On a Lighter Note… 2013 Lenten Reading


It’s Lent again.  Here are the books I hope to finish this Lent:

There’s Murray’s “Symbol of Church and Kingdom“.  I find the intro to be a good “recent” update in what’s recent in “Syriac” studies… Would like to see the rest.

For Biblical commentary… I have taken to reading from Cornelius Lapide’s commentary.  I have those on St. Matthew in book form,  but I found a site that has them available online.  If anyone else has thoughts/insights into this commentary, and wants to discuss them, I’d love to!

Finally, to finish the Lenten punishment :), I will be reading Fr. Andrew Younan’s book: The Mesopotamian School & Theodore of Mopsuestia.  I’ve been meaning to read this again since I lost the pages of notes I had taken on this book.  It’s a great read, and gives a fabulous introduction on what the Mesopotamian School of thought is.

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13 Responses to “On a Lighter Note… 2013 Lenten Reading”

  1. Ian Climacus Says:

    Lent has just started for us, as it comes to an end for most of the world. Always interesting to hear what you are reading.

    I want to give Fr Andrew’s book a re-read; it was not only intellectually stimulating but exceptionally profitable in terms of my understanding and even my practical knowledge and worship with the wonderful hymns quoted. As per my post last year I did re-read it last year but would happily read it again.

    I’m back to The Ladder by my patron Saint: always a worthwhile Lenten read. I am also going to read, though perhaps more a Nativity read, Fr Patrick Reardon’s The Jesus we Missed which I have as an ebook after buying an e-reader. I have read some of his Christ in the Psalms: need to get back to it.

    I am also, as regular weekday services are not readily available up here (I do miss my old parish back in Sydney at times like this), going through some of the Orthodox Church’s services myself of a morning/evening, such as The Lenten Triodion and St Andrew of Crete’s Great Canon.

    I may have asked this before and forgot, but Is Mar Ephraim’s Lenten Prayer, as we call it, used at all in Chaldean services? Or is it something Catholic and Orthodox Byzantine-rite congregations use?

  2. Ian Climacus Says:

    Oh, and keeping on the ‘lighter note’, have you ever come across a word in a hymn that just seems so ‘everyday’ it throws you? I came across this in St Andrew of Crete’s Canon today:

    Elijah once burned a hundred of Jezebel’s flunkeys
    when he had destroyed her shameful prophets
    as a proof and rebuke for Ahab.
    But avoid imitating these two, my soul, and master yourself.

    I will confess I did laugh when I read “flunkeys”: not a term I usually associate with hymnography! 🙂 Thought you may appreciate it.

  3. antgaria Says:

    That’s pretty awesome using the word *flunkey*. I am now on a search for something similar in our English translations. Not quite the same thing, but I do know a word used in the “Old Tongue”, that has since gotten a bad slang connotation in the “New Tongue” Urmi dialect, so the priests decided to change that word four our parish’s books. Both words used mean “controversy”, but we use a new word in a hymn that’s sung in the old tongue. In San Diego and most other parishes that don’t have a strong presence of “Urmijnayeh”, people from Urmiya, the original is used.

  4. antgaria Says:

    Ian, you bought an e-reader? Which one? I absolutely am in love with the paperwhite kindle… it’s like the best thing since peanut butter on toast, or sporks for spam.

  5. antgaria Says:

    I have not ran into Mar Ephrem’s Lenten Prayer in our services… but I might not have paid too close attention until now. The service books being mostly in Syriac, it will be a long process, but I shall scour the books and also search online for any hints. If ever I find one, and assuming I don’t forget, I will comment here.

  6. Ian Climacus Says:

    I have a Kobo Glo; like the Paperwhite it has the in-built light which I love — no more bedside lamp. 🙂 The Glo works with libraries here and the prices for the books I were after were cheaper after discounts so I went that way.
    I have no idea what sporks are though: a US thing?

    I doubt if you’ve missed Mar Ephrem’s [I’ve noted the spelling you use 🙂 ] prayer; you’d be paying attention Shamasha.

    Interesting about the bad-slang connotation changing words: proof language evolves.

