Insights: The Newsletter of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship


Ephrem, patriarchal wives, Old Testament, biblical narrative


Ephrem the Syrian, who died in ad 373 in Edessa, wrote one of earliest extant commentaries on Genesis and Exodus. In this commentary he weaves a new biblical story by selecting from both the narrative background and foreground—not in an arbitrary way, but as a very deliberate process. One of the new themes that Ephrem weaves into his retelling is the unwavering righteousness and spiritual receptiveness of the patriarchal wives.