"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, September 7, 2018

Bethlehem's Syriac Christians

For those who keep an eye on the plight of the Christian minorities in the Middle East, including those in Israel, a book released last December by the formidable Gorgias Press (whose lists, as I frequently say, are among the most impressive when it comes to such populations, as also to Muslim-Christian relations, inter alia) will be of considerable interest: Bethlehem's Syriac Christians: Self, Nation and Church in Dialogue and Practice by Mark D Calder (Gorgias, 2017), 318pp.

About this book the publisher tells us the following:
An anthropological study of Syriac Orthodox Christian identity in a time of displacement, upheaval, and conflict. For some Syriac Orthodox Christians in Bethlehem, their self-articulation - the means by which they connect themselves to others, things, places and symbols - is decisively influenced by their eucharistic ritual. This ritual connects being siryāni to a redeemed community or 'body', and derives its identity in large part from the Incarnation of God as an Aramaic-speaking Bethlehemite.

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