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Bardesanes

bar-daisan) (154-222. Edessene Christian. A man of remarkable versatility, he was the most outstanding representative of the early Christian community in Edessa, Syria. A friend of court, and particularly of King Abgar IX, he was a philosopher able to write in Greek and Syriac, and a poet of considerable powers. Prior to his conversion he had been interested in astrology, and this remained with him, contributing to his reputation for unorthodoxy and even heresy. He is famous for The Book of the Laws of the Countries, written by a disciple, Philip. In this he argued, against the astrologers, that there is a free will in the universe. Although he refuted Marcion* and Valentinus,* and was not a Gnostic, he did not eradicate dualism from his system. He was sufficiently faithful to Christianity to be on the point of martyrdom. As a poet he can be considered one of the founders of Syriac literature.