Beauty in the Christian Life: Efrem the Syrian

Sebastian Paul was born in 1938 and studied Classics (Greek and Latin) and Oriental Studies (Hebrew and Aramaic) at Cambridge University before doing a DPhil. at Oxford University on the text of the Septuagint. He is a former Reader in Syriac Studies at the University of Oxford’s Oriental Institute and currently a Professorial Fellow at Wolfson College. Before taking up his present position, Brock taught in the Department of Theology at the University of Birmingham and in the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Cambridge and Oxford. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Sobornost/Eastern Churches Review, and is curator of the Mingana Collection of Manuscripts at the Selly Oak Colleges, Birmingham. He has published extensively in the field of Syriac and has edited a number of new texts.

One might well wonder what relevance a little-known Middle Eastern poet of the fourth century has  for the Conference theme of ‘Life in Christ at the Present Time’.  This contribution, however, hopes to show how an exploration of St Ephrem’s reflections on Genesis 1:27 (the image of God in each human being) can shed light on what Dostoevsky’s famous but enigmatic words ‘Beauty will save the world’ might imply.