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Edited by John M. Dillon and Wolfgang Polleichtner

Iamblichus is the only Platonist philosopher whose philosophical letters have survived from the ancient world. These nineteen letters, which are translated into English here for the first time, address such topics as providence, fate, concord, marriage, bringing up children, ingratitude, music, and the cardinal virtues, with some letters addressed to students and others to prominent members of Syrian society and the imperial administration. The letters reflect the concerns of popular moral philosophy and illustrate the more public aspects of Iamblichus’s philosophy. This volume provides a useful complement to Iamblichus: On the Mysteries, and On the Pythagorean Way of Life, both published by the Society of Biblical Literature, and will be of interest to students of late antiquity, of Neoplatonic philosophy, and of early Christianity.

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Cornelia Horn and Robert Phenix

This book makes available for the first time in English important works by the anti-Chalcedonian historian and biographer John Rufus on Peter the Iberian, Theodosius of Jerusalem, and Abba Romanus, three key figures of the Christian history of Palestine in the fifth and early sixth centuries C.E. The work offers a new critical edition of the Syriac text; the first-ever published English translation; a substantial introduction to Palestinian monasticism, the christological controversies of the time, and the life and writings of John Rufus; and ample annotations to a Syriac text whose Greek original is no longer available. By providing access to the Christian landscape (literally and metaphorically) in late antique and early Byzantine times, this volume offers a valuable counterbalance from a minority perspective to the biographical and historical writings of the Chalcedonian apologist Cyril of Scythopolis.
Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org)

Philostorgius

Church History

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Philip Amidon

Philostorgius (born 368 C.E.) was a member of the Eunomian sect of Christianity, a nonconformist faction deeply opposed to the form of Christianity adopted by the Roman government as the official religion of its empire. He wrote his twelve-book Church History, the critical edition of the surviving remnants of which is presented here in English translation, at the beginning of the fifth century as a revisionist history of the church and the empire in the fourth and early-fifth centuries. Sometimes contradicting and often supplementing what is found in other histories of the period, Christian or otherwise, it offers a rare dissenting picture of the Christian world of the time.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org)

The "Belly-Myther" of Endor

Interpretations of 1 Kingdoms 28 in the Early Church

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Rowan Greer and Margaret Mitchell

The story of Saul and the woman at Endor in 1 Samuel 28 (LXX 1 Kingdoms 28) lay at the center of energetic disputes among early Christian authors about the nature and fate of the soul, the source of prophetic gifts, and biblical truth. In addition to providing the original texts and fresh translations of works by Origen, Eustathius of Antioch (not previously translated into English), and six other authors, Greer and Mitchell offer an insightful introduction to and detailed analysis of the rhetorical cast and theological stakes involved in early church debates on this notoriously difficult passage.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org)

Ancient Fiction

The Matrix of Early Christian and Jewish Narrative

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Edited by Jo-Ann Brant, Charles W. Hedrick and Chris Shea

The essays in this volume examine the relationship between ancient fiction in the Greco-Roman world and early Jewish and Christian narratives. They consider how those narratives imitated or exploited conventions of fiction to produce forms of literature that expressed new ideas or shaped community identity within the shifting social and political climates of their own societies. Major authors and texts surveyed include Chariton, Shakespeare, Homer, Vergil, Plato, Matthew, Mark, Luke, Daniel, 3 Maccabees, the Testament of Abraham, rabbinic midrash, the Apocryphal Acts, Ezekiel the Tragedian, and the Sophist Aelian. This diverse collection reveals and examines prevalent issues and syntheses in the making: the pervasive use and subversive power of imitation, the distinction between fiction and history, and the use of history in the expression of identity. The contributors are Jo-Ann A. Brant, J. R. C. Cousland, Ruben Rene Dupertuis, Noah Hacham, Gerhard van den Heever, Ronald F. Hock, Tawny L. Holm, Sara R. Johnson, Jared W. Ludlow, Dennis R. MacDonald, Chaim Milikowsky, Judith B. Perkins, Richard I. Pervo, Gareth Schmeling, and Chris Shea.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org)

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Edited by Donald Russell and David Konstan

This is the first English translation of the only extended ancient treatise on Homer that survives today. It provides a detailed allegorical discussion of controversial passages in the Iliad and the Odyssey and is a mine of information on ancient approaches to allegory and to literary criticism.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org)

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Amir Harrak

The Syriac Acts of Mār Mārī the Apostle discusses the introduction of Christianity into Upper Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia at the end of or slightly after the apostolic age by Mār Mārī. The Acts continues the Teaching of Addai (Thaddaeus in Eusebius of Caesarea), one of the seventy disciples of Jesus, who dispatched Marı from Edessa to the east. The Acts traces Mārī's itinerary and preaching in Mesopotamia until his reaching Babylonia, where he founded the first church near the Hellenistic city of Seleucia on the Tigris. By the early fifth century, the birthplace of Christianity in Babylonia became the patriarchal seat of the Church of the East, whose ecclesiastical jurisdiction and cultural influence extended during the early medieval period as far as China. This volume contains the Acts of Mār Mārī in Syriac and a relevant account from Kitāb al-Majdal in Arabic, both translated for the first time into English. This annotated translation of the Acts of Mār Mārī offers specialists and lay people alike a major source dealing with the early history of Christianity in the Middle East.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org).

Diodore of Tarsus

Commentary on Psalms 1-51

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Robert C. Hill

Diodore of Tarsus presided over the Antiochene school of interpretation in its heyday. In his sole surviving exegetical work on the Old Testament he formulated the principles of interpreting Scripture taught in that school. Available here for the first time in English is Diodore's commentary on Psalms 1–51, with Robert C. Hill's insightful notes on Diodore's exegesis of the Psalter. It was from their mentor Diodore that later Antiochenes Chrysostom, Theodore, and Theodoret derived the distinctive principles underlying the theology that figured prominently in debate and controversy in the fourth and fifth centuries. Patristic scholars and students of the Psalms look to the approach of the great Eastern commentators as an important development in the history of exegesis, Christology, morality and spirituality and will find this translation an invaluable asset.

Paperback edition available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org).

Godly Fear

The Epistle to the Hebrews and Greco-Roman Critiques of Superstition

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Patrick Gray

To what extent was early Christianity viewed as superstition by its contemporaries? Superstition was the standard category in Greco-Roman antiquity for defaming “debased” religion, and to situate early Christianity in its Mediterranean milieu it is necessary to understand what this label meant to those who used it. Fear is the defining element of superstition according to writers like Plutarch, who regard the emotion as a fundamental human problem. Fear is likewise a recurring motif in the Epistle to the Hebrews, whose author holds up “confidence” as a Christian ideal yet also employs language which evokes fear in the starkest of terms. This work examines the articulation of Christian faith in Hebrews in the context of ancient debates about the propriety of fear.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org)

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Edited by Andrew. D Clarke, John Dillon and Jackson P. Hershbell

This volume presents the first modern English translation of Iamblichus’ De mysteriisalongside the standard critical edition of the text by Édouard Des Places (Les Belles Lettres, 1966). Iamblichus provides a unique insight into the mystical side of late Neoplatonism, arguing that the only good is union with the gods and that the only route to this divine union is theurgy—religious ritual demonstrating supernatural power. The process of sacrifice, the activities of angels and demons, the meaning of divine possession, and the functioning of oracles are all examined in this extraordinary defense of theurgic mysticism against contemporary critics such as Porphyry. Clarke, Dillon, and Hershbell bring this famous and fascinating text to light through their introduction and extensive notes.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org)