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Paradise with three levels (1)

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12 Assyrian Identity

01 Religious and ideological doctrines and imagery

02 Religious and ideological symbols and iconographic motifs

4th century CE
Christian-Syriac poets

Ephrem Syrus, Hymns on Paradise 2.10-12:
When He made this intricate design He varied its beauties, so that some levels were far more glorious than others. To the degree that one level is higher than another, so too is its glory the more sublime. In this way He allots the foothills to the most lowly, the slopes to those in between and the heights to the exalted. When the just ascend its various levels to receive their inheritance, with justice He raises up each one to the degree that accords with his labors; each is stopped at the level whereof he is worthy, there being sufficient levels in paradise for everyone: the lowest parts for the repentant, the middle for the righteous, the heights for those victorious, while the summit is reserved for God’s Presence (= Shekhinah). Noah made the animals live in the lowest part of the Ark; in the middle part he lodged birds, while Noah himself, like the Deity, resided on the upper deck. On Mount Sinai it was the people who dwelt below, and priests round about it, and Aaron halfway up, while Moses was on its heights, and the Glorious One on the summit.

Source (list of abbreviations)
Ephrem Syrus, Hymns on Paradise 2.10-12


Brock 1990, 88-89Brock, Sebastian. St. Ephrem the Syrian. Hymns on Paradise. Crestwood: St. Vladimir Seminary Press 1990.

Amar Annus

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