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e-Gorgias (Issue 19, June 2007)

 

Issue 19
June 2007
Reading Time: 15 minutes
 
Stafford, standing at right, was in charge of the regional BBC studio in Plymouth, England, during World War II. The seated lady is Queen Mary, who was at the studio for a public service broadcast.


"Connections" is our theme for the June 2007 eGorgias. We've recently heard from a reader whose grandfather is one of our authors. You can read about Alastair Smith and his grandfather, Lieutenant Colonel Ronald S. Stafford, in our Enthusiast column. Stafford, who led a highly interesting life, wrote The Tragedy of the Assyrians based on his experiences working for the British government in Iraq before and during the 1933 Assyrian massacres. Another connection we've recently discovered is that a historical figure from one of our Cultures in Dialogue books was the basis for a character in a play currently showing in London. Curious? Read on!

Here's a look at this month's eGorgias:


 

  • Recently Released: Our latest titles
  • Coming Soon: The American Journal of Ancient History
  • From the Acquisitions Desk: Acquisitions Editor Steve Wiggins explores Jesus and has suggestions for beach reading
  • News: Play Pera Palas features Gorgias historical figure
  • June Enthusiast of the Month: Alastair Smith, grandson of Gorgias author R.S. Stafford
  • Conferences: American Theological Library Association; North American Syriac Studies Symposium; report on AAH Conference

 


 





Gorgias Press joins the historical Jesus debate with David Fiensy's new book, Jesus the Galilean. You can find a full description of this and any of our books on our website, www.gorgiaspress.com.

 

Jesus the Galilean
By David A. Fiensy

ISBN 978-1-59333-313-3, Hardback, $68

Who was Jesus, really? That question has been debated by academics for the last two centuries, and contributions to this important issue in the history of Christianity are still making an impact on public opinion. Jesus the Galilean takes soundings in the life of the historical Jesus based on four readings from the Gospel of Mark which represent some of the most controversial issues in the current scholarly discussion about the historical Jesus. Using such resources as the background of the New Testament, archaeological studies, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Mishnah, and the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, this book explores what can be known about the historical Jesus in the historic Galilee.



The History, Poetry, and Genealogy of the Yemen
By Elise W. Crosby

ISBN 978-1-59333-394-2, Hardback, $78

The history, poetry, and genealogy of the Yemen is the earliest known history of pre-Islamic Yemen. Attributed to the South Arabian historian ‘Abid b. Sharya al-Jurhumi d. 680 A.D.), it recounts in prose and poetry six saga cycles of ancient personages and events of the Yemen. Here, two sagas, the dispersion of Sam’s descendants from Babel to the Yemen, and the destruction of the tribes of ‘Ad and Thamud, are translated with complete annotation. The tales of Luqman b. ‘Ad and his seven vultures, Sulayman and Bilqis, the Himyarite kings, and Tasm and Jadis are given in full synopses.



Theodora
By Gregorios Boulos Behnam

ISBN 978-1-59333-314-0, Paperback, $29

Western sources have long referred to Theodora as an infamous and salacious courtesan who became Justinian’s empress. Syriac sources portray her as a woman of sublime character and decorum, the daughter of a priest. This historical play outlines her character according to the Syriac tradition. In writing the play, Bishop Gregorios Boulos Benham portrayed Theodora as a virtuous lady who won the heart of Justinian, who made her his Augusta and co-regent of his empire. Benham reveals her extraordinary devotion to her faith and piety as she strives to protect the Fathers of the Syrian Church who stood against the declarations of the council of Chalcedon and were persecuted for it. Now available in English, translator Matti Moosa gives new insight into what he sees as the erroneous Western view of the pious Theodora.



Adventures in Arabia
By William B. Seabrook

ISBN 978-1-59333-597-7, Hardback, $93

In this personal travelogue, William Seabrook chronicles his adventures in the Middle East in the early part of the twentieth century. Specifically he focuses on his time among four Arabic groups: the Bedouins, Druses, Dervishes, and Yezidees.



Scribal Habits of Codex Sinaiticus
By Dirk Jongkind

ISBN 978-1-59333-422-2, Hardback, $78

Codex Sinaiticus is one of the most famous and important manuscripts of the Bible. The book studies a variety of textual and non-textual phenomena of this manuscript in order to learn more about the individual scribes who were responsible for copying the text.



