Bardaisan of Edessa is not the best known ancient thinker, probably because his works circulated in Syriac, unlike the Greek provenance of most better-known early Christian writing, but he is very important (and difficult to classify!) in the history of ‘heretical’ Christian faith. The text of ‘The Book of the Laws of the Nations’ may not be by Bardaisan himself (it is a dialogue in which he figures as an interlocutor), but it is at any rate an attack on astral fatalism through ethnographic arguments examining the customs of ‘barbarian’ peoples. This new French translation should go a long way toward putting this important text on the wider map of scholarly discussion.
Le Livre des lois des pays: Un traité syriaque sur le destin de l’« école » de Bardesane
Introduction et notes de : Paul-Hubert Poirier, Éric Crégheur, Traduit
par : Paul-Hubert Poirier, Éric Crégheur
Bibliothèque de l’Orient chrétien, 6
Available from the redoubtable Belles Lettres here.