Articulating marriage: Ephrem's legal terminology and its origins

Yifat Monnickendam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Comparing Ephrem's legal terminology on issues of betrothal, marriage, adultery and divorce with that used in contemporary and earlier Jewish, Christian and Roman sources reveals the deep influence of rabbinic terminology on Ephrem's terminology. This influence is apparent in two aspects of Ephrem's language: his vocabulary and the semantic coverage of his terminology. In both these areas, he has more in common with rabbinic terminology and its usage, than with that of Roman law and Christian writers. Furthermore, in some cases it is possible to determine that Ephrem's legal terminology is closely related to Palestinian terminology in particular. This conclusion emphasizes the distance between Ephrem and his Greek and Latin Christian contemporaries, and reflects his deep ties to Jewish legal traditions, ties which are a result not only of similar language but also of similar legal views.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-296
Number of pages40
JournalJournal of Semitic Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes


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