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The Luminous Eye: The Spiritual World Vision of Saint Ephrem the Syrian

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All but unknown outside the Syrian tradition, Ephrem's rich theology of symbol, asceticism, and prayer amply deserves to stand beside his more famous Greek contemporaries. All but unknown outside the Syrian tradition, Ephrem's rich theology of symbol, asceticism, and prayer amply deserves to stand beside his more famous Greek contemporaries.


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All but unknown outside the Syrian tradition, Ephrem's rich theology of symbol, asceticism, and prayer amply deserves to stand beside his more famous Greek contemporaries. All but unknown outside the Syrian tradition, Ephrem's rich theology of symbol, asceticism, and prayer amply deserves to stand beside his more famous Greek contemporaries.

30 review for The Luminous Eye: The Spiritual World Vision of Saint Ephrem the Syrian

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brock Meier

    This is a remarkable book. Sebastian Brock is generally acknowledged as the greatest living authority on the ancient Syriac language, and the foremost translator of the works of Ephrem the Syrian. In The Luminous Eye, he not only presents many translated passages of Ephrem, but presents them in the context of the early church, in the third-century Middle East. Ephrem wrote a large body of literary works (mainly poems and hymns) as a poet-theologian. Rather than writing from a western (Roman/Gree This is a remarkable book. Sebastian Brock is generally acknowledged as the greatest living authority on the ancient Syriac language, and the foremost translator of the works of Ephrem the Syrian. In The Luminous Eye, he not only presents many translated passages of Ephrem, but presents them in the context of the early church, in the third-century Middle East. Ephrem wrote a large body of literary works (mainly poems and hymns) as a poet-theologian. Rather than writing from a western (Roman/Greek) viewpoint, often characterized by analysis and definition, his eastern perspective emphasized a more holistic approach, characterized by wonder, beauty, and transcendence. Although a theologian, his poetic expression of knowledge of God relied more on mediation than investigation. Writing long before the great East/West split of the church into Roman and Orthodox divisions, Ephrem seems to my 21st century ears as simultaneously cutting-edge modern, and ancient/timeless. His metaphors are often striking and unexpected. His rich use of the metaphor "Bridal Chamber of the Heart" is a particularly complex and deep one. Brock's explanations of Ephrem's varied use of it is elegant and sweeping. I am now hooked on Ephrem's work. It has begun to transform the ways I approach Scripture and has given me a renewed appreciation of their rich language as well. I cannot wait until I obtain some of Brock's complete translations of Ephrem's poems.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    This is one of those books that Christians should consider reading once a year. Increasing one’s familiarity with this profound Syrian Christian theologian and poet of the Nicaean era is extremely valuable (and I mean the real Ephrem the Syrian, not the Greek Ephrem attributions). If I were to liken his symbolic worldview to contemporary teaching, I would liken it to the poetic pastoral rhetoric of Peter Leithart—especially PJL’s three-minute homilies during vespers. Ephrem’s works are mostly hy This is one of those books that Christians should consider reading once a year. Increasing one’s familiarity with this profound Syrian Christian theologian and poet of the Nicaean era is extremely valuable (and I mean the real Ephrem the Syrian, not the Greek Ephrem attributions). If I were to liken his symbolic worldview to contemporary teaching, I would liken it to the poetic pastoral rhetoric of Peter Leithart—especially PJL’s three-minute homilies during vespers. Ephrem’s works are mostly hymns, but there is a resemblance to Leithart’s symbolic worldview and the rhythmic cadences of his rhetoric. Ephrem is also uncannily seriousness in his scriptural commitments, as is PJL.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Hudson

    Wonderful little volume. Ephrem is perfectly enjoyable on his own, but Brock's exposition of his unique approach to theology is a great read. The historical details are interesting, mostly serving to fuel Brock's argument that Ephrem is an overlooked treasure, an argument I fully agree with. Wonderful little volume. Ephrem is perfectly enjoyable on his own, but Brock's exposition of his unique approach to theology is a great read. The historical details are interesting, mostly serving to fuel Brock's argument that Ephrem is an overlooked treasure, an argument I fully agree with.

  4. 5 out of 5

    ♥ Ibrahim ♥

    How would you feel if deep theological concepts are presented in poetic, tasty, easy format? Only Ephraem can present theology in poetry and get us to "come, taste, see that the Lord is good". When we sing "Amazing Grace", we here find a true Christian, Ephraem, so much amazed and mesmerized by the grace of Christ. Imagine communing with the Lord in these sweet words of Ephrem: Who, Lord, can gaze on Your hiddenness Which has come to revelation? Yes, Your obscurity has come to manifestation and not How would you feel if deep theological concepts are presented in poetic, tasty, easy format? Only Ephraem can present theology in poetry and get us to "come, taste, see that the Lord is good". When we sing "Amazing Grace", we here find a true Christian, Ephraem, so much amazed and mesmerized by the grace of Christ. Imagine communing with the Lord in these sweet words of Ephrem: Who, Lord, can gaze on Your hiddenness Which has come to revelation? Yes, Your obscurity has come to manifestation and notification; Your concealed Being has come out into the open, without limitation. Your awesome self has come to the hands of those who seized You. All this has happened to You, Lord, because you became a human being. Praises to Him who send you. Yet who will not fear because, even though Your Epiphany is revealed and so too Your human birth, Your birth from the Father remains unattainable: it has baffled all those who investigate it. Theology is not a subject of heated, heady discussion but rather it is a subject of sweet adoration of the Lord, the Theo who is the subject of all our theology. With Ephrem, you lift many prayers in order to be enchanted by the Lord in adoration. Here is another beautiful poem of his: Whenever I have meditated upon You I have acquired a veritable treasure from You; Whatever aspect of You I have contemplated, a stream has flowed from You. There is no way I can contain it: Your fountain [of truth], Lord, is hidden from the person who does not thirst for You. (Faith 32:2-3) If I were you I would read all the books of Sebastian Brock and get the deep things of Syriac spirituality into me.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gareth Hughes

    This is the best little introduction to Ephrem the Syrian and his writing. Sebastian Brock writes as life-long scholar of Syriac, thoroughly inspired by Ephrem. If you need to know that theology is beautiful, read this.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    A little obscure, but really interesting. One of the few books I've read for class that Emily has stolen from me to read. (That's a comment on the quality of this book, not on the quality of my wife). A little obscure, but really interesting. One of the few books I've read for class that Emily has stolen from me to read. (That's a comment on the quality of this book, not on the quality of my wife).

  7. 5 out of 5

    Wei-Hsien Wan

    Well-written introduction to the poetry and thought of St. Ephrem, with illustrative selections from his works.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Harbry

    Read it a while back. Truly amazing.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Taras Tymo

    A great Intro to the Syriac theology, and Early church world-view in general....

  10. 5 out of 5

    John English

    I like the book; the eastern Christians are interesting.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ted

    A worthy read to learn about the writings of St. Ephrem. Probably a good summary of ideas on St. Ephrem - a place to start for the person not already familiar with his thinking.

  12. 5 out of 5

    elbren

  13. 4 out of 5

    TINO

  14. 5 out of 5

    FatherSwithin

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Richard

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dan Perez

  17. 4 out of 5

    Clayton Pearlstein

  18. 5 out of 5

    Marina Robb

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kochu Parambil

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  21. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jyothis James

  23. 4 out of 5

    Evan

  24. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Greenberg

  25. 4 out of 5

    Parker McGoldrick

  26. 5 out of 5

    Elli

  27. 5 out of 5

    Th3pilgrim

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kunal

  29. 4 out of 5

    J.S. Farland

  30. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Trout

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