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e-Gorgias (Issue 62, February 2013)

Issue 62
February 2013
Reading Time: 10 minutes 


This issue of eGorgias is full of exciting news from around the Press. As we enter the second month of 2013, we are delighted to present you with exciting new titles. Be sure to check out our Acquisitions column below for more on our newest series, Munaqashat: Gorgias Studies in the Modern Middle East. Also see our Reviews section for a recent scholarly review of David Bertaina's Christian and Muslim Dialogues. Additionally, our News section features a new, fascinating article in Smithsonian Magazine on Gorgias author and friend Professor Geoffrey Khan's research. We are also pleased to bring back our Enthusiast of the Month section for this issue to highlight exceptional Gorgias Press fans and friends.

I am pleased to announce that we are accepting applications for our 2013 Book Grant for graduate students. Please see our News section, or visit the Book Grants page on our website for more information.

Subscribe now for our amazing, limited-time only Antioch Bible deal to lock the price of all future volumes at half off the list price (orig. $150/volume, now $75/volume with subscription discount). Please note that the 50% off is only for subscribers to the series and not the individual books.

Finally, if you would like to unsubscribe from eGorgias, the link can be found at the top and bottom of this newsletter.

Happy reading,

Christine Kiraz


  • Recently Released
  • From the Acquisitions Desk
  • Coming Soon
  • News: Job Opening at GP; Geoffrey Khan in Smithsonian Magazine 
  • Enthusiast of the Month: James Walters, Princeton Theological Seminary
  • Reviews



Below is a select list of recent releases. For the complete list, please visit our Just Published page.


Seeing the God
By Jeffrey Pettis

ISBN 978-1-61143-251-0
Hardback, $176.8 (BiblioPerks™ $159.12)

Seeing the God: Ways of Envisioning the Divine in Ancient Mediterranean Religion is a collection of essays exploring the concept of how the ancients “envisioned” the deities within various ancient religious traditions, including Judaism, Gnosticism, Syriac Christianity, Byzantium, and Classical Greco-Roman religion and philosophy.

Fifty Years in Constantinople and Recollections of Robert College
By George Washburn

ISBN 978-1-4632-0028-2
Hardback, $209.56 (BiblioPerks™ $188.60)

George Washburn’s memoir describes characters and events during his presidency of Robert College (1877–1903), the first American missionary college in the Ottoman Empire and the Near East, and the first American college founded outside the United States, as well as the rivalry between the declining Ottoman Empire and the rapidly growing United States.

Cantus scriptus: Technologies of Medieval Song
By Lynn Ransom

ISBN 978-1-61719-056-8
Hardback, $125 (BiblioPerks™ $112.50)

This volume gathers six essays from papers presented at the 3rd Annual Lawrence J. Schoenberg Symposium held at the University of Pennsylvania and the Free Library of Philadelphia in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 19-20, 2010. The essays explore both the technology of inscribed musical expression in the Middle Ages—especially in regard to notation—and the role that modern digital technologies play in facilitating the study of music manuscripts today.

Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies (volume 15)
By George A. Kiraz

ISBN 978-1-4632-0219-4
Paperback, $75 (BiblioPerks™ $67.50)

Widely regarded as a premier journal dedicated to the study of Syriac, Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies was established in 1998 as a venue devoted exclusively to the discipline. An organ of Beth Mardutho, the Syriac Institute, the journal appears semi-annually and will be printed in annual editions. A peer-reviewed journal, Hugoye is a respected academic source for up-to-date information about the state of Syriac studies and for discovering what is going on in the field. Contributors include some of the most respected names in the world of Syriac today.

Conceptual Metaphors in Poetic Texts
By Antje Labahn

ISBN 978-1-61719-029-2
Hardback, $165.1 (BiblioPerks™ $148.59)

The articles of this book understand conceptual metaphors as interpretation of various aspects of life in general, about God, heaven and earth. They link metaphorical language to an overall understanding of concepts of world view.

First Came Marriage
By Susan Marks

ISBN 978-1-59333-585-4
Hardback, $183.04 (BiblioPerks™ $164.74)

Competing ritual and historical perspectives each provide only a partial view of early Jewish weddings. Combining these approaches allows for a new look at practices rejected or highlighted by early rabbis and their successors, and First Came Marriage: The Rabbinic Appropriation of Early Jewish Wedding Ritual investigates the process by which early Jews married and the various moves they used to minimize, elaborate or codify these practices.

