Aphrahat's demonstrations : a conversation with the Jews of Mesopotamia

Lizorkin, Ilya (2009-12)

Thesis (DPhil (Ancient Studies)--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Various opinions on the nature of Aphrahat‟s interactions with the Jews have essentially revolved around either accepting or rejecting the claim that the Persian Sage had contact with (Rabbinic) Jews and/or may have been influenced by them. While some significant research went into determining the precise nature of these relationships, the issue was never settled. This dissertation contributes to this ongoing discussion by posing and attempting to answer two primary research questions: 1) Did Aphrahat encounter actual Jews during his own lifetime or did he Simply project/imagine them into his Demonstrations from reading the New Testament collection? If the first question is answered in the affirmative, the focus of the dissertation becomes the following question: 2) Were the Jews whom Aphrahat encountered Rabbinic/Para-Rabbinic or not? To provide answers to these questions the author uses a textual comparative methodology, juxtaposing texts from both sources and then seeking to analyze them in relation to each other. Every section that deals with such comparison is organized into three sub-sections: 1) agreement, 2) disagreement by omission; and 3) disagreement by confrontation (this pattern is consistently followed throughout the study). The author concludes that the answer to both of these questions can be given in the affirmative. First, Aphrahat did not imagine nor project the Jews in his Demonstrations from his reading of the New Testament, but he (and his community) encountered the Jews on the streets of Ancient Northern Mesopotamia. Second, Aphrahat (and his community, sometimes only via his community) indeed had interactions with Rabbinic (or more accurately Para-Rabbinic) Jews.

AFRIKAANSE OSOMMING: Verskeie menings oor die aard van Afrahates se interaksies met die Jode het in hoofsaak gedraai om óf aanvaarding óf verwerping van die aanspraak dat die Persiese wysgeer kontak gehad het met (Rabbynse) Jode en/of deur hulle beïnvloed kon gewees het. Terwyl sekere beduidende navorsing ondersoek ingestel het na bepaling van die presiese aard van hierdie verhoudings, is die aangeleentheid nooit die hoof gebied nie. Hierdie verhandeling dra by tot hierdie voortgaande bespreking en poog om twee primêre navorsingsvrae te vra en te probeer beantwoord: 1) Het Afrahates werklike Jode gedurende sy eie leeftyd teëgekom of het hy hulle eenvoudig in sy “Demonstrationes” na aanleiding van die lees van die Nuwe Testament-versameling geprojekteer/gewaan? Indien die eerste vraag bevestigend beantwoord word, raak die fokus van die verhandeling die volgende vraag: 2) Was die Jode wat Afrahates teëgekom het, Rabbyns/Para-Rabbyns of nie? Om antwoorde op hierdie vrae te kan gee, gebruik die skrywer ʼn tekstueel vergelykende metodologie, deur tekste van beide bronne langs mekaar te plaas en hulle dan in verhouding tot mekaar te probeer analiseer. Elke afdeling wat met sodanige vergelyking te make het, word in drie onderafdelings georden: 1) ooreenkoms, 2) verskil deur weglating, en 3) verskil deur konfrontasie (hierdie patroon word konsekwent dwarsdeur die studie gevolg). Die skrywer kom tot die gevolgtrekking dat albei hierdie vrae bevestigend beantwoord kan word. Eerstens, Afrahates het nie die Jode in sy “Demonstrationes” na aanleiding van sy lees van die Nuwe Testament gewaan of geprojekteer nie, maar hy (en sy gemeenskap) het die Jode in die strate van Antieke Noord-Mesopotamië teëgekom. Tweedens, Afrahates (en sy gemeenskap, partymaal slegs via sy gemeenskap) het inderdaad interaksies met Rabbynse (of meer presies Para-Rabbynse) Jode gehad.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/2998
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