"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Byzantine Empire

Joan Hussey, a professor of history at the University of London, first published this landmark work in 1986. 

 The Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire (Oxford History of the Christian Church) 

She died in 2006 at the age of 99, but her book has been reissued this year with a new foreword and updated bibliography by Andrew Louth. He notes that at the time of first publication, this book was almost alone in the terrain it covered, and has stood up very well over the last quarter-century, not least, Louth says, because Hussey came from an earlier school of historiography that sought to narrate historical events as dispassionately as possible and based as closely as possible on the sources and textual evidence—a “sign,” he says, of Hussey’s “self-effacement.” Today, Louth observes, it is very difficult to write history this way because too many historians are obsessed with questions of “identity.” Louth notes that many of the lacunae Hussey lamented have since been filled by other scholars. His welcome “Bibliographical Note” very helpfully lists titles, mostly in English, that have appeared in the last two decades. 

1 comment:

  1. This looks interesting, I will add it to my reading list. You are not wrong about identity being a big issue nowadays. Someone in the academic world should have a look at Youtube and study all the people propogating their own particular angle on history.


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