Introduction to Syriac Spirituality: A Thematic Approach is an introduction to Syriac spirituality by presenting the themes and insights of a selection of major Syriac writers who lived from the fourth to the eighth centuries. Its approach is not to devote separate chapters to each writer, but to present a synthesis of the Syriac writers of this period according to the principal themes found in their body of work. Since many of the authors cited do not write in a systematic and analytical fashion, this work strives to give an orderly presentation of how Syriac spirituality progressed in those early centuries.
To provide a context for better understanding the approach of these writers, the first chapter of this work presents a theological context within which Syriac spirituality developed.
Besides Syriac writers, the teachings of Evagrius of Pontus have been included because they had a significant influence on many of the writers cited. Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite is also included because some of his ideas were incorporated by Isaac of Nineveh and other later Syriac writers.
Chorbishop Seely Beggiani is former rector of Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Seminary and former Adjunct Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America.
Chorbishop Seely Beggiani, S.T.D. was Rector of Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Seminary from 1968 to 2013, and Adjunct Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America from 1967 to 2014. He has researched and written on a variety of subjects including systematic theology, Maronite Church history, Maronite liturgy, Syriac theology, and Eastern Christian Spirituality.
Themes in Syriac Spirituality (Outline) Chorbishop Seely Beggiani
The goal of the spiritual life: “This is true perfection: not to avoid the wicked life because like slaves we servilely fear punishment, nor to do good because we hope for rewards, as if cashing in on the virtuous life by some business-like and contractual arrangement. On the contrary, . . . we regard falling from God’s friendship as the only thing dreadful and we consider becoming God’s friend the only thing worthy of honor and desire.” Gregory of Nyssa, The life of Moses.”