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e-Gorgias (Issue 16, March 2007)


Issue 16
March 2007
Reading Time: 20 minutes

We have a full and interesting newsletter for our readers! Gorgias Press is pleased to announce that the winners of the 2007 Book Grant are Thomas Carlson (University of Oxford) and Joseph Witztum (Princeton University). Thomas and Joseph will each receive free books up to the amount of $500.00 from Gorgias Press to assist in their research and studies. Read more about them in our "News" section below. Gorgiasians have chosen a previous Book Grant winner, Na'ama Pat-El who thinks that "Gorgias Press is a life saver", as our March Enthusiast of the Month; you can read about her in our Enthusiast column. Ms. Pat-El's feature is also in recognition of March as Women's History Month. Gorgias Press publishes a number of titles that are by or about women. These titles have been highlighted in a new monthly feature, "From the Acquisitions Desk", which will inform our readers of works that are in the pipeline. This column is written by our Acquisitions Editor, Steve Wiggins. Here's a look at this month's eGorgias:


  • Recent Releases
  • Coming Soon: Books to be released shortly, as well as new additions to our catalog
  • From the Acquisitions Desk: Our new monthly feature by Acquisitions Editor Steve Wiggins
  • News: Read all about our 2007 Book Grant Winners
  • March Gorgias Enthusiast of the Month: Na'ama Pat-El, Harvard doctoral student and previous Gorgias Book Grant winner.
  • Reviews
  • Conferences



This month's Recent Releases begins with Grace Ellison's An Englishwoman in a Turkish Harem, which is part of our Cultures in Dialogue series.


An Englishwoman in a Turkish Harem
By Grace Ellison

ISBN 978-1-59333-211-2, Hardback, $65

Grace Ellison (d. 1935) actively encouraged dialogues between Turkish and British women at the outset of the twentieth century. Despite an impressive legacy, Ellison and her work have almost disappeared from the historical record; the republication of this 1915 work aims to address this neglect.

The Ascetical Homilies of Mar Isaac of Nineveh, Edited by Paul Bedjan
By Isaac of Nineveh

ISBN 978-1-59333-389-8, Hardback, $140

St. Isaac of Nineveh, or, as he is sometimes known, St. Isaac the Syrian, was born in the region of modern Qatar and lived during the seventh century. Ordained as the bishop of Nineveh sometime between 661 and 681 CE, Isaac withdrew from his ecclesiastical office after only five months, retiring to live as a monastic hermit in the mountains of southeastern Iraq. Translated from their original Syriac into a number of other languages, St. Isaac’s spiritual writings have been read by Christian monastics for centuries. The present volume gives the original Syriac text edited by Paul Bedjan.

The Book of Crumbs: An Anthology of Syriac Texts
By Anonymous

ISBN 1-59333-415-X, Hardback, $78

An anthology of Syriac texts from the Syriac fathers. Each author is first introduced in Syriac, and then excerpts from his writings are given. The texts begin with the Abgar Legend (the Acts of Addai) and end with the writings of the sixteenth century author Abdisho of Jazirah.

Aramaic (Syriac) Grammar
By Thomas Arayathinal

ISBN 978-1-59333-512-0, Hardback, $198

Arayathinal’s grammar is among the most comprehensive Syriac grammars ever produced. Designed as a teaching text, this volume is also a solid reference grammar for use by advanced scholars and beginners alike.

Adrian Fortescue and the Eastern Christian Churches
By Anthony Dragani

ISBN 978-1-59333-345-4, Hardback, $76

Adrian Fortescue (1874-1923) was recognized as one of England’s foremost authorities on Eastern Christianity. This book is a critical examination of his writings on the subject, analyzing what he said about the Eastern Christian Churches, and highlighting his insights into key questions.

The Witness of the Vulgate, Peshitta and Septuagint to the Text of Zephaniah
By Sidney Zandstra

ISBN 978-1-59333-567-0, Paperback, $29

Zandstra focuses specifically on the text of the prophetic book of Zephaniah. Comparing the Latin Vulgate, the Syriac Peshitta, and the Greek Septuagint, against the original Hebrew of the text he concludes that these versions are interdependent. Zandstra also considers the variants between these primary witnesses and the Massoretic Text.

Ephrem the Syrian: Select Poems
By Sebastian Brock and George Kiraz

ISBN 978-0-934893-65-7, Hardback, $36

The most important poet-theologian of the ancient Syriac Church, St. Ephrem wrote many works that are still in use today. In this handsome volume, twenty of Ephrem the Syrian’s poems are arranged in compliance with the saint’s understanding of salvation history. These poems, starting with paradise and running through the sacramental life of the church, are a proficuous introduction to the thought of Ephrem.


Click here for a complete list of our soon-to-be-published books.

