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e-Gorgias (Issue 66, June 2013)


Issue 66
June 2013
Reading Time: 10 minutes


Happy June! We've had some really nice days over the last couple of weeks, getting us thinking about summer reading. To get you thinking about summer reading, we are running a 30% off SUMMER SALE. We've taken 30% off nearly every item. Been eyeing a Gorgias Press book for awhile? Head to now to take advantage of this sale, running this month only! Sale ends June 30th, 11:59pm EST. All sales are final.

We presented at the NAPS Conference last month and are getting ready for the ATLA meeting and the SBL International Meeting. Check out our Conferences section below for the details!

We congratulate the 2013 Gorgias Book Grant awardees: Lev Weitz of Princeton University and Bradley Marsh Jr. of Oxford University. Read more about Lev Weitz in this month's Enthusiast column. Bradley Marsh Jr. is our Gorgias Enthusiast for July. Thank you to all the applicants.

Several members of our staff had exciting adventures in May. George Kiraz was present at the opening of a new library in Deir al-Surian in Egypt and Melonie Schmierer-Lee was featured on BBC Radio. Please see our News section for more.

If you haven't already, sign up for our limited-time only 50%-off Antioch Bible subscription (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. Hurry and subscribe now!

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

Happy reading!



  • Recently Released
  • Coming Soon
  • From the Acquisitions Desk
  • News
  • Enthusiast of the Month: Lev Weitz
  • Reviews
  • Conferences



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


Galatians to Philemon According to the Syriac Peshitta Version with English Translation
English Translation by J. Edward Walters; Text Prepared by George Anton Kiraz

ISBN 978-1-61143-893-2
 Hardback, $150 (Special Subscription Price $75.00/volume)

This volume is part of a series of English translations of the Syriac Peshitta along with the Syriac text carried out by an international team of scholars.


Jeremiah According to the Syriac Peshitta Version with English Translation
English Translation by Gillian Greenberg & Donald M. Walter; Text Prepared by George Anton Kiraz & Joseph Bali

ISBN 978-1-61143-892-5
 Hardback, $150 (Special Subscription Price $75.00/volume)

This volume is part of a series of English translations of the Syriac Peshitta carried out by an international team of scholars. The fully vocalized and pointed Syriac text, and the English translation, are presented on facing pages so that both can be studied together. Much supplementary information is given in annotations, Addenda, and Appendices.


John the Solitary on the Soul
Translation and Introduction by Mary T. Hansbury

ISBN 978-1-60724-044-0
 Paperback, $75 (Summer Sale Price $52.50)

In this treatise, John the Solitary (ca. 390) enters into a dialogue with two disciples who have come past the beginning stage of the spiritual life and have brought him their struggle against the passions in the life of the inner person (barnâšâ gawwâyâ). John’s description of the life of the soul is outlined here in a framework of the stages of the spiritual life. Included is his analysis of the passions, showing very little if any Evagrian influence. The Dialogue on the Soul is a difficult text. It is hoped that this Syriac-English presentation will enable others to take the discussion forward. John’s genial thought merits this.


Jacob of Sarug’s Homily on the Sinful Woman
Translation and Introduction by Scott Fitzgerald Johnson

ISBN 978-1-61719-834-2
 Paperback, $52.91 (Summer Sale Price $37.04)

This edition of Mar Jacob of Sarug's (d. 521) homily on the sinful woman who anoints Jesus at the banquet – widely identified in the west as Mary Magdalene – focuses on the theme of weeping which Jacob describes as the dominant characteristic of repentence. For him, the sinful woman is the example of true Christian contrition. The volume constitutes a fascicle of The Metrical Homilies of Mar Jacob of Sarug, which, when complete, will contain the original Syriac text of Jacob's surviving sermons, fully vocalized, alongside an annotated English translation.


Greek Indicative Verbs in the Christian Palestinian Aramaic Gospels
By Tarsee Li

ISBN 978-1-61143-895-6
 Hardback, $172.51 (Summer Sale Price $120.76)

As virtually all Christian Palestinian Aramaic texts consist of translations, one cannot adequately discuss its verbal system without taking into account translation technique. The present study consists of a study of the translation of Greek Indicative verbs in the Christian Palestinian Aramaic Gospels and its implications for the understanding of the Christian Palestinian Aramaic verbal system.


