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Jacob of Edessa (c.640-708) is considered the most learned Christian of the early days of Islam. In all fifteen contributions to this volume, written by prominent specialists, the interaction between Christianity, Judaism, and the new religion is an important issue. The articles discuss Jacob’s biography as well as his position in early Islamic Edessa, and give a full picture of the various aspects of Jacob of Edessa’s life and work as a scholar and clergyman. Attention is paid to his efforts in the fields of historiography, correspondence, canon law, text and interpretation of the Bible, language and translation, theology, philosophy, and science. The book, which marks the 1300th anniversary of Jacob’s death, also contains a bibliographical clavis.
For the first time, this volume brings together biblical scholars and specialists in Syriac liturgy and patristic literature. It contains introductory essays on the Syriac versions in the liturgy, the Syriac Old Testament commentary tradition, and the challenges posed to exegetes by the different Syriac versions of the New Testament, written by the leading scholars in the field. Twenty-one further contributions discuss the patristic and liturgical evidence for the development of the text of the Peshitta and other Syriac versions, as well as the reception and use of those versions in the exegesis and liturgy of the Syriac Churches. These studies are fully updated versions of the papers read at the Third Peshitta Symposium, held in Leiden, 12-15 August 2001.
The Christian Communities of the Middle East
Though nations are nowadays seen as the product of modernity, comparable processes of community building were taking place even earlier. Thus the history of the Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, and Syrian Christians shows that close-knit ethnic groups already existed in Late Antiquity and early medieval times. These communities have endured to the present day. However, there is much debate as to how they came into existence and defined themselves. The role of religion is central to this debate. A major interdisciplinary research project conducted at Leiden University investigated the identity formation of the Syriac Orthodox. It is argued that they started as a religious association.
This volume presents the results of the Leiden team together with reactions from a number of other specialists. The cases of the East Syrians, Armenians, Copts, Ethiopians, and Byzantine Orthodox are discussed in five additional contributions.

Contributors include: Naures Atto, Annemarie Weyl Carr, Muriel Debié, Jan van Ginkel, Wim Hofstee, Mat Immerzeel, Steven Kaplan, Theo van Lint, Glenn Peers, Richard Price, Gerrit Reinink, Bas ter Haar Romeny, Uriel Simonsohn, Bas Snelders, David Taylor, Herman Teule, Jacques van der Vliet, and Dorothea Weltecke.
In: Church History and Religious Culture
In: Church History and Religious Culture

This paper discusses aspects of the reception of Athanasius in the Syriac-speaking churches. On the basis of a survey of the Syriac translations of Athanasius and references to him by a number of authors, it is argued that he was considered a very important Father by the Syriac Orthodox, the Melkites, as well as the East Syrians, even though most if not all of the translations were made by the Syriac Orthodox. His status was based not only on the fact that especially in matters of Christology he was considered the epitome of Orthodoxy by all parties, but also on the fact that his ascetic writings formed a major source of inspiration to monks. With the help of five examples the importance of the Syriac tradition for the establishment of critical texts of Athanasius’s writings is shown here to be considerable, even though there are very many issues and problems connected with the translations.

In: Church History and Religious Culture
In: Isaiah in Context
In: Jacob of Edessa and the Syriac Culture of His Day
In: Religious Origins of Nations?