Jacob of Serugh’s (Unique?) Understanding of Barabbas as Representative of Humanity

In patristic commentary and homilies Barabbas is almost universally reviled as a criminal, the personification of evil, or the antichrist. Antisemitism makes him a bad guy by association with the Jews who are held responsible for Jesus’ death. Yet there is one Church Father who breaks the mould by positing Barabbas – “the son of the father” – as a type for Adam and thus for humanity at large. There are two extant references to Barabbas in the homilies of Jacob of Serugh (one in prose and one in meter) in which he explains how Jesus came to free humankind from the bondage of sin, and this act of liberation is symbolized in the release of Barabbas, who represents you and me.