An Erased Past: The Diversity of Early Syriac Christianity
Ein Vortrag von Prof. Dr. Aaron Butts (Washington / Hamburg)
Walter Bauer dedicated the first chapter of his paradigm-shifting Rechtgläubigkeit und Ketzerei im ältesten Christentum (Tübingen, 1934; 2nd ed. 1964; ET 1971) to Christianity in Edessa and its environs. In line with his general thesis, Bauer argued in this chapter that Christianity in Edessa was built on “a foundation that rests on an unmistakably heretical basis” and that “orthodoxy came to prevail only very gradually and with great difficulty”. In this lecture, I revisit Bauer’s thesis with a focus on research in Syriac studies conducted over the intervening decades. I devote particular attention to the diversity of Syriac Christianity in the early centuries of the Common Era. Following in Bauer’s trajectory, I also highlight the erasure of that diverse past in subsequent centuries.