The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Monday, February 27, 2017

Treasure trove

If you do Qur’anic studies these days you'll be reading a lot of Syriac literature, among which is The Cave of Treasures. Unfortunately many such studies have assumed a “core” to the Cave no longer extant. This has led to much spilled ink over a “Jewish Christianity” in this anti-Jewish text. Clemens Leonhard in 2001 quelled these musings, but – scholarship being what it is – it has taken scholars some time to catch up with his work. Recently Sergei Nimov has fine-tuned and perhaps completed what Leonhard started.

Nimov finds that the Cave of Treasures is focused on Palestinian pilgrimage-sites especially Golgotha, while addressing Sasanian-era concerns of the East. The Cave author aimed to evangelise the north-Iraqi hinterlands toward occidental Miaphysitism, routing around the native Iraqi Nestorians.

For background: Shah Kovadh – you remember, the Manichaean pacifist – had deported sufficient Miaphysites into the Orient that they were already erecting churches as of 518 AD. Then Emperor Justin I expelled more, reinforcing those communities such that they became self-sustaining. So, yes, Miaphysitism in the East was a thing. Albeit a comparatively recent thing.

But there were still plenty of Nestorians around, and the Cave of Treasures didn’t poach enough of them. It didn’t help that the Nestorians seized this very text and adulterated it, passing that off as the Real Story. Given the bevy of pious lies in the original, I cannot personally fault them.


posted by Zimri on 16:50 | link | 0 comments

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