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e-Gorgias (Issue 72, February 2014)


Issue 72
February 2014
Reading Time: 10 minutes

We thought we would begin this issue of eGorgias with a picture of a lovely sunset outside our office in New Jersey. This picture also displays a small sample of the snow that has been keeping our lives interesting. Staff members have been diligently shoveling our parking lot to ensure that deliveries arrive and depart on schedule.

Good news! The application for the 2014 Gorgias Book Grant has been extended to March 1. Also, our president, George Kiraz, will be teaching three different Syriac language courses over the summer. See the News section for more details about each of these exciting opportunities.

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!

Happy reading!


  • Recently Released
  • Coming Soon
  • From the Acquisitions Desk
  • Conferences

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

Can No Physician Be Found?
Second Edition: By Laura Marie Zucconi

ISBN 978-1-4632-0248-4
 Hardback, $55 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $49.50)

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.


Syriac Christianity in the Middle East and India
Edited by Dietmar W. Winkler

ISBN 978-1-4632-0247-7
 Hardback, $165.49 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $148.94)

This volume acknowledges the contributions of Syriac Christians in the fields of culture, education and civil society throughout the history in the Middle East and India, and examines the challenges of living and professing the Christian faith as a minority in a multi-religious and pluralistic society, giving special attention to religious freedom and personal status.


A Short Introduction to the Tiberian Masoretic Bible and its Reading Tradition
Second Edition: By Geoffrey Khan

ISBN 978-1-4632-0246-0
 Paperback, $39 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $35.10)

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.


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.


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)

Gorgias Concise Syriac-English Dictionary Volume 1–Volume 2: By Sebastian P. Brock & George A. Kiraz
This is the first two-way dictionary for Syriac and English. The Syriac-English volume/section provides a handy and practical tool for reading Classical Syriac texts and the English-Syriac also includes many words which are current in Modern Literary Syriac/Ktobonoyo.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0224-8, Paperback, $48 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $43.20)

An East Syrian Manuscript of the Syriac 'Masora' Dated to 899 CE Volume 1: Prepared by Jonathan Loopstra
This 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. An introduction and comprehensive scriptural indices will be included in a forthcoming volume.
ISBN 978-1-61143-896-3, Hardback, $262.6 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $236.34)

Reflections on Lexicography Edited by Richard A. Taylor & Craig E. Morrison
Colloquia of the International Syriac Language Project. These essays offer a probing analysis of selected lexical tools and methods for working with ancient Syriac, Hebrew, and Greek sources, as well as offering reflections on methodological concerns for lexicographical tools of the future.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0229-3, Hardback, $150 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $135.00)

This month I’m pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of two text translations from Christian Late Antiquity, one volume on Ottoman governance, and an introduction to the Jewish concept of tzedakah (“charity”).

Rivka Ulmer and Moshe Ulmer’s Righteous Giving to the Poor: Tzedakah (“Charity”) in Classical Rabbinic Judaism will be part of our paperback Gorgias Handbook series. Moral insights and comments about charitable giving are found throughout the vast body of rabbinic literature, and this book introduces, analyses and comments on Judaism’s system of responsibilities to the poor.

Moses bar Kepha was a prolific writer in the fields of exegesis, theology and liturgy. Father Baby Varghese has translated Moses’s Commentary on Myron into English for the first time. This will be an invaluable resource for students of Syriac language, literature, and liturgy. Moses Bar Kepha: Commentary on Myron, with the Syriac text and English translation on facing pages, forms volume 34 of the series Texts from Christian Late Antiquity.

The Gnomai of the Council of Nicaea is an anonymous work detailing norms of behavior for lay Christians. Originally composed in Greek, it is now extant solely in Coptic. Alistair C. Stewart has translated the text into English for the first time, accompanied by a commentary and an extensive introduction. The Gnomai of the Council of Nicaea (CC 0021), with the Coptic text and English translation on facing pages, forms volume 35 of the series Texts from Christian Late Antiquity.

Finally, in Reforming Ottoman Governance: Success, Failure and the Path to Decline (by Fuat Andic and Suphan Andic, volume 4 in Munaqashat: Gorgias Studies in the Modern Middle East) examines the administrative reform efforts of Ottoman sultans over the empire’s 700-year history. This work examines domestic and military reforms in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries through the framework of neo-institutional economics, also drawing attention to the diagnoses of the empire’s ills by contemporary statesmen and historians.


