An analysis of Ephrem the Syrian’s views on the temptation of Christ as exemplified in his Hymn de Virginitate XII

14 Aug 2009

Ephrem the Syrian’s twelfth hymn in the cycle De Virginitate is translated and analysed. This hymn describes the temptation of Christ by Satan as a contest in which Satan tried to humiliate Christ, but was defeated and humiliated himself. By carefully constructing polarities between Satan and Christ and between Satan and Adam, Ephrem draws the reader’s attention to a soteriological polarity that is formed between Christ and Adam. It is concluded that Ephrem’s main concern was to highlight the soteriological role of Christ for his audience through this particular explication of the text of Matthew 4.