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e-Gorgias (Issue 76, June 2014)


Issue 76
June 2014
Reading Time: 10 minutes

Although things have slowed down for many people on the academic schedule, we are just as busy as ever here at Gorgias Press. We have been hard at work attending conferences (for a report on the annual NAPS conference, see the Conference section below) and - of course - producing and releasing new titles (see the Recently Released and Coming Soon sections below). Also, an interview from our very own Dr. Melonie Schmierer-Lee recently re-aired on BBC Radio. Finally, we have exciting news regarding The Hidden Pearl: The Aramaic Heritage. (For more information, see our News Section.)

As always, we hope you are aware of our deal on the Antioch Bible.

Happy reading!


  • Recently Released
  • Coming Soon
  • From the Acquisitions Desk
  • Enthusiast of the Month: Mario Kozah
  • News
  • Conference Report

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

Tribe and State
By Adam E. Miglio

ISBN 978-1-4632-0249-1
 Hardback, $95 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $85.50)

This book analyzes Zimri-Lim’s interactions with sovereigns from the Habur and with Yamut-bal and Numha tribal polities. It describes how Zimri-Lim’s disproportionate dependence on tribal connections left him vulnerable when these alliances began to falter in his tenth regnal year.


Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians
Edited by Geoffrey Herman

ISBN 978-1-4632-0250-7
 Hardback, $95 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $85.50)

The Sasanian Empire was home to many religious communities. It was also a place of meeting and transformation. The studies in this volume encompass a diverse array of topics concerning these religious communities inhabiting the Sasanian Empire. Some include the Roman East in their deliberations. Most, however, deal with the interaction of one or other religious community based in the Sasanian Empire with the dominant religion of the empire, Zoroastrianism.


Epiphanius von Salamis, Über die zwölf Steine im hohepriesterlichen Brustschild (De duodecim gemmis rationalis)
By Felix Albrecht & Arthur Manukyan

ISBN 978-1-4632-0279-8
 Hardback, $95 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $85.50)

At the request of Diodorus, bishop of Tyre, Epiphanius of Salamis produced this exegetical treatise on the gemstones in the High Priest's breastplate. The oldest Christian work on gemstones, the the author deals with the stones according to their appearance and their medical benefit as well as their attribution to the twelve tribes based on Christian exegesis. Only extracts of this work are preserved in Greek. This volume provides the important – but hereto unconsidered – Armenian text with a German translation and commentarial annotations, as well as an English introduction.


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

The Syriac Book of Steps 3 Fascicle 3: Translation and Introduction by Robert A. Kitchen & Martien F. G. Parmentier
The Syriac Book of Steps collects 30 sermons by a late 4th century anonymous author in the Persian Empire. The author details the spiritual life, highlighting the duties and problems of two ranks of committed Christians, the Upright and the Perfect.
ISBN 978-1-59333-981-4, Paperback, $78.845 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $70.96)

The Origins of the Islamic State Volume 1: By Philip Khûri Hitti & Francis Clark Murgotten; Volume 2: 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, Morocco, 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, $320.645 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $288.58)

S. Ephraem Syri Commentarii in Epistolas D. Pauli
Presented here are commentaries on the Letters of Saint Paul, translated into Latin from the Armenian version.
ISBN 978-1-61143-296-1, Hardback, $185.575 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $167.02)

This month we’re pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of books in the fields of Biblical Studies and Early Christianity:

New Studies in the Book of Isaiah is a themed Festschrift for Hallvard Hagelia, edited by Markus Zehnder. The twelve essays in this volume cover a wide array of different topics, from historical and linguistic issues to a number of theological “hot-topics” on the Book of Isaiah, one of the most central books of the Old Testament canon.

In The Sleeper’s Dream: Asclepius Ritual and Early Christian Discourse, Jeff Pettis probes into the nature and use of bodily healing and dreams in antiquity, examining literary and archaeological evidence in order to gain a sense of how the Greco-Roman world understood each through the Asclepius cult, and to understand references to bodily healings and dreams by early Christian cults and groups.

