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e-Gorgias (Issue 77, July 2014)


Issue 77
July 2014
Reading Time: 10 minutes

Gorgias Press and its representatives have been jet-setting around the world this month. Gorgias Press has participated in various conferences, including ATLA in New Orleans, Louisiana and International SBL in Vienna, Austria. (See the Conference Report section for more information.) Also, Gorgias' co-founder, George Kiraz, has been teaching Syriac at POLIS in Jerusalem. (See the News Section for more information.) The News section also has an exciting announcement regarding paperback versions of Gorgias books!

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: Despina Iosif
  • News
  • Conference Report

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

The Syriac Book of Steps 3
Fascicle 3: Translation and Introduction by Robert A. Kitchen & Martien F. G. Parmentier

ISBN 978-1-59333-981-4
 Paperback, $78.85

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.


"YHWH Fights for Them!"
By Charlie Trimm

ISBN 978-1-4632-0271-2
 Hardback, $95 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $85.50)

The divine warrior is an important motif in the Old Testament, leading many to study profitably the motif in its most prominent manifestations in poetic texts. This study builds on that foundation by examining the divine warrior in detail in the exodus narrative to construct a broader picture of the motif in the Old Testament.


Engraved on Stone
By Rony Feingold

ISBN 978-1-4632-0167-8
 Hardback, $95 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $85.50)

Cylinder seals were important instruments in the Ancient Near East, and were used in Mesopotamia from the beginning of the third millennium BCE to the fifth century BCE. This volume presents an analysis of 1000 cylinder seals (including 70 that are not yet published) from the Old Babylonian period, including the Isin and Larsa dynasties, and uses this analysis as well as data from written texts of the period to answer questions relating to the seal cutters and the production of the seals.


New Studies in the Book of Isaiah
Edited by Markus Zehnder

ISBN 978-1-4632-0356-6
 Hardback, $80 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $72.00)

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.


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

"I will be King over you!" By Terry Clark
This book examines various rhetorical ways in which the motif of Yahweh’s Kingship functions in the Book of Ezekiel and explores what these arguments contribute to our understanding of the prophetic book as a whole.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0286-6, Hardback, $95 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $85.50)

Who is afraid of the rhētōr? By Yosef Z. Liebersohn
This book concentrates on just one part of one Platonic dialogue, the conversation between Socrates and Gorgias which appears in the first part of the Gorgias.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0258-3, Hardback, $169 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $152.10)

Travels to Jerusalem and Mount Athos By Petre Konchoshvili; Translated by Mzia Ebanoidze & John Wilkinson
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)

This month we’re pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of books in the fields of Neo-Aramaic studies, New Testament manuscript studies, and modern Middle Eastern literature, as well as two more volumes in the Antioch Bible set.

Neo-Aramaic in its Linguistic Context, edited by Geoffrey Khan and Lidia Napiorkowska, contains papers on the Eastern Neo-Aramaic dialects and the languages in contact with these dialects in Western Asia, demonstrating that the historical development of Neo-Aramaic cannot be fully understood without taking into account the structures of the languages from other language families that are spoken in the area.

Early Readers, Scholars and Editors of the New Testament, edited by Hugh Houghton, brings together papers on the textual culture of the early Church, and early Christian authors’ biblical quotations and more general scriptural allusions, which transmit information about the treatment of the documents as well as attitudes to (and the form of) the canonical text at the time.

Self and Other: The Short Fiction of Yusuf al-Sharuni, by Kate Daniels, is a study of the ground-breaking short fiction of Arab author Yusuf al-Sharuni. This modest pioneer of Arab literary modernism opened up the short story form some twenty years before Egypt’s ‘Sixties Generation’. His eclectic and avant-garde oeuvre saw him move from romanticism via realism to modernism, and even, latterly, to test the boundaries of postmodernism. Daniels teases apart al-Sharuni’s literary re-making of a world in flux, exploring the complex dynamics between the individual and the collectivity, and the larger questions of the relationship between narrative and identity that define al-Sharuni’s work. It offers insight into one of Egypt’s greatest short story-writers and includes translated excerpts from key short fictional texts.

Finally, the latest instalments in our Antioch Bible series are currently in press. Keep an eye out for John (translated by Jeff Childers and James Prather) and Acts (translated by Robert Kitchen), due to be released in September.