Perspectives on Hebrew Scriptures II
By Ehud Ben Zvi

ISBN 978-1-59333-612-7, Hardback, $123

This volume incorporates all the articles and reviews published from 2004 to 2005 in the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures.



Nebuchadnezzar's Dream or The End of a Medieval Catholic Church
By Roger Lenaers

ISBN 978-1-59333-583-0, Paperback, $49

The Catholic Church of the Third Millennium has retained its medieval images and formulations. The book suggests different ways for modern Catholics to speak about Scripture, hierarchy, Jesus, the afterlife, sacraments, sin, redemption, sacrifice, supplicating prayer and other issues.






 





Gorgias Press is pleased to announce that we will be publishing the American Journal of Ancient History. Edited by T. Corey Brennan of Rutgers University, this journal will be produced in one volume annually, beginning in 2008. Three back issues will be published in 2007. Annual subscription dues are $50.

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

 

Subscription for American Journal of Ancient History By T. Corey Brennan, ed.
The American Journal of Ancient History is directed towards the interests of the members of the Association of Ancient Historians. It publishes articles concerning the history of the ancient Mediterranean world and the history of other countries in their relations with it. The journal will be produced in one volume annually, beginning in 2008. The price for the subscription is $50 per issue; institutional and individual rates are the same.
ISBN 0362-8914, Paperback, $50

Drower's Folk-Tales of Iraq By Jorunn Jacobsen Buckley
A collection of folktales from Iraq, dating from the 1930s, found in the archives of the famous English Lady E. S. Drower (1879-1972), who was novelist, folklorist, specialist on the Mandaeans, and writer of travel accounts. The stories–carrying recognizable Near Eastern folk-tale features–feature monsters and heroes, maidens and fairies and they give a vivid picture of a now extinct oral folktale tradition. The Gorgias Press edition includes the 1931 tales as well as the previously unpublished tales.
ISBN 978-1-59333-360-7, Hardback, $120

The Origins of the Islamic State in 2 Volumes By abu-l 'Abbas Ahmad ibn-jabir Al-Baladhuri
This set is one of the most reliable sources on the beginnings of Islamic statehood. It covers the wars of Prophet Muhammad, the ridda wars, the conquests of Syria, Armenia, Egypt, the Maghrib, and the occupation of Iraq and Persia. The set also covers the spread of Islam into the outer-lying areas of the Middle East.
ISBN 978-1-59333-763-6, Hardback, $179

Studies in Arabic and Hebrew Letters in Honor of Raymond P. Scheindlin By Michael Rand and Jonathan P. Decter, eds.
This volume contains contributions, in English and Hebrew, on the following topics: Biblical criticism, Medieval Biblical lexicography, Classical and Post-Classical piyyut, Medieval Hebrew poetry and science, Judeo-Arabic poetry and epistolography, Classical Arabic poetry and prose, and the history of Jewish Studies in America.
ISBN 978-1-59333-701-8, Hardback, $86

The Military Consilium in Republican Rome By Pamela Delia Johnston
The consilium, or advisory council, played an important role in the everyday activities of the Roman magistrate in his role as military commander. This work is an in-depth look at the commander's consilium from its first depicted appearances in the accounts of the legendary period to 31 BC. The concilium adapted to meet changing needs and serves to illustrate how Romans felt about their own society. The role of the commander's consilium can be seen as a pragmatic compromise between the desire for competent leadership and personal ambition on the one hand, and the Romans' ever-present fear of tyrannical behavior on the other hand.
ISBN 978-1-59333-373-7, Hardback, $76

The History of the Governors of Egypt by Abu 'Umar Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Kindi By Nicholas August Koenig
Published for the first time in this book is the History of the Governors of Egypt by Abu Umar Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Kindi (d. 870). Edited from a single manuscript by Nicholas Koenig, this study is as close as possible to a critical edition when only one manuscript survives.
ISBN 978-1-59333-766-7, Hardback, $62

Athos and its Monasteries By F. W. Hasluck
The reader is taken through an historical synopsis of the complex from the beginnings of Athos through the nineteenth century. In this detailed and amply illustrated study, Hasluck begins with a description of the foundation of the monastic system on Athos and moves through the centuries and considers the administration of the monastery and its architecture in the light of early twentieth-century standards. A second part to the book includes a description of the twenty sovereign monasteries. This book remains a valuable resource for those interested in a major role played in Greek history by the region of Mount Athos.
ISBN 978-1-59333-767-4, Hardback, $74

