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BARDSTOWN


29-1


BAR


ambassadors to the Emperor Eliogabalus. A few extracts are preserved by Porphyry and Stobaeus (Langlois, Fragm. hist. grse. . V. Ixviii sqq.). "Book of the Laws of the Countries ". This famovis dialogue, the oldest remnant not only of Bardesanite learning, but even of Syriac literature, if we except the \-ersion of Holy Writ, is not by Bardesanes himself, but by a certain Pliilip, his disciple. The main speaker, how- ever, in the dialogue is Bardesanes, and we have no reason to doubt that what is put in his mouth cor- rectly represents his teacliing. Excerpts of this work are extant in Greek in Euseb. (Pra?p. Ev.,^^,x,6 sqq.) and in Cssarius (Qusestiones, xlvii, 48); in Latin in the "Recognitions" of Pseudo-Clement, IX, 19 sqq. A complete ST.Tiac text was first published from a sixth- or seventh-century MS. in the British Museum, by Cureton, in his " Spicilegiuni Sj-riacum" (London, 1855), and recently by Nau. It is disputed whether the original was in SjTiac or in Greek; Nau is de- cidedly and rightly in favour of the former. Against a questioning disciple called Abida, Bardesanes seeks to show that man's actions are not entirely neces- sitated b}' Fate, as the outcome of stellar combina- tions. From the fact that the same laws, customs, and manners often prevail amongst all persons li\"ing in a certain cUstrict, or, though locally scattered, living under the same traditions, Bardesanes endeavours to show that the position of the stars at the birth of individuals can have but little to do with their sub- sequent conduct. Hence the title " Book of the Laws of the Countries."

System. — Various opinions have been formed as to the real doctrine of Bardesanes. As early as Hip- polytus (Philos., VI, 50) his doctrine was described as a variety of Valentinianism, the most popular form of Gnosticism. A. Hilgenfeld in 1864 T\Tote an able defence of this view, based mainly on extracts from St. Ephrem, who devoted his life to combating Bardesanism in Edessa. But the strong and fervent expressions of St. Eplu'em against the Bardesanites of his day are not a fair criterion of the doctrine of their master. The extraordinarj* veneration of his own countrymen, the very reserved and half-respect- ful allusion to him in the early Fathers, and above all the "Book of the Laws of the Countries" sviggest a milder view of Bardesanes's aberrations. He cannot be called a Gnostic in the proper sense of the word. He believed in an Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth, whose ■^^"ill is absolute, and to whom all things are subject. God endowed man with freedom of will to work out liis salvation. This world He allowed to be a mixture of good and evil, light and darkness. All tilings, even those wliich we now con- sider inanimate, have a measure of liberty. In all of them the light has to overcome the darkness. After six thousand years this earth shaU have an end, and a world without evil shall take its place. To Bardesanes the sun, moon, and planets were living beings, to whom, under God, the government of this world was largely entrusted; and though man was free, he was strongly influenced for good or for evil by the constellations. Bardesanes' catechism must have been a strange mixture of Christian doctrine and references to the signs of the Zodiac. Misled by the fact that "spirit" is feminine in S)"riac, he seems to have held erroneous views on the Trinity. He apparently' denied the Resurrection of the Body, but thought Our Lord's body was endowed with incor- ruptibility as T\'ith a special gift.

School. — Bardesanes's son Harmonius strayed farther from the path of orthodoxy. Educated at Athens, he added to the Chaldee astrologj- of his father Greek errors concerning the soul, the birth and destruction of bodies, and a sort of metempsychosis. A certain Marinvis, a follower of Bardesanes, is re- futed in the "Dialogue of Adamantius ". This Mari- nus, a dualist, held the doctrine of a two-fold prime-


val being; for the de\'il, according to him is not created by God. He was also a Docetist, as he denied Christ's birth of a woman. According to St. Ephrem, the Bardesanites of liis day were given to many puerihties and obscenities. Sun and Moon were con- sidered male and female principles, and the ideas of heaven amongst the Bardesanites were not without an admixtiu-e of sensuaUty. St. Ephrem's zealous eflorts to suppress tliis powerful heresj' were not entirely successful. Rabbula, Bishop of Edessa in 431-432, foimd it flourishing everj-where. Its exist- ence in the seventh centurj' is attested by Jacob of Edessa; in the eighth by George, Bishop of the Arab tribes; in the tenth by the historian Masudi; and even in the twelfth by Shashrastani. Bardesanism seems to have degenerated first into A'alentinianism and then into common Manichaeism. The last-named WTiter states: "The followers of Daisan believe in two elements, light and darkness. The light causes the good, deliberately and ■nith free ■nill; the darkness causes the evil, but by force of nature and necessity. They believe that light is a living thing, possessing knowledge, might, perception, and understanding; and from it movement and life take their source; but that darkness is dead, ignorant, feeble, rigid, and soulless, ^^^thout activity and discrimination; and they hold that the evil ■nitliin them is the outcome of their nature and is done without their co-opera- tion" [Haarbrucker tr. (Halle, 1850), I, 293].

BuoNAirxi. Lo Gnosticismo (Rome. 1907); N.^r, Bardesane I'astrologue. le livre des lots des pays (2d ed., Paris. 1899); Idem, Dictionnmre de Iheot. calh., s. v. (Paris. 1903); B.^bdex- nEWER, Gfsch.derallk. Lit. (Freiburg. 1902\ I. 337 sqq.; Merx, Bardesanes von Edessa (Halle. 1863); Hilgenfeld, Bardesanes der letzte Gnostiker (Leipzig. 1864); Hort in 2>tV(. of Christ. Biog., s. v.; Schonfelder in Kirchenlej.. s. v.

J. P. Arexdzen.

Bardstown. See Louisville.

Bar Hebraeus (Abu'l Faraj), a Jacobite SjTian bishop, philosopher, poet, grammarian, physician, Biblical commentator, historian, and theologian, b. at Melitene (Malatia), Asia Minor, 1226; d. at Maragha, Persia, 1286. He was the son of a Jewish physician, Aaron, a convert to the Jacobite faith; hence his surname of Bar 'Ebraya (Bar Hebr^us), "Son of the Hebrew". Under the care of his father he began as a boy (a tcncris unguiculis) the study of medicine and of many other branches of knowledge, which he pursued as a youth at Antioch and Tripoli, and wliich he ntver abandoned mitil his death. In 1246 he was consecrated Bishop of Gubos. by the Jacobite Patriarch Ignatius II, and in the following year was transferred to the See of Lacabene. He was placed over the Diocese of Aleppo bj- Dionysius (1252) and finally was made Primate, or Maphrian, of the East by Ignatius III (1264). His episcopal duties did not interfere with his studies; he took advantage of the numerous visitations, which he had to make throughout his vast province, to con- sult the Ubraries and converse with the learned men whom he happened to meet. Thus he gradually accumulated an immense erudition, became famihar with almost all branches of secular and religious knowledge, and in many cases thoroughly mastered the bibliography of the various subjects which he undertook to treat. How he could have devoted so much time to such a systematic study, in spite of all the \-icissitudes incident to the Mongol invasion, is almost beyond comprehension. The main claim of Bar Hebrieus to our gratitude is not. however, in his original productions, but rather in his ha\ing preserved and systematized the work of his prede- cessors, either by way of condensation or by way of direct reproduction. Both on account of his virtues and of his science, Bar Hebraeus was respected by all, and his death was mourned not only by men of his own faith, but also by the Nestorians and tie Armenians. He was buried at the convent cf ^.^ar