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e-Gorgias (Issue 71, January 2014)


Issue 71
January 2014
Reading Time: 10 minutes

The new year has begun. Although this does mean our annual sale is over, it does not mean that all your opportunities to receive Gorgias Press books at low cost are gone. First and foremost, applications for the 2014 Gorgias Book Grant are due by January 31, with winners to be announced in March. See the news section for more details.

Second if you haven't already, sign up for a subscription to the Antioch Bible, now 50%-off for a limited-time only (originally $150/volume, now $75/volume with subscription discount). Please note that the 50% discount applies only to subscribers to the series and not to the individual books. Hurry and subscribe now!

There is not much other news to report, as we have been busy recovering from the holiday and conference season. The most exciting piece of news is the amount of positive press Gorgias has received lately. See the Enthusiast and Reviews sections for more details.

Happy reading!

  • Recently Released
  • Coming Soon
  • From the Acquisitions Desk
  • Enthusiast of the Month: Mayer Gruber
  • Reviews
  • Conferences

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

Syriac Literature
By Rubens Duval

ISBN 978-1-61143-962-5
Hardback, $110 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $99.00)

Despite having been written over a century ago, the 3rd edition of Rubens Duval's History of Syriac Literature remains one of the best - and most readable - introductions to Syriac literature. This edition provides the first English translation of the work, translated by Olivier Holmey.

Language and Textual History of the Syriac Bible
By Jan Joosten

ISBN 978-1-61143-891-8
Hardback, $95 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $85.50)

The Syriac Bible is a fascinating field to which too little research has been devoted. In the present volume, Jan Joosten gathers a number of pilot studies, published in various journals and collective volumes, shedding light on the Syriac Old Testament, New Testament, and the relation between them. A number of studies advance the claim that the Old Syriac and Peshitta gospels preserve echoes of an Aramaic gospel tradition that gives independent access to the earliest, oral traditions on the life and teaching of Jesus.

Studies in the Early Text of the Gospels and Acts
Edited by David G.K. Taylor

ISBN 978-1-4632-0242-2
Hardback, $95 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $85.50)

Eleven papers from the First Birmingham Colloquium on the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, examining aspects of the Textus Receptus, the ‘Pre-Johannine Text’ of the Gospel, the ratings system in the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament and the application of probability theory to textual transmission, as well as surveys of non-continuous papyrus witnesses to the New Testament and the Dura-Europos Gospel Harmony, alongside studies of variation in the form of the Beatitudes and the location of Emmaus.

Keter Shem Tov
Edited by Shani Tzoref & Ian Young

ISBN 978-1-61143-866-6
Hardback, $150 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $135.00)

This eclectic collection contains 16 articles on a variety of topics within Qumran Studies from a conference held in memory of the late Professor Alan Crown. Essays cover the impact of the Qumran discoveries on the study of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament to the study of the scrolls themselves and the community organizations presupposed in them, focusing as well on topics as diverse as sexuality, scribal practice and the attitude to the Temple in the scrolls.

Scribal Wit
By David Marcus

ISBN 978-1-61143-904-5
Hardback, $95 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $85.50)

This book presents a detailed analysis of the Aramaic mnemonics, those short witty sentences written in Aramaic as memory aids in the margins of one of the oldest extant biblical Hebrew manuscripts, the Leningrad Codex (1008 CE). The material is presented in clear, user-friendly charts. Each mnemonic is set alongside the Hebrew verses it represents. This book demonstrates the ingenuity of the Masoretes in their grand endeavor to preserve the text of the Hebrew Bible precisely in the form that it had reached them.

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

Conversos in the Responsa of Sephardic Halakhic Authorities in the 15th Century By Dora Zsom
This volume presents a systematic and detailed elaboration of the halakhic (legal) decisions written by five of the most important authors who wrote responsa concerning conversos between the years 1391 and 1492. The expulsion was an event that radically changed the perspectives of the Iberian conversos. The halakhic authorities were confronted with an absolutely new situation, in which they had to reformulate their position towards the conversos. This volume presents all the responsa written in connection with conversos by Isaac b. Sheshet Perfet, Simeon b. Ṣemaḥ Duran and his descendants: Solomon b. Simeon Duran, Ṣemaḥ b. Solomon Duran and Simeon b. Solomon Duran.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0239-2, Hardback, $95 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $85.50)