Negotiating Island Identities By Ina Berg
Negotiating Island Identities explores the history of interaction between Crete and the Cycladic islands from the late Middle to Late Bronze II periods when Minoan influence was at its peak. Based on a thorough investigation of pottery assemblages from key sites, the book advocates a rethink of established acculturation scenarios (such as “Minoanisation”) in relation to the Cycladic islands. Openness or closure towards outside influences was not predetermined by cultural, geographical or ecological variables but was socially constructed. Island communities could consciously fashion their worlds and make choices about the nature and degree of interaction with their neighbours.
ISBN 978-1-59333-725-4, Hardback, $78

 


 





Few issues are as central to the Christian faith as the person and identity of Jesus of Nazareth. Gorgias Press is pleased to announce that David A. Fiensy’s new book on the subject, Jesus the Galilean: Soundings in a First Century Life is now available. If you are interested in the current state of the debate, this book is for you!

Also coming very shortly to our customers will be the first volume of the Gorgias Précis Portfolios series. This set of books will contain essays on a variety of subjects from both new and established scholars. Our first volume, Studies in Arabic and Hebrew Letters in Honor of Raymond P. Scheindlin, edited by Jonathan P. Decter and Michael Rand, will be of interest to our readers in the fields of Bible and Judaica. We are also pleased to announce that our acclaimed historical Women’s Studies series, Cultures in Dialogue, is preparing to go into its second series with several new titles and perspectives on the Middle East through the eyes of women.

Also, for our readers of ancient history, Gorgias Press is moving into production with the noteworthy serial American Journal of Ancient History. This journal, that began as a publication at Harvard University, has established itself as a central resource for both Classics and the field of history throughout the ancient world. It is scheduled to be produced in annual volumes beginning this very year. The back issues are currently in production and future issues are in preparation.

The growing public interest in the plight of the Mandaeans, an ancient people who have required refugee status because of religious and political oppression, should be satisfied with the reprint publication of Julius Heinrich Petermann’s classic edition of The Great Treasure, the sacred book of the Mandaeans. This forthcoming title is being published with a new introduction by Charles Häberl of Rutgers University. Even if your Mandaean is rusty, the new material will give you insight into what this historic religion believes.

Further reprints to add to your summer reading are appearing in the Gorgias Historic Travels in the Cradle of Civilization series. Exciting titles such as Adventures in Arabia, Winters in Algeria, and Persian Days will help you dream of far off lands in times past.

As I used to tell my students, make the summer an opportunity for reading! A summer without new ideas to ponder is a matter worthy of tears. Keep your eyes on our catalogue for new titles each month!

Steve Wiggins, Acquisitions Editor

 

Jesus the Galilean By David A. Fiensy
Who was Jesus, really? That question has been debated by academics for the last two centuries, and contributions to this important issue in the history of Christianity are still making an impact on public opinion. Jesus the Galilean takes soundings in the life of the historical Jesus based on four readings from the Gospel of Mark which represent some of the most controversial issues in the current scholarly discussion about the historical Jesus. Using such resources as the background of the New Testament, archaeological studies, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Mishnah, and the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, this book explores what can be known about the historical Jesus in the historic Galilee.
ISBN 978-1-59333-313-3, Hardback, $68

American Journal of Ancient History (New Series 2.2, 2003 [2007]) By T. Corey Brennan, ed.
The continuation of the historic American Journal of Ancient History this volume contains three articles: “Urartu and the Medikos logos of Herodotus” by Laura D. Steele, “‘The athletes of war’: An evaluation of the agonistic elements in Greek warfare” by John Dayton, and “Agesilaus’ Egyptian enterprise” by Stephen Ruzicka. This is volume 2, number 2 of the New Series (2003 [2007]).
ISBN 978-1-59333-746-9, Paperback, $50

American Journal of Ancient History (New Series 3-4, 2004-2005 [2007]) By T. Corey Brennan, ed.
The continuation of the historic American Journal of Ancient History this volume contains nine articles and comprises the contents of volumes 3 and 4 of the New Series (2004-2005 [2007]).
ISBN 978-1-59333-782-7, Paperback, $50

