I knew the Pope would get around to Aphrahat. I wondered a bit when he pulled ahead of the Persian Sage chronologically. But apparently he did so in order to make connections between neighbording Fathers in successive weeks (e.g., Ambrose and Maximus of Turin). In his book Jesus of Nazareth, the Pope returns often to the work of the great contemporary Jewish scholar, Jacob Neusner, who published an appreciative study of Aphrahat and Judaism. Perhaps we’ll once again see the influence of Neusner on Ratzinger as His Holiness discusses this Father “on the frontier between Judaism and the Greek world.”
Aphrahat also figures prominently in the expanded edition of my book The Fathers of the Church.
I’ll post full text as soon as it emerges.
UPDATE: Amy has posted an unofficial translation.