|Re: came back cute as ever....|
- Saturday, August 24 2013, 23:39:50 (UTC)|
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"I take such expressions of Assyrian identity seriously, despite the communis opinio of classicists which sees in them simply references to the writers' linguistic background and doubts the persistence of Assyrian cultural traditions in the Hellenized Near East. Yet how could such traditions not have persisted, when we know that Greeks and Romans from Plato till late antiquity kept learning spirituality and science from the Assyrians and Babylonians? The cursive nature of the Syriac script alone, from its first attestations, implies the existence of an extensive Aramaean literary corpus in the post-Assyrian centuries. As noted by Fergus Millar, "the Syriac-speaking inhabitants of what had been ancient Assyria apparently did not suffer from historical 'amnesia'... [T]he Syriac Chronicle of Karka de bet Selok (present-day Kirkuk), written in about the sixth or seventh century, begins with the foundation of the city by an Assyrian king, mentions further building by Seleucus and goes on to speak of martyrdoms under the Sasanids. " Such historical details would not have been possible without written records reaching back to Assyrian times.
Since Late Antiquity, Christianity in its Syriac elaboration has constituted an essential part of Assyrian identity. As I have tried to show elsewhere, conversion to Christianity was easy for the Assyrians, for many of the teachings of the early Church were consonant with the tenets of Assyrian imperial religion. In fact, it can be argued that many features and dogmas of early Christianity were based on practices and ideas already central to Assyrian imperial ideology and religion. Such features include the central role of asceticism in Syriac Christianity, the cult of the Mother of the god, the Holy Virgin, and belief in God the Father, his Son and the Holy Spirit, formalized in the doctrine of the Trinity of God.
The Trinitarian doctrine enters Christian theology only in the third century AD. As late as in AD 260, Pope Dionysios of Rome could still be shocked by the idea of three hypostases proposed by Origen. Where did Origen get his ideas from? His teacher was Clement of Alexandria, who in his turn had been taught by an Assyrian, Tatian. We do not know exactly what part of Assyria/Syria Tatian came from, but we do know that he was an Assyrian and as such part of a religious tradition in which Trinitarian ideas had been current for centuries. I would submit there is a great likelihood that he is the ultimate source of Origen's Trinity."
They thought us Assyrianism...
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