Eastern Crossroads: Essays on Medieval Christian Legacy By Juan Pedro Monferrer-Sala
The chapters of this volume explore both broad themes and specific topics dealing with several aspects connected with the Eastern Christian Legacy. The volume illustrates the strength of Christian cultural life through the Middle Ages under different socio-political situations, including the context of a predominately Islamic culture.
ISBN 978-1-59333-610-3, Hardback, $98

Arabic Christian Poets Before and After Islam By Louis Cheikho
The accepted standard of Christian poetry in an Islamic context, this two-volume collection contains vocalized Arabic poems, biographical introductions, and commentary. Volume one includes poets from before the Islamic period while volume two covers those during the Islamic period.
ISBN 978-1-59333-536-6, Hardback, $312

The ‘Book of Heraclides of Damascus’: The Theological Apologia of Mar Nestorius By Paul Bedjan
Nestorius, deposed by the Council of Ephesus, spent his final years composing an apologia defending his theological beliefs, which became known as the ‘Book (or ‘Bazaar’) of Heraclides’. The Greek original is lost, but this Syriac translation survived in a single manuscript in the library of the Catholicos of the East, in his mountain retreat of Qodshanes. Bedjan gives an edition of this vital Syriac text.
ISBN 978-1-59333-400-0, Hardback, $180

The Book of Ethics By Gregory Abulfaraj Bar Hebraeus
Bar Hebraeus, a celebrated Syriac writer of the thirteenth century, wrote on nearly every subject imaginable. The Book of Ethics is a manual of discipline and etiquette covering secular life as well as spiritual life.
ISBN 978-1-59333-421-5, Hardback, $140

The Cosmic Covenant By Robert Murray
Murray’s study of the covenant theme begins with a chronological survey of the concept, beginning at the creation itself. He traces this theme through the Bible, noting its key components of justice and peace. The concept is a shared one between Judaism and Christianity, and Murray suggests that it continues to have ecological as well as spiritual relevance to the world today.
ISBN 978-1-59333-604-2, Hardback, $85

The Book of the Laws of Countries: Dialogue on Fate of Bardaisan of Edessa By H. J. W. Drijvers
The Book of the Laws of Countries (BLC) by Bardaisan of Edessa belongs to the most important writings of early Syriac literature. The text reflects the intellectual climate of northern Mesopotamia and in particular that of the city of Edessa, at the end of the second century and the first decades of the third century CE.
ISBN 978-1-59333-371-3, Hardback, $58

The Ancient Egyptians and the Origin of Civilization By G. Elliot Smith
This monograph, in its second, hard-to-locate edition, proposes a connection between prehistoric monumental European sites and those of the Pyramid Age in Egypt. Using ethnicity as a basis, Smith ties the ancient peoples of Egypt to those of Syria and discusses how Egyptian culture spread from its point of origin.
ISBN 978-1-59333-609-7, Hardback, $76



Dr. Steve Wiggins joined Gorgias Press in October 2006 to fill the newly-created position of Acquisitions Editor. Steve’s numerous academic colleagues and contacts, gained over many years of teaching and paper-presenting in the fields of Ancient Near Eastern Studies and Hebrew Bible, have made him invaluable to Gorgias Press. The recent influx of new submissions to Gorgias attest to the dedication he has brought to his position. You can read more about him in his staff bio at

Steve will be writing a monthly Acquisitions column, the purpose of which is to inform our readers of the intriguing projects we have in the works for you. His first column highlights Women’s History Month. We’ll let Steve take it from here:

"As a specialist in ancient Semitic goddesses, I have encountered many writings from scholars focusing on the underrepresented role of women in academic writing (many of the researchers in my field are women). A substantial backlog of material from women writers does exist, but it has seldom received the attention it deserves. Gorgias Press is committed to bringing the historic writings of women back into print – this is evident in our Cultures in Dialogue series where several observations about the Middle East written by women who experienced them firsthand are reprinted.
Perhaps less obvious in our new books list are the many titles produced by women across the academic disciplines of archaeology, language study, and religious studies in general. These titles add a rich layer to our offerings generally, and we encourage further submissions. Gorgias Press also has an interest in receiving submissions in the area of Women’s Studies as an academic discipline. This dynamic field of studies still finds an unsympathetic eye from some publishers, but we are glad to consider quality works in this field. (Submissions may be made electronically to
I would also like to take this opportunity to announce the publication of an exciting new imprint, our forthcoming books with the Tigris Imprint. Tigris books are quality academic books that are intended to reach a wider audience than more technical works such as dissertations or linguistic studies. Our carefully selected titles for this Imprint are reviewed for content before being accepted, and will reach an array of intelligent readers interested in the many fields represented by Gorgias Press publications."

Thanks, Steve, and welcome to Gorgias Press!