A Short Introduction to the Tiberian Masoretic Bible and its Reading Tradition Second Edition: By Geoffrey Khan
This book is intended to provide a quick introductory overview of the Tiberian Masoretic tradition of the Hebrew Bible and its background. It was this tradition that produced the great Masoretic codices of the Middle Ages, which form the basis of modern printed editions of the Hebrew Bible. Particular prominence is given to the multi-layered nature of the Masoretic tradition. The volume contains a section describing the Tiberian reading tradition, which is essential for a correct understanding of the vocalization system.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0246-0, Paperback, $39 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $35.10)

Can No Physician Be Found? Second Edition: By Laura Marie Zucconi
Can No Physician be Found analyzes how religion, as an expression of a universal order, is applied to the medical practices in the cultures of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Israel. The comparative approach sheds light on how religious concepts shaped not only the particular medical identity of each society, but also how they can simultaneously participate in a broader medical culture spanning the ancient Near East.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0248-4, Hardback, $55 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $49.50)

Victorian Images of Islam By Clinton Bennett
Victorian perceptions of Islam were not monochrome; some saw beyond stereotypical images, others reproduced them. In this study, the accounts of six Victorians outline the contrast of the two perceptions. It suggests that presuppositions, not encounters per se, determine how we see cultural and religious others.
ISBN 978-1-60724-673-2, Hardback, $172.12 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $154.91)

From Anglo-First-Wave towards American Second-Wave Jewish Feminism By Luke Devine
This book completely redefines our understanding of fin de siècle Anglo-Jewish author Amy Levy and her writing. Demonstrating that Levy’s writing is less anti-Judaic and more profoundly influenced by the religious concerns of classical German Reformism, Luke Devine's innovative approach reveals that Levy's writing constitutes a genre whose female subjectivity evinces a concern for justice and authority that prefigures numerous aspects of Second-Wave Jewish feminist theory and its spiritual and theological underpinnings.
ISBN 978-1-61719-915-8, Hardback, $184.99 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $166.49)

This month I’m pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of volumes on subjects such as Persian martyrdom, Bardaisan of Edessa, and nineteenth-century pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Kyle Smith’s The Martyrdom and History of Blessed Simeon bar Sabba’e will form volume 2 in the series Persian Martyr Acts in Syriac: Text and Translation. This is the first time that the two texts relating to this fourth-century martyr (the Martyrdom and the History) have been translated into English.

Petre Konchoshvili, a Georgian priest who traveled to Jerusalem and to Mount Athos in 1899, left an account of his pilgrimage to the Holy Places that has now been translated into English for the first time by John Wilkinson and Mzia Ebanoidze. Petre took great interest in the liturgical rites of the different churches and monasteries he visited, and eagerly sought out the remnants of Georgian church history. Travels to Jerusalem and Mount Athos forms volume 3 of the series Gorgias Ottoman Travellers.

Finally, H. J. W Drijvers’ Bardaisan of Edessa will soon be back in print. This re-typeset edition of Drijvers’ 1966 monograph on the life and teachings of Bardaisan of Edessa is brought up to date by an Introduction by Jan Willem Drijvers, containing a bibliographic overview of research on Bardaisan in recent decades.


To see the full list of titles in different series, visit our series page.

Melonie Schmierer-Lee

Acquisitions Editor

The Martyrdom and History of Blessed Simeon bar Sabba'e By Kyle Richard Smith
The Martyrdom, and the later History, of Simeon bar Sabba’e narrate the death of the bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon who was killed around the year 340 C.E. at the beginning of King Shapur II’s “Great Persecution” of Christians in Sasanian Persia.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0245-3, Paperback, $79.625 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $71.66)

Travels to Jerusalem and Mount Athos By Petre Konchoshvili; Translated by John Wilkinson & Mzia Ebanoidze
An account by Dean Petre Konchoshvili of his travels to Jerusalem and Mount Athos in 1899, dealing with the relations between the Georgians, Greeks and Russians in the Holy Land.
ISBN 978-1-61143-942-7, Hardback, $85 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $76.50)

Bardaisan of Edessa By H.J.W. Drijvers; Introduction by Jan Willem Drijvers
In this volume, a reprint of his 1966 monograph, H. J. W. Drijvers investigates the life and teachings of Bardaisan of Edessa, determining his place in the religious and cultural life of Edessa in the second half of the second century of the common era.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0188-3, Hardback, $183.625 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $165.26)

We are now accepting applications for the 2014 Gorgias Book Grant in any subject area that Gorgias publishes in. 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 January 31, 2014; winners will be announced in March 2014. For more information on how to apply, please visit our Book Grants page.