The Great Treasure or Great Book, commonly called "The Book of Adam," the Mandaeans' work of highest authority By Julius Heinrich Petermann
The rare source of Mandaic doctrines, the Bible of the Nasoreans, this fascinating work has been largely unavailable until now. “The Treasures,” or Ginza, written in the Nasorean script and language, was published in 1867 by J. H. Petermann. Now with an English translation of the introduction, this scarce resource is at last affordable.
ISBN 978-1-59333-525-0, Hardback, $268

 


 





London Theater Taps into Gorgias History

London's Arcola Theatre will soon be showing a play featuring a character based on a historical figure from a Gorgias Press book, Grace Ellison's An Englishwoman in a Turkish Harem. Reina Lewis, co-editor of Gorgias's Cultures in Dialogue (CID) series, attended a showing of Pera Palas and recognized the character from Ellison's book--no surprise, since she co-wrote (with Teresa Heffernan) the new introduction to the book. Reina contacted Sinan Ünel, the Turkish-American playwright who penned the play, and he confirmed that it was indeed the same figure.

Pera Palas by Ünel will be showing at the Arcola Theatre from 12 June - 7 July 2007. The play addresses the questions of what it means to be Turkish and how modern Turkey came into being.

From the final days of the Ottoman Empire, this epic play charts the political and cultural changes which have created modern Turkey. Pera Palas, the name of a famous ancient international hotel in Istanbul, focuses on three defining moments of Turkish social, cultural, and political history: 1918-1924, the end of World War I to the birth of the Republic; 1952-1953, the height of American influence; and 1994 when an Islamic revival challenged seventy years of official secularism.

Through three relationships the play explores the broadening scope of what is considered an acceptable relationship in Turkey, particularly the emancipation of women, the acceptance of homosexuality and the evolving relationship between Turks and Westerners.

CID series editor Reina Lewis and Sinan Ünel will present a pre-performance discussion on Saturday, 23 June, entitled "The Women Behind Pera Palas". The discussion will take place at 6:00 p.m. at Arcola Theatre. The event offers a unique opportunity to discover the history behind the play, to learn about the women and men who lived through the tumultuous changes that brought about modern Turkey, and to explore contemporary gender and sexual politics both in Turkey and internationally. This rare work of Grace Ellison, published in Gorgias Press's CID series, will be available for purchase.

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. Connected with progressive Ottoman elites discussing female and social emancipation, Ellison stayed in an Ottoman harem. Working as a respected journalist, both at home and abroad, she published articles about British-Turkish relations, Turkish nationalism, and the status of women across cultures. This book recounts Ellison’s stay with her friend Fâtima and features reports on motherhood, employment, polygamy, slavery, harem life, modernization, veiling, and prominent women writers. 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.






 





Our June eGorgias enthusiast, Alastair Smith, is the grandson of Ronald S. Stafford (1890-1972), whose book, The Tragedy of the Assyrians, is available from Gorgias Press. Alastair was searching for a copy of his grandfather’s book when he found our website. As we at GP are always pleased to hear about family connections, we asked Alastair more about his grandfather. He relates that his grandfather was definitely "old school British": "My memories are mostly of him puttering about out in his garden and smoking his pipe. While he had traveled to the mid and far east, he had never been to the U.S. I remember him teasing my sisters and me about us being from the 'colonies'. He was also an avid cricket fan and spent many an afternoon watching his favorite team on the 'telly'."

Ronald Stafford fought in World War I and later took up a government post in Iraq. His experiences there led to the writing of The Tragedy of the Assyrians. He wrote some biographical notes during his retirement, and Alastair supplied us with the following excerpts:

Ronald S. Stafford as a student at Cambridge University, c. 1910.

Ronald Stafford was born in Buenos Aires in 1890, the son of Edward Stafford and Teresa (Kruls) whose father was an Argentinean (but originally Dutch) and whose mother was an Argentinean. They moved to England when Ronald was seven months old. At Cambridge University, his first degree was in Latin and Greek and his second degree was Arabic and French, as he had already decided to join the British Colonial Service. In 1913 he sailed to Cairo as a trainee inspector working for the Egyptian Government which was advised by the British administration. At the outbreak of World War I in 1914 he volunteered immediately but he was at first refused permission to leave, finally arriving in England early in 1915. He was commissioned at once into the 60th Rifles, one of the best of the British infantry regiments. By May 1915 he was in the front line. He spent the next three years almost continuously in the line, commanding his regiment in 1918 as a Lieutenant Colonel at the age of 28. He was awarded the DSO and bar, the MC and was once recommended for the VC. By pure good fortune he was only once slightly wounded. Like so many others who fought in the trenches, he spoke little about these experiences but he was a brave man and a good leader. (Alastair adds that, after his grandfather’s death in 1972, his ashes were scattered [as was his wish] at the site of the 1916 battle of Delville Wood in Northern France, a battle in which his battalion lost almost two thirds of their strength.)

