which the poet sometimes employed to sign his work.28On the other hand, in regard to the De Ecclesia hymn, Michael Breydy thinks that such an arrangement of verses could not possibly be original, and he suggests that some manipulation of them has taken place in the course of their transmission to achieve the acrostic effect.29 It is clear that by the year 519, when Julian of Edessa copied BL add. MS 14 571, the earliest of all Ephraem manuscripts, the hymn De Ecclesia, with its acrostic pattern, was already assigned to Ephraem. Moreover, the title to the four Julian hymns, which follow it, was presumably already to be found in the exemplar from which Julian of Edessa copied his selection of madrase, so he was probably the one who contributed the final notice in the manuscript about the 'five' hymns against Julian the Apostate. At the very least he must have agreed with the statement. And so he was clearly including De Ecclesia with the Julian hymns, and in doing so he implicitly endorsed the authenticity of the hymn. It would seem far fetched to suppose that he did not notice the message of the hymn's acrostic device. So one might suppose that he found it so already in the source document he employed for his collection of selected Ephraem poems, and was not himself responsible for putting this poem together. But this supposition brings one back to the initial dilemma. There are three possibilities: either Ephraem himself composed the poem, and claimed authorship with the acrostic device; someone else put genuine Ephraemian verses into this pattern; or someone composed this poem in the Ephraemian style, and advertised the fact with the acrostic device. Given the evidence in hand, and putting aside what moderns might think about due authorial modesty, the first option seems to be the likely one, familiar as it is from other Ephraem poems. And in support of its plausibility one might point to similar practices on the part of the authors of the Hebrew Piyyutrm, synagogue hymns which enjoyed great popularity in Palestine from the eighth century on. While these compositions, which in many ways are very much like the Syriac madrase, are from a later time and a different people, they do provide a useful point of comparison. Two of the earliest



writers of them, Yannai and Qallir, regularlysigned their works by deployingthe lettersof their namesin acrosticpatternsin their poems, after the mannerof Ephraem.30 III In structure,the four hymns which go to make up what are usually called Ephraem's"invectives" against Julian, are all fairly uniform. They are all composed of six-line stanzas, and each stanza follows an identicalpattern.First,therearethreelinescomposedof two hemistichs is apiece;each hemistich ideallycompletein five syllables.Therefollows in sevensyllables,five in the first hemistichand two a fourthline set out in the second. The stanzathen comes to a close with two more lines of two hemistichsapiece, each again with the five syllable measure. In most cases, the fourth line of each stanza, the one in seven syllables, to in marksa shift in sense in the theme, not infrequently counterpoint what was said in the first three lines. The hymnsvary in the numberof stanzasper hymn, but there does not seem to be any structural significanceto the successivenumbersof stanzasper hymn, i.e., 20, 27, 17, and 26, stanzasin the four hymnsseof quentially.The only formalvariantto be noticedin the presentation the four hymnsis the lack of an Cunita,or response,for the first hymn. Since, in the manuscripttradition, this feature seems often to be the of contribution a compiler/editor,and its absencesometimesmarksthe continuationof a single, long hymn, which a later compilerhas disjointed, one is left in the presentinstanceto wonderif the first Julian hymn once belonged with Beck's De Ecclesia, "Rely on the Truth," which, after all, marksthe Julian hymns' assignedmelody. But "Rely on the Truth" also lacks an Cunita,so this wonderment may only lead up a blind alley. All of the responsesmay in fact be the contributions of laterusersof Ephraem's hymns,anxiousto providea refrainfor consinging, in responseto a choir's renditionof the madrasa. gregational which containsthe four Julianhymnsleaves The uniquemanuscript us, therefore,standingbefore a series of stanzaswith a similardomiof nanttheme, set out in the formaltrappings four separate,but related hymns.Thismannerof textualexpositionis perhapsdictatedby perforand mance,or senserequirements, shouldnot be allowedto obscurethe essential unity of the whole composition. In many ways it is more suitableto think in termsof a single long hymn, "Against Julian". In



fact, in the key to the volumes of Ephraem's collected madraAdin Sinai Syriac MS 10, the Julian hymns are cited only by the incipit of the first of the four of them.31 And since the stanzas, which are the basic units of the composition, are short, and most often complete in themselves, this composition, like many of Ephraem's other hymns, is therefore infinitely expandable. Here, as elsewhere, there is the possibility of addition, subtraction, and even rearrangement of stanzas in the repertory. It has become customary, as mentioned above, to refer to these hymns as Ephraem's 'invectives' against Julian. This description is not really accurate, and is in fact misleading. For the traditionally educated person of the west, the term 'invective' summons up the image of the Psogos, the formal rhetorical device of Greek epideictic oratory, dedicated to blackening a person's name following a set compositional pattern.32Gregory of Nazianzen followed the pattern in his well known invectives Against Julian.33But with Ephraem, while he surely intended to blacken Julian's name, the purposes of his hymns against the emperor were far broader than any such single-minded objective as Greek rhetorical invective intended. Put simply, they are madrase. That is to say, they are biblically oriented meditations on history, Christianity, imperial power, and the putative eclipse of paganism and Judaism. As always with Ephraem's madraCe,the Julian hymns have a definite ideological point of view to commend, and, in summary, this view may be stated here in the poet's own words, from Hymn III, 7:
Regarding those whom the cross did not conquer when it came down; It was not that He, who was the Conqueror, could not conquer them. Rather, it was so that a pit might be dug for that evil-doer, Who came down to the east in the company of his diviners. But when he came down and was struck, it appeared to the discerning, That there had already been lying in wait for him, the battle in which he would be shamed.34

In the defeat and death of Julian, Ephraem willed to see the sign of Christianity's ultimate triumph. Julian's reign merely provided the refiner's crucible, to use one of Ephraem's own favorite images, from which he envisioned the faithfully true Christians emerging in all their proper glory.



