We publish the current 17th volume of Scrinium, when the normal course of scholarly life became broken by the pandemic. The conference of APECSS scheduled for 2020 in Singapore was, at first, postponed to 2021, and is now further postponed to 2022. Nevertheless, research are not stopped, and Scrinium continues to publish their fruits.
The pandemic took from us a member of our Editorial Board Nikolai Seleznyov (1971–2021), a distinguished specialist in Syriac and Arabic Christian literatures and a friend of many colleagues throughout the world. He died one week before his fiftieth birthday,
Nikolai N. Seleznyov, my teacher and Doktorvater, passed away on May 13, 2021, five days before his birthday when he would have turned 50. I became acquainted with Nikolai Seleznyov first as a lector when back in 2007 he taught us the history of Syriac literature during our second year at Russian State University for the Humanities. Nikolai’s pedagogical talent was outstanding. He always inspired us with his sincere and fervent interest in this new and mysterious world and showed how one could navigate it. His intellectual and academic path was also marked with this inspiration
Prof. em. Dr. ጌታችው ኃይሌ / Geta(t)chew Haile, FBA, passed away on June 10 2021. Geta(t)chew (Amh. ‘their lord’) is his first name, Haile (‘my force’) – his father’s name, a common way of naming children in Ethiopian Christian families. As Getatchew used to specify: ‘Many people call me Mr. Haile, but I am Getatchew’. Getatchew’s voice continues to sound through his children and grandchildren, through his students, colleagues, friends and people who met him, as well as directly through his texts in Amharic, English, German and audio/video recordings. Getatchew lived a
2 Enoch without any doubt is one of the most interesting and enigmatic texts of Slavonic Pseudepigrapha. Since the publication of the first fragments of it in the middle of the 19th century, there has been a protracted debate on all the questions concerning the history of the pseudepigraphon. And the “astronomical information” in it is possibly one of the most mysterious parts of 2 Enoch. The contents of the two main recensions are quite different in the chapter dealing with astronomical material. The paper studies the fragment, in which, in the short recension, it is literally said: “I [Enoch] counted Sun’s faces”.
This article traces the history of the Byzantine Church from the sixth to the early twelfth century. It seeks to show how the development of the institution was shaped through the interactions of groups and individuals. Particular attention is paid to the permanent synod, the deacons of St Sophia and the monks of the capital.
In the Ambigua to John 71, Maximus the Confessor discusses a passage of Gregory Nazianzen describing divine Logos that “plays in all kinds of forms.” The article emphasises four main approaches of the Ambiguum 71 to ‘acquit’ the image of ‘playful’ God. Firstly, St Maximus involves the hyperbolic language of Pseudo-Dionysius to indicate the superiority of divine ‘game’ over any kind of prudency or playfulness. Secondly, God’s playing can be discovered in His providence towards the sensible creations. The third step introduces all the material world as a God’s plaything, which can nevertheless be an object of natural contemplation. The fourth approach is merely moral, and its pathetic language conceals tensions between St Maximus’ and St Gregory’s patterns of thinking. Finally, all four parts are linked in a single structure derived from the triad “practical philosophy – natural contemplation – mystical theology,” which was often used by St Maximus.
This paper presents new findings from our study in situ of a small Christian church, known as Göreme 31, which is situated above the Kılıçlar church in Göreme (Cappadocia, Turkey). It was discovered and briefly described at the beginning of the 20th century, but after that almost no additional information was published. We were able to study Göreme 31 in situ in 2014–2015. In this article, we present new findings and updated information on this church: data on three previously unpublished murals in the naos, corrections to the readings of the frescoes of St. Auxentius (previously identified as St. Vincent), St. Sisinius (previously identified as St. Irene), and St. George with St. Theodore, and discussion of the enigmatic tiny grave in the funeral chamber.
In this paper we consider 6 Syriac love charms and edit their original text and translation. All but two texts are published here for the first time. This is the first part of our inquiry, in which we consider one of the two types of Syriac love charms, the recipe-type. Among its primary characteristics is its extreme rarity in Syriac magic codices. Another prominent trait of this type, which makes these texts especially valuable, is that some of them contain ritual instructions which are exceedingly rare for Syriac charms as a whole, while others may contain what we call an allusion to it. Our assumption is that texts of this type reflect ancient magic practices originating in pre-Christian time, which are credibly attested in the texts belonging to other magic traditions of the Near East and Egypt.
Natural calamities form a standard theme in Byzantine apocalypses. This paper discusses their function and meaning by surveying more than a dozen medieval Greek apocalyptic narratives from the sixth to the fifteenth century. It is shown that natural disasters were understood as ambiguous epiphenomena, whose ultimate meaning revolved around human agency and intentionality. Furthermore, it is argued that Byzantine apocalypses offered an intellectual strategy for coping with natural calamities by placing them into an eschatological context. This eschatologization restored epistemological control of the – seemingly uncontrollable – phenomena. Finally, it is suggested that the understanding of natural disasters as anthropogenic events is not only characteristic of medieval Greek apocalypticism but also of modern-day environmental alarmism. The paper closes with a preliminary comparison of these two hermeneutic paradigms.