Jewish law and early christian identity: Betrothal, marriage, and infidelity in the writings of ephrem the Syrian

Yifat Monnickendam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


Ephrem, one of the earliest Syriac Christian writers, lived on the eastern outskirts of the Roman Empire during the fourth century. Although he wrote polemical works against Jews and pagans, and identified with post-Nicene Christianity, his writings are also replete with parallels with Jewish traditions and he is the leading figure in an ongoing debate about the Jewish character of Syriac Christianity. This book focuses on early ideas about betrothal, marriage, and sexual relations, including their theological and legal implications, and positions Ephrem at a precise intersection between his Semitic origin and his Christian commitment. Alongside his adoption of customs and legal stances drawn from his Greco-Roman and Christian surroundings, Ephrem sometimes reveals unique legal concepts which are closer to early Palestinian, sectarian positions than to the Roman or Jewish worlds. The book therefore explains naturalistic legal thought in Christian literature and sheds light on the rise of Syriac Christianity.

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages332
ISBN (Electronic)9781108648431, 9781108572200
ISBN (Print)9781108480321
StatePublished - 2020

ULI Keywords

  • uli
  • Ephraem -- Syrus, Saint -- 303-373
  • Adultery
  • Betrothal -- Religious aspects -- Christianity
  • Canon law
  • Christian literature, Early -- Syriac authors -- History and criticism
  • Jewish law
  • Marriage (Jewish law) -- History -- To 1500
  • Ефрем Сирин -- святой -- 306-373
  • افرام السرياني -- (القديس)
  • Ephraem Syrus -- Saint
  • Ephraim -- Saint, the Syrian
  • Ephram -- Le Syrien, Saint
  • Pseudo-Ephraem
  • Efrem Syrus
  • Ephrem Syrus
  • Ephraim -- the Syrian, Saint -- 303-373
  • Adulterous relationships
  • Cheating, Marital
  • Extra-marital sex
  • Infidelity, Marital
  • Marital cheating
  • Marital infidelity
  • Catholic Church -- Relations (Canon law) -- Canon law
  • Canon law -- Catholic Church
  • Public law (Canon law) -- Canon law
  • Bible -- Law
  • Biblical law
  • Civil law (Jewish law)
  • Halacha
  • Halakha
  • Hebrew law
  • Jews -- Law -- Jewish law
  • Law, Hebrew
  • Law, Jewish
  • Law, Mosaic
  • Law in the Bible
  • Mosaic law
  • Torah law


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