Bardaisan (Syriac: ܒܪ ܕܝܨܢ, Bardaiṣān), known in Arabic as Ibn Daisan (ابن ديصان) and in Latin as Bardesanes (A.D. 154–222), was a Syriac or Parthian gnostic and founder of the Bardaisanites. A scientist, scholar, astrologer, philosopher and poet, Bardaisan was also renowned for his knowledge of India, on which he wrote a book, now lost.
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- “Bardesanes was also a great student of Indian religion, and wrote a book on the subject, from which the Platonist Porphyry subsequently quoted. But it is as a poet and writer on Christian theology and theosophy that Bardesanes gained so wide a reputation; he wrote many books in Syriac and also Greek ... [and] he was the first to adapt the Syriac tongue to metrical forms and set the words to music; these hymns became immensely popular, not only in the Edessene kingdom but wherever the Syriac tongue was spoken.”
- G.R.S. Mead, in Fragments of a Faith Forgotten, quoted in Ishwar Sharan. The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple. Third edition. 2010.
- Bardesanes’s faith was true after his master Valentinus, the founder of Gnostic schools in Alexandria and Rome, and orthodox Christians have cursed him bitterly for it. Ephraim of Edessa, a father of the Church, writing 120 years after his death, says that he died “with the Lord in his mouth and demons in his heart”. He accused Bardesanes of being a heretic and sophist, a greedy sheep-dog in league with the wolves, and a cunning dissembler practicing deceit with his songs. If this is what a Christian saint has to say about his theology, it is something of an irony that Roman Catholic scholars are so eager to accept his geography.
- Ephraim of Edessa quoted in Ishwar Sharan. The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple. Third edition. 2010.