In 1919 he returned to Egypt and was appointed Inspector for Lower Egypt (the Nile Delta) at a time when security was poor after demonstrations against the British presence. In 1926 he took up a post as a District Inspector in Iraq, a newly created country following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. This was a happy and successful period of his life, married (to Mary Dixon) with two small children, and making many friends amongst the Iraqis. In 1933 he repeatedly warned the Iraqi Government that unless certain sections of the Army could be restrained there would be a massacre of Assyrian Christians. He demanded that those responsible should be punished and when the Government told him that this was impossible he resigned. He was urged to stay - the Iraqi ministers saying that of all the British officials he was the one they most respected - but he refused to change his mind.

In 1936 he joined the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) as "Defense Director" with the task of drawing up plans for the dispersal of the departments of the BBC from London in case of war, as air attacks were expected. When war broke out in 1939 he put these plans into operation and remained in London throughout the worst of the blitzes. Although never directly in danger from German bombs he had a lucky escape when the car in which he was being driven, with full blacked out lights, ran into the back of a lorry, killing the driver. By 1942 he was exhausted and was temporarily appointed as West Region Director based in Bristol, and in 1943 he moved to take over as the Director of the BBC's Plymouth office from which he finally retired in 1952. He much enjoyed this last and not very strenuous part of his life. In 1946 he had moved the family to a large Queen Anne house near Plymouth where he gardened, kept pigs and grew tobacco which, after curing, he smoked, filling the house with acrid smoke!

He had very good, old fashioned manners, but on one occasion he put on his pith helmet with a hornet inside which stung him on his rather bald head and his young son Hugh learnt a very interesting selection of swear words.

We thank Alastair for looking us up and sharing these family stories with us and our readers!

 

The Tragedy of the Assyrians
By R. S. Stafford

ISBN 1-59333-413-3, Hardback, $68

The Tragedy of the Assyrians depicts the massacres that befell the Assyrians in Iraq in 1933, following their uprooting from their homelands during World War I.




 





Gorgias Press will be exhibiting at the conferences and meetings listed below, offering a special discount to conference attendees for not just the books in display but for all items in our current catalog. In addition, our editors will also be present at these meetings should you have a manuscript proposal which you would like to discuss with us.

Gorgias Press will be at the following conferences:

Conference Report: American Association of Historians, Princeton University, May 3-6

Scholars of ancient history descended on Princeton University in mid-May for the annual meeting of the Association of Ancient Historians. Georgias Press was pleased to be in the company of publishers of classics and significant works of our cultural heritage in antiquity. T. Corey Brennan, the editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Ancient History stopped by our table, as did several potential authors and fans. One women spent several minutes looking at our books and asked "Why have I not heard of Gorgias Press before?" Those of you who read our on-line announcements can help to get the word out—tell others about all that Gorgias Press has to offer! Ancient historians and modern scholars alike find our offerings intriguing, if they know where to look.

Conference Bestsellers

The following titles were bestsellers at the recent AAH Conference:

The Phoenician Solar Theology
By Joseph Azize

ISBN 1-59333-210-6, Hardback, $76

This book, the first study of its kind, contends that an authentic Phoenician solar theology existed, reaching back to at least the fifth or sixth century BCE. Through Azize’s examination, a portrait of a vibrant Phoenician tradition of spiritual thought emerges: a native tradition not dependent upon Hellenic thought, but related to other Semitic cultures of the ancient Near East, and, of course, to Egypt. In light of this analysis, it can be seen that Phoenician religion possessed a unique organizing power in which the sun, the sun god, life, death, and humanity, were linked in a profound system.



Subscription for American Journal of Ancient History
By T. Corey Brennan, ed.

ISBN 0362-8914, Paperback, $50

The American Journal of Ancient History is directed towards the interests of the members of the Association of Ancient Historians. It publishes articles concerning the history of the ancient Mediterranean world and the history of other countries in their relations with it. The journal will be produced in one volume annually, beginning in 2008. The price for the subscription is $50 per issue; institutional and individual rates are the same.




 





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