The Account of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Yūḥanun Bar Šay Allāh (1483–1492)
By Iskandar Bcheiry

ISBN 978-1-4632-0213-2
Hardback, $147.16 (BiblioPerks™ $132.44)

This volume provides an analysis of a late fifteenth century document, a hitherto unpublished narration of the life and accomplishments of Yūḥanun Bar Šay Allāh, a fifteenth-century Syriac Orthodox Patriarch.

Notables, Merchants, and Shaykhs of Southern Iran and Its Ports
By Thomas Ricks

ISBN 978-1-59333-957-9
Hardback, $196.69 (BiblioPerks™ $177.02)

Unlike the traditional 18th and early 19th century historical narratives, the present work focuses on the trade and politics of local merchants and port rulers as a way of understanding the continued stability of Persian, Arab, Armenian, Jewish and Indian communities during a period frequently described as one of “anarchy” and “piracy.”


Here is a select list of forthcoming publications. Click here for a complete list.


The Way of the Sevenfold Secret By Lilias Trotter
Lilias Trotter moved from England to Algiers in 1888, at the age of 35, and died there in 1928. In the latter stages of her mission there, she wrote specifically for Muslims influenced by mysticism. Lilias based The Way of the Sevenfold Secret on Christ’s seven ‘I am’ sayings in John’s gospel, and attempted to link them to the traditional seven steps taken by members of Sufi orders in their quest for union with God. This republication should enable readers to capture the essence of a woman whose legacy is vitally alive for our times.
ISBN 978-1-61719-942-4, Hardback, $165.49 (BiblioPerks™ $148.94)

The Filioque Impasse By Michelle Coetzee
A fascinating study of the underlying reasons for the disagreement over the clause “and the Son” in the Western version of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan creed, which contributed to the tragic schism between Eastern and Western Christians in the 11th century.
ISBN 978-1-60724-585-8, Hardback, $185.77 (BiblioPerks™ $167.19)

Early Christian Attitudes to War, Violence and Military Service By Despina Iosif
The early Christians were not of one mind when it came to war, violence and military service. There was a bewildering variety of opinion as to how they understood their place in the world. It seems however that generally they did not stand apart from society; on the contrary, they were happy to integrate and conform and they often accepted war and service in the army as activities which did not raise specific ethical problems.
ISBN 978-1-61143-486-6, Hardback, $191.62 (BiblioPerks™ $172.46)

Jacob of Sarug’s Homily on the Sinful Woman By Scott Fitzgerald Johnson
This volume gives a bilingual Syriac-English edition of Saint Jacob of Sarug’s homily on the Sinful Woman. The Syriac text is fully vocalized, and the translation is annotated with a commentary and biblical references. The volume constitutes a fascicle of Gorgias’s Complete Homilies of Saint Jacob of Sarug.
ISBN 978-1-61719-834-2, Paperback, $35.75 (BiblioPerks™ $32.18)

Queen Esther’s Garden By Vera Moreen
This anthology brings to English-language readers the riches of the Judaeo-Persian literary tradition produced by the Jewish community of Iran between the eighth and nineteenth centuries. Most of the translations were prepared specifically for this anthology from unpublished manuscripts. Extensive notes accompany each selection to clarify its meaning in Jewish and Islamic history and legend.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0161-6, Paperback, $108.25 (BiblioPerks™ $97.43)



This month, we are happy to announce a variety of forthcoming publications in the fields of Classics, Syriac Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, and Jewish Studies.

Antonio Maria Ceriani's Codex Syro-Hexaplaris Ambrosianus is about to go to press; it is a facsimile reprint of a Syriac manuscript with a new introduction. Also in press is Keter Shem Tov: Collected Essays on the Dead Sea Scrolls in Memory of Alan Crown, edited by Ian Young and Shani Tzoref.

