The Levant: Crossroads of Late Antiquity. History, Religion and Archaeology 

Le Levant: Carrefour de l'antiquité Tardive. Histoire, religion et archéologie 


The Levant: Crossroads of Late Antiquity. History, Religion, and Archaeology / Le Levant: Carrefour de l'Antiquité tardive explores the monumental, religious, and social developments that took place in the Roman province of Syria during the 3rd through 6th centuries CE. Ellen Bradshaw Aitken and John M. Fossey bring together the work of twenty scholars of archaeology, art history, religious studies, and ancient history to examine this dynamic period of change in social, cultural, and religious life. Close attention to texts and material culture, including palaeo-Christian mosaics and churches, highlights the encounters of peoples and religions, as well as the rich exchange of ideas, practices, and traditions in the Levant. The essays bring fresh perspectives on “East” and “West” in antiquity and the diversity of ancient religious movements.
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Biographical Note

Ellen Bradshaw Aitken, ThD (Harvard, 1997) is Dean of the Faculty of Religious Studies at McGill and Associate Professor of Early Christian History and Literature. Her publications include Jesus’ Death in Early Christian Memory and a translation with commentary of Philostratus’s Heroikos.

John M. Fossey, DèsL (Lyon II, 1976), FRSC, FSA, is Emeritus Professor at McGill University and Emeritus Curator of Mediterranean Archaeology at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. He has published monographs on Greek archaeology, epigraphy, and prosopography. He has excavated in Greece, Georgia, Bulgaria, and Britain.

Contributors: Amr Al-Azm, Nicolas Beaudry, Rebecca Coughlin, Christiane Delplace, Pauline Donceel-Voûte, Greg Fisher, Pierre-Louis Gatier, Amir Harrak, Ian H. Henderson, Rafah Jwejati, Jeffrey Keiser, George Kellaris, Nicole Kelley, Brent Landau, Marcie Lenk, Felicia Meynersen, Catherine Playoust, Rachel Smith, Frank R. Trombley, and John Wortley.

Table of contents

Contents / Table des matières
List of Figures / Liste des illustrations
Preface / Préface

Section I - Literature and Theology / Litérature et théologie
1. Hearing God’s Silence: Ignatius of Antiokheia and the Music of the Spheres (Jeffrey Keiser)
2. The Beauty of Jesus and His Twin: Redirected Erotics in the Acts of Thomas (Catherine Playoust)
3. The Varieties of Religious Communication in the Rhetoric of Loukianos of Samosata (Ian H. Henderson)
4. “One Drop of Salvation from the House of Majesty”: Universal Revelation, Human Mission and Mythical Geography in the Syriac Revelation of the Magi (Brent Landau)
5. On Recycling Texts and Traditions: The Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions and Religious Life in Fourth-Century Syria (Nicole Kelley)
6. The Apostolic Constitutions and the Law (Marcie Lenk)
7. Space and Ritual Action: Divinization and the Construction of Sacred Place According to Dionysios Areopagites (Rebecca Coughlin)
8. The Rhetorical Topography of Prayer in the Mystical Theology of Pseudo-Dionysios, Rachel Smith

Section ii - History and Archaeology / Histoire et archéologie
9. La christianisation de l’Antiochène dans l’Antiquité tardive (Pierre-Louis Gatier)
10. Was Edessa or Adiabene the Gateway for the Christianization of Mesopotamia? (Amir Harrak)
11. From Kastron to Qasṛ: Nessana between Byzantium and the Umayyad Caliphate ca. 602–689. Demographic and Microeconomic Aspects of Palaestina III in Interregional Perspective (Frank R. Trombley)
12. Palmyre, de la ville—centre commercial international—à la ville—centre militaire et chrétien (Christiane Delplace)
13. Ras el Bassit and the Late Antique Archaeological Landscape of Coastal North Syria (Nicolas Beaudry)
14. Rome and the Ghassānids: Comparative Perspectives on Conversion, Boundaries and Power in Near Eastern Borderlands (Greg Fisher)
15. Crossroads in the Desert (John Wortley)
16. Unity and Individuality: Reflections on Images of Animals from South Syria in the Roman Imperial Period (Felicia Meynersen)

Section iii - The Mosaics / Les mosaïques
17. Management and Preservation of Mosaics in Syria: Between Theory and Practice (Amr Al-Azm)
18. Barrer la route au Malin: une typologie des stratégies utilisées. Images et signes à fonctionnement sécuritaire sur support fixe dans l’Antiquité tardive (Pauline Donceel-Voûte)
19. Contribution de la mosaïque syrienne à l’iconographie chrétienne (Rafah Jwejati)
20. Thoughts on the Meaning of a “Decorative” Early Christian Mosaic (George Kellaris)

Summation / Conclusion
Indices / Registres
1. Personal Names / Noms de personnes
2. Place Names / Toponymes
3. Ancient Texts / Textes anciens


All interested in the archaeology history, art, literature, and theology of the Mediterranean world and the Levant in late antiquity. Academic universities, researchers and students in these fields.

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