Friday, October 24, 2014

Free book chapter: The Crusades from the Perspective of Byzantium and the Muslim World

An event which influenced the history of both Byzantium and the Western states, the crusades pose many problems to the researchers of today.
Were the crusades a Holy War in Byzantium?
The late G.T. Dennis tried to give an answer to this question in a Dumbarton Oaks volume.
Click here to read more


KU Leuven announces a new conference on literary culture in early Chrisitanity:
The intellectual landscape of the Classical world was radically altered by the rise and spread of Christianity, which brought about a transformation of moral and cultural values, beliefs and attitudes. Profound changes also occurred in the practical and theoretical approaches to languages as cognitive, ethnic and cultural phenomena. The linguistic horizon of Western scholars was considerably widened through direct acquaintance with the Old Testament languages (Hebrew and Aramaic); at the same time Early Christian authors became increasingly aware of the startling linguistic diversity within the Roman world and outside of it.
Read more

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The complete list of digitized manuscripts from the Vatican Library

You can consult here the complete here the complete list of digitized manuscripts from the Vatican Library

New book: Missionary Stories and the Formation of the Syriac Churches

From California University Press a new book by Jeanne-Nicole Mellon Saint-Laurent Missionary Stories and the Formation of the Syriac Churches.
This book analyzes the hagiographic traditions of six missionary saints in the Syriac heritage: Thomas, Addai, Mari, Simeon of Beth Arsham, Jacob Baradaeus, and Ahoudemmeh. Saint-Laurent studies a body of legends about missionaries' voyages in the Syrian Orient and illustrates their shared symbols and motifs. Revealing how these texts encapsulate the concerns of the communities that wrote them, she draws attention to the role of hagiography as a malleable genre that was well suited for the idealized presentation of the beginnings of Christian communities. Hagiographers, through their reworking of missionary themes, assert autonomy, orthodoxy, and apostolicity for their individual civic and monastic communities, posturing themselves in relationship to the rulers of their empire and other competing forms of Christianity. She argues that missionary hagiography is an important and neglected source for understanding the development of the East and West Syriac ecclesiastical bodies: the Syrian Orthodox Church and the Church of the East. Many of these Syriac-speaking churches remain today in the Middle East and India, with diaspora communities in Europe and North America. While Saint-Laurent focuses on late antiquity in Missionary Stories and the Formation of the Syriac Churches, her work opens up further study of the role of saints and stories as symbolic links between ancient and modern traditions.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pilgrimages to Jerusalem in Byzantium

As a large scale social and religious phenomenon in Byzantium, pilgrimages produced a good number of texts and other source materials.
A recent brief article from Bible History Daily discusses the Byzantine pilgrimage.
Jerusalem has been revered as a holy city for millennia—with pilgrims a staple feature in its bustling streets. Egeria’s Travels and the journals of the Bordeaux Pilgrim and the Piacenza Pilgrim demonstrate that this was as true in the Byzantine period as it is today.
Click here to read it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Byzantine local complex discovered in Israel

Israel's Antiquities Authority announced a recent discovery of a compound near Beit Shemeish dating from the Byzantine era.

The complex consists of olive presses, mosaics, and wine presses.

Irene Zilberbod and Tehila Libman, excavation directors for the Antiquities Authority said:

It is true we did not find a church at the site or an inscription or any other unequivocal evidence of religious worship. Nevertheless, the impressive construction, the dating to the Byzantine period, the magnificent mosaic floors, window and roof tile artifacts, as well as the agricultural-industrial installations inside the dwelling compound are all known to us from numerous other contemporary monasteries.
Click here for the full report 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Archaeologists uncover synagogue mosaic of first non-biblical scene

American archaeologists have recently found what they believe to be the first non-biblical scene in a synagogue mosaic.
The report mentions three mosaics with very different iconographic models found in the 5th c. synagogue at Huqoq, in Israel’s Lower Galilee. In particular, what struck the researchers was the image of an elephant, an animal which can be rarely found in the Hebrew Bible but it was generally associated with Alexander the Great.

Click here to read the full report

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Free Ebook: Dialoguing in Late Antiquity by A. Cameron

Harvard's Center for Hellenic Studies has recently published online A. Cameron's volume on Dialoguing in Late Antiquity.

A passage from the Introduction:
This book is about a particular form of writing by Christians in late antiquity, sometimes referred to as “the philosophical dialogue”—although by no means all the dialogues in question can be regarded as philosophical. The subject is central to the much wider question of the development of a specifically Christian rhetoric, especially in Perelman’s sense in which “the realm of rhetoric” constitutes “the entire universe of argumentative discourse,” [1] for Christian writers did indeed use the dialogue form as part of their argumentative endeavor.

Click here to read the book

Sunday, September 14, 2014

New Book on Early Monastic Practices and Coptic Christianity

The Canons of Our Fathers. Monastic Rules of Shenoute by Bentley Layton
From the presentation of the book:
This book is the first publication of a very early collection of Christian monastic rules from Roman Egypt. Designed for the so-called White Monastery Federation, a community of monks and nuns who banded together about 360 CE, the rules are quoted by the great monastic leader Shenoute of Atripe in his writings of the fourth and fifth century. These rules provide new and intimate access to the earliest phases of Christian communal (cenobitic) monasticism.
The Table of Contents:

I: The Nature of the Rules
1: The Historical Context of the Rules
2: The Corpus of Monastic Rules
3: Monastic Life as seen in the Rules
4: Monastic Experience and Monastic Rules
Subject Index to Part I
Index of Rule Numbers cited in Part III
I: Corpus of Monastic Rules
Abbreviations for Libraries and Museums Holding the Coptic Manuscripts
Editorial SignsThe Rules, Edited and Translated
Concordance of Manuscript References and Rule Numbers

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