Evidence for Citations of 3 Corinthians and Their Influence in the Demonstrations of Aphrahat

in Vigiliae Christianae
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Aphrahat, the Persian Sage (d. ca. 350 CE), is frequently referenced as a witness for the use of the pseudepigraphic text known as 3 Corinthians as authoritative Scripture in the early Syriac tradition. However, this claim is yet to be fully substantiated by means of a close comparison of the texts in question. The present article offers a textual analysis of Aphrahat’s alleged citations of 3 Cor in order to demonstrate that Aphrahat did in fact cite this text as the authoritative words of Paul. The article also provides broader observations concerning the impact of the language and thought of 3 Cor on Aphrahat’s writings.

Evidence for Citations of 3 Corinthians and Their Influence in the Demonstrations of Aphrahat

in Vigiliae Christianae




R.H. Connolly“The Early Syriac Creed,” Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde des Urchristentums (1906) 205-6.


P. SchwenAfrahat seine Person und sein Verständnis des Christentums (Berlin: Trowitzsch & Sohn1907) 45-46.


P. BrunsDas Christusbild Aphrahats des Persischen Weisen (Bonn: Borengässer1990) 187 n. 13.


HovhanessianThird Corinthians10-11.


B. Bucur“Early Christian Angelomorphic Pneumatology: Aphrahat the Persian Sage,” Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies 11.2 (2008): 161-205; this article was then incorporated into Bucur’s larger work: Angelomorphic Pneumatology: Clement of Alexandria and Other Early Christian Witnesses Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 95 (Leiden: Brill 2009) esp. pgs. 183-185. References to Bucur’s work in the present article refer to the latter source.


Cf. Gordon D. Fee“The Use of Greek Patristic Citations in New Testament Textual Criticism,” ANRW 26.1 (1992) 261; Carroll D. Osburn “Methodology in Identifying Patristic Citations in NT Textual Criticism” Novum Testamentum 47.4 (2005) 319 342.


Indeed Hovhanessian states“The controversy over the resurrection of the dead muse have been the main concern of the author of 3 Cor. This is evident from the subtitle given to Paul’s response to the Corinthians, ‘concerning the flesh’,” 3 Corinthians119.

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