In honor of Women's History Month, we have highlighted a few of our many titles by women and about women; titles which represent the diversity of women's experience:


An Englishwoman in a Turkish Harem
By Grace Ellison

ISBN 978-1-59333-211-2, Hardback, $65

Grace Ellison (d. 1935) actively encouraged dialogues between Turkish and British women at the outset of the twentieth century. Despite an impressive legacy, Ellison and her work have almost disappeared from the historical record; the republication of this 1915 work aims to address this neglect.

Shirin: Christian - Queen - Myth of Love
By Wilhelm Baum

ISBN 1-59333-282-3, Paperback, $39

Shirin, the beloved wife of the Persian shah, Chosroes II (b. 628), pulled political strings behind the scenes and supported the Christian minority in Iran.

Life of Saint Nino
By Margery Wardrop

ISBN 1-59333-471-0, Paperback, $29

This translation makes readily available the basic hagiography of St. Nino. Apart from her personal significance, St. Nino represents the important place that women held in the introduction of Christianity to Georgia. Text critical material is offered, and chapters 8 through 11 of the Armenian version are presented.

Sunshine and Storm in the East, or Cruises to Cyprus and Constantinople
By Lady Annie Brassey

ISBN 1-59333-202-5, Hardback, $65

This diary records two voyages to Constantinople, made by Lady Annie Brassey, and demonstrates her keen eye for human interest and narrative detail. The modern reader will glimpse natural wonders and cultural distinctions of Portuagal, Spain, Moroco, Italy, Greece, and Turkey, during the mid-1870s.

Memoirs of Halide Edib
By Halide Edib Adivar

ISBN 1-59333-206-8, Hardback, $67

Halide Adivar Edib (1882-1964) was one of Turkey's leading feminists in the Young Turk and early Republican period. In this work, Edib’s account of her private life provides a unique example of a woman’s individual and personal struggle for emancipation and gender equality.

By Selma Ekrem

ISBN 1-59333-209-2, Hardback, $65

This book covers Ekrem's family's sojourns outside of Istanbul, when her father was governor of Jerusalem during the 1908 Young Turk revolution. It also covers his governorship of the Greek Archipelago Islands, where the family was held captive during the Balkan Wars.

The Wives of Prophet Muhammad
By Bint Al-Shati

ISBN 1-59333-398-6, Hardback, $48

This is an account of the family life of the Prophet Muhammad, concerning the noble ladies who lived in his house. The author tries to visualize the life of each of the women, their relationships with the Prophet, and their roles as wives and women. The work is based on authentic Islamic sources such as Tabari, Waqidi, Ibn Ishaq, and Ibn Hisham. The author concentrates on the life of Muhammad among his wives, and on his treatment and discipline of them. This text gives an insight into the life of women at the beginning of the Islamic Era.

Justinian and Theodora
By Robert Browning

ISBN 1-59333-053-7, Paperback, $48

Browning’s acclaimed biography of this extraordinary and enigmatic couple includes every aspect of imperial administration and policy. It is the story of a peasant's son, who becomes emperor and enthrones a dissolute actress beside him.

Bible, Map and Spade
By Rachel Hallote

ISBN 1-59333-347-1, Hardback, $76

This volume resurrects the forgotten history of early American involvement in biblical archaeology. Frederick Jones Bliss, an American from a prominent missionary family, is central to the story as he was the first of any nationality to scientifically excavate the tells of Palestine.

The Small Temple
By Sara Karz Reid

ISBN 1-59333-339-0, Hardback, $76

Excavation of the Small Temple of Petra, Jordan has revealed a Roman building likely dedicated to the imperial cult. Constructed in the wake of Roman annexation of Nabataea in 106 CE, the temple would have helped to solidify Roman control.


Gorgias Announces Book Grant Winners: Thomas Carlson and Joseph Witztum

It has become a cliché to hear an institution say that "the quality of applications for this award was very high". But Gorgias staff were truly impressed at the diversity and, yes, quality, of the applicants for our book grants. It is tremendously encouraging to see the ideas that young scholars are bringing to important areas of research. We thank all of our applicants for their interest in Gorgias Press, and we wish them well. The winners of the 2007 Gorgias Book Grant are Thomas Carlson at the University of Oxford and Joseph Witztum at Princeton University, who are studying, respectively, in the fields of Syriac Studies and the mutual influences of the Quran and Syriac Christianity. We introduce them here:

Thomas Carlson earned a Master of Divinity at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL, and is pursuing a Master of Studies in Syriac at Oxford University in order to become better acquainted with Syriac-speaking churches. He is currently preparing for doctoral studies in the history of the medieval Church of the East. Thomas is married, and he enjoys languages, Sudoku, and reading widely in ecclesiastical history. He was pleased to be awarded a Book Grant, saying, "Gorgias Press not only publishes some of the most important specialist works about the Syriac church history, but also branches out into other related disciplines. These books will help me broaden as well as deepen my studies."

