03 November 2008

Odes of Solomon

The Odes in their present form clearly have their origins in Jewish hymnal tradition, with Christian overlays, and Gnostic references. Like other texts of this tradition, the Odes are not of course by the much earlier King Solomon (tenth century BCE), merely invoking his memory as a purveyor of wisdom.
It has been suggested that the original language of the Odes was Syriac, a Semitic language spoken in Syria, and therefore the work provides an insight into early Syrian Christianity.
A number of the concepts and expressions found in the Odes have their parallels in the letters of the Syrian writer, Ignatius, bishop of Antioch (d.110CE), suggesting that the Odes may have been produced as early as c.100CE. Familiarity with the Gospel of John is also a common characteristic of Ignatius' letters and of the Odes.
The earliest surviving parts of the text are in Greek from the third century, and in Syriac from the fourth century CE.

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