A Christian Perspective

A site to muse on Christian Spirituality, Church History, and other things of interest to me.

Hopefully the first in a new sequence of posts...

Posted by James Bennett (jimb) on 5/5/09

I am not even going to comment on my sense of time :)

Suffice it to say that things got busy and life happened. However, work has cleared up for the near term and I am working on my thesis again. By the way, for those who know me, are interested, and are not in the know... My family and I are no longer using Missouri time as our primary reference. We have relocated to Northern Virginia in the D.C. Metro region.

Now to pick up where things left off... I promised pictures of my trip to Aleppo and a few are now available. I'll try and add some every time I post. Today there are several pictures from the city of Palmyra. You can view them by going to my Albums or Pictures sections. I will include here the picture that looks over the city:

DSC_4775



I promised my own translation of Aphrahat's words concerning the descensus ad inferos and am providing it now. This may seem a little stiff, but I am intentionally providing a fairly literal translation (especially with the verbs and verb tenses) so that a few points that I will want to discuss later are exposed. I have taken some liberty and replaced some of the pronouns with the appropriate actors (Death and Jesus) to help clarify the text.

And also the Prophet Isaiah said that "Your dead shall live and their corpses shall rise. The ones lying in the dust shall be aroused and they will praise you." When Death heard all this, wonder seized him and he sat himself[down] in mourning. When Jesus the Slayer of Death came, He clothed Himself with a body from the seed of Adam and was crucified in the body and experienced death. When Death sensed that He had descended and was with him, he trembled from his place and was disturbed that he saw Jesus. He closed his gates and did not desire to receive Him. Then Jesus broke his gates and entered in with him. He began seizing all Death's possessions. When the dead saw the Light in the darkness they lifted up their heads from Death's captivity. They looked and saw the splendor of Messiah the King. Then the powers of his darkness sat down in mourning that Death was humiliated from his rule. Death tasted the poison, his murderer. He loosed his hands and knew that the dead are living and escaping from his subjugation. When Jesus oppressed Death with the despoliation/robbery of his possessions, Death lamented and cried out with his voice while he was bitter and said, "Go from my place and do not enter into it." While Death was crying out weakly, he saw that his darkness had come to an end and it was being abolished and [that] some of the righteous who were sleeping rose to ascend with Him. Jesus informed Death that when He came at the completion of time all the imprisoned would be brought forth from his rule. They will come out toward Him to see the light. At that time, when Jesus fulfilled His ministry among the dead, Death ejected Him from his place because he could not endure that He should be there. [For] He was not sweet smelling food for him like all the [other] dead. He did not have power over the Holy One and He was not given [over] to destruction. After Death allowed escape and He came out from his place, He left toward him a poison, the promise of life. So that gradually his power shall be diminished. In the likeness of a man who takes a deadly poison with food which gives life. After he sensed within himself/his spirit the poison of death he received with [the] food, then he vomits from his abdomen the food that is mixed with the deadly poison. But the poison has left its power in his limbs so that gradually the stability of the body shall be dissolved and destroyed. [So also] Jesus brought the abolishment of Death, that in Him is the promise of life and in Him is the destruction of death. [So] that it is said concerning Death, "Where is your victory?"
Aphrahat, Demonstrations 22:3-5



And the Syriac text...

 