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

Melonie Schmierer-Lee

Acquisitions Editor

Neo-Aramaic in its Linguistic Context Edited by Geoffrey Khan & Lidia Napiorkowska
This volume contains papers on the Eastern Neo-Aramaic dialects and the languages in contact with them. The papers make important contributions to the documentation of the dialects and to the understanding of their development in the context of non-Semitic contact languages.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0410-5, Hardback, $0 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $0.00)

Early Readers, Scholars and Editors of the New Testament Edited by H. A. G. Houghton
A collection of ten original papers on the New Testament text, first presented in 2013, which reflect the diversity of current research. Examples of ancient engagement with the Bible include Origen, Eusebius of Caesarea and Augustine along with early translations.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0411-2, Hardback, $0 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $0.00)

Self and Other By Kate V. M. Daniels
Self and Other explores the complex dynamic between the individual and the collectivity, narrative and identity that define the short fiction of Yūsuf al-Shārūnī, pioneer of Arab literary modernism. With a range of translated extracts, Kate V.M. Daniels offers English-speaking readers an invaluable introduction to one of Egypt's greatest short story-writers.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0409-9, Hardback, $95 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $85.50)

The Gospel of John According to the Syriac Peshitta Version with English Translation English Translation by Jeff W. Childers & James Prather; Text Prepared by George Anton Kiraz
This volume is part of a series of English translations of the Syriac Peshiṭta along with the Syriac text carried out by an international team of scholars. Childers has translated the Peshiṭta of John, while Kiraz has prepared the Syriac text in the west Syriac script, fully vocalized and pointed. The translation and the Syriac text are presented on facing pages so that both can be studied together. All readers are catered for: those wanting to read the text in English, those wanting to improve their grasp of Syriac by reading the original language along with a translation, and those wanting to focus on a fully vocalized Syriac text.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0412-9, Cloth, $150 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $135.00)

The Book of Acts According to the Syriac Peshitta Version with English Translation Acts: English Translation by Robert A. Kitchen; Text Prepared by George Anton Kiraz
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.
ISBN 978-1-61143-932-8, Cloth, $150 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $135.00)

George Teaches at POLIS

George Kiraz, co-founder of Gorgias Press, is currently in Jerusalem at POLIS, The Jerusalem Institute of Languages and Humanities, to teach a Syriac immersion course. Of course, he is using The New Syriac Primer as his textbook. While there, he also had coffee with Michael Sokoloff, who revised and updated Brockelmann’s Lexicon Syriacum (a Syriac-Latin lexicon) into an English-Syriac dictionary, now entitled A Syriac Lexicon. This trip has been a wonderful opportunity to connect with various people interested in the work done here at Gorgias Press.

Introducing Gorgias Paperback Books

We know that Gorgias books are a bargain at any price, but some bargains are better than others. Our latest bargain should please everyone: a new line of paperback books, designed to fit any budget and almost any area of interest.

The books in our paperback line include some of the bestselling titles from Gorgias’ early days, like The Akitu Festival and Bishop Lists: Formation of Apostolic Succession in Ecclesiastical Crises. All of them have been given newly-designed covers (courtesy of our own Kelly Silar) and steep discounts. The following titles will be coming out in paperback soon:

Please note that because these titles have already been significantly marked down from their original prices, the Biblioperks discount will not apply.

The Akītu Festival
By Julye Bidmead

ISBN 978-1-4632-0265-1
 Paperback, $37.95

The akītu festival is one of the oldest recorded religious festivals in the world, celebrated for several millennia throughout ancient Mesopotamia. Yet, the akītu was more than just a religious ceremony; it acted as a political device to ensure the supremacy of the king, the national god, and his capital city. Using tools of social anthropology and ritual analysis, this book presents a detailed reconstruction of the festival events and its attendant rituals to demonstrate how the festival became a propagandistic tool wielded by the monarchy and ruling classes. The akītu festival demonstrates the effectiveness of religion as a political tool.


Bishop Lists
By Robert Lee Williams

ISBN 978-1-4632-0266-8
 Paperback, $43.35

Early lists of bishops, identified by Walter Bauer as "literary propaganda," mark critical points in the development of the doctrine of the apostolic succession of bishops. This study delves into the political struggles surrounding the lists and the doctrine they served to define. Ecclesiastical politics in each case reflects the threat to the bishop's authority and clarifies the meaning of apostolic succession in the Church's development. This social history approach, examining the function of the literature within its historical circumstances, reveals how theology developed from politics. The development is as gripping politically as it is illuminating theologically.


Man and the Theogony in the Lurianic Cabala
By Daphne Freedman

ISBN 978-1-4632-0395-5
 Paperback, $36.98

Lurianic mythology represents an intensely personal view, in which earlier cabalistic symbolism is used to express new and original ideas. The lurianic corpus can be seen as a metaphor for a relation between man and the deity which is not yet fulfilled. The cabalistic myths of his sources express the reality of the relations of being in the lurianic corpus. The lurianic system seeks to reformulate the relation of man and god, concentrating on the way that the being of the deity is revealed in man.


The Phoenician Solar Theology
By Joseph Azize

ISBN 978-1-4632-0269-9
 Paperback, $45.78

This book, the first study of its kind, contends that an authentic Phoenician solar theology existed, reaching back to at least the fifth or sixth century BCE. Through Azize’s examination, a portrait of a vibrant Phoenician tradition of spiritual thought emerges: a native tradition not dependent upon Hellenic thought, but related to other Semitic cultures of the ancient Near East, and, of course, to Egypt. In light of this analysis, it can be seen that Phoenician religion possessed a unique organizing power in which the sun, the sun god, life, death, and humanity, were linked in a profound system.


