On the Mother of God: Jacob of Serug

Jacob of Serug
Mary Hansbury
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Popular Patristics Series Volume 19

Jacob of Serug was born at Curtem on the Euphrates, ca. 451. Very little is known of his life. He probably studied at the school of Edessa. He became a monk and priest. Early in life he began writing and is thought to have composed more than 700 homilies.

Jacob, "flute of the Holy spirit and harp of the faithful church," has a great love of the Mother of God. In this volume, four homilies have been chosen from the Syriac texts. The poetry is typological and rooted in Scripture. It offers, as Professor Brock notes in his introduction, an alternative to the "liberal critical approach to the bible" or to an excessively fundamentalist approach."

After 1500 years of separation from this Oriental Orthodox tradition, so full of Scripture, it seems as if the Holy Spirit is uniting us through the poetic genius of Jacob of Serug.


Translation by Mary Hansbury.

1 review

  • 5
    On the Mother of God

    Posted by Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Brown University on 10th Jun 2020

    Jacob of Serug is among the very finest of the west Syrian theologians and poets... His simplicity makes these texts easily accessible to a lay audience, although it in no way diminishes their doctrinal import. Mary Hansbury's translations read well as English poetic texts in their own right: faithful to the Syriac idion, yet fluid and graceful in English.