Ephrem the Syrian

Ephrem the Syrian (d. 373 A.D.) is arguably the most important author in the Syriac tradition. As a poet-theologian he has been ranked next to Dante. He spent the majority of his life in Nisibis, where he served as a deacon under several bishops. When this city was ceded to the Persians at the death of the emperor Julian (against whom Ephrem wrote a series of poems) he took refuge in Edessa, and there lived for the last ten years of his life. Ephrem’s surviving corpus is large, being comprised mostly of poetry, in several genres and many meters, but also prose, both artistic and expository. The project of critically editing Ephrem has only recently been completed. A major desiderata, both for the study of Ephrem and the early Syriac tradition, is a concordance to his works. This project aims to fill that need. Syriac scholars are working together with computer scientists and linguists to build a state of the art system to computationally analyze and tag Ephrem’s writings. It is anticipated that the project will result in both a print concordance and a searchable electronic text.