What happens when the state pulls out of Constantine’s deal with the church?

Phil Snider has (somehow) been reading Ephrem’s Hymns against Julian the apostate.  His summary of what they say is fascinating, and may be very relevant to our world.

I’ve always been interested in these hymns, but as far as I knew, no translation existed in any modern language.  Does anyone know of one?

UPDATE: Apparently there is one, in Samuel Lieu, The emperor Julian: panegyric and polemic, Liverpool 2, 1996.  This contains a panegyric by Claudius Mamertinus; Chrysostom’s Homily on St. Babylas, against Julian and the pagans XIV-XIX (so presumably not complete); and Ephrem the Syrian’s Hymns against Julian.  The latter fills 24 pages of a TTH volume, so is not all that long.

The book also contains the following information on editions and translations:

The HcJul. were first published by J. Overbeck in his florilegium of Syriac writers: S. Ephraemi Syri, Rabulaei episcopi Edesseni, Balaei aliorumque opera selecta (Oxford, 1865) pp. 3-20. They were translated into German with brief notes by G. Bickell in his article: ‘Die Gedichte des hl. Ephräm gegen Julian den Apostaten’, Zeitschrift für katholische Theologie, II (1878) pp. 335-56. Bickell’s translation was republished with fuller introduction and notes by S. Euringer in Bibliothek der Kirchenvater, (Kempten and Munich, 1919) pp. 199-238. The most recent edition and the one on which the present translation is based is that of E. Beck, Des heiligen Ephraem des Syrers Hymnen de Paradiso und Contra Julianum, CSCO 175 (text) and 176 (trans.), (Louvain, 1957). There is an unpublished Oxford B. Litt, thesis on the poems (with translation) by P. C. Robson, A Study of Ephraem Syrus Hymns Against Julian the Apostate and the Jews (Ms. B. Litt. d. 1411, 1969). Hymn IV, 18-23 has been translated into English by Sebastian Brock in the appendix to his edition of the Syriac letter attributed to Cyril of Jerusalem on the rebuilding of the Temple (Brock, 1977,283-4).

I had forgotten that the BKV texts are online, thanks to Gregor Emmeneger, here, which includes the four hymns against Julian, starting here.

2 Responses to “What happens when the state pulls out of Constantine’s deal with the church?”


  1. Maureen

    He read the hymns against Julian in McVey’s Ephrem poems book, according to him in his comment box.

  2. Roger Pearse

    Ah – thank you! (I.e. Kathleen McVey, Ephrem the Syrian: Hymns. New York, Paulist Press, 1989).