St. Ephrem the Syrian's cycle of 15 Hymns on Paradise offers a fine example of Christian poetry, in which the author weaves a profound theological synthesis around a particular Biblical narrative. Centered on Genesis 2 and 3, he expresses his awareness of the sacramental character of the created world, and of the potential of everything in the created world to act as a witness and pointer to the creator.
God's two witnesses, says Ephrem, are: "Nature, through man's use of it, and Scripture, through his reading it." In Hymns on paradise, Ephrem posits an inherent link between the material and spiritual worlds. Because his theology is not tied to a particular cultural or philosophical background, but operates by means of imagery and symbolism basic to all human experience, his theological vision expressed in his hymns has a freshness and immediacy today that few other theological works from the early Christian period can hope to achieve.
About the Popular Patristics Series
The Popular Patristics series published by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press provides readable and accurate translations of a broad range of early Christian literature to a wide audience--from students of Christian history to lay Christians reading for spiritual benefit.
Recognized Patristic scholars provide short but comprehensive and clear introductory essays according to their specializations for each volume.
Texts include classics of Christian literature, thematic volumes, homily collections, letters, spiritual guidance, and poetical works from a wide variety geographical contexts and historical backgrounds. The purpose of the series is to mine the riches of the early church and to make these invaluable writings available to all.
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