The Ottoman Süryânî from 1908 to 1914
By Benjamin Trigona-Harany

ISBN 978-1-60724-069-3
 Hardback, $179.92 (Summer Sale Price $125.94)

This work explores the misconceptions about the Ottoman Süryânî community of the pre-World War I era, using a critique of the present day historiography as the context for the discussion. The works of three early twentieth century journalists, provide the material for the study. The author contends that this group cannot be considered as Assyrian nationalists, the traditional argument, that they saw the future of the Süryânî people as best secured by the continuation of the Ottoman Empire, in which they sought a greater presence for their community.


Studies on Magic and Divination in the Biblical World
Edited by Helen R. Jacobus, Anne Katrine de Hemmer Gudme & Philippe Guillaume

ISBN 978-1-61143-869-7
 Hardback, $194.35 (Summer Sale Price $136.05)

A selection of essays on magic and divination in relation to the biblical world, including Mesopotamian demonology, Akkadian literary influences, exorcism, healing, calendars, astrology, bibliomancy, dreams, ritual magic, priestly divination, prophecy, magic in the Christian Apocrypha and the New Testament, magic in rabbinic literature, and Jewish Aramaic magic bowls.



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


Opening Heaven's Floodgates Edited by Jason M. Silverman
The narrative of Noah’s flood in Genesis draws perennial interest from scholars and the general public. Too often, however, historical and exegetical studies of the text, the story’s reception, and discussion of theological appropriation remain aloof from each other, if not at odds. This volume takes the influential nature of the flood story as an ideal opportunity to bring some of these methods into dialogue.
ISBN 978-1-61143-894-9, Hardback, $150 (Summer Sale Price $105.00)

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 schism between Eastern and Western Christians. Coetzee argues that there has been a great deal of misunderstanding of the positions of each tradition by the other, partly due to the fact that East and West imbue certain key words, such as ‘person’ and ‘unity’, with different meanings which Coetzee believes come from different understandings of Hellenic philosophy. Against this backdrop, Coetzee sets about clearing up some of the misunderstandings.
ISBN 978-1-60724-585-8, Hardback, $185.77 (Summer Sale Price $130.04)

The Struggle for Roman Citizenship By Seth Kendall
Between 91 and 77 BCE a series of wars were fought in Italy which left the Roman commonwealth in shambles and involved efforts on the part of Rome’s non-citizen Italian allies to obtain the rights of Roman citizenship. This is a survey of the allies' quest for citizenship in the Republic, the reasons it was sought, the often violent measures they took to acquire it, and the impact this quest had on the Roman state.
ISBN 978-1-61143-487-3, Hardback, $150 (Summer Sale Price $105.00)

An East Syrian Manuscript of the Syriac 'Masora' Dated to 899 CE Volume 1: Prepared by Jonathan Loopstra
The unique manuscript of the East Syrian “Syriac Masora” is essential for any study of early Syriac vocalization, accentuation, and punctuation. This volume presents a facsimile reproduction of this “masoretic” manuscript along with an introduction and a comprehensive scriptural index.
ISBN 978-1-61143-896-3, Hardback, $262.6 (Summer Sale Price $183.82)

Revolt in Palestine in the Eighteenth Century By Ahmad Hasan Joudah
In the turbulent atmosphere of the eighteenth century when the Ottoman Empire was enfeebled, local leaders far from Istanbul took matters into their own hands. At first, these leaders only regulated local trade and tax collection, but soon, leaders like Shaykh Zahir al-‘Umar — a district tax collector in Palestine— saw opportunities to amass great wealth and power while providing autonomous government and safer roads to their local followers. A gripping and fascinating read, Ahmad Joudah’s biography of Shaykh Zahir is crucial for scholars seeking to contextualize developments in modern Palestinian history within the politics of the late Ottoman Empire.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0002-2, Hardback, $177.97 (Summer Sale Price $124.58)

Concise Teachings of Christianity for Orthodox Families and Schools By Gregorius Bulus Behnam; Translation and Introduction by Matti Moosa
Matti Moosa provides an introduction and a translation of Rev. Bulus Behnam’s 1946 work on the basic principles of the Christian faith based on the Holy Scriptures, showing that the Syrian Church considers the Holy Bible its sole authority for salvation.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0215-6, Paperback, $45 (Summer Sale Price $31.50)

Iran as Imagined Nation Second Edition: By Mostafa Vaziri
A critical study of how Iranian nationalism, itself largely influenced by Orientalist scholarship, has shaped modern conceptions of Iran and Iranian identity, as well as narratives of Iranian history.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0227-9, Paperback, $39.5 (Summer Sale Price $27.65)



Gorgias is pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of the following titles in the fields of biblical studies, religious philosophy and classics.