One must rememberthat Ephraemdied in the year 373, some ten wrotethe Julianhymns.Moreyearsafterthe time whenhe presumably he died with his dreamintact, of an orthodoxNiceanworld, govover, erned by pious emperorsand orthodox bishops.35 explainedaway He the doctrinalvagariesof the emperorValens by blamingthe bickering bishops for the ecclesiasticalchaos of his own later years.36 Ephraem must have thought, as he says in the Julian Hymns, that God had already settled the question of the civil chaos which had earlier threatenedthe ChristianRoman empire. For in his reflectionson the Julian experience,Ephraempointedin his madrane two cities, signs to of contradiction,to be warrantsfor Christ'seventualtriumph:ruined Jerusalem,and motherNisibis, with Persia's pennantflying from her battlements. The two were signs of contradiction, signifying for Ephraemthe final demise of Judaismand paganismrespectively. IV In many ways it is a foolhardyenterpriseto propose to give an account of the dominantideasof a poet, even of those ideaswhichgovern a relativelysmall collectionof verses,with a limitednumberof themes, such as Ephraem'sHymnsAgainst Julian. What gives one a modicum of confidencefor the projectis the fact that Ephraem'spoems are not of the sort whichwerecomposedwith the canons of the ars gratiaartis school in mind. Rather,as Syriacmadrase,a termwhichis cognatewith the Hebrewword for the well known genre of biblical interpretation, midras, Ephraem intended from the very beginning for his Hymns Against Julianto be didacticpoems. This fact meansthat of a set purpose they foster certaindominantideas whichit was the author'shope to communicate,and the interpreter's task to illuminate.And in the very first place, consonantwith the implicationsof the genericname, there madrSad/hammidraS, is the dominantidea, taken for grantedby that one can only understand phemomenonof Julianthe the Ephraem, referenceto the ChristianBible. While this idea does not Apostate by itself to the criticalhistorian,it is indispensable recommend necessarily to anyone who wantsto know what Ephraemthoughthe was sayingin his Julianhymns.For it was Ephraem'sconstantpracticeto turn to the in scriptures searchof the paradigmswhich would allow him, through and prophecy, to put an acceptableChristianconstruction typology upon the eventsof his own time, and to locate them preciselyalong the



intellectual spectrum which for him portrayed God's own economy of salvation for all peoples. It is important to grasp this general, biblical concentration which is Ephraem's frame of reference in the Julian hymns because it helps to mark an important difference between his madrase "Against Julian", and the Greek invectives agains Julian by his contemporary, Gregory of Nazianzen. As was mentioned above, the latter were exercises in epideictic oratory, Psogoi. Jean Bernardi has recently argued that the effective deployment of the traditional genres of Greek rhetoric, both encomium and invective, was an important ingredient in Gregory's project to develop a fully Christian literature in Greek.37 For this reason the Christian rhetor could never forgive Julian for his publication of the famous education edict of 17 June 362, which had the effect of barring Christians from the formal study of rhetoric. Of this edict of the emperor's Gregory wrote: "In no case will he be shown to have acted more illegally than in this: and let everyone share in my indignation who takes a pleasure in words, and is addicted to this pursuit-of which number I will not deny that I am one ... Words alone I cleave to, and I do not begrudge the toils by land and sea that have supplied me with them".38 Accordingly, as Bernardi points out, one must explain the harshness of Gregory's invective against Julian by reference to the author's intention to erect with it a rhetorical memorial of infamy for the apostate emperor who had outlawed rhetorical training for Christians.39This intention accounts for the strongly polemic language of Gregory's invectives, which makes no concession at all to the adversary. And even though it is clear that beyond polemic Gregory also commends in his discourses 'Against Julian' some basic Christian ideas about God's punitive action in the history of His people, it remains true, as Bernardi says, that "the lively sentiment of attachment which Gregory shows for the intellectual life and for literary expression becomes the object of one of the most trenchant affirmations of the work".40 Nothing could be further removed from Ephraem's attitudes. One thinks in this connection of the deacon of Edessa's famous remark, about Greek rhetoric and dialectic, "Blessed is the one who has never tasted the poison of the wisdom of the Greeks".4' And this circumstance of difference in outlook between Ephraem the Syrian and Gregory of Nazianzen cautions one not to put a wrong construction upon the fact that Geffcken found more than a dozen ideas and con-



cretedetailsin the narratives whichare commonto both writers.42 For, as Geffckenhimselfinsisted,these detailsmust come from the popular Christianlore about the emperor,which was equallyavailableto both from one another.43 writers,and whichthey both utilizedindependently What is remarkable about this topical coincidencein Gregory'sinvecmadrase"AgainstJulian"is the consistencyof the tives and Ephraem's in spite of the considerablydifferent literarycontopics themselves, structionsinto whichthey have been woven. This fact servesto demonstratethat the topical outline of the Christianreactionto the emperor Julianwas virtuallycompleteat his death. And it shows once againthe ideasin two differentlanguage remarkable fluencyof popularChristian communitiesin Byzantium,Greek and Syriac, which are often portrayedas separateand distinct.Whilemany of the topics are the same, however, the literary forms are different in the two cultures. The madrasais not the psogos. Geffcken too recognizedthis fact. Even though he was more inclinedto point out thematicsimilaritiesin the compositions of the two writers, and to speak of a characteristic rhetorical form utilized by both of them, he still felt the need to But des acknowledgewhat he called, "der Mischcharakter Syrers".44 the literary form used by Ephraemis really not "mixed". It is the of madrasd,gearedto biblicalhomiletics,and to the interpretation current events in biblicalterms.

Most recentwriterswho have had an occasionto referto Ephraem's Julianhymnshave madea referenceto their famous mise en scene, the poet standingbefore Julian's corpse, in front of Nisibis, over whose battlements Persianflag is flying, becausethe emperorJovianhandthe ed the city over to the Persiansas part of the price of peace. Ephraem himself composed this scene in Hymn III, stanzas 1-7.45And the responsewhich is appointedto be sung after each stanzaof this hymn is a fair summaryof the author's sentiments,"Praise be to the One, who has wrapped corpsein shame".46 the sceneis not simplyone his But of revilementfor Julian. For it is here that Ephraemraises his most basic questionsabout the significanceof this emperor. It is importantto notice in Ephraem'scompositionof this scenethat there are two concrete images: the poet before the emperor'scorpse, Each one and Nisibis with the Persianflag, the sign of her surrender.



gives a focus to the reader's attention, and in fact provides him with the clues he needs to enter into the spirit of the Hymns. 1. The Poet before the Corpse As for the poet, Ephraem repeats it several times, "I was astonished at what had concurred and come to pass: the corpse and the standard bearer, the two of them at once".47 It was the coincidence of these two facts that sent him in search of explanations, and so that the reader would not miss this point, the poet repeated it,
There I saw the hideous sight: The captor's banner, that was stuck on the tower; The persecutor's corpse, that was thrown into the coffin.48

And one does not have long to wait for Ephraem's reaction to this coincidence of facts. In the very next stanza he says,
I came, I drew near, my brothers, to the coffin of the unclean one. I stood above it, and I mocked his paganism.49

