Date and Provenance of the Syriac Cave of Treasures: A Reappraisal
The original Syriac composition known as the Cave of Treasures, ascribed to Ephrem the Syrian, presents a peculiar account of Christian sacred history. Due to its idiosyncratic nature, it is not easy to situate this pseudepigraphic work within the multifaceted world of Syriac Christianity of Late Antiquity. This paper carries out a reexamination of some scholarly assumptions about the date and milieu of this work and offers new arguments that may help us to contextualize it with greater certainty. It is argued that the Cave was composed, most likely, during the period between the middle of the sixth century and the first decades of the seventh century. As for the work’s provenance, it is proposed that it was authored by a West-Syrian writer, who lived in the Sasanian-controlled part of Northern Mesopotamia.