"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, July 18, 2018

The Syriac World

One of the biggest and most significant developments in Eastern Christian studies in the postwar period is the rise of great interest in and attention to the Syriac Christian tradition, led by first-rate scholars such as Sebastian Brock of Oxford, Sidney Griffith of CUA, and Susan Ashbrook Harvey at Brown; and now by a new young generation of scholars, including Jeanne-Nicole Mellon Saint-Laurent, whom I interviewed here about her book.

Early this fall we will have a hefty new collection that gives a very wide-ranging treatment to diverse aspects of The Syriac World, ed. Daniel King (Routledge, 2018), 840 pages.

About this book the publisher tells us this:
This volume surveys the "Syriac world", the culture that grew up among the Syriac-speaking communities from the 2nd century CE and which continues to exist and flourish today, both in its original homeland of Syria and Mesopotamia, and in the worldwide diaspora of Syriac-speaking communities. The five sections examine the religion; the material, visual and literary cultures; history and social structures of this diverse community; and Syriac interactions with their neighbours ancient and modern. There are also detailed appendices examining the patriarchs of the eastern church as well as the relationship between western Syrians and the Maphrians. The last appendix lists useful online resources for students.
The Syriac World offers the first complete survey of Syriac culture and fills a significant gap in modern scholarship. This volume will be an invaluable resource for undergraduate and postgraduate students of Syriac and Middle Eastern culture from antiquity to the modern era.
And we are given a detailed table of contents:
 List of Figures

List of Tables

List of Maps

List of Contributors




Part 1: Backgrounds

The Eastern Provinces of the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity (Muriel Debié)
The Sasanian Persian Empire (Touraj Daryaee)

Part 2: The Syriac World in Late Antiquity

The pre-Christian Religions of the Syriac-speaking Regions (John F. Healey)
The Coming of Christianity to Mesopotamia (David G. K. Taylor)
Early Forms of the Religious Life and Syriac Monasticism (Florence Jullien)
The Establishment of the Syriac Churches in the Fifth-Sixth Centuries (Volker Menze)
The Syriac church denominations: an overview (Dietmar W. Winkler)
The Syriac Church in the Persian Empire (Geoffrey Herman)
Judaism and Syriac Christianity (Michal Bar-Asher Siegal)
Syriac and Syrians in the Later Roman Empire: Questions of Identity (Nathanael Andrade)
Early Syriac Reactions to the Rise of Islam (Michael Penn)
The Church of the East in the ʿAbassid Era (David Wilmshurst)

Part 3: The Syriac Language

The Syriac Language in the Context of the Semitic Languages (Holger Gzella)
The Classical Syriac Language (Aaron Butts)
Writing Syriac: Manuscripts and Inscriptions (Françoise Briquel-Chatonnet)
The Neo-Aramaic Dialects and their Historical Background (Gefforey Khan)

Part 4: Syriac Literary, Artistic and Material Culture in Late Antiquity

The Syriac Bible and its Interpretation (Jonathan Loopstra)
The Emergence of Syriac Literature to AD400 (Ute Possekel)
Later Syriac Poetry (Sebastian P. Brock)
Syriac Hagiographic Literature (Jeanne-Nicole Mellon Saint-Laurent)
The Mysticism of the Church of the East (Adrian Pirtea)
Theological Doctrines and Debates within Syriac Christianity (Theresia Hainthaler)
The Liturgies of the Syriac Churches (Baby Varghese)
Historiography in the Syriac-speaking World 300-1000 (Philip Wood)
Syriac Philosophy (John W. Watt)
Syriac Medicine (Grigory Kessel)
The Material Culture of the Syrian Peoples in Late Antiquity and the Evidence for Syrian Wall Paintings (Emma Loosley)
Churches in Syriac space: architectural and liturgical context and development (Widad Khoury)
Women and Children in Syriac Christianity: Sounding Voices (Susan Ashbrook Harvey)
Syriac Agriculture 300-1250 (Michael Decker)

Part 5: Syriac Christianity beyond the Ancient World

Syriac Christianity in Central Asia (Mark Dickens)
Syriac Christianity in China (Hidemi Takahashi)
Syriac Christianity in India (Istvan Perczel)
The Renaissance of Syriac Literature in the 12th-13th centuries (Dorothea Weltecke and Helen Younansardaroud)
Syriac in a Diverse Middle East: From the Mongol Ilkhanate to Ottoman Dominance, 1286-1517 (Thomas A. Carlson)
The Maronite Church in the Middle Ages and Modern Times (Shafiq Abouzayd)
The Early Study of Syriac in Europe (Robert J. Wilkinson)
Syriac Identity in the Modern Era (Heleen Murre Van den Berg)
Changing Demography: Christians in Iraq since 1991 (Erica Hunter)


I The Patriarchs of the Church of the East

II West Syrian Patriarchs and Maphrians

III Online Resources for the Study of the Syriac World

Index to Maps

Subject Index

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