Now Professor Emeritus, Mayer Gruber taught in the Department of Bible Archaeology and Ancient Near East at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva, Israel from 1980 to 2013. From 1972 to 1980 he served on the faculty of Spertus College of Judaica in Chicago. He holds an A.B. in history from Duke University, the M.A., M.Phil., and the Ph.D. (1977) in Semitic Languages and Cultures from Columbia University in the City of New York and Rabbinic Ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (1977).

In addition to numerous articles on various aspects of women in the biblical world in scholarly journals and in encyclopedias and a book, The Motherhood of God and Other Studies (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1992), Gruber has published novel insights into the Book of Job (including the revisions to the entry "Job, Book of" in the 2d edition of the Encyclopaedia Judaica [2006]), an edition, English translation, and commentary on Rashi's Commentary on Psalms (hardback, Brill, 2004; paperback, Jewish Publication Society, 2007) and extensive studies on the precise nuances in context of ambiguous words and expressions in the languages of the biblical world and aspects of daily life in ancient Canaan and Israel. Outstanding among these studies is Gruber's two-volume Aspects of Nonverbal Communication in the Ancient Near East (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1980). Gruber looks forward to completing in 2014 for Gorgias Press a fully illustrated commentary on Rashi's maps and diagrams in the context of Rashi's biblical commentaries, from which all but one disappeared at the dawn of the era of the printed book in the 15th century CE.

Gruber has three sons, two daughters, seven granddaughters, and eight grandsons, who live on three continents. His non-academic interests include walking, swimming, and visiting far-away places with strange sounding names. In Beer Sheva they call him “the flying professor.”

"Gorgias Press publishes the timely and the timeless, and engages with its authors in meticulous but non-invasive editing to create a product of the highest quality."

A list of Mayer's favorite Gorgias Press titles includes the Antioch Bible, as well as the following:

The Women of Israel by Grace Aguilar
By Mayer I. Gruber

ISBN 978-1-61719-626-3
Hardback, $250 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $225.00)

For almost a century after it was first published in 1845 Grace Aguilar's Women of Israel was presented as a high school graduation gift and even as a Christmas present to employees. More than 150 years before the current proliferation of books on women in biblical narrative and biblical law, Aguilar offered brilliant and innovative interpretations of abiding value. She took for granted that her readers could read Hebrew and that they, like herself, knew the King James Bible from memory. The extensive introduction and notes will make this new edition once again accessible to laypersons, students, and scholars.

Word of Tree and Whisper of Stone, and other papers on Ugaritian thought
By Nicolas Wyatt

ISBN 978-1-59333-716-2
Hardback, $178.36 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $160.52)

This volume is a collection of selected essays on specific themes in Ugaritic literature. Included are eight unique contributions to understanding the religious life and thought of Ugarit, including detailed studies and essays covering broader issues for grasping the worldview of ancient Syria.

The Qatal//Yiqtol (Yiqtol//Qatal) Verbal Sequence in Semitic Couplets
By Silviu Tatu

ISBN 978-1-59333-958-6
Hardback, $90 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $81.00)

The book investigates the qatal//yiqtol (yiqtol//qatal) verbal sequence, previously known as ‘tense shifting’, as found in couplets of the Hebrew Psalter, attempting an innovatory explanation by means of M.A.K. Halliday’s Systemic Theory. This study argues that qatal and yiqtol verbal forms, when part of the qatal//yiqtol verbal sequence in Psalms' poetic couplets, can be used primarily for aesthetic reasons, with no individual reference to time or aspect. Arguably, the Systemic Functional Grammar analysis of lexicogrammar can provide a comprehensive interpretation of form and function and an integrated approach to phonetics, morphology and syntax.

Noble Soul: The Life & Legend of the Vilna Ger Tzedek Count Walenty Potocki
By J. Prouser

ISBN 1-59333-097-9
Hardback, $89 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $80.10)

Walenty Potocki was a young Polish nobleman who abandoned wealth, power, and unlimited worldly prospects to convert to new religion - Judaism. Potocki was betrayed by a member of the religious community he embraced and burned at the stake by the Church he left behind in 1749. This book examines eleven versions of this remarkable man’s story and the heated, previously unpublished, correspondence between the Potocki clan and one of his early biographers. Noble Soul is the record of one man’s defining faith, and of the compelling human need for personal spiritual fulfillment.

Below are excerpts from two reviews of the Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron Michael Butts, George Anton Kiraz, and Lucas Van Rompay.