We also are pleased to announce our new series, Munaqashat: Gorgias Studies in the Modern Middle East. The series was born from many a discussion at Gorgias Press about expanding further into the realm of mainstream Middle Eastern Studies. Given my educational background in the field, I envisioned the series to be one that takes a critical, interdisciplinary approach to understanding the social, political, and historical developments in the modern Middle East (specifically the Arab world, Turkey, and Iran) from the late Ottoman period to the present. Hence, we chose the name Munaqashat, the Arabic word for "conversations," as we felt it encompasses our goal of contributing to original scholarship in the field while remaining accessible to specialists and general audiences alike. One forthcoming title from Munaqashat to certainly keep an eye out for is James Goode's A History of the Syrian Community of Grand Rapids, 1890-1945. This work will certainly appeal to those looking to better grasp comparative American/Middle East history, immigration in the United States, ethnic studies, and Arab American history.


Hoda Mitwally

Editorial and Acquisitions Assistant


Codex Syro-Hexaplaris Ambrosianus By Antonio Ceriani
Offered here is a facsimile of the manuscript of the Old Testament in the Ambrosian Library in Milan, in the Syriac translation of Origen's Hexapla.
ISBN 978-1-61143-113-1, Hardback, $182.5 (BiblioPerks™ $164.25)

Keter Shem Tov: Collected Essays on the Dead Sea Scrolls in Memory of Alan Crown By Ian Young
This eclectic collection contains 16 articles on a variety of topics (from sex to sects!) within Qumran Studies from scholars such as Emanuel Tov, given at a conference in honour of Emeritus Professor Alan Crown.
ISBN 978-1-61143-866-6, Hardback, $176.8 (BiblioPerks™ $159.12)

A History of the Syrian Community of Grand Rapids, 1890-1945 By James Goode
Provides the first history of the old Syrian community of Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1890-1945, focusing on the slow process of ethnic acculturation during which community members developed a hybrid culture, drawing on elements of the old and the new.
ISBN 978-1-61719-028-5, Hardback, $163.15 (BiblioPerks™ $146.84)



Job Opening at Gorgias Press: Marketing and Editorial Assistant

Gorgias Press LLC, an independent academic publishing house based in Piscataway NJ, seeks to fill an entry-level position for a Marketing and Editorial Assistant. We are looking for a creative marketing professional who will thrive in a dynamic small business environment and thus seek candidates who are proactive, computer-savvy, able to multi-task, hard-working, dedicated, and detail-oriented. This is an ideal position for recent college graduates or young professionals with minimal experience.

For a list of qualifications, job duties, and instructions on how to apply, please visit:


Apply Now for the 2013 Gorgias Book Grant Competition

Are you a graduate student? The deadline for the 2013 Gorgias Book Grant is just around the corner. Eligible candidates must be enrolled in a graduate program (Master's or Ph.D.) in an accredited university or an institution of learning in the field of the grant, and must have the equivalent of a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The application deadline is March 29, 2013; winners will be announced in March 2013. For more information on how to apply, please visit our Book Grants page.


Article in Smithsonian Magazine: "How to Save a Dying Language"

Above: St. Andrew’s church in Glenview, Illinois. (Greg Ruffing)

Journalist Ariel Sabar has a new article in the February edition of Smithsonian Magazine on Gorgias Press author and friend Professor Geoffrey Khan's research on Neo-Aramaic. You can read the entire article for free online by clicking here. An excerpt:

No sooner had [Geoffrey] Khan sat down with a Jew from Erbil, a northern Iraqi city whose Aramaic dialect was undescribed, than he felt he had found his calling. “It completely blew my mind,” he told me. “To discover a living language through the lips of a living person, it was just incredibly exhilarating.”

The traditional aim of fieldwork is to produce for undocumented languages what linguists sometimes call “the holy trinity”: a grammar, which is a road map to sounds, syntax and structure; texts, which are chunks of unedited speech that reveal a language’s texture; and a dictionary. Over the past two decades, Khan has published highly regarded grammars on the previously undocumented dialects of Barwar, Qaraqosh, Erbil, Sulemaniyya and Halabja, all areas in Iraq, and Urmi and Sanandaj, in Iran. He is also at work on a web-based database of text and audio recordings that allows word-by-word comparisons across dozens of Aramaic dialects.