ܐܦ ܐܫܥܝܐ ܢܒܝܐ ܐܡܪ܁ ܕܢܚܘܢ ܡܝ̈ܬܝܟ ܘܫܠܕ̈ܝܗܘܢ ܢܩܘ̈ܡܢ܁ ܘܢܬܥܝܪܘܢ ܫ̈ܟܒܝ ܥܦܪܐ ܘܢܫܒܚܘܢܟ܁ ܟܕ ܫܡܼܥ ܡܘܬܐ ܗܠܝܢ ܟܘܠܗܝܢ ܬܡܗܐ ܐܚܕܗ܁ ܘܝܬܼܒ ܠܗ ܒܐܒܠܐ܁܁܁܀܁܁܁ ܘܟܕ ܐܬܐ ܝܫܘܥ ܩܛܘܠܗ ܕܡܘܬܐ܁ ܘܠܒܫ ܦܓܪܐ ܡܢ ܙܪܥܗ ܕܐܕܡ܁ ܘܐܨܛܠܒ ܒܦܓܪܗ ܘܛܥܡܗ ܠܡܘܬܐ܁ ܘܟܕ ܐܪܓܫ ܒܗ ܕܢܚܬ ܠܘܬܗ܁ ܙܥ ܡܢ ܐܬܪܗ ܘܐܬܕܘܕ ܕܚܙܝܗܝ ܠܝܫܘܥ܁ ܘܐܚܼܕ ܬܪ̈ܥܘܗܝ ܘܠܐ ܨܒܿܐ ܗܘܐ ܡܩܒܠ ܠܗ܁ ܗܝܕܝܢ ܬܒܪ ܬܪ̈ܥܘܗܝ ܘܥܠ ܠܘܬܗ܁ ܘܫܪܝ ܡܚܠܨ ܠܟܠܗ ܩܢܝܢܗ܁ ܟܕ ܚܙܘ ܕܝܢ ܡܝ̈ܬܐ ܢܘܗܪܐ ܒܚܫܟܐ܁ ܐܪܝܡܘ ܪ̈ܫܝܗܘܢ ܡܢ ܚܒܝܫܘܬܗ ܕܡܘܬܐ܁ ܘܐܕܝܩܘ ܘܚܙܐܘܗܝ ܠܙܝܘܗ ܕܡܠܟܐ ܡܫܝܚܐ܁ ܗܝܕܝܢ ܚܝ̈ܠܝ ܚܫܟܗ ܝܬܒܘ ܒܐܒܠܐ ܕܐܬܡܟܟ ܠܗ ܡܘܬܐ ܡܢ ܫܘܠܛܢܗ܁ ܘܛܥܡ ܡܘܬܐ ܣܡܐ ܩܛܘܠܗ܁ ܘܪܫܠ ܐܝܕܘܗ̈ܝ ܘܝܕܥ ܕܚܐܝܢ ܡܝ̈ܬܐ ܘܦܠܛܝܢ ܡܢ ܫܘܥܒܕܗ܁ ܘܟܕ ܐܠܨܗ ܠܡܘܬܐ ܒܚܘܠܨ ܩܢܝܢܗ܁ ܐܝܠܠ ܘܙܥܩ ܒܩܠܗ ܟܕ ܡܬܡܪܡܪ ܘܐܡܪ܁ ܦܘܩ ܡܢ ܐܬܪܝ܁ ܘܠܐ ܬܥܘܠ ܠܗ܁ ܡܢܘ ܟܝ ܗܢܐ ܕܥܐܠ ܚܝܐ ܠܐܬܪܐ ܕܝܠܝ܁ ܘܟܕ ܡܙܥܩ ܡܘܬܐ ܪܗܝܒܐܝܬ܁ ܕܚܼܙܐ ܕܚܫܟܗ ܫܪܝ ܡܬܒܛܠ ܠܗ܁ ܘܡܢ ܙܕܝܩ̈ܐ ܕܫܟ̈ܝܒܝܢ ܩܡܘ ܠܡܣܩ ܥܡܗ܁ ܘܐܘܕܥܗ ܕܟܕ ܐܿܬܐ ܒܫܘܠܡ ܙܒܢܐ ܠܟܠܗܘܢ ܚܒܝܫ̈ܐ ܡܦܩ ܡܢ ܫܘܠܛܢܗ܁ ܘܢܦܩܝܢ ܠܘܬܗ ܠܡܚܙܐ ܢܗܝܪܐ܁ ܗܝܕܝܢ ܝܫܘܥ ܟܕ ܡܠܝ ܬܫܡܫܬܗ ܒܝܬ ܡܝܬ̈ܐ܁ ܦܠܛܗ ܡܘܬܐ ܡܢ ܐܬܪܗ܁ ܘܠܐ ܣܝܒܪ ܕܢܗܘܐ ܬܡܢ܁ ܘܠܐ ܒܣܡܬ ܠܗ ܡܐܟܘܠܬܗ ܐܝܟ ܕܒܟܠܗܘܢ ܡܝܬ̈ܐ܁ ܘܠܐ ܫܠܛ ܒܚܣܝܐ܁ ܘܠܐ ܐܬܝܗܒ ܠܚܒܠܐ܁܁܁܁܁܁܁ ܘܟܕ ܡܦܠܛ ܦܠܛܗ ܘܢܦܩ ܡܢ ܐܬܪܗ܁ ܫܒܩ ܠܘܬܗ ܣܡܐ ܡܘܠܟܢܐ ܕܚ̈ܝܐ܁ ܕܒܩܠܝܠ ܩܠܝܠ ܢܬܒܛܠ ܫܘܠܛܢܗ܁ ܒܕܡܘܬ ܓܒܪܐ ܕܢܣܒ ܣܡܐ ܕܡܘܬܐ܁ ܒܡܐܟܘܠܬܐ ܐܝܕܐ ܕܠܚ̈ܝܐ ܝܗܝܒܐ܁ ܘܟܕ ܢܪܓܫ ܒܢܦܫܗ ܕܣܡܐ ܕܡܘܬܐ ܩܒܠ ܒܡܐܟܘܠܬܐ܁ ܗܝܕܝܢ ܡܬܝܒ ܡܢ ܟܪܣܗ ܣܝܒܪܬܐ ܕܚܠܝܛ ܒܗܿ ܣܡܐ ܕܡܘܬܐ܁ ܘܗܼܘ ܣܡܐ ܫܼܒܩ ܚܝܠܗ ܒܗܕܡ̈ܘܗܝ܁ ܕܒܩܠܝܠ ܩܠܝܠ ܩܝܡܐ ܕܦܓܪܗ ܢܫܬܪܐ ܘܢܬܚܒܠ܁ ܝܫܘܥ ܡܝܬܐ ܡܒܛܠܢܗ ܕܡܘܬܐ܁ ܕܒܗ ܡܡܠܟܝܢ ܚܝ̈ܐ܁ ܘܡܬܛܠܩ ܒܗ ܡܘܬܐ܁ ܕܡܬܐܡܪ ܠܗ ܕܐܝܟܐ ܗܝ ܙܟܘܬܟ ܡܘܬܐ܁܁܁܁܁



Some of the things I want to muse or discuss: Did Aphrahat see the resurrection of the dead as a resurrection of the righteous with Him and the rest of the dead at a single later point in time? Some of the righteous with Him and the other righteous at a single later point in time? Some of the righteous with Him and a continuous resurrection of the remaining dead (or maybe just the remaining righteous dead) until the end of times when those still remaining would be resurrected. Was Death a personage or is this an extended metaphor (I'll have to bring in other references to help sort that one out)? Where Death and Satan the same personage (Again, I'll have to bring in other texts)? Who were the "powers of his darkness," the ones who mourned the passing of Death's power (yet more texts will need to be brought in for this question)?