“The Gorgias Encyclopedia of the Syriac Heritage (GEDSH) is a landmark in Syriac scholarship. It provides greater coverage of the Syriac heritage than any other modern reference work. A copy should be within arm’s reach of every scholar and student working in the field of Syriac studies, and it certainly belongs in the library of every person interested in the Syriac heritage.” Kristian S. Heal, in Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies 16.2 (2013): 343-345.
"If a major strength—and there are many strengths—can be singled out, it is the treatment of SC (= Syriac Christianity) as a rich and diverse living tradition, and not as a historical artifact; the majority of contributors are distinguished by their active engagement in primary research in the field; discrete facts and figures are not merely stated; they are contextualized within the broader tradition." Joseph Amar, in Theological Studies 74 (2013): 763-764.

Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage
Edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron Michael Butts, George Anton Kiraz & Lucas Van Rompay

ISBN 978-1-59333-714-8
Hardback, $160 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $144.00)

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.

Our Marketing and Editorial Assistant, Jeffrey Haines, shares the following report from the The Association of Jewish Studies Conference held in Boston December 15-17, 2013:

"We highlighted our growing series, Judaism in Context. Snow and the ice from three snow storms meant that many people were delayed getting to the conference and then had to leave early, but while they were at the book exhibit the attendees expressed a lively interest in many of our titles.
The line I heard over and over again was, "This is the first I've heard of your press - but I'm really interested in your titles!" The most popular books were Judaic Logic and Pragmatic Studies in Judaism both edited by Andrew Schumann, First Came Marriage by Susan Marks, Normative Judaism edited by Daniel R. Langton and Philip S. Alexander, and Second Wave Jewish Feminism by Luke Devine. We were pleased to gain such positive publicity and plan to expand our collection of high-quality titles in Jewish Studies. Our hope is that by next year, conference attendees will recognize Gorgias right away as a place to go for the books they like and need.

Judaic Logic
Edited by Andrew Schumann

ISBN 978-1-61719-194-7
Hardback, $182.26 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $164.03)

Judaic reasoning is discussed from the standpoint of modern logic. Andrew Schumann defines Judaic logic, traces Aristotelian influence on developing Jewish studies in Judaic reasoning, and shows the non-Aristotelian core of fundamentals of Judaic logic. Further, Schumann proposes some modern approaches to understanding and formalizing Judaic reasoning, including Judaic semantics and (non-Aristotelian) syllogistics.

Pragmatic Studies in Judaism
Edited by Andrew Schumann

ISBN 978-1-4632-0222-4
Hardback, $185.77 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $167.19)

This book is the first attempt to apply formal pragmatics to Judaic studies as a discipline under the auspices of cultural studies, reconstructing the pragmatic approach in Judaism and defining some of the pragmatic limits assumed in the Torah. It is a continuation of previous work considering Judaic reasoning from the standpoint of analytic philosophy and logic. The present volume aims to explicate the Judaic pragmatic point of view with an emphasis on logic, political studies, ethics, and speech act theory.

First Came Marriage
By Susan Marks

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

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.

Normative Judaism? Jews, Judaism and Jewish Identity: The Proceedings of the British Association for Jewish Studies 2008
Supplement 1: Edited by Daniel R. Langton & Philip S. Alexander

ISBN 978-1-60724-161-4
Paperback, $56.03 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $50.43)

This collection of short case studies considers the issue of normatively in Judaism and Jewish identity. The questions of how and why certain aspects of Jewish life and thought come to be regarded as authoritative or normative, rather than inauthentic or marginal, have been and continue to be contentious ones. Topics include the philosopher Moses Maimonides, the composer Felix Mendelssohn, the self-perception of communal leadership in Manchester during the nineteenth- and twentieth-centuries, sermons of Jewish Reform rabbis during the Second World War, Orthodox rabbinic debate about war in general, representations of Jews in photographic exhibitions, the idea of Jewish music, and the academic study of Judaism itself.

Second-Wave Jewish Feminism, 1971-1991: Foundational Theology and Sacral Discourse
By Luke Devine

ISBN 978-1-4632-0084-8
Hardback, $146.8 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $132.12)

This book is the definitive critical analysis of the Jewish feminist theological project in the United States, its principal theologians and its foundational, embryonic, and more elaborated sacral discursive. The monograph critically examines each of the diverse theologians, their varied perspectives, and individual contributions, and asks will a prescriptive Jewish feminist theology ever be a reality?

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