Gorgias Enthusiast of the Month: James Walters

James grew up in south Alabama, and he went on to study in Arkansas and Texas. He now resides in Princeton, NJ, where is a doctoral candidate at Princeton Theological Seminary studying the History of Christianity. His particular area of interest is the fourth-century Syriac tradition, especially the writings of Aphrahat and Ephrem. He also works on the reception, transmission, and interpretation of Scripture in the early Syriac tradition. James first learned about the Syriac tradition and began studying Syriac with Jeff Childers at Abilene Christian University. He came to Princeton in order to study with Kathleen McVey. Since moving to Princeton, James has worked as an intern and now an administrator with Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute, and he has also worked on various projects for Gorgias Press. James is the author of Ephrem the Syrian's Hymns on the Unleavened Bread (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2011) and Galatians to Titus According to the Syriac Peshitta Version with English Translation (forthcoming - 2013).

"Gorgias Press offers some of the most important titles in the field of Syriac studies," said James. "As such, they do a significant service for an academic field that is attracting more and more attention from scholarly communities representing a wide variety of disciplines."

Below are a few titles that James recommends to his fellow Gorgias readers.


Ephrem the Syrian's Hymns on the Unleavened Bread
By J. Walters

ISBN 978-1-4632-0159-3
Paperback, $48.815 (BiblioPerks™ $43.93)

In the Hymns on the Unleavened Bread, Ephrem offers a unique perspective on Christian exegesis, hermeneutics, and self-understanding through the lens of the Christian Paschal feast as he constructs a polemical narrative of symbol fulfilled by reality.

Aphrahat Demonstrations I
By Kuriakose Valavanolickal

ISBN 978-1-61143-572-6
Hardback, $158.5 (BiblioPerks™ $142.65)

Kuriakose Valavanolickal presents here in two volumes the first English translation of the twenty-three Demonstrations by Aphrahat, the fourth century Persian Sage, who is one of the earliest authors of the Syriac tradition.

The Bible in the Syriac Tradition (English Version)
By Sebastian Brock

ISBN 1-59333-300-5
Paperback, $38 (BiblioPerks™ $34.20)

This is a basic introduction to the various Syriac translations of the Bible and the ways in which they were used in the Syriac tradition. After an initial discussion of the general problems of biblical translation, the different surviving Syriac translations are outlined, as well as biblical manuscripts, lectionaires, printed editions, and translations. A reception history of the Syriac Bible covers the ways in which it has been interpreted, the commentary tradition, its use in preaching, in liturgy, and in spirituality. An appendix offers some comparative samples (in translation) to illustrate some of the differences between the different Syriac translations.

Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage
By Sebastian Brock

ISBN 978-1-59333-714-8
Hardback, $98 / Institutional Price: $160

The Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage (GEDSH) is the first major encyclopedia-type reference work devoted exclusively to Syriac Christianity, both as a field of scholarly inquiry and as the inheritance of Syriac Christians today. In more than 600 entries it covers the Syriac heritage from its beginnings in the first centuries of the Common Era up to the present day. Special attention is given to authors, literary works, scholars, and locations that are associated with the Classical Syriac tradition. Within this tradition, the diversity of Syriac Christianity is highlighted as well as Syriac Christianity’s broader literary and historical contexts, with major entries devoted to Greek and Arabic authors and more general themes, such as Syriac Christianity’s contacts with Judaism and Islam, and with Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, and Georgian Christianities.

Symbols of Church and Kingdom
By Robert Murray

ISBN 1-59333-150-9
Paperback, $84 (BiblioPerks™ $75.60)

In this revised and updated edition of his classic work, Robert Murray offers the fullest and most vivid picture yet available of the development and character of the culture. It will be of interest to a wide range of readers.


American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences Reviews Christian and Muslim Dialogues

In its recent issue (vol. 30, no. 1, pgs. 112-114), the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences published a review of David Bertaina's Christian and Muslim Dialogues: The Religious Uses of a Literary Form in the Early Islamic Middle East (Gorgias Eastern Christian Studies 29; Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2011) by David Johnston of St. Joseph's University who concludes:

"In his first book David Bertaina, assistant professor of religion in the University of Illinois' History Department (Springfield), makes an important contribution to our knowledge of Christian-Muslim relations in the first five centuries of the Islamic era ... [this is] a book that is both solidly researched and skillfully organized."
Christian and Muslim Dialogues
By David Bertaina

ISBN 978-1-61143-920-5
Hardback, $142.5 (BiblioPerks™ $128.25)

This historical survey examines Christian-Muslim dialogues from the rise of Islam until the eve of the Crusades. The narrative argues that Christians and Muslims appropriated the literary form of dialogue in a number of ways to commend their historical and religious worldviews.



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