We are looking forward to the next volume in Biblical Intersections, In the Arms of Biblical Women (edited by John T. Greene and Mishael Caspi) contains essays exploring some of the most vivid and emotive female figures in the Bible.

June will see the next volume in Perspectives on Philosophy and Religious Thought go to press. Corneliu Simuţ’s God and Man in History: the Influence of Jakob Böhme and G. W. F. Hegel on Ferdinand Christian Baur’s Philosophical Understanding of Religion as Gnosis is the seventh in this series. Simuţ finds a lack of originality in Baur’s view of Gnosis, alternating between a reliance on Hegel and Böhme.

Rachael Goldman’s Color-Terms in Social and Cultural Context in Ancient Rome, the third volume in Gorgias Studies in Classical and Late Antiquity is now forthcoming. This fascinating monograph examines the nuanced cultural assessments and social values Romans attached to various color terms, as well as some of the complicating factors in interpreting these at such temporal distance.

Melonie Schmierer-Lee

Acquisitions Editor



Editor-in-Chief George Kiraz's report from the opening of the library at the Monastery of Deir al-Surian:

I received an invitation from the Monastery at Deir al-Surian and the Levantine Foundation to attend the opening of the monastery’s new library on Sunday, May 19, 2013. Over two hundred guests and a huge number of press and television journalists attended the opening. After Bishop Mattaos cut the red ribbon stretched across entrance to the library and blessed the building, we were invited to visit the new, small three-story stone building that was erected to house the manuscripts. The monks are protective of the manuscripts, as they ought to be, but are open to having visiting scholars who aim to study the content of the library.

The Monastery and the Levantine Foundation have great plans. Cataloguing of the Syriac collection, by Sebastian Brock and Lucas Van Rompay, is now complete and will soon appear in print. The cataloguing of the Coptic and Arabic collections is scheduled to commence in March 2014 and will be carried out by Stephen Davis of Yale University. Cataloguing of the Ethiopic collection will be carried out by Lucas van Rompay.

Following the library visit, there was an opportunity to visit the chapel which has a special connection to me because of its Syriac history. The monks were excited to have someone who can read the inscriptions for them, although they seemed to already know much of the content and history. I recited the teshmeshto of Yoldath Aloho, after whom the monastery is named, and the teshmeshto of the Saints for Mor Moses of Nisibis (c. 907–943) who brought much of the Syriac manuscripts from Mesopotamia to the Egyptian desert in the tenth century. It is thanks to Moses, the monks of Deir al-Surian and the dry Egyptian climate, that we now know what we know about early Syriac Christianity.

Acquisition Editor Melonie Schmierer-Lee was featured on BBC Radio this month. She writes:

In May 2013 the UK production company, Nightjar, commissioned, recorded and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 a week-long series of 15-minute essay episodes on the Cairo Genizah archive, a vast collection of medieval manuscripts deposited over centuries in the Ben Ezra Synagogue of Fustat, Old Cairo. These manuscripts reflect over 800 years of community life, and include not only the expected bibles and Torah scrolls containing the divine name, but also the detritus of daily life – from letters and legal documents to shopping lists, magical texts, materia medica, works of philosophy and children’s exercise books. In the late 19 th century almost 200,000 manuscripts from this vast archive were brought to Cambridge.

The Cairo Genizah isn’t only for historians of the medieval Mediterranean. There is something to interest everyone, and my fellow researchers and I were keen to share our favourite manuscripts and stories on the airwaves. In the first episode, Dr Esther-Miriam Wagner told the story of the discovery of the Genizah inside the ancient and crumbling synagogue of Al-Fustat, featuring a legendary curse, a pair of intrepid Scottish twins, an eccentric scholar and one very generous rabbi. In episode two, Dr Ben Outhwaite uncovered the international trading network that united Jews, Muslims and Christians across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. In episode three, I examined the fortunes and misfortunes of women in medieval Cairo through their pre-nuptial agreements and marriage contracts. In episode four, Dr Daniel Davies revealed the private documents of the legendary philosopher Maimonides, community leader Solomon ben Judah and Indian Ocean trader Abraham ibn Yiju. In episode five, Dr Gabriele Ferrario unveiled the most secretive side of the Genizah collection: the manuscripts relating to alchemy and magic.

