The Book of the Laws of Countries (BLC) by Bardaisan of Edessa belongs to the most important writings of early Syriac literature. Bardaisan (154-222), a courtier at the court of King Abgar VIII of Edessa, was one of the most influential thinkers of his time. The BLC reflects the various cultures and the intellectual climate of northern Mesopotamia, and in particular that of the city of Edessa, at the end of the second century and the first decades of the third century CE. The BLC is the primary text for our knowledge of Bardaisan's ideas, as no writings of his have been preserved. The text can be divided into two parts. In the first part Bardaisan sets out his ideas about nature, fate and free will. In particular the liberty of man to act as he desires and the responsibility he has for his actions is emphasized by Bardaisan. This book includes the Syriac text of the BLC and the English translation by Han J.W. Drijvers.
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