Resources for Studying Syriac Christianity

Introductory texts

Sebastian Brock has done more than almost any other scholar to explore and promote the Syriac Christian literature, and he has written some excellent introductory texts, as well as numerous scholarly articles. We recommend especially The Luminous Eye as a way into Syriac spirituality and theology, but these other books are well worth reading.

Brock, Sebastian P, A Brief Outline of Syriac Literature. Vol. 9, Moran Etho. Piscataway NJ: Gorgias, Press 2011. (Old version from Internet Archieve)

  • The Luminous Eye: The Spiritual World Vision of Saint Ephrem the Syrian. Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publications, 1992. (From Amazon or other book suppliers)
  • The Bible in the Syriac Tradition. Moran Etho 1. Kottayam, 1989.
    (Revised in Gorgias Press, 2006)
  • Spirituality in the Syriac Tradition. Moran Etho 2. Kottayam, 2005.
    (Reprinted in Gorgias Press, 2012)
  • The Syrian Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life. Cistercian Studies 101. Kalamazoo, 1987.


  • Saint Ephrem the Syrian, Hymns on Paradise (Introduction and Translation). Crestwood NY, 1990.
  • Brock, Sebastian P., Kiraz, George A, Ephrem the Syrian: Select Poems. Vol. 2, Eastern Christian Texts. Provo, Utah: Bringham Young University Press, 2006 (these poems complement the discussion in The Luminous Eye above).

Other works:

The Odes of Solomon are a unique collection of very early Christian hymns written in Syriac.

Charlesworth, J H, The Odes of Solomon: The Syriac Texts. Edited by R A Kraft. Text and Translations, No 13, Pseudepigrapha Series 7. Chico, California: Scholars Press, 1977.

Text available at

Other helpful works:

McCullough, William Stewart, A Short History of Syriac Christianity to the Rise of Islam. Chico CA: Scholars Press, 1982.

Murray, Robert, Symbols of Church and Kingdom: A Study in Early Syriac Tradition. New York: Cambridge University Press 1975. (revised edition in Gorgias Press, 2004)

Some translations have been set to music:

Odes of Solomon set to music: information is here and they can be downloaded from many platforms, including Amazon, iTunes, etc.

Thunder Entered Her is an album of music that includes two of Sebastian Brocks translations of St Ephrem’s hymns set to music by Jon Tavener. Information is available here and the songs can be downloaded from most platforms.


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