This key-word-in-context concordance will facilitate the study of the very early Syriac text called The Book of the Laws of the Countries, a dialogue on free will versus fate between the Edessean philosopher Bardaisan and his interlocutor Awida.
8.25 x 10.75
The Book of the Laws of the Countries deserves study as one of the oldest extant non-biblical texts in Syriac, dating to the late second or early third century A. D. (later than the Old Testament Peshitta, but earlier than Ephrem and Aphrahat). The philosopher Bardaisan (of the Edessa school) produced the work, which is a dialogue on free will versus fate between the teacher (Bardaisan) and his interlocutor Awida. Bardaisan argues that while a man’s natural constitution and “fate” influence him with regard to wealth and poverty, sickness and health, and whether or not he has children and how they look if he does, it is his liberty, his free will alone that causes him to sin and makes him guilty before God. Man’s liberty is demonstrated in the laws that men make in different countries of the world. These laws, some good and some evil, are the product of the free will given to man by God. It is free will and not “fate” that begets evil, according to Bardaisan. When one becomes a Christian, he obeys the laws of the Messiah over against the laws of his own country if those laws are mutually contradictory, an act of obedience that derives from free will. The key-word-in-context concordance will facilitate the study of this ancient Syriac text, which is now being republished by Gorgias Press. Verbs are listed by their roots, which has the advantage of readily distinguishing between geminate and final weak verbs. For the benefit of the user, there are separate concordances of Words, Personal Names, and Geographic Names.
Jerome Alan Lund studied Syriac at Los Angeles Baptist Theological Seminary (M. Div., 1973) and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (M.A., 1981; Ph. D., 1989). He worked as Senior Research Associate for the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon project at Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, from 1990-2006. In addition to numerous articles on Aramaic (including Syriac), Hebrew, and Bible, Dr. Lund has published The Old Syriac Gospel of the Distinct Evangelists, a Key-Word-in-Context Concordance, coauthored Aramaic Documents from Egypt, a Key-Word-in-Context Concordance, and collaborated on The Old Testament in Syriac according to the Peshitta Version, Part V, volume 1: Concordance to the Pentateuch.