Ephraem is struck at once with the awesome power of an emperor, here so unexpectedly struck down, and the dire consequences of paganism. He questions himself, "Why, even with that might of his, did I not foresee that this would be his end?" 50for Ephraem nurtured an image of harmony between emperor and church, which virtually canonized the emperor.51And the horror the poet felt at the sight of Julian's corpse is the measure of the esteem in which he held the imperial office. On this point he is perfectly clear, because looking at Julian he said, "When his story ended, and he was dragged away, then both sides were glad, then there was peace, due to a believing king (i.e., Jovian), an associate of the glorious two (i.e., Constantine and Constantius).52 2. Nisibis and the Persian Flag The Persian flag over Nisibis also proclaimed a clear message. Ephraem said, "The Magian arranged to fix it on the tower, to be the standard to proclaim to the onlookers that the metropolis had become



a slave to the masters of that banner".53And, of course Julian, who had fostered the installation of pagan institutions in the city, was found responsible for this surrender. Ephraem went on to say, "The frightful banner was run up to proclaim that the wickedness of its diviners had surrendered that metropolis".54 The surrender was an accomplishment, Ephraem reminded the reader, which had often been tried before: "For thirty years Persia had waged war in every style, but she never could trespass the border of that metropolis".55 Then came Julian's army, and Ephraem found the cause of the reversal here. God, he said, "gave the army over to perdition; paganism was known to be among them".56 Nisibis was the city which had so often before withstood Persian attack. Now, in Ephraem's paradoxical view, the image of Nisibis, with her symbolic Persian flag standing out in the breeze, came to stand as a symbol for the defeat of the very paganism which, by the poet's own account, had been the ultimate cause of the city's surrender to the Persians. In her role as a symbol Nisibis became a sister-city to Jerusalem in Ephraem's poetic vision. Jerusalem's ruin, in his imagination, stood for the defeat of Judaism. According to Ephraem's way of thinking, Jews were responsible for the city's destruction, because of sinfulness and failure to accept the Messiah. Nisibis surrendered and Jerusalem in ruins, therefore, served Ephraem as symbols to proclaim the surrender and ruin of Christianity's principal rivals, paganism and Judaism respectively. Ephraem's principal theme in the Julian hymns is focused in the question he asked in view of Julian's catafalque, a question which carried all the insight of hindsight, "Why, even with that might of his, did I not foresee that this would be his end?"57 For Ephraem had now found an explanation for Julian's apostate reign, a phenomenon which had been a severe challenge to the poet's own almost Eusebian view of Church and State.58 He wrote now,
Everyonewhom the cross did not conquer when it came down; It was not that He could not conquer,who was the Conqueror. Rather,it was that a pit might be dug for the evil doer, (i.e., Julian) Who came down among his divinersto the east. But whenhe came down and was struck, Then it appearedto the discerning That there had been lying in wait for him, the battle in which he would be shamed.



You should know that it was for this the Time was so long delayed, So that the chaste one (i.e., Constantius) might complete the years of his reign, And the accursed one too (i.e., Julian) might complete the measure of his paganism. But when his story ended, and he was dragged away, Then both sides were glad, then there was peace; On account of the believing king, (i.e., Jovian) the associate of the Victorious two (i.e., Constantine and Constantius).9

VI Daniel and the End Time It was Ephraem's view that the rise and fall of the emperor Julian was in fact the foreordained sign of the final demise of Christianity's twin antitheses, Judaism and paganism. So it is with this central thought in mind that the modern reader may the more readily perceive the dominant ideas in the madrase "Against Julian". With the prophecies of Daniel never far from memory, Ephraem brought up episodes from Julian's career to demonstrate his conviction. He points to the recrudesence under Julian of both Judaism and paganism, and he points to what happened in Jerusalem and Nisibis as signs of their final demise. It was all but a crucible of testing for the church, according to Ephraem, and he pictures her as never wavering under the provocation.
The tyrant became the crucible for the beauty of the truthful. All of the infidels (i.e., Jews and Pagans) rejoiced in the infidel (i.e., Julian). In him they could see themselves, who they were. For he was the mirror for them all. Those who rejoiced in his victory, shared with him his lot. But it was the church alone that was completely against him.60

Ephraem's explanation for the Julian phenomenon was born of his reading of the prophecies of Daniel. Ephraem quotes from this prophet,



or explicitly alludes to the book of Daniel, some seven times in the course of the four Hymns, "Against Julian",6' and he employs vocabulary which evokes scenes from the Daniel story numerous times. This was no accident, or mere personal preference on Ephraem's part. By his day the book of Daniel had already become one of the fonts of Christian historical eschatology.62 Furthermore, if Julian thought of himself in his Persian campaign as the new Alexander,63 Ephraem in turn consulted what the scripture said about the Alexander of old, in order to explain the new Alexander's fate. According to biblical commentaries attributed to Ephraem, the book of Daniel spoke explicitly about Alexander the Great in at least two places: chapter 2:40, where there is the prophecy of "a fourth kingdom, strong as iron," and chapter 8:21 where the prophet says of one of the characters in his vision, "the billy-goat is the king of Greece".64 Accordingly, one catches the biblical vision of the madraSewhen he reads the following stanza at the end of Hymn I "Against Julian", where Ephraem refers both to Julian's Persian campaign, and to the vision recounted in Daniel 8:
The king, the king of Babel, to returned the field. He drove him (i.e., Julian)crazy, to recollecthimself; He maddenedhim, to come to his senses. He rejoicedGod, and gladdenedDaniel. The king, the king of Greece,was found guilty. He had angeredGod, in and disbelieved Daniel. And therein Babel he was judgedand condemned.65

Keeping this biblical frame of reference in mind, one may proceed to consider the principal themes in Ephraem's Julian hymns under the following headings: Julian and the Christian emperors; Nisibis and paganism; Jerusalem and Judaism. VII The Principal Themes of the madrase 'Against Julian' A. Julian and the Christian Emperors Ephraem compared Julian unfavorably with the Christian emperors of whom he knew by the time he wrote his Hymns Against Julian, i.e.,



Constantine, Constantius, and Jovian.66 So he begins the indictment against Julian by accusing the emperor of failure in what Ephraem considers to be the most important tasks of a Christian king, "to shepherd mankind, to care for cities, and to drive away wild animals".67 The "wild animals" in question, it is perfectly clear, are heretics, apostates, and Jews.68 So Ephraem says that by contrast with the preceding two Julian had gone mad. And in him pagans and Jews "righteous kings,""69 together found cause to rejoice, "the sons of the left hand, in the head of the left hand".70 Like Gregory of Nazianzen, Ephraem too compared Julian unfavorably with Constantius, his immediate predecessor on the imperial throne. The resulting portrait of Constantius as a pious God-loving emperor, has sometimes caused modern scholars to be surprised at Ephraem's support of this emperor, who espoused pro-Arian policies.71 But the same surprise could easily be directed to Gregory, whose invectives against Julian are even more effusive in praise of Constantius, than are Ephraem's madraSg.Gregory found in Constantine's successor only the fault of a false and sentimental compassion, since the emperor spared Julian when he massacred the rest of his family.72 As for the troubles Constantius caused Gregory's own party in the church, the rhetor/bishop said rather disingenuously, "He did slightly vex us, yet did so not out of despite and insolence, nor to gratify other parties at our expense: but he vexed us a little in order that we might be at one together, and become unanimous, and not be divided, neither be separated by our schisms".73 As for Ephraem, he simply blamed the troubles under Constantius on the bickering of bishops.74 In the Hymns Against Julian, Ephraem's contrast of the behavior of Constantius with that of Julian speaks for itself:
For the son of the king (i.e., Constantius) was a sea of calmness, Never to be diffused, never to proclaim he would conquer. He knew that the mind of the Most High is hidden. He entrusted his crown to the Knower of all. Even if he did not conquer and triumph, he conquered and triumphed the more, Whose prayer preserved the kingdom for forty years.