    I’ve remembered another odd translation — “disembodied minds” at Matins: “Let all earth-born mortals rejoice in spirit, carrying their lamps, and let the nature of disembodied Minds celebrate with honour the holy festival of the Mother of God, and cry out: “Hail! all-blessed, pure, and ever-virgin Theotokos!” ”

    I’d need to find out other translations, and I can guess it may be referring to angels [having no bodies] or the spirit rather than body, but “disembodied minds” puts me in mind of a zombie flick! :help:

  7. Ian Climacus Says:

    Christ is Risen! [well, for most of the Christian world 🙂 ]

    Have you seen or heard of Theodore of Mopsuestia’s Commentary on the Gospel of St John? I am thinking of getting it.

  8. antgaria Says:

    Yes… I have it, and have been reading through it. It’s kind of in my “Commentaries” section of my little library, but at the same time I’m reading it out of curiosity of what is in it.

    One has to understand when he talks of Christ as being perfect man, he intends it in the same way as Chalcedon would see it, although the language is earlier.

    2 things to keep in mind…

    He did attack the heresies that were prevalent in his days which have for the most part disappeared and only exist nowadays in obscure cults, which means that some of the things he argues, you could be thinking “why is he bothering with this?”

    He also wrote before certain things were clarified in later synods, and with an Antiochian anti-apollinarian/anti-arian approach. He stresses the importance of Christ sharing our nature {the whole of our humanity had to be assumed} to redeem it.

    Again, I’m in the process of studying it, so I can’t say any of these things for sure…

    but I think that explains the curious treatment of John 1:34 when John the Baptist says: “And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.” Theodore says “he [John] does not say “this is the Son of God” with reference to his divine nature which is revealed by his divine generation, but with regard to his human nature because of the conjunction of that [nature] with the Only Begotten.” Theodore then goes on to point out that we too are regenerated by the Spirit and become children of God by the “Spirit of Adoption, in which we cry Abba! Father!”

    Now Theodore goes on to explain his soteriology: “The beginning of all these things is what happened to the Christ-in-the-flesh who first was born in the Spirit, and through the Spirit was united to the Only Begotten so that he acquired the true dignity of sonship and communicates to us the gift of the Spirit by which we are also regenerated and received among his children…”

    To Theodore, the eternal Sonship of the Divinity of Christ already having been stated elsewhere {John 1:18}, this statement of the Baptist is in reference to the Sonship of Christ’s humanity, by which He is able to redeem it, and hence give us hope.

    It’s too bad that his treatise on the Incarnation, among many other works, was lost along with the life of the scholar who found it and many others during the massacre of Christians in Turkey in the early 20th century. It would have proved a very educational read.

  9. antgaria Says:

    By the way, the book is put together by someone who, from the introduction of the book, seems not to be a fan of Theodore of Mopsuestia, but he is fair in his treatment and from the notes it seems that he tries to be consistent and fair in his translation.

  10. Ian Climacus Says:

    Thanks for the review and the further information on Mar Theodore; and I agree we need to be very careful judging others by formulations that came in synods after their repose — language is a tricky thing too. And, yes, with you I mourn at lost works…

    Just a quick check; do you have the version I linked to or this one?: not sure if the latter may be more ‘Theodore-friendly’ as it were.

  11. antgaria Says:

    It’s the latter version you linked to… for some reason when I clicked earlier, it had pointed to that version, but now I went back and saw that the first one you linked to was one by George Kalantzis.

    And although the Conti version might not be friendly, I still believe it to be fair. 🙂 I do recommend it… although it might be the pricier, and I haven’t seen the other one.

  12. Ian Climacus Says:

    Thanks; will do. And my link looks a bit stuffed so it is was probably my error.

    We read from St John after Easter, so I thought it would be a good commentary to use, after using Blessed Theophylact’s commentaries on Mark, Luke and John [need to buy Matthew] and finding them helpful; though if I recall the commentary on John seemed much taken with countering heresies, similar to what you wrote about Thedore’s commentary. Perhaps there is something about the nature of St John’s Gospel compared to the synoptics that may lead people to heresy…

    • antgaria Says:

      Blessed Theophylact… Good stuff. That was one of my most exciting discoveries, and although they are freely available on the internet, it’s way more useful having the set available to pull out whenever I need it.

      I’ve yet to read his commentaries on John. I do refer to it when preparing for Bible studies… and usually if I want to get a sense of what Chrysostom would say in short, that’s where I turn. 🙂 I have read quite a bit of his commentaries on Luke, and have been going through St. Matthew. 🙂

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