Aphraates cites two passages from 3 Corinthians as words of the apostle, and Ephraem expounded them in his commentary on the Pauline Epistles.
The two most important 4th-century writers - Aphraates and Ephraim - are dealt with in separate articles.
In their new environment the Nestorians abandoned some of the rigour of Catholic asceticism, and at a synod held in 499 abolished clerical celibacy even for bishops and went so far as to permit repeated marriages, in striking contrast not only to orthodox custom but to the practice of Aphraates at Edessa who had advocated celibacy as a condition of baptism.
His affinity with his earlier countryman Aphraates is manifest both in his choice of subjects and his manner of treatment.
His reconstruction of the creed of Aphraates is interesting in relation to the other traces of a Syriac creed form existing prior to the 4th century.
But the quotations and references in Aphraates, Ephraem and the Acts of Judas Thomas show that it was known, even if not often used.
It seems certain that the Old Syriac version also contained the Acts and Pauline epistles, as Aphraates and Ephraem agree in quoting a text which differs from the Peshito, but no MSS.
A comparison of the Peshito with quotations in Aphraates and Ephraem shows that Rabbula revised the text of the Acts and Pauline epistles, but in the absence of MSS.
All writers earlier than the 5th century are valuable, but particularly important are the following groups: (1) Greek writers in the West, especially Justin Martyr, Tatian, Marcion, Irenaeus and Hippolytus; (2) Latin writers in Italy, especially Novatian, the author of the de Rebaptismate and Ambrosiaster; (3) Latin writers in Africa, especially Tertullian and Cyprian; (4) Greek writers in Alexandria, especially Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Athanasius and Cyril; (5) Greek writers in the East, especially Methodius of Lycia and Eusebius of Caesarea; (6) Syriac writers, especially Aphraates and Ephraem; it is doubtful whether the Diatessaron of Tatian ought to be reckoned in this group or in (1).
There are, besides, scattered pieces of information in Aphraates (4th cent.), Barhebraeus (13th cent.) and others.
In the 4th century and later the liturgy was still read in Syriac in parts of Armenia, and the New Testament, the history of Eusebius, the homilies of Aphraates, the works of St Ephraem and many other early books were translated from Syriac, from which tongue most of their ecclesiological terms were derived.
Similarly in the East, the Syriac version of the Old Testament is largely under the influence of the synagogue, and the homilies of Aphraates are a mine of Rabbinic lore.
Of Aphraates (Paris, 1894), p. xlix.
Funk on the haggadic elements in Aphraates (Vienna, 1891); and art.
APHRAATES (a Greek form of the Persian name Aphrahat or Pharhadh), a Syriac writer belonging to the middle of the 4th century A.
The homilies of Aphraates are intended to form, as Professor Burkitt has shown, "a full and ordered exposition of the Christian faith."
Aphraates impresses a reader favourably by his moral earnestness, his guilelessness, his moderation in controversy, the simplicity of his style and language, his saturation with the ideas and words of Scripture.
From the frequency of his quotations, Aphraates is a specially important witness to the form in which the Gospels were read in the Syriac church in his day; Zahn and others have shown that he - mainly at least - used the Diatessaron.
Zahn, Forschungen I.; " Aphraates and the Diatessaron," vol.
Pp. 180-186 of Burkitt's Evangelion Da-Mepharreshe (Cambridge, 1904); articles on "Aphraates and Monasticism," by R.