New publication by Jeff Childers
Posted August 4, 2016
This summer, Dr. Jeff Childers of the Graduate School of Theology at ACU published a translation and study of Jacob of Sarug’s Homilies on Praise at Table (Texts from Christian Late Antiquity 46; Gorgias Press, 2016).
Jacob of Sarug was a church leader who worked in the easternmost parts of the Roman Empire during the turbulent years of the late fourth and early fifth centuries. He preached in the dialect of Aramaic known as Syriac. Evoking a communal meal setting in the tradition of the ancient Agape, in these eight brief homilies Jacob summons his listeners to praise God for his provision of their food and to celebrate their table fellowship. Through the power of his vivid imagery, the flavors and aromas of the food and wine—indeed the dining experience itself—are transformed into an extraordinary opportunity for the diners to glimpse powerful unseen realities and to be shaped spiritually as a result, under Jacob’s insightful and capable pastoral direction. These homilies offer a glimpse into the efforts of one late antique author and pastor to construct distinctly Christian meaning from the experience of communal meal-sharing. The book includes an introduction and brief study, the Syriac text, and an English translation.