These radio episodes were broadcast in the UK on BBC Radio 3 between 27-31 May 2013 and will soon be hosted online too for anyone who missed out the first time. It was such a privilege to share our research with a wider audience and many thanks to Nightjar and the BBC for making it possible!



Gorgias Enthusiast of the Month and 2013 Book Grant Winner: Lev Weitz

Lev Weitz will receive a PhD in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University in June 2013. His dissertation, "Syriac Christians in the Medieval Islamic World: Law, Family, and Society," examines the emergence of traditions of family law among East and West Syrians in the institutional and intellectual settings of the Abbasid Caliphate. In fall 2013 he will be associate professor in the Department of History at The Catholic University of America.

Upon winning the award, he had the following thoughts to share:

Gorgias Press does an invaluable service through its many publications to scholars working in a whole range of fields related to Middle Eastern Christianity. I'm honored to have been chosen to receive a Book Grant, and I'm looking forward to adding some beautiful volumes to my shelf.

Check out Dr. Weitz's Book Grant selections below!


The Edessa-Aleppo Syriac Codex of the Chronicle of Michael the Great
  Edited by Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim; Contribution by Sebastian P. Brock & Hidemi Takahashi; Foreword by George Anton Kiraz

ISBN 978-1-59333-147-4
 Hardback, $400 (Summer Sale Price $280.00)

 The invaluable Chronicle of Michael the Great makes the scholarly resources on this unique manuscript available together for the first time. Now inaccessible, the Chronicle is the largest medieval chronicle known, and is available here for the first time in history as a facsimile copy of the original manuscript. The Chronicle is one of the most important primary sources on the history of the Middle East, especially the period between the rise of Islam and the Crusades.


Barhebraeus: A Bio-Bibliography
  By Hidemi Takahashi

ISBN 1-59333-148-7
 Hardback, $158.75 (Summer Sale Price $111.13)

 This book provides an extensive account of the life and works of Barhebraeus based on the latest research. It includes an Appendix containing a comprehensive list of bibliographical references and of manuscripts relating to Barhebraeus.


The Nomocanon of Abdisho of Nisibis
  By Abdisho of Nisibis

ISBN 1-59333-133-9
 Hardback w/ CD, $292.5 (Summer Sale Price $204.75)

 This book is one of the most important sources for the canon law of the East-Syrian Church. In Canon I of the council held in the year 1318, this collection was proclaimed the authoritative canon law and has since retained its status as the binding legal collection of the East Syrian Church. This volume comes with a CD containing colored images of the entire manuscript.



Review of Appelbaum's The Rabbis' King-Parables: Midrash from the Third-Century Roman Empire in Journal for the Study of Judaism vol. 43.3 (2012)

The Journal for the Study of Judaism (vol. 43.3 (2012), p. 380-381) published a review of Alan Appelbaum's The Rabbis' King-Parables: Midrash from the Third-Century Roman Empire (Judaism in Context 7) by Eric Ottenheijm of Utrecht University who concludes:

Most innovative is his reading of the parable narratives as reflective of Roman history. A. makes it plausible to read parables against the background of political turbulences in the eastern provinces... A.’s study is reflective of a methodological watershed in the study of rabbinic narratives. The scepticism, which denies these narratives historical value and instead relies on individual documents as reflective of all sorts of “Judaisms,” is fading. A. succeeds in showing the necessity to employ Roman sources and material culture to comment on details in the fictive narratives. This approach should be extended to synoptic parables (king parables are discussed in an appendix) and 2nd c. rabbis. Thus, A.’s well written book shows promising ways for studying the mesmerizing literature called parables.


The Rabbis’ King-Parables
  By Alan Appelbaum

ISBN 978-1-61719-159-6
 Hardback, $166.25 (Summer Sale Price $116.38)

 The Rabbis’ King-Parables: Midrash From the Third-Century Roman Empire examines the ancient Rabbis at work using parables about kings; parables that reflect the Rabbis' ideas about the role of the ruler in society, and the relationship of humanity to God. It considers the parables as resistance literature in light of the work of theorists of dominated groups. It is the first systematic attempt to read the parables as sources for Roman history in over 100 years.




Due to a storm, George's flight to Chicago for the NAPS conference was cancelled. Ian Stevens of ISD came to the rescue. An old friend of Gorgias, he had his table next to ours and heroically set up our table and manned both at once.

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.





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