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

Melonie Schmierer-Lee

Acquisitions Editor

New Studies in the Book of Isaiah Edited by Markus Zehnder
This volume contains twelve articles that shed new light on the Book of Isaiah, covering a wide array of historical, linguistic and theological topics. The various aspects of God’s intervention at different points of human history is a main focus of the studies. The collection is marked by a broad diversity in approaches and theological background, and is a useful tool especially for scholars, students and pastors.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0356-6, Hardback, $80 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $72.00)

The Sleeper's Dream By Jeffrey B. Pettis
This analysis probes into the nature and use of bodily healing and dreams in antiquity, examining literary and archaeological evidence in order to gain a sense of how the Greco-Roman world understood each through the Asclepius cult, and to understand references to bodily healings and dreams by early Christian cults and groups.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0256-9, Hardback, $182.65 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $164.39)

Our Acquisitions Editor, Dr. Melonie Schmierer-Lee, participated last year in a five-episode series with The Genizah Research Unit at Cambridge University Library (produced by Nightjar) entitled Life in Fragments: Stories from the Cairo Genizah, which was recently rebroadcast on BBC Radio. Each episode is 15 minutes long, and covers a historical aspect of the Cairo Genizah - manuscripts from the Ben Ezra synagogue in Old Cairo. Melonie's episode focuses on the fortunes of women in medieval Cairo.

Also, don't forget to check out our new Twitter account: @GorgiasPress. We will be posting quotes, news, sales info, and more! Following us on Twitter is one more (short) way to keep up to date on what we're doing.

Now Available in Three Separate Volumes - The Hidden Pearl: The Aramaic Heritage

We’ve decided to split up our book and video collection on the Aramaic Heritage to make it more accessible to our e-Gorgias readers. Those of you who are interested can still buy the original product, complete with VHS tapes for $364. But for those of you who just want to read the books, we have made them available in three separate volumes, each for $50.

  • Volume 1: The Ancient Aramaic Heritage: Aramaic, the language of Jesus of Nazareth, was the lingua franca of the Middle East for over a thousand years before Arabic became widespread. During the time of the Achaemenid Persian Empire it became the official language of the state, and was in use from Afghanistan to western Iran to the Mediterranean and down to the south of Egypt. This volume tells the story of the transition of Aramaic from its humble beginnings in the first millennium B.C. to its height as a truly international language. Includes color illustrations.
  • Volume 2: The Heirs of the Aramaic Heritage: Although Hebrew had been the language of the ancient Israelite kingdom, after their return from exile the Jews turned more and more to Aramaic, using it for parts of the books of Ezra and Daniel in the Bible. By the time of Jesus, Aramaic was the main language of Palestine, and a number of texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls are written in Aramaic. Aramaic continued to be an important language for Jews and and is one of the languages found in the Talmud. Although the New Testament was written in Greek, Christianity had come into existence in an Aramaic-speaking region, and it was the Aramaic dialect of Edessa, now known as Syriac, that became the literary language of a large number of Christians living in the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire and in the Persian Empire, further east. Over the course of the centuries the influence of the Syriac Churches spread east to China (in Xian, in western China, a Chinese-Syriac inscription dated 781 is still extant), to southern India where the state of Kerala can boast more Christians of Syriac liturgical tradition than anywhere else in the world. Includes color photographs.
  • Volume 3: At the Turn of the Third Millennium; The Syrian Orthodox Witness: Despite tremendous challenges, Syriac culture and language has survived to the present day. However, massacres and forced migrations have forced Syriac communities to seek homes outside the Middle East, including Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, America, and Australia. This volume looks at the changing face of Syriac culture in the new millennium and in particular the measures that are being taken to successfully adapt to its new environments. Includes color photographs.

Please note that only a limited number are available and will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.

Mario Kozah received his B.A. and Ph.D. in Oriental Studies at the University of Cambridge in England. After a three year Junior Research Fellowship at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, he moved to Lebanon in 2003 and began teaching Arabic and Syriac language and literature at the Department of Arabic and Near Eastern Languages and the Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies, in the American University of Beirut (AUB). He is currently working on a critical edition and translation of Kitab al-a‘laq al-nafisa by Ibn Rustah.

Mario is also a Principal Investigator in a three year project (2011-2014) funded by the Qatar National Research Fund, a member of the Qatar Foundation, entitled “The Syriac Writers of Qatar,” which included an international conference in Doha in February 2014 and will result in the publication of two books with Gorgias Press: The Syriac Writers of Qatar in the 7th century CE (available now!) and The Syriac Writers of Qatar - An Anthology.

My interest in books published by Gorgias Press is as old as my interest in Syriac: ever since my Cambridge days as an undergraduate. Two books published by Gorgias are indispensable for my Introduction to Syriac language and literature courses that I give on an annual basis at AUB. These are The New Syriac Primer by George Kiraz, and the Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage edited by Sebastian Brock, Aaron Butts, George Kiraz, and Lucas Van Rompay.

