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Bardaisan (152–222)

  1. Joseph P. Amar

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc0122

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Amar, J. P. 2011. Bardaisan (152–222). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


Bardaisan belonged to the court of King Abgar VIII of Edessa and was a friend of Julius Africanus. He is an early representative of the fact that Syriac-speaking Christianity enjoyed a prestige that rivaled that of the dominant Greek literary culture. Although Bardaisan had a Hellenistic education (he was known in Greek as “the Aramaean philosopher”), he wrote both poetry and prose exclusively in Syriac. His association with the composition of doctrinal hymns (Syr. madrashê) is an indication that Syriac had established itself as a liturgical language at an early date in Edessa.


  • Bardaisan (152–222);
  • Bardaisan's ideas on cosmology;
  • accusation, docetism and gnostic tendencies;
  • “the book of the laws ‘customs’ of countries;
  • Bardaisan and Christianity, unclear