"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).

Friday, February 15, 2013

Orthodox Christians in the Ottoman Empire 2013

As we approach the centenary of the outbreak of World War I, we concomitantly approach the final dissolution of the Ottoman Empire as well, a period fraught with dangers for some Christians, the Armenians especially as they became in places the scapegoats for declining Ottoman fortunes, and paid, as we know, an horrific price in the genocide of 1915. A book just released promises to look at the fate of Orthodox Christians in this final period:  Ayse Ozil, Orthodox Christians in the Late Ottoman Empire (Routledge, 2012),208pp.

About this book the publisher tells us:

This book examines the position of Greek Orthodox Christians within the administrative, social and economic structures of the Ottoman Empire in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The author engages in a rarely undertaken comparative analysis of Ottoman, Greek and European archival sources to understand the ties among Christians within the administrative, social and economic structures of the imperial and Orthodox Christian worlds. As a local study based on the hitherto under-explored provincial region of Hüdavendigar in the heartlands of the empire, it questions the commonplace assumptions about the meaning of ethno-religious community in a Middle Eastern imperial framework.

Offering a deeper and more nuanced investigation of Ottoman Christians by connecting Ottoman and Greek history, which are often treated in isolation from one another in a way that downplays their mutual influence, this work sheds new light on communal existence.

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