Moses, David and the High Kingship of Yahweh
By Michael G. McKelvey

ISBN 978-1-4632-0370-2
 Paperback, $49.64

Has the Old Testament Psalter been purposefully arranged? Does this arrangement convey an overall message? This book enters into the growing discussion regarding the canonical arrangement of the Psalms by examining Book IV (Pss 90-106) and considering the book's overall theological and thematic message within the literary context of the Psalter. This volume argues that Psalms 90-106 have been purposely arranged as a rejoinder to the previous three books, in response to the rise and fall of Davidic kingship. This hypothesis is tested by examining how Psalms 90-106 may have been purposely organized as a collection.


The Mark of Cain and the Jews
By Lisa A. Unterseher

ISBN 978-1-4632-0385-6
 Paperback, $36

This book examines the development of Augustine of Hippo’s theology of the Jewish people and Judaism. Formulating a typological association between the biblical figure of Cain and the Jews, he crafts a highly intricate theology that justifies and even demands the continuing presence of Jews and their religious practices in a Christian society. Such a theology emerges out of his highly original interpretation of Genesis 4:1–15 and yet mirrors and theologically justifies the reality of Jews and Judaism in the late Roman Empire.


Adrian Fortescue and the Eastern Christian Churches
By Anthony Dragani

ISBN 978-1-4632-0397-9
 Paperback, $39.03

Adrian Fortescue (1874-1923) was recognized as one of England’s foremost authorities on Eastern Christianity and helped to shape the English-speaking world’s understanding of the Eastern Churches. This book is a critical examination of his writings on the subject, analyzing what he said about the Eastern Christian Churches and highlighting his insights into key questions. It focuses on Fortescue’s understanding of the schisms and his thoughts as to how reunion can come about. The book concludes by comparing Fortescue's perspective to later advances in theology and historical scholarship in order to ascertain the long-term accuracy of his writings.


Professor Despina Iosif is a historian of theology with a special interest in late antiquity. She has studied at the University of Crete (BA, MA), at University College London (PhD), and at the University of Thessaly (post-doc). She teaches part-time at the Department of History and Archaeology of the University of Crete, and has taught at the Hellenic Open University, the University of Komotini and at University College London. She also has worked as historical advisor for BBC documentaries. Her publications include Early Christian Attitudes to War, Violence and Military Service with Gorgias Press. She can speak and read: Greek, English, Italian, Danish, and Spanish. Her research interests include: the beginnings of the three monotheistic religions, the impact of Orthodoxy in Greek society, sexuality and the body in antiquity, medicine and magic in Graeco-Roman antiquity and Byzantium. What she enjoys most of all though, is trying to make her students share her enthusiasm for her subject.

Despina's favorite Gorgias Press books include History of Martyrs in Palestine, by Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea: Discovered in a Very Ancient Syriac Manuscript edited and translated by William Cureton and The Armenian Prayers attributed to Ephrem the Syrian edited and translated by Edward G. Mathews Jr. She took our suggestion to provide a "brief quote" regarding Gorgias press seriously, saying: "Gorgias Press publications are absolutely indispensable for all those interested in religious studies."

Early Christian Attitudes to War, Violence and Military Service
  By Despina Iosif

ISBN 978-1-61143-486-6
 Hardback, $110 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $99.00)

 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.


History of Martyrs in Palestine, by Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea
  Edited and Translated by William Cureton

ISBN 978-1-60724-898-9
 Hardback, $163.15 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $146.84)

 This volume contains the Syriac version, with English translation and copious literary and historical notes, of Eusebius’s small book on the martyrs of Palestine, edited from a Syriac manuscript dated to 411.


The Armenian Prayers attributed to Ephrem the Syrian
  Edited and Translated by Edward G. Mathews Jr.

ISBN 978-1-4632-0262-0
 Paperback, $40

 Armenian text of the Prayers attributed to Ephrem the Syrian, with the first-ever translation into a western language. Utilizing a highly developed poetic rhythm, the author manifests a profound spirituality laying his own emptiness before the inexhaustible Mercy of God.


This month, Gorgias exhibited at the ATLA conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, as well as at SBL International (in Vienna, Austria). Some of the conference bestsellers at SBL included: Opening Heaven's Floodgates edited by Jason Silverman, Scribal Wit by David Marcus, and Righteous Giving to the Poor by Rivka and Moshe Ulmer. There was also a lot of interest in the newly-published Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians: Religious Dynamics in a Sasanian Context edited by Geoffrey Herman and Peter Burton’s English Grammar Guide for Language Students. The University of Vienna was a lovely venue for the conference, and the books were exhibited in an open air courtyard. Fortunately the weather cooperated! Thanks to all those who stopped by our table!


Opening Heaven's Floodgates
  Edited by Jason M. Silverman

ISBN 978-1-61143-894-9
 Hardback, $150 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $135.00)

 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.


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.


Righteous Giving to the Poor: Tzedakah ("Charity") in Classical Rabbinic Judaism
  By Rivka Ulmer & Moshe Ulmer

ISBN 978-1-4632-0261-3
 Paperback, $65

 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.


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