He was a cedar,who at his propertime sank down quietly. He lay on his own bed, he went to rest, slept in peace. Then there shot up again and Constantius) from that sweetroot of theirs(i.e., of Constantine A tendershoot of paganismwho supposed He would make mountainswait in his shadow. "He shot up in a night, and in a night he withered".75

In the last two lines one recognizes Ephraem's quotation of Jonah 4:10 (PS). And in the very next stanza the poet explicitly confirms his debt to the prophecy of Jonah for his understanding of how the Sun, Julian's chief protective divinity,76in fact serves the purposes of the true God.
For if Jonah sufferedbecausehe stood Againstthe penitents; how muchthe more will he be afflicted, Whoeverit is, who contends with those who are holy.77

Jonah, of course, according to the biblical story, suffered from the Sun, by God's action, for spurning the penitent Ninevites (Jonah 4:5-11). Julian, who worshipped the Sun, perished in the land of the Chaldeans who were the famed, primordial worshippers of the Sun. So Ephraem devoted ten stanzas of Hymn IV to ridiculing Julian for marching against his own co-religionists.78 For, as Ephraem knew from the Gospel (Mt. 12:26), such dissension is the sign of Satan, and the poet wrote here of Julian, "Evil is he who is divided against himself".79 It was in conjunction with what he saw to be an alliance of Jews and pagans under Julian against the Christian empire that Ephraem brought up the emperor's issue of coins with the symbol of a bull stamped on them.80Ephraem devoted four stanzas (Hymn I, 16-19)8' to these coins, and not surprisingly, given the poet's biblical perspective, the bull on the coins reminded Ephraem of the incident of the molten calf in the desert (Ex. 32:1-8), and of the occasion when King Jeroboam set up two calves of gold in Bethel and Dan (1 Kgs. 12:26-32). So in Julian's coins Ephraem saw once again the sign of ancient Israel's apostasy,82 and he seized upon the theme to taunt the Jews of his own day, whose support Julian had actively solicited.83



The circumcized the imagesaw all of a suddentherewas a bull. On his coins they saw the shamefulbull. They begankeepinga feast for it, with cymbalsand trumpets. In that bull they saw, their own ancientcalf.84 The circumcized the bull saw that was stampedon the stater. And they rejoicedthat therewererestored the calvesof Jeroboam.85

The bull of Julian's coins, which Ephraem said was also in the emperor's mind and heart and dreams after the type of the Bible's desert calf,86 served the poet as a symbol for the imperial resolve to restore paganism. So now, after the emperor's death in the heart of old Babylonia, Ephraem wrote, "The king, the king of Greece, of a sudden became a bull. He butted against the churches, and was dragged away".87 For Ephraem, then, the memory of Israel's apostasy with the golden calf in the desert was a perfect paradigm for what happened to what he perceived to be an alliance of Jews and pagans in support of Julian.
The paganscarriedtheiridols about and ran riot. The circumcized blew on the sOphar and ravedfrantically. All of them sang their songs and behavedwantonly. It becamea festivallike the one in the desert. The Good One who chastened those arousedon accountof a single calf, Was the one who chastenedthe many arousedon accountof a single king.88

Almost everything Ephraem knew about Julian accorded with some biblical character or event. The emperor reminded the poet of "Ahab and Jeroboam, Jotham and Manasseh, Jezebel and Athalia, fonts of paganism".89 Where others made fun of the emperor's beard,90 Ephraem saw in it a Nazirite's beard, which the emperor, bending down, "let rise up on it the reek of sacrificial smoke".91 And doubtless Julian's beard also served to remind Ephraem of the passage where Daniel said, "the billy-goat is the king of Greece" (Dan. 8:21). For



Ephraemcalls Julian a billy-goatthree times in the hymn in which he alludesto the emperor'seccentricbeard.92 emperoris a billy-goat The of the kind, says Ephraem,"who stink in their beards";93 renegade a "Nazirite" kept to become a sacrificialvictim in Persia. Even the lance that killed Julian put Ephraemin mind of biblical which he parallels.At one place he comparesit to the iron instrument the Moseshad usedto pulverize goldencalf in the desert,after imagined In he had meltedit down.94 anotherplace, exploitinga theme whichin Syriactraditionprobablycame from a purelyverbalhomologybetween likensthe spear(rumhd) Syriacrumhaand Greekromphaia,95 Ephraem which killed the emperorto what he calls "the spear of paradise", which presumablyrefers to the sword (romphaia) with which the cherub is said to guard paradisein Genesis 3:24 (LXX).96According to Ephraem,since Julianhad belittledChrist,who had turnedasidethe "the spear of justice passed into his belweapon guardingparadise,97 As for the perennial ly".98 questionabout who wieldedthe weaponthat or killed Julian,a Christian a pagan, Ephraemsays nothing. However, since the individualin question is comparedto Moses pulverizingthe
molten image with an iron file in Hymn II, 7 & 8,99 one might surmise

in For that the poet had some unnamedChristian mind.'00 Moseswould stand as a type of a Christianleader, and one wonders if Ephraem thought of the emperorJovian in this connection. Finally, after mocking Julian for being deceived into burning his ships, and then for exposinghimselfto death, out of shame,by removthe celebrates final vicing his armorin a situationof danger,Ephraem These topics, includingthe play on the term tory of the Galilean".'?0 'Galilean', Julian's name for the Christians,as Geffcken showed so long ago, were common ones in the Christianlore of the apostate emperor,which one finds in the works of both Gregoryof Nazianzen and Ephraem.'02 For the latter, Julian's end recalls the triumph of Christ, which the poet describesin the imageryof Ezekiel'sprophetic vision of the "one who had the appearance the son of man" (Ezek. of in a chariotborne by the cherubim. 1:26), carried
He had mocked,and nicknamed the brothers'Galileans'.
Behold the wheels

of the Galileanking in the air! in He thundered his chariot, the cherubim carryinghim,



The Galilean rolled it up, and delivered over The diviner's flock to the wolves of the desert. And the Galilean fold has overwhelmingly filled the world.'03

