Narsai's Homilies on the Old Testament As a Source for His Exegesis
History of Religion
Liturgy and Worship
Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion
We shall discuss here very briefly the life and the history of the Schools 0f Edessa and Nisibis, since the chief purpose of this investigation is limited to an analysis of Narsai's Homilies as compared with Ephraem, Theodore of Mopsuestia, and Jewis tradition; we shall deal with some outstanding matters in his Homilies, such as some outstanding passages in his Homilies-of importance to the history of Old Testament exegesis and theology. We shall discuss in detail some of Narsai's theological doctrines, and point out that Narsai's Homilies do not contain allegorical elements in the true sense of the word; that they reveal that exegesis and theology were highly developed in the Schools of Edessa and Nisibis; that Narsai's exegesis and theology were highly developed and acutely speculative; that the most significant element of Narsai's Old Testament exegesis and theology is his mind; that Narsai was well versed in contemporary scientific knowledge, especially Greek science; that while Narsai's exegesis and theology are highly speculative, they remain in harmony with traditional truth and Christian doctrine; that his Homilies contain hundreds of direct quotations, both nonbiblical and biblical. And finally, we shall point out Narsai's original contributions to Old Testament exegesis and theology. For a detailed account of Narsai and of the two Persian Schools the reader is advised to consult A. Vööbus' book History of the School of Nisibis, published at Louvain and incorporated in the Corpus Scriptorus Christianorum Orientalium.
Charles T. Fritsch