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Author: Sergey Minov
In Memory and Identity in the Syriac Cave of Treasures: Rewriting the Bible in Sasanian Iran Sergey Minov examines literary and socio-cultural aspects of the Syriac pseudepigraphic composition known as the Cave of Treasures, which offers a peculiar version of the Christian history of salvation. The book fills a lacuna in the history of Syriac Christian literary creativity by contextualising this unique work within the cultural and religious situation of Sasanian Mesopotamia towards the end of Late Antiquity. The author analyses the Cave’s content and message from the perspective of identity theory and memory studies, while discussing its author’s emphatically polemical stand vis-à-vis Judaism, the ambivalent way in which he deals with Iranian culture, and the promotion in this work of a distinctively Syriac-oriented vision of the biblical past.
Volume Editors: Sergey Minov and Flavia Ruani
Chapters gathered in Syriac Hagiography: Texts and Beyond explore a wide range of Syriac hagiographical works, while following two complementary methodological approaches, i.e. literary and cultic, or formal and functional. Grouped into three main sections, these contributions reflect three interrelated ways in which we can read Syriac hagiography and further grasp its characteristics: “Texts as Literature” seeks to unfold the mechanisms of their literary composition; “Saints Textualized” offers a different perspective on the role played by hagiographical texts in the invention and/or maintenance of the cult of a particular saint or group of saints; “Beyond the Texts” presents cases in which the historical reality behind the nexus of hagiographical texts and veneration of saints can be observed in greater details.
Editor: Andrei A. Orlov
The essays collected in Jewish Roots of Eastern Christian Mysticism intend to honor Alexander Golitzin, a scholar known for his keen attention to the Jewish matrix of Eastern Orthodox spirituality. Following Golitzin's insights, this Festschrift explores influences of Jewish apocalypticism and mysticism on certain early and late Christian authors, including Irenaeus, Origen, Evagrius of Pontus, Pseudo-Dionysius, and Symeon the New Theologian. Special attention is given to Jewish theophanic traditions regarding the beatific vision of the divine Glory (Kavod), which profoundly shaped Eastern Christian theology and liturgy. This volume demonstrates that recent developments in the study of apocalyptic literature, the Qumran Scrolls, Gnosticism, and later Jewish mysticism throw new and welcome light on the sources and continuities of Orthodox theology, liturgy, and spirituality
Author: Nathan Witkamp
In Tradition and Innovation, Nathan Witkamp convincingly argues that Narsai of Nisibis’ (d. ca. 503) baptismal rite and mystagogy, as portrayed in his Liturgical Homilies 21-22, are much less dependent on Theodore of Mopsuestia (ca. 350-ca. 428) than scholars have previously supposed. Narsai’s baptismal rite turns out to represent a particular East Syrian liturgical tradition, independent of Theodore. In his mystagogy, Narsai uses Theodore’s Baptismal Homilies 1-3 as just one source among others to create the artwork he desires. This detailed comparative study contributes to our understanding of rite and mystagogy in Theodore and Narsai within the broader early Syrian context, as well as to the reception of Theodore by Narsai and the East Syrian Church.
In Late Antique Images of the Virgin Annunciate Spinning: allotting the scarlet and the purple, Catherine Gines Taylor traces the way early Christians assimilated the symbolism of spinning into images of the Annunciation. Taylor offers an art historical and interdisciplinary look at the earliest images of Mary spinning, underscoring the iconographic model of idealized matronage consistent with lay piety and the cult of Mary. The personal and domestic nature of this motif is evidence toward popular Mariological devotion that preceded the exclusive, semi-divine presentation of the Theotokos, and stands in contrast with traditional ascetic models for Mary.