B. Nisibis and Paganism A unique feature in Ephraem's Hymns Against Julian is the symbolic role he assigns to his native city, Nisibis. The poet sees in her demise as a Christian citadel, when Jovian ceded her to Persia, a paradoxical sign of what Ephraem took to be the final defeat of paganism. And he devoted twelve stanzas of Hymn II to this theme,'04 the longest single, thematic unit in all four Julian hymns. Ephraem's devotion to his native city, and to her bishops, is the theme he celebrated in one of the collections of his hymns which is among his most widely known compositions, the Carmina Nisibena.'05 But the poet was also capable of harsh, moral warnings to the citizens of Nisibis, as is evident from the words he addressed to them about repentance in the homilies he wrote on the occasion of the destruction of the old imperial city of Nicomedia by earthquake in the year 358. These poetic homilies have been preserved almost entirely in Armenian,'06 and in them Ephraem complains not only about personal vices among the citizens of Nisibis but also about the prevalence among some citizens of magical practices and devotion to pagan diviners.'07 And it is in connection with these latter infidelities, fostered under Julian, that Ephraem finds the ultimate cause of Nisibis' fall to the Persians. One reads in the history of Sozomen that the citizens of Nisibis had appealed to Julian for protection against the Persians, but that the emperor was indisposed to hear their plea because they all practiced Christianity.108 However, Ephraem says quite clearly about the emperor,
He consulted an oracle, made a promise, and sent us a written message. That he would come down, planning to subdue Persia. The proposal of his letter, was to rebuild Singar. Nisibis was taken at his coming down!'09

Singar had been wrecked by the Persians in the year 360 during Constantius' campaigns. But in spite of such reversals as the one suffered



by the Romans at Singar, the Persians did not capture Nisibis at that time.110 And this fact gave Ephraem the occasion once again to contrast what he presented as the pious behavior of Constantius which, in his view, had earlier saved Nisibis, and Julian's proud reliance on paganism. Concerning the fall of Nisibis, Ephraem wrote:
The city was the capital of the countryof Mesopotamia. The sack-clothof the blessedone (i.e., Constantius) had preserved and it was exalted. it, The tyrant,with his blasphemy, broughtit down, and it was humbled. Who has weighedhow great is the dishonor Of the city that was the capital of the whole west, Whichthey have made the last heels of the east?"'

Ephraem found the cause of Nisibis' fall not just in Julian's paganism, but in the fact that after thirty years of religious loyalty in the face of Persian invasions,"2 under Julian the city government allowed a formal installation of paganism within the walls. Ephraem wrote:
In the summerin whichthe idol was set up withinthe city, Gracefled from it and wrathhurriedin."3

One no longer knows what exactly was the idol which was set up in Nisibis, or by whose agency. But in view of Ephraem's verses on the subject, it seems clear that Sozomen exaggerated the religious constancy of the city fathers of Nisibis in the face of Julian's known policies. The easiest construction to put upon Ephraem's evidence is that given the emperor's pagan proclivities, the Nisibenes in fact courted his protective favor by allowing a pagan temple to function, and in this desperate tactic Ephraem found the cause of the city's fate. Ephraem invested the surrender of Nisibis to the Persians with a prophetic function comparable to that assigned by Christian writers to ruined Jerusalem after 70 A.D. He put the point bluntly, the city "wronged its Savior; He abandoned it"."" But then Ephraem also said,



In our own day, the gates of the city have been shut. So that with them might be shut the mouth of pagans, and those led astray.' 5

Nisibis, says Ephraem, "is the city that heralds to the world the shame of its diviners. Its shame is perpetual. God has handed it over to be a perpetual herald, who will not tire.16 Ephraem did not blame the emperor Jovian for the surrender of Nisibis to the Persians. Rather, he held Julian's paganism, shared by the army, and even by some citizens of Nisibis, to be responsible for the surrender. In this assessment of the situation Ephraem was not unique. 17What seems to be original in his view is the idea that Nisibis, with her Persian flag, is a type, a mirror, in which one might consider the end of paganism itself.
Nisibis, which was taken, is in the type of a mirror. God has set it up so one might see in it the pagan who had come down. He took what was not his; he lost what was his own. But it is the city that heralds to the world The shame of its diviners; its shame is perpetual. God has handed it over to be a perpetual herald, who will not tire."8

C. Jerusalem and Judaism Ephraem, along with Gregory of Nazianzen, is one of the earliest Christian writers to mention the attempt to rebuild the Jerusalem temple under the rule of the emperor Julian. The final portion of the fourth Julian hymn concerns this issue.19 Needless to say, Ephraem regarded the enterprise as an outrage. And he assigned the blame for the undertaking to the Jews, "the crucifiers (zakOpe)," as he calls them, "who dared, threatened, and even came in to rebuild the ruin which they had themselves brought to ruin by their sins".'20 For as Ephraem saw it, Jerusalem had been destroyed in the first place because of the Jews' refusal to accept Jesus as the Messiah, and because of what he saw as Jewish complicity in Jesus' death. As Ephraem himself put it, the Jews had destroyed Jerusalem "by the wood (-en cross) of the Master-



builder",'2' and now, taking advantage of Julian's policies, "they have propped her up again on the bruised reed of paganism".'22 The attempt to rebuild the Jerusalem temple was thwarted by a natural disaster of some sort, according to the story as it has been told in Christian circles.'23And Ephraem is one of the earliest writers to refer to it.
Jerusalem quakedwhen she saw had come in again,'24 That her wreckers to disturbher calm. to She complained the Most High againstthem, and she was heard. He commanded wind and it blew, the He signalledthe quakesand they came; The lightening,and it flashed; the air, and it darkened; The walls, and they were wrecked the gates, and they wereopened. Fire came out and consumedthe scholar-scribes, Who had read in Daniel, that she should lay in ruins forever. They read, but they did not learn; they werechastenedagain, and they learned.'25

Ephraem's reference here to the prophecy of Daniel (9:24-27), in the last lines of this stanza, occasions no surprise to the reader who is already aware that Daniel's visions have furnished the poet with one of his most important conceptual models for making sense of the whole Julian episode in Christian history. What is surprising is the fact that Ephraem takes no notice here of the prophecy about Jerusalem in Mt. 24:2, "not one stone will be left on another-it will all be torn down". Other Christian writers have been concerned with this Gospel passage, particularly in connection with Julian's plans for the Jerusalem temple.'26 But Ephraem contented himself with Daniel, perhaps precisely because the prophecy is part of the Jewish scripture. And Ephraem was concerned to see the demise of both paganism and Judaism in the defeat of Julian, so he reminded the reader:
Daniel passedthe sentence and againstJerusalem decreed She will not be built again, and Sion believedhim.



