"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, September 19, 2012

Late Antiquity

Oxford University Press continues to publish important and useful books in their "Handbook" series. One of the most recent comes under the editorship of Scott F. Johnson, whom I interviewed here. Johnson has put together The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity (Oxford UP, 2012, 1296pp.)

About this book the publisher tells us:
The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity offers an innovative overview of a period (c. 300-700 CE) that has become increasingly central to scholarly debates over the history of western and Middle Eastern civilizations. This volume covers such pivotal events as the fall of Rome, the rise of Christianity, the origins of Islam, and the early formation of Byzantium and the European Middle Ages. These events are set in the context of widespread literary, artistic, cultural, and religious change during the period. The geographical scope of this handbook is unparalleled among comparable surveys of Late Antiquity; Arabia, Egypt, Central Asia, and the Balkans all receive dedicated treatments, while the scope extends to the western kingdoms, Ireland, and Scandinavia in the West. Furthemore, from economic theory and slavery to Greek and Latin poetry, Syriac and Coptic literature, sites of religious devotion, and many others, this handbook covers a wide range of topics that will appeal to scholars from a diverse array of disciplines. The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity engages the perennially valuable questions about the end of the ancient world and the beginning of the medieval, while providing a much-needed touchstone for the study of Late Antiquity itself.
As an editor myself, I can tell you that corralling even a small number of authors in a given issue of a couple hundred pages is a challenge, but to have done it in a tome of this size is in itself an impressive achievement made all the more remarkable by the caliber of the scholars who contributed, including Stephen Shoemaker, whom I interviewed here, and Phillip Wood, whose book was noted here

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