The Syriac Writers of Qatar in the Seventh Century
  Edited by Mario Kozah, Abdulrahim Abu-Husayn, Saif Shaheen Al-Murikhi & Sheikha Haya Al Thani

ISBN 978-1-4632-0355-9
 Paperback, $25 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $22.50)

 The Syriac writers of Qatar themselves produced some of the best and most sophisticated writing to be found in all Syriac literature of the seventh century, but they have not received the scholarly attention that they deserve in the last half century. This volume seeks to redress this underdevelopment by setting the standard for further research in the sub-field of Beth Qatraye studies.


The New Syriac Primer, 2nd Edition
  By George Anton Kiraz

ISBN 978-1-59333-325-6
 Paperback, $48 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $43.20)

 A truly useful introduction to the Syriac language is a rare find. This practical initiation to the study of this ancient language of the Christian church speaks with clarity and authority. A fruitful integration of scholarly introduction and practical application, this primer is more than a simple grammar or syntactic introduction to the language. Written in a style designed for beginners, Kiraz avoids technical language and strives for a reader-friendly inductive approach. Readings from actual Syriac texts allow the student to experience the language first hand and the basics of the grammar of the language are ably explained. The book comes with downloadable material so that readers may listen to all reading sentences and text passages in the book.


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.


Syriac Orthography (A Grammar of the Syriac Language, Volume 1) received a positive review from the Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies.

"Given the technical and complex nature of [Syriac punctuation and orthography], Kiraz has performed a minor miracle in providing Syriacists with a work that is both comprehensive and highly readable." Alison Salvesen, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 77.2 (2014): 374.

Syriac Orthography (A Grammar of the Syriac Language, Volume 1)
  By George Anton Kiraz

ISBN 978-1-4632-0183-8
 Cloth, $247 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $222.30)

 This volume, the first in a comprehensive grammar of the Syriac language, is a thematic presentation of orthography in the Syriac grammatical tradition, bringing the study of Syriac writing closer to modern linguistic accounts of writing systems.


The following is a Conference Report from our Marketing and Editorial Assistant, Jeffrey Haines.

This was my first time at NAPS, and I can certainly see why Gorgias goes back every year. This conference is a unique combination, in that it is exceptionally professional but at the same time small and collegial. It was a pleasure to be there, and not just because downtown Chicago in the springtime is a sight not to be missed!

Our display highlighted some of our bilingual English/Syriac books, such as the new The Martyrdom of St. Phokas of Sinope translated by Sebastian Brock, as well as some of our bestselling monographs in Early Christianity. Michelle Coetzee’s The Filioque Impasse drew a lot of attention, as did Elizabeth A. Goodine's Standing at Lyon: An Examination of the Martyrdom of Blandina of Lyon. But the book that was by far and away the most popular was Kyle Smith’s hot-off-the-press release, The Martyrdom and History of the Blessed Simeon Bar Sabba’e. Be sure to check it out!

The Martyrdom of St Phokas of Sinope
  Introduction & translation and edition by Sebastian P. Brock

ISBN 978-1-4632-0189-0
 Paperback, $40.43 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $36.39)

 The fame of the martyr St. Phokas, first bishop of Sinope (on the Black Sea) and patron of seafarers, had spread to many parts of the Christian world by the fifth and sixth centuries. Although the Acts of his martyrdom under Trajan were composed in Greek, the earliest witness to them is the Syriac translation which is edited and translated here from two early manuscripts.


The Filioque Impasse
  By Michelle Coetzee

ISBN 978-1-4632-0255-2
 Hardback, $99 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $89.10)

 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.


Standing At Lyon
  By Elizabeth A. Goodine

ISBN 978-1-4632-0384-9
 Paperback, $33.31 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $29.98)

 The suffering woman, Blandina, emerges as an archetypal figure of the martyrs of Lyon. This slave-woman ultimately arises to engage in battle with the powers of the Roman Empire. Through the application of Bowen Family Systems Theory and the writings of Michel Foucault the book explains the function of anxiety, and the dynamics at work in the system that result in the failure of Roman authority to use power to quell the rise of Christianity. The reactions of those who might appear to be the most powerful are essential in gifting power to this lowly slave.


The Martyrdom and History of Blessed Simeon bar Sabba'e
  By Kyle Richard Smith

ISBN 978-1-4632-0245-3
 Paperback, $63.8 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $57.42)

 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.


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