The two of them were worn out, and they wept. He cut off and cast away their hope.'27

According to Ephraem, Jerusalem in her ruins is a testimony to Christianity's triumph, so to Jerusalem and Sion he says:
In the place of the People-uprooted They will come with Hallelujias from all the peoples, To see within your wombs the grave and Golgotha.'28

Like Nisibis with her Persian flag, then, ruined Jerusalem too, according to Ephraem, stands for the ultimate triumph of Christianity over paganism and Judaism. And parenthetically one may notice the poet's reference to Christian pilgrims coming to Jerusalem to see "the grave and Golgotha". It may in fact be the earliest documentary evidence in Syriac for the popularity of pilgrimage to the Holy Land in the fourth century.'29 Ephraem's hope to see in the emperor Julian's fate the final defeat of every force opposed to the triumph of a Christian empire is echoed in the last stanza of his Julian hymns. So one may fittingly bring to a close this discussion of the major themes in these hymns by quoting their final stanza.
Who will ever again believe in fate and the horoscope? Who will ever again affirm diviners and soothsayers? Who will ever again go astray, after auguries and Zodiacal signs? All of them have been wrong in everything. So that the Just One will not have to instruct each one who goes astray, He broke the one who went astray, so that in him those who have gone astray might learn their lesson."3


' Edmund Beck, Des heiligen Ephraem des Syrers Hymnen de Paradiso und Contra Julianum (CSCO, vols. 174 & 175; Louvain 1957). 2 W. E. Kaegi, Research on Julian the Apostate, 1945-1964, The Classical World 58 (1965) 234.



& See RobertBrowning,TheEmperorJulian(Berkeley Los Angeles 1976),pp. 213 & 3 217. 4 G. W. Bowersock,reviewof R. Klein (ed.), JulianApostata, Wege zur Forschung, 509 (Darmstadt1978), in Numen 28 (1981) 91. See also Bowersock'sown citationsof Mass. 1978). Ephraem'shymnsin his Julian the Apostate (Cambridge, S. J. J. Overbeck, Ephraemi RabulaeepiscopiEdesseni, Syri BalaeiAliorumque Opera Selecta(Oxford 1865)3-20. 6 G. Bickell,Die Gedichtedes h. Ephramgegen Julianden Apostaten,Zeitschrift fur katholischeTheologie2 (1878)335-356. 7 J. seinerGegner,Neue Jahrbucher Geffcken,KaiserJulianusund die Streitschriften fur das klassischeAltertum,Geschichteund deutscheLiteratur21 (1908) 174-178.My for of me thanksaredueto ProfessorDavidLevenson FloridaStateUniversity informing of this importantarticle. 8 Redenund Lieder,in Des S. Euringer,Des heiligenEphramdes Syrersausgewahlte des SchriftenI. Band, Bibliothekder Kirchenvater, heiligenEphrdm Syrersausgewahlte 37 (Munich,1919) 199-208. 9 See n. 1 above. in Museum,3 vols. (Lon'0 See W. Wright,Catalogue SyriacManuscripts the British of of vol. II, 413. See also the description the MS in EdmundBeck, Des don 1870-1872), des Hymnende Fide (CSCO,vol. 154;Louvain1955),p. iii, with heiligenEphraem Syrers of a photograph a specimen pageas plate IV. A furtherdiscussionof the MS is included in the volumein whichthe JulianHymnsare published,Beck, De Paradisound Contra Julianum,vol. 174, p. iii. I Beck, De Paradisound ContraJulianum,vol. 174, p. 91. 12 V. Grumel,La chronologie(Paris 1958)244. 3 See, e.g., T. J. Lamy, SanctiEphraemSyriHymniet Sermones,vol. II (Mechliniae 1886)col. 35. 14 See AndreDe Halleux,La transmission des Hymnesd'Ephrem d'apresle MS. Sinai Christiana 1972. Orientalia in Analecta, 197 Syriacum Syr. 10, f. 165v-178r, Symposium (Rome 1974)21 &36. 15 See De Halleux,La transmission, dans and idem, Une cle pourles hymnesd'Ephrem le MS. Sinai Syr. 10, Le Museon85 (1972) 171-199. 16 See De 31 Halleux,La transmission, &57; idem, Une cl6, 184 & 193. " See De Halleux,La transmission, wherethe headingof the Julianhymnsfurnishes 37, some hints about the title of vol. VIII. 18 See P. Bedjan(ed.), Acta Martyrum Sanctorum, vol. III (Paris 1892)665-679. et des collectionsd'hymnes a 19 See B. Outtier, Contribution l'etude de la pr6histoire 49-61. d'Ephrem,Parole de l'Orient6 &7 (1975-1976) 20 Beck discussedthis reasoningfor the inclusionof the Julianhymnsin the MS in E. des Beck,Des heiligen HymnenContraHaereses.CSCO,vols. 169&170 Ephraem Syrers (Louvain1957),vol. 169, p. xv. 21 See Beck, De Paradisound ContraJulianum,vol. 174, pp. i &ii. 22 See R. Murray,Symbolsof Churchand Kingdom(Cambridge 1975) 106-113. 23 is The translation Murray's,Symbols, 110-111. 24 Beck, De Paradisound ContraJulianum,vol. 174, pp. i &ii. 25 Beck, De Paradisound ContraJulianum,vol. 174, 71. For a discussionof this title, and its role in the effort to reconstructthe likely shape of the original volumes of 37-38. see Ephraem'scollectedmadraNS, De Halleux, La transmission,

26 27


Beck, De Paradisound ContraJulianum,vol. 174, 91. Ibid., 67-70. In his edition Beck has very helpfullyset these initial lettersinto the marginso that their patternis clear. 28 Dr. Geiger,Alphabetische akrostichontische und Liederbei Ephram,Zeitschrift der deutschen 21 namespelled morgenldndischen Gesellschaft (1867)474-475.See Ephraem's out in acrosticsin Beck, ContraHaereses,vol. 169, no. XL, 160-162;idem, Carmina NisibenaI, vol. 218, II, 6-9; idem,De Fide, XLIX-LXV,154-203.In the latterinstance the last 200 stanzasof poetrybegin with the letter ) . 29 M. Breydy, BandIII, Rishaiqole; Kult,DichtungundMusikbei den Syro-Maroniten, (Kabyath,Lebanon1979)480. 30 See J. Schirmann, HebrewLiturgical Poetryand Christian Hymnology,The Jewish Reviewn.s. 44 (1953-1954) 123-161.See n. 28 above for Ephraem's acrostics. Quarterly 31 De Halleux,Une cle, p. 193, no. 41 d. 32 Seethe descriptions GeorgeA. Kennedy, in GreekRhetoricunderChristian Emperors (Princeton1983)25, 59-63. 33 of 4 Gregory Nazianzus'Orations and 5, "AgainstJulian",are in PG, vol. 35, cols, 531-720.See now the neweditionof the Greektext, withFrenchtranslation, introduction and commentary,in J. Bernardi,Grdgoire Nazianze,Discours 4-5: Contre Julien de no. of is (SourcesChr6tiennes, 309; Paris, 1983).An Englishtranslation theseinvectives availablein C. W. King, Julianthe Emperor(London 1888) 1-121. 34 Beck, De Paradisound ContraJulianum,vol. 174, 82-83. 35 -See SidneyH. Griffith,Ephraem, the Deaconof Edessa,and the Churchof the Empire, in Diakonia,Essays in Honor of Robert T. Meyer(Washington 1986)22-52. 36 See Beck, Hymnende Fide, vol. 154, 271. 37 de Bernardi,Grdgoire Nazianze,ContreJulien, 14 and 15. 38 OrationIV, 100, in the translation King, Julian the Emperor,p. 100. of 39 de Bernardi,Gregoire Nazianze,ContreJulien, 33, 38-39, 41. 40 Ibid., 64.
41 42

Beck, Hymnen de Fide, vol. 154, 7.