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

Melonie Schmierer-Lee

Acquisitions Editor

Righteous Giving to the Poor: Tzedakah ("Charity") in Classical Rabbinic Judaism By Rivka Ulmer & Moshe Ulmer
Moral insights and comments about Tzedakah ("Charity") are found throughout the vast body of rabbinic literature. This book attempts to present a survey of the rabbinic sources concerning Tzedakah and to provide the reader with an analysis of the system of Tzedakah as created and understood by the Rabbis.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0261-3, Paperback, $65 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $58.50)

Moses Bar Kepha: Commentary on Myron Translation and Introduction by Baby Varghese
Moses bar Kepha: Commentary on Myron is an important witness to the history of the West Syriac Liturgy. Fr.Baby Varghese has translated the Syriac text into English for the first time.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0214-9, Paperback, $43.55 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $39.20)

The Gnomai of the Council of Nicaea (CC 0021) Edited and Translated by Alistair C. Stewart
The first English translation and first complete critical text of a neglected moral treatise from fourth-century Egypt, throwing fresh light on the social history of Egyptian Christianity and on the growth of the church-order tradition.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0260-6, Paperback, $41.6 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $37.44)

Reforming Ottoman Governance By Fuat Andic & Suphan Andic
The book is the history of reform attempts in the Ottoman Empire and the internal and external difficulties in implementing them. Imperialist aggression towards the Empire and bloody janissary revolts hampered the reforms, and although some successes in governance were achieved, there were many failures, and these contributed to the demise of the Empire at the end of the First World War.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0236-1, Hardback, $169 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $152.10)

Gorgias Book Grant: Call for Applications

We've all been there. We have eyed Gorgias books longingly at conferences, made a wishlist, and then remembered that we are still living off a graduate student’s stipend.

If you fit that description, you could be in luck! Every year, Gorgias chooses two graduate students for its Gorgias Book Grant, an award of $500 worth of Gorgias titles (each) to outstanding students in their fields. Any student currently enrolled in an accredited Master’s or Ph.D program with a GPA of 3.0 or higher is eligible to apply. Here's how:

Email the following to Christine Kiraz:

  • A letter indicating your interests in your field and plans for the future.
  • A two-page description of your thesis, or a one-page description of your course work in the case of course-based programs.

And send the following items by mail (to Gorgias Press LLC, Book Grants Program, 954 River Rd., Piscataway, NJ 08854):

  • Official transcripts of the previous 2 years of university education. If your institution does not give out transcripts, please contact us to make alternative arrangements to satisfy this requirement.
  • Two letters of recommendations from professors familiar with your work (one must be your current supervisor in the field of the grant).

Please bear in mind that all documents, except for official transcripts, should be in English. In order to be considered for the grant, please submit all documents by March 1 (snail-mail documents should be postmarked by the due date). We’ll announce the lucky winners by the end of March.

Syriac Language Courses

George Kiraz (president of Gorgias Press, director of Beth Mardutho, and PhD in Computational Linguistics) will be teaching three Syriac language courses this summer.

  • Classical Syriac (beginners, immersion style) at Polis, the Jerusalem Institute of Languages and Humanities, from June 30 to July 25. For more information and to register visit the Polis website.
  • Introductory Syriac (reading/writing) with Beth Mardutho (The Syriac Institute) in collaboration with Rutgers University (Department of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literature) from August 4–29. Students with no prior experience in Syriac will learn introductory reading, writing, grammar, and should be able to translate introductory texts by the end of the course. A hybrid method of teaching will be used drawing from both traditional reading/writing and immersion (conversational) models. Classes will be held Mon–Thursday, 3-4 hours per day. Students are expected to spend the rest of the day doing homework and preparing for the next day lesson. For more information and to register, visit Beth Mardutho.
  • Intermediate-Advanced Syriac (grammar, advanced reading) with Beth Mardutho (The Syriac Institute) in collaboration with Rutgers University (Department of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literature) from August 4–29This course is geared toward students who have already done Syriac and would like to dig deeper into the grammar and nuances of the language. A hybrid method of teaching will be used drawing from both traditional reading/writing and immersion (conversational) models which will allow the student to get a better command of the language. Intermediate-advanced texts will be read. For more information and to register, visit Beth Mardutho.

March 6-8 - We will be exhibiting at the 10th Annual Graduate Student Conference in Patristic Studies, Historical Theology, and History of Christianity in Late Antiquity at the Pappas Patristic Institute at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Boston. We hope to see you there!


Gorgias Press
954 River Rd., Piscataway, NJ 08854 USA
Tel. +1 732-885-8900
Fax. +1 732-885-8908