Cyrillona - a New Resource
- You know Ephrem Cyrus, and you've heard of Rabbula, but who is Cyrillona? He was a Syriac writer in the late 300's. Five of his writings, along with a composition called "On the Grain of Wheat," are preserved in a MS that was produced in the 500's (B. L. Add. MS 14591).
Cyrillona was the subject of a 2011 dissertation by Carl W. Griffin. His work is described at http://aladinrc.wrlc.org/handle/1961/9724 and there is a link there where you can download his dissertation (done at the Catholic University of America), which includes, in Appendices, the Syriac texts and English translations of all the compositions in that Syriac MS! (The dissertation, btw, is searchable, although it took my computer a little while to realize it.)
At http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/books/?bookid=148&chapid=1600 there is more information about Cyrillona, as well as an English translation, with commentary, of his poetic composition "On Zacchaeus." This is, it seems, a Mormon website, so I have some misgivings about promoting it, but since no one else seems to be researching Cyrillona, I mention it with caution and with confidence that you can eat the corn and leave the cob.
William Wright wrote a profile of Cyrillona in "A Short History of Syriac Literature," (1894, available online as a free download) on pages 39-42 (digital pages 52-55); this includes a short extract from Cyrillona's poem about the Huns' invasion. Wright mentions that Cyrillona's writings were collected and edited by Bickell "in the Z. D. M. G., xxvii. p. 566 sq., and translated by him in Thalhofer's Bibliothek, 41, pp. 9-63."
Burkitt briefly covered Cyrillona's use of the Gospels in Vol. 2 (Intro & Notes) of "Evangelion Da-Mephareshe," on pages 150-152, but it would probably not be harmful if someone were to review Cyrillona's use of the New Testament, looking for whatever looks interesting but especially looking out for Diatessaronic readings. A look at page 50 of Griffin's dissertation indicates that there are several Gospels-utilizations in Cyrillona's works that Burkitt did not mention.
In Griffin's dissertation, on page 135, Griffin describes Cyrillona's poetic recasting of the Great Commission, and states, "Cyrillona seems to look more to Mark" (and then he quotes Mk. 16:15-16). A phrase in one of Cyrillona's poems is footnoted as if it is based on Mark 16:17, but it looks to me as though it could more easily be based on Mt. 10:8. On page 90, Griffin seems to take it for granted that Cyrillona based some of his statements on Mk. 16:18. And at one point, Cyrillona pictures Jesus predicting the apostles speaking in tongues, and specifically describes them as "new" "A new speech will rest upon you," and, a bit further, "The disciples received the tongue of fire, a new speech with which they were not born." On page 460, Jesus is depicted telling His disciples, "Drink of it ["it" = the sacramental cup), and cause all creation to drink most diligently. Through its power tread upon serpents [cf. Lk. 10:19], and by means of its taste you shall conquer death." And on page 482, in a cluster of stanzas, Cyrillona pictures Jesus telling the disciples, "Go forth as merchants, that we may gain the world; convert humanity to me; fill creation with my teaching." Another point to consider: Griffin insists that Cyrillona cites no distinct Peshitta readings.
Yours in Christ,
James Snapp, Jr.
On Wed, Nov 14, 2012 at 11:03 PM, Vox Verax <james.snapp@...> wrote:
> At http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/books/?bookid=148&chapid=1600 there is more information about Cyrillona,
> as well as an English translation, with commentary, of his poetic composition "On Zacchaeus."
Full biographical details:
Griffin, Carl (2011). Cyrillona's On Zacchaeus. In: Skinner, Andrew
C., Davis, Morgan, & Griffin, Carl (eds.). Bountiful Harvest. Essays
in honor of S. Kent Brown [pp. 177-203] . Provo, Utah: Brigham Young
[distribuited by Chicago University Press:
PDF of the chapter:
- From: Vox Verax <james.snapp@...>Cyrillona? He was a Syriac writer in the late 300's. Five of his writings, along with a composition called "On the Grain of Wheat," are preserved in a MS that was produced in the 500's (B. L. Add. MS 14591).
William Wright wrote a profile of Cyrillona in "A Short History of Syriac Literature;" this includes a short extract from Cyrillona's poem about the Huns' invasion.It would have to be the VERY late 300's. The Huns invaded Armenia and Syria in 395.Daniel Buck