See Geffcken,KaiserJulianus,174-178. 43 Ibid., 174. 44 Ibid., 174, n. 2. 45 Beck, De Paradiso und Contra Julianum, vol. 174, 81-83. See Browning, The JuliantheApostate, 10, 118;P. Brown,Societyand the Julian,217;Bowersock, Emperor Holy in Late Antiquity(Berkeley1982)90, 101.


Ibid., p. 81. III, 2, p. 81. III, 3, p. 82.

III, 4, p. 82. III, 5, p. 82. 51 See, e.g., the expression"Constantine,the saint", in EdmundBeck, Des heiligen des Ephraem SyrersSermones CSCO,vols. 320 & 321 (Louvain,1972),vol. 320, 22. III, These homilies,however,may not be authentic. 52 Beck, De Paradisound ContraJulianum,vol. 174, III, 8, p. 83.
50 53 54 55

III, 1, p. 81. III, 2, pp. 81-82. III, 3, p. 82.




III, 10, p. 83.


III, 5, p. 82. 58 See Griffith, art. cit., n. 35 above. 59 Beck, De Paradiso und Contra Julianum, vol. 174, III, 7 & 8, pp. 82-83.

60 61

I, 13-15,pp. 73-74.

See Hymns I, 18 (Dan. 4:30), 20 (Dan. 8, 9:27); II, 5 (Dan. 8:21), 9 (Dan. 8:21), 14 (Dan. 2:12); IV, 20 (Dan. 9:23-27), 23 (Dan. 9:26-27). 62 See Gerhard Podskalsky, Byzantinische Reichseschatologie, die Periodisierung der Weltgeschichte in den vier Grossreichen (Daniel 2 und 7) und dem tausendjihrigen Friedensreich (Apok. 20); eine Motivgeschichtliche Untersuchung (Munchen 1972) 4-16. 63 See Browning, The Emperor Julian, 190; Bowersock, Julian the Apostate, 15, 101; Polymnia Athanassiadi-Fowden, Julian and Hellenism, an Intellectual Biography (Oxford 1981) 192-193, 224-225. 64 Petrus Benedictus (ed.) Sancti Patris Nostri Ephraem Syri Opera Omnia, quae exstant Graece, Syriace, Latine (vol. II; Romae, 1740) 206 &219. Pace Poskalsky, p. 15, who does not mention Ephraem's view from p. 219. Of course, there may be some question about the authenticity of the Daniel commentary, but it does not vitiate the present point. Ephraem refers to Dan. 8:21 four times in the course of the Julian hymns. 65 Beck, De Paradiso und Contra Julianum, vol. 174, I, 20, p. 75. 66 See above, n. 48. Later in his life Ephraem even excused Valens for his Arianizing policies. See Griffith, art. cit., n. 35 above; Beck, Hymnen de Fide, vol. 154, 271. 67 Beck, De Paradiso und Contra Julianum, vol. 174, I, 1, p. 71. 68 See Griffith, art. cit., n. 35 above; Beck, Contra Haereses, vol. 169, pp. 52, 95; vol. 170, p. 89, n. 12. 69 Beck, De Paradiso und Contra Julianum, vol. 174, I, 12, p. 73. 70 I, 14, p. 74. "Left-hand" imagery appears also in I, 2 & 14; II, 9. It is to be interpreted with reference to Mt. 25:31-46. 71 See, e.g., R. Murray, Symbols of Church, 244-245. 72 See Contra Julianum I, 3, 21, 38, PG, vol. XXXV, cols. 533, 549, 564; King, Julian the Emperor, 1-2, 12, 19-20. 73 Contra Julianum I, 37, PG, vol. XXXV, col. 564; King, Julian the Emperor, 21. 74 E. Beck, Des heiligen Ephraem des Syrers Sermones de Fide, CSCO, vols. 212 & 213 (Louvain 1961), vol. 212, 42. 7S Beck, De Paradiso und Contra Julianum, vol. 174, IV, 15-16, p. 88. 76 See Athanassiadi-Fowden, Julian & Hellenism, 173-178. 7 Beck, De Paradiso und Contra Julianum, vol. 174, IV, 17, p. 88.

IV, 7-17, pp. 86-88.

IV, 14, p. 88. On Julian's coins see F. D. Gilliard, Notes on the Coinage of Julian the Apostate, The Journal of Roman Studies 54 (1964) 135-141. But see also Bowersock, Julian the Apostate, 61, 104, fig. 9, facing p. 111. 81 Beck, De Paradiso und Contra Julianum, vol. 174, 74-75. 82 Ephraem's reference to these biblical parallels is his primary reaction to the coins, and not simply a cover for his presumed unfamiliarity with the pagan iconography. Pace Bowersock, Julian the Apostate, 104. 83 See Bowersock, Julian the Apostate, 88ff. 84 Beck, De Paradiso und Contra Julianum, vol. 174, I, 16, p. 74.

86 87



I, 18, p. 75. I, 19, p. 75. I, 18, p. 75. II, 7, p. 77.