Joseph Witztum tells us: "I completed a BA and MA in Arabic Language and Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and am presently a second year graduate student in the Near Eastern Studies Department at Princeton University. Among my interests are the Quran, Syraic Christianity and possible connections between the two. I wish to thank Gorgias Press for their generous grant." Joseph intends to write his disseration on the Quran, and is particularly interested in its Jewish and Christian sources. He plans to use the book grant to acquire Syriac texts which will allow him to conduct detailed comparisons between the Quran and its possible Syriac sources.

Congratulations, Thomas and Joseph, and we wish you all the best in your studies and future research!

In addition to our Book Grant winners, Gorgias Book Grant Committee selected six applicants to receive individual books chosen by the Gorgias committee. These scholars, and the books they will receive, are:



In honor of Women's History Month and our new Book Grant winners, Gorgiasians have chosen Na'ama Pat-El, a previous Book Grant winner, as our March Enthusiast of the Month.

Na'ama was born in Israel. After what she calls "a brief infatuation with the Germanic languages", she shifted to Bible and Semitic Linguistics. Na'ama's bachelor's degree is in Indo-European Linguistics, and she has earned two master's degrees in Semitic Philology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Harvard University. She is currently working on her disseration, entitled "Studies in the Historical Syntax of Aramaic" at Harvard, under the supervision of John Huehnergard; the completed work will be published by Gorgias Press. Her research examines the syntactical development of Aramaic from its first attestations to the modern dialects. Na'ama has published several papers on the syntax of Aramaic, Classical Hebrew and comparative Semitic. Her interests include syntax, languages in contact and historical linguistics.

Na'ama discoverd Gorgias Press while searching for one of William Wright's books. She says:

"Gorgias Press is a life-saver, especially for young scholars. I would never have been able to afford my current library without their reasonable pricing policy and understanding of the field. Their reprints have allowed me to purchase many original texts in both Syriac and Arabic. In the past, I had to read carefully through mangy copies of the texts I needed, if I even found them in the libraries; actually owning one was, of course, out of the question. I have found Gorgias Press and George Kiraz to be very attentive to requests and genuinely interested in their customers."

Gorgias Press thanks Na'ama for her kind remarks, and we send our best wishes for the completion of her degree. Na'ama has the following recommendations from the Press:


Aramaic (Syriac) Grammar
By Thomas Arayathinal

ISBN 978-1-59333-512-0, Hardback, $198

Arayathinal’s grammar is among the most comprehensive Syriac grammars ever produced. Designed as a teaching text, this volume is also a solid reference grammar for use by advanced scholars and beginners alike.

Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles
By William Wright

ISBN 1-59333-244-0, Hardback, $95

Originally published in 1871, Wright’s work was marked by the author’s diligent care to transmit the best manuscript sources at his disposal. Here, Wright’s two volumes of Syriac texts and English translations are presented in this Gorgias Press edition.


International scholars have been reading and reviewing Gorgias books. Here are excerpts from recent reviews for two books:

Aaron D. Rubin, Samuel David Luzzatto: Prolegomena to a Grammar of the Hebrew Language.

"The translator, Aaron D. Rubin, is to be commended for this enterprise, which is an important contribution to the history of Hebrew grammar in two ways: (1) through Luzzatto's enormous erudition we get a rich overview of the scholars who preceded him, from the earliest Puntatori down to his own time; and (2) Luzzatto had a few things to say on the matter himself that, even if outdated, are still worth listening to. This rare work can now reach the larger audience it deserves."
Arian Verheij, University of Amsterdam, Review of Biblical Literature

Magnus Widell, The Administrative and Economic Ur III Texts from the City of Ur.

"M. Widell has presented a very useful material, which will make more accessible the corpus of Neo-Sumerian texts from Ur to Sumerologists and scholars in other fields. We must be very grateful to him for such an important contribution."
Manuel Molina, Instituto de Filología, CSIC Madrid, Bibliotheca Orientalis, vol. 63, nos. 3-4, pg. 311.

Samuel David Luzzatto, Prolegomena to a Grammar of the Hebrew Language
By Aaron Rubin

ISBN 1-59333-334-X, Hardback, $59

Translated for the first time, with annotations and useful additions, this long under-appreciated work of S. D. Luzzatto is now available to modern scholars. A history of both Hebrew and Hebrew scholarship, it is replete with valuable information and insight.

The Administrative and Economic Ur III Texts from the City of Ur
By Magnus Widell

ISBN 1-59333-065-0, Paperback, $48

This reference book makes the 3284 administrative and economic Ur III texts accessible to Sumerologists and scholars from related fields.


Gorgias Press will be present at the Pappas Patristics Conference, March 15-17, Boston, Massachusetts. Please stop by our table and say "hello"!



Gorgias Press
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Tel. +1 732-699-0343
Fax. +1 732-699-0342