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date: 23 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents a sketch of early Syriac literature during the Roman/Byzantine period, before the Arab conquests. Although its beginnings were pre-Christian, the bulk of Syriac writings is made up of typically Christian compositions, belonging mainly to the literary genres such as exegetical, dogmatic, polemical, ascetic, monastic, as well as canon law, etc. Much of the output of the epoch is religious poetry, in which Syriac authors excelled, having become renowned even outside the Syriac sphere, as is the case with Ephrem’s poems that reached Greek and other Christian Oriental literatures. Short accounts of the Syriac Bible translations are provided, and of the compositions of the most important authors, such as BarDaisan, Jacob of Serum, Isaac of Antioch, Philoxenos of Mabbogh, and others, as well as accounts of two genres: historiography and biography/hagiography.

Keywords: Syriac Literature, Syriac Bible, BarDaisan, Ephrem, Jacob of Serug, Isaac of Antioch, Philoxenos of Mabbogh, Peter of Callinicus, historiography, hagiography

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