II, 2, p. 76. See also IV, 5, p. 86, for a more extended comparison of Julian with Ahab. 90 The Antiochenes made fun of the emperor's beard as a part of their general compaign of ridicule against him, and Julian responded to their complaints against him in his work The Antiochene, or Misopogon, i.e., "Beard Hater". See Browning, The Emperor Julian, 158; Bowersock, Julian the Apostate, 103-104; Athanassiadi-Fowden, Julian and Hellenism, 201-225. 9' Beck, De Paradiso und Contra Julianum, vol. 174, II, 5, p. 76. See Num. 6:5. 92 II, 5, 9, 18, pp. 76, 77, 79. 93 II, 9, p. 77. 94 II, 8, p. 77: "With hardened iron he destroyed that calf." At Ex. 32:20 the Peshitta says that Moses ground the now molten calf with a file until it was pulverized: "?apeh bgawpina Cdamddethdqeq." 95 R. Murray, The Lance Which Re-opened Paradise, a Mysterious Reading in the Early Syriac Fathers, Orientalia Christiana Periodica 39 (1973) 224-234, and see the important adjustment, "The Lance which Re-opened Paradise: a Correction," loc. cit., 491. 96 Peshitta has harba for romphaia. The verbal homology discussed by Murray produced its effect in the Syriac tradition prior to Ephraem's day. 97 See Ephraem's use of this image in his madrase "de paradiso," II, 1 in Beck, De Paradiso und Contra Julianum, vol. 174, 5. 98 III, 14, p. 84. 99 II, 7-8, p. 78. '00 Referring only to III, 14, p. 84, Bowersock, Julian the Apostate, 116, surmises that Ephraem had a pagan in mind. 10' Beck, De Paradiso und Contra Julianum, vol. 174, III, 15-17, pp. 84-85. 102 Geffcken, Kaiser Julianus und die Streitschriften, 175-176. One topic shared between Ephraem and Gregory which Geffcken did not mention is the allusion to Julian's pagan Uncle Julian, the emperor's namesake, whose horrid death so depressed the emperor. For Ephraem see Beck, De Paradiso und Contra Julianum, vol. 174, IV, 3 &4, pp. 85-86. For Gregory see Contra Julianum II, 1, 2, PG, XXXV, col. 665; King, Julian the Emperor, 86. See also Bowersock, Julian the Apostate, 62-63; Browning, The Emperor Julian, 157, 183-184. 103 Beck, De Paradiso und Contra Julianum, vol. 174, III, 17, p. 85. The verb in the phrase, "The Galilean rolled it up..." is uncertain. See Beck, ibid., vol. 175, p. 79, n. 17. Here one understands gall, 'to roll', as in the action of rolling up a scroll. For the possibility of a transitive sense for this verb, see the use of the cognate word in Aramaic to mean to "roll up" a scroll, M. M. Jastrow, Sefer Millim (New York 1982), vol. I, 249. One should note the word-play in Syriac in this verse, involving the words glilaye, giglawhy, glilayd, and gallah or galah. 104 Beck, De Paradiso und Contra Julianum, vol. 174, II, 15-27, pp. 78-81. 105 E. Beck, Des heiligen Ephraem des Syrers Carmina Nisibena, CSCO, vols. 218, 219, 240, 241 (Louvain 1961 & 1963). Vols. 218 and 219 contain the hymns devoted exclusively to Nisibis and her bishops. See also J.-M. Fiey, Les eveques de Nisibe au temps de saint



idem, Nisibe, metropole syriaqueorientale tphrem, Parolede l'Orient4 (1973) 123-135; et ses suffragantsdes originesa nos jours, CSCO, vol. 388 (Louvain1977)21-36. 106 37 See C. Renoux,lphrem de Nisibe, memresur Nicom6die,PatrologiaOrientalis (1975). LXX, 355 pp.

Ibid., memre X & XI, 193-269. 108 PG, LXVII, col. 1221.

E. Beck, De Paradisound ContraJulianum,vol. 174, II, 15, p. 78. See AndrePiganiol,L'empirechretien(325-395),HistoireRomaine,tome iv (Paris 1947) 107. 1 Beck, De Paradisound ContraJulianum,vol. 174, II, 25, pp. 80-81. For another in referenceto Constantius sackclothsee II, 19, p. 79.



See II, 20, p. 79; III, 3, p. 82. II, 20, p. 80. II, 26, p. 81. II, 17, p. 79.

II, 16, p. 79. See the full stanzaquotedbelow. See R. Turcan,L'abandonde Nisibe et l'opinion publique(363 ap. J.-C.), in R. et Chevallier(ed.), Melangesd'archeologie d'histoireofferts a Andre Piganiol, 3 vols. vol. II, 875-890. (Paris 1966), 18 Beck, De Paradisound ContraJulianum,vol. 174, II, 16, p. 79. 9 IV, 18-25,pp. 88-89. See the Englishtranslation stanzas18-23in S. P. Brock,A of of on to LetterAttributed Cyrillof Jerusalem the Rebuilding the Temple,Bulletinof the School of Orientaland African Studies 40 (1977) 283-284. For a discussionof the see of templeas a featurein Julian'sbiography Browning,The rebuilding the Jerusalem EmperorJulian, 176;Bowersock,Julianthe Apostate, 120-122.See David Levenson,A Sourceand Tradition.CriticalStudy of the Storiesof Julian'sAttempt to Rebuildthe Mass. 1979),soon to JerusalemTemple University; Cambridge, (Ph. D. Thesis,Harvard be publishedin a revisedform by E. J. Brill, Leiden. 120 Beck, De Paradisound ContraJulianum,vol. 174, IV, 18, p. 89. 121 of IV, 22, p. 89. The "Masterbuilder", course, is Christ.For this title see Murray, Symbols,223-224. 122 IV, 22, p. 89. The image of the "bruisedreed" is from 2 Kgs. 18:21,Isaiah36:6. Ephraemused it earliertoo, in I, 2, p. 71 and II, 10, p. 77. 123 of to See S. P. Brock,A LetterAttributed Cyril,267-286;idem, The Rebuilding the 108(1976)103-107. underJulian,a New Source,PalestineExploration Quarterly Temple 124 Officially, Jews had been banned from Jerusalemsince the time of the emperor in remarks his HistoriaEcclesiastica, 6, K. Lake Hadrian(d. 138A.D.). SeeEusebius' IV, History, Loeb ClassicalLibrary,2 vols. (ed. and trans.), Eusebius, The Ecclesiastical Mass., 1959),vol. I, pp. 310-313. (Cambridge, 125-Beck, De Paradisound ContraJulianum,vol. 174, IV, 19-20. p. 89. 126 See the articlesby Brockcited in nn. 116 & 120 above. 127 Beck, De Paradisound ContraJulianum,vol. 174, IV, 23, p. 90. 128 i.e., IV, 25, p. 90. The contrastbetween'the People' (Cammd), the Jews, and 'the i.e., peoples,' (Camme), the gentileswho acceptedJesusas the Messiah,is a commonone in its in Ephraem's poetry.See in particular deployment E. Beck, Des heiligenEphraem des Syrers SymCSCO,vols. 248&249 (Louvain1964).See also Murray, Paschalhymnen, bols, 41-68.



129 from Greekand Latinspeaking for areasis well documented this period. Pilgrimage See E. D. Hunt, Holy LandPilgrimage the LaterRomanEmpire,A.D. 312-460(Oxin ford 1982). 130 Beck, De Paradisound ContraJulianum,vol. 174, IV, 26, p. 90.

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