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The early Christian presence in Inner Mongolia forms the subject of this book. These Nestorian remains must primarily be attributed to the Öngüt, a Turkic people closely allied to the Mongols. Writing in Syriac, Uighur and Chinese scripts and languages, the Nestorian Öngüt drew upon a variety of religions and cultures to decorate their gravestones with crosses rising from lotus flowers, dragons and Taoist imagery. This heritage also portrays designs found in the Islamic world. Taking a closer look at the discovery of this material and its significance for the study of the early Church of the East under the Mongols, the author reconstructs the Nestorian culture of the Öngüt.
The reader will find many newly discovered objects not published before. At the same time this study demonstrates how many remaining objects were appropriated and, in many cases, vanished after their discovery.
'I find myself obliged to make a special effort to avoid over-praising this book, a treasure-house of information, drawn on a comprehensive array of sources, some of them hitherto untapped, and splendidly presented on the important subject of Christian presence in East Asia.'
DENIS SINOR, (Indiana University),
Journal of Asian History, 43/1 (2009)
The relationship between the Coptic
Gospel of Thomas and the synoptic gospels has been a matter of long-standing debate. Some maintain that the sayings of Jesus in Thomas reflect a line of transmission independent of the synoptic tradition; others contend that the Coptic collection is finally a reworking of the Greek synoptic gospels. This book proposes a third possibility: namely, that the
Gospel of Thomas depends on a second-century Syriac gospel harmony, Tatian’s
Diatessaron, written in 175 C.E. Following a linguistic analysis of Thomas, the author argues that the Coptic collection is actually a translation of a unified Syriac text which at places followed the wording and sequence of the
Diatessaron. The book argues for a late second-century C.E. dating of Thomas, rules out Thomas as a meaningful source for Historical Jesus research, and suggests possible links between Thomas and other mystical literature of the ancient near east.
Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org).
As part of the Society of Biblical Literature’s The New Testament in the Greek Fathers series, this book examines the textual affinities of Epiphanius of Salamis in Acts, the Catholic Epistles, and the Pauline Epistles. Devising careful criteria for selecting quotations and following established criteria for analyzing patristic data, Osburn reverses the commonly accepted notion that Epiphanius systematically reflects an early form of the Byzantine text. While his text of the Catholic Epistles was likely Byzantine in character, the Greek text of Acts and the Pauline Epistles used by Epiphanius was common in the Eastern Mediterranean during the fourth century C.E. and is similar to the Later Egyptian text-form found in Codex Alexandrinus and Codex Ephraemi rescriptus. In addition to enriching our understanding of Epiphanius, this volume broadens our knowledge of the New Testament text in the fourth century.
Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org)