Some years ago I wrote a very long article here on whether pseudo-Ephraim testifies in the 4-5th century to a belief in the Rapture; the idea that, before the Tribulation described in Revelation, the saints will all be caught up in the air by God and taken away. This is quite a controversial subject in the USA, and this means that quite ordinary people are willing to study the question; and, therefore, they are willing to study the deeply obscure and seriously neglected texts in question. I believe that they have been doing so since, although I find it impossible to get Google to tell me who or where; or, equally possibly, I put in the wrong search terms.
The texts in question form part of the “Ephraem Graecus” and “Ephraem Latinus” corpuses of texts, which simply get no attention. I have a list of the Ephraem Graecus stuff here. So it is very good for everyone that these are being worked on. I am very much in favour of theological disputes that lead to study and translation of texts that would never otherwise be examined. Everybody benefits.
Today a kind correspondent wrote to me about passages in Ephraem Graecus which seem to teach the doctrine of the tribulation and the rapture. It seems that a chap named Lee W. Brainard has been blogging away, and has located and – better – translated 10 passages in the works of Ephraem Graecus that support this view! The article, entitled “Ephraim the Syrian — Ten Undiscovered Pretribulation-Rapture Passages”, online here.
This is great! Translations of this material is precisely what we need. No doubt some of the translation details will be cavilled at, mercilessly criticised, etc. This is inevitable. It is incredibly easy to write, loftily, about “translation defects” once some poor chap has taken a machete and laboriously chopped an English version out of the uncharted forests of the raw Greek. Doing the first translation is what sorts out the men from the boys.
But better yet, I find that Mr Brainard has plunged in and translated one homily completely! This is CPG 3946, the “Sermo in adventum domini, et de consummatione saeculi, et in adventum antichristi”. He has placed it online as “Ephraim the Syrian — Sermon on the Advent, the End, and the Antichrist”, here. Needless to say, I have stashed a copy offline, in these delicate days.
Good news. Let’s hope he does more!
5 thoughts on “A translation of a homily by Ephraem Graecus online in English!”
In Brainard’s paper there is no indication that ALL the homilies on the Last Judgment are revisions that stem from ONE text. That reduces substantially the number of passages.
Thank you! I did not know that either, and I am sure that he did not.
I’m always sceptical of translations by people who have such an obvious agenda. What guarantee do we have that the translator is being accurate?
I know that the idea of a pre-tribulation rapture is totally foreign to Orthodox eschatology and we tend to know the Fathers rather well, even pseudo-Ephrem
It doesn’t matter if someone translates with an agenda. We all have our own ideas. If the translation is good, then we all benefit; if it’s a bit over-enthusiastic, someone with a different agenda will rush to query it. Everyone profits.
I do get what you mean Roger. One translation can lead to a better one.
A closer look at the homily on Advent, the End and the Antichrist says to me that Brainard’s claim that it supports a pre-tribulation rapture is just wishful thinking. He thinks escaping tribulation means being plucked into the sky (which Ephrem never mentions) while I think escape means escape. [Edited]