She Who Loved Much: The Sinful Woman in St Ephrem the Syrian and the Orthodox Tradition
About the Book
This sharply honed and well-constructed work brings to the fore and explores the New Testament story regarding the woman who entered a house where Jesus was dining and anointed him with precious oil shortly before His Passion and Crucifixion. The author unveils the intricate nature of the tradition of the Church that gives the woman a voice and elucidates her backstory through its liturgical poetry, oratory, and other writings. Scholarly consideration is given to all these sources in addressing questions such as: Who was this woman? Where did she come from? How did she acquire the precious oil? How did she enter into the house of Simon uninvited? How did she perceive her own bold actions?
The reader will learn that in the liturgical tradition of the Orthodox Church, as found in the hymnology of Holy Week, this sinful woman is shown to be an example of repentance and unconstrained love. The intricate nature of the hymns and homilies of the Orthodox Church give greater scope and application to the biblical record primarily in Greek and Syriac manuscripts, with particular attention given to the former texts, too often overshadowed by the latter. The author shares previously inaccessible texts of late antiquity such as homilies by Amphilochius of Iconium and Ephrem Graecus found here in English for the first time.
This in-depth and readable study will engage those who encounter the story of the sinful woman in the living tradition of worship within the Orthodox Church, together with those who have encountered this story in Scripture, or in the course of their academic studies.
Kevin James Kalish holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Princeton University and is Professor of English at Bridgewater State University. He is also a priest of the New England Diocese of the Orthodox Church in America.
Short Titles and a Note on Texts
PART I - Earliest Developments of the Sinful Woman’s Story
1 - Introduction
The Story of the Sinful Woman
The Gospel Accounts
How Many Women? Mary Magdalene?
Filling in the Gaps
Genres of Early Christian Writing: Homily, Apocrypha, Hagiography, Greek Novel, Hymn
Ways of Story-telling
Plan of the Book
2 - Ephrem the Syrian and the Syriac Tradition
Christianity and the World of Late Antiquity
Ephrem and the Beginning of Christian Poetry
Ephrem the Syrian’s Verse Homily On the Sinful Woman
Ephrem the Syrian’s Invention of the Myrrh-Seller
3 - Amphilochius of Iconium, the Neglected Cappadocian
Amphilochius of Iconium, On the Sinful Woman Who Anointed the Lord with Myrrh; and on the Pharisee (Homily 4)
The Sinful Woman and Judas: Amphilochius’s use of Biblical Models
Shamelessness Transformed into Boldness
PART II - Greek Ephrem’s Homily on the Repentant Harlot
4 - Phenomenon of the Greek Ephrem
Meeting of Basil and Ephrem
Overview of the Homily
5 - Translation of Greek Ephrem’s Homily The Repentant Harlot
Her Thoughts and Plans
Encounter with the Myrrh-seller
The Woman Prepares Herself to Enter
Arrival at House of Simon
Reflection by the Homilist
Simon’s Doubts and the Parable of the Debtors
6 - Significance of Greek Ephrem’s Homily The Repentant Harlot
Voice of the Homilist
Imagining her Voice: Silent Speech, Interiority, the Self, and the Power of Fiction
Dialogue with the Myrrh-seller
Wounded by the Beauty of Christ
Encounter with Christ
The Parable of the Two Debtors: Will or Ought to Love?
PART III - The Sinful Woman as a Model of Repentance
7 - Romanos’s On the Harlot
Translation of the kontakion
Romanos “On the Harlot” Commentary
8 - The Sinful Woman in the Lenten Triodion
Development of the Lenten Tridoion
The Sinful Woman in the Triodion Hymns
The Sinful Woman in the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete
Holy Week and Greek Ephrem’s The Repentant Harlot
Hymn of Kassia the Nun
9 - Conclusion
Why the Sinful Woman? Boldness, Continual Repentance, and Perfect Love
Sinful Woman and Perfect Love
APPENDIX I: Literary Context
Late Antique Rhetorical Practices
Longer Version of Greek Ephrem’s Homily The Repentant Harlot (Recension B)
Glossary of Names
Page Length: 224 pages
Paperback: 96 pages
In this book over three hundred sayings of Orthodox saints from twelve different countries are collected. Their words express spiritual experience tested by the ages. Their words contain many answers about what happens with us and those near to us. The saints show that divine righteousness is joined to our everyday life. This righteousness of God has transfigured millions of people around the world, and has brought many of them to holiness and perfection.
Author: Kopyttseva, Natalia Mikhailovna
This book is the ideal companion to the previously published Champion of Good: The Life of Father Ilarion (Holy Trinity Publications, Jordanville, 2011). All who have already encountered Father Ilarion through his life will be equally engaged by his words. Those who meet him first through his preaching will want to go on to read his life. Together, they convey a potent message of the possibilities that open to the human soul that turns to God with singleness of mind and humility. The sermons are grouped by subjects. One index lists the sermons in church calendar order and the other index lists the sermons in chronological order for those who wish to see what was preached in an historical context.
Copyright Holy Trinity Monastery
Author: Kopyttseva, Natalia Mikhailovna
In Father I saw a person who lived for God…. In all life’s situations, Fr Ilarion maintained a grace-imbued state of spirit, the fruits of which were love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and the other virtues that made it impossible to be near him and not feel glad just to be alive.
Many lovers of literature are familiar, through Dostoyevsky’s works, with the concept of the Russian "Staretz," or spiritual elder. This biography offers a vivid portrayal of an authentic Staretz of our own day, Father Ilarion—a monk of the renowned Glinsk hermitage in modern-day Ukraine, who spent much of his life as a parish priest in a village in the Novgorod region of Russia. His life offers a vision of a simple Christian life in the contemporary world that will captivate the reader and awaken or rekindle a desire to live a life centered on the love of God and neighbour rather than on the pursuit of material wealth.
It also presents unique insights into the Orthodox Church in Russia under communism and in the immediate post-communist period, demonstrating how the Faith was kept alive after the closure of so many churches and monasteries and the exile or execution of clergy and believers. The account of the life of the Glinsk hermitage is particularly detailed. With many first hand contributions from Father Ilarion’s spiritual children, this history also provides a glimpse into contemporary Russian culture and religious perspectives.
The book includes an eight page glossy photo insert.
Copyright Holy Trinity Publications
In the style of his beloved podcast, Fr. Barnabas Powell offers reflections for each workday of the year to inspire us to live out our faith in the real world every day. Read these brief, pithy thoughts for a shot of encouragement to live each day as Orthodox on Purpose.
Page Length: 272 pages