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e-Gorgias (Issue 83, January 2015)


Issue 83
January 2015
Reading Time: 10 minutes

As 2015 rolls around, we're excited to show you what's in store for the upcoming year!

First, we're opening up our annual Gorgias Book Grant. The Book Grant is an award for $500 worth of Gorgias books (plus free shipping) for two graduate students who have demonstrated excellence in one of the fields in which we publish. Applications are due by March 1, 2015; more details can be found in our "News" section.

Second, 2015 marks the centennial anniversary of Sayfo. To commemorate this event and to spread awareness about the genocide, we are marking down two of our bestselling books, The Hidden Pearl: The Aramaic Heritage and Massacres, Resistance, Protectors: Muslim-Christian Relations in Eastern Anatolia during World War I. You can get a 50% off discount (exclusive to e-Gorgias) by entering this code: 02GB33H3.

(Speaking of discounts, we're offering a special pre-release discount for Dr. Kiraz's new book on the development of Syriac diacritics as well as a free downloadable article on the Yezidis. More details under "News"!)

Last but not least, check out Aaron Brody's column as our Enthusiast of the Month and some recent reviews of the Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage and the Antioch Bible.

If you would like to unsubscribe from e-Gorgias, the link can be found at the top and bottom of this newsletter.

Happy reading!


  • Recently Released
  • Coming Soon
  • From the Acquisitions Desk
  • Enthusiast of the Month: Aaron Brody
  • News: Book Grants, Free Book, and Special Sale
  • Reviews: The Book of the Twelve Prophets According to the Syriac Peshitta & The Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage
  • Conference Report: AJS in Baltimore

For the complete list of recent releases, please visit our Just Published page.

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

ISBN 978-1-61143-932-8
 Cloth, $150 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $135.00)

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.


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


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

Humanist Comic Elements in Aristophanes and the Old Testament By Benjamin M. Lazarus
Lazarus compares and discusses comic elements used for didactic purposes in two separate literary traditions: Old Testament narrative and Aristophanic Comedies. Given that humour relies on taking people's ideas of what is normal and making them incongruous, this volume examines these very different texts to see how they use that comic incongruity to help define what it means to be human within the hierarchy of the universe.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0243-9, Hardback, $191.815 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $172.63)

Neo-Aramaic and 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, $120 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $108.00)

The Martyrs of Mount Ber'ain Edited and Translated by Sebastian P. Brock; Introduction by Paul C. Dilley
The Martyrs of Mount Ber’ain is the poignant tale of three noble Iranian siblings who are martyred under Shapur II. Composed in the seventh century, it demonstrates enduring concerns of Christian self-definition in Iran, especially with respect to the Zoroastrian priesthood.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0421-1, Paperback, $51.155 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $46.04)

The Syriac Writers of Qatar in the Seventh Century Edited by Mario Kozah, Abdulrahim Abu-Husayn, Saif Shaheen Al-Murikhi & Haya Al Thani
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.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0355-9, Paperback, $25 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $22.50)

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, $95 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $85.50)

This month, we’re pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of several long-awaited volumes, including several important advances in the study of Syriac and Eastern Christianity and a new approach to moral philosophy.

Based on the proceedings of the Sophia Institute, Orthodox Monasticism: Past and Present, edited by John McGuckin of Union Theological Seminary, is a collection of 36 articles on the place of asceticism in the spiritual life of the Orthodox Church. Studies cover topics as diverse as the use of monasticism in Dostoyevsky, its place in the modern world, St. Sava’s influence on Serbian monasticism, and Ephrem’s use of music to combat heresy. This is a valuable resource to scholars of Christian monasticism, particularly those that work across multiple traditions.

On the linguistic front, Gorgias is nearly ready to release the much-anticipated Gorgias Concise Syriac-English Dictionary, edited by Sebastian Brock and George Kiraz. This is the first two-way Syriac-English/English-Syriac dictionary, and its words have been carefully chosen to cover all but the most specialized manuscripts. Containing 13,000 entries taken from J. Payne-Smith's Compendious Syriac-English Dictionary, as well as making use of Costaz and Sokoloff’s revision of Brockelmann, the editors have combined the very best of Syriac lexicography in a highly user-friendly format.

Also by George Kiraz, The Syriac Dot traces the history of Syriac diacritics, including the dots on dolath and rish. Beginning with the first unpointed inscriptions (which are displayed in the text), and drawing from insights from Hebrew and early English, Kiraz offers a narrative on how Syriac diacritics first developed and what their original functions were.

Finally, our philosophical series Perspectives on Philosophy and Religious Thought will soon include Common Grounds without Foundations, by David Kratz Mathies, which suggests pragmatism as a new via media in moral reasoning. Primarily using Jainist and Confucian ethics, Mathies challenges both MacIntyre’s foundationalism and Nietzsche’s will-to-power. By taking a pragmatic, rationalist approach to morality, Mathies argues that values such as human rights and democracy emerge naturally.

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

Melonie Schmierer-Lee

Acquisitions Editor

The Syriac Dot By George A. Kiraz
This book introduces the reader to the various Syriac dots through a historical narrative.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0425-9, Hardback, $38 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $34.20)

Orthodox Monasticism Past and Present Edited by John McGuckin
Studies in Eastern Orthodox monastic life and culture. Part 1 is devoted to New Testament, Patristic, and Byzantine foundations of eastern monastic theory, and Part 2 is comprised of contemporary reflections on Orthodox monastic life.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0530-0, Hardback, $227.5 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $204.75)

Gorgias Concise Syriac-English Dictionary 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)

Common Grounds without Foundations By David Kratz Mathies
An alternative, fallibilist model of moral reasoning rooted in the American Pragmatic tradition. Additional resources drawn from Chinese philosophy, Jain epistemology, modern philosophy of mathematics, and the Gadamerian hermeneutical tradition serve both to corroborate the argumentation and to provide examples of continuities in reasoning that cross the boundaries of disparate traditions.
ISBN 978-1-60724-042-6, Hardback, $95 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $85.50)

Syriac Dots Book Marked Down for Pre-Release

For a limited time, George Kiraz's new book, The Syriac Dot, is available for a special pre-release price of $38! This is nearly half of the regular price of the book. You can order a pre-release copy here.

Gorgias Book Grant

Have you ever found the perfect book for your research, but then worried that you can't afford it with your stipend? Since we believe that great graduate students deserve great resources, we are once again announcing our annual book grant. Every year, we award two students $500 worth of Gorgias titles (each) for demonstrating excellence in their field.

Here's what you need to know in order to apply:

2014-2015 Grant Field: Any field within the scope of Gorgias Publications

Application Deadline: March 1, 2015

Grant Date: April 1, 2015


  • Candidate 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.
  • Candidate must have the equivalent of a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Application Process

To apply, please email the following to Christine Kiraz (

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

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

  • 3. Official transcripts of the previous 2 years of university education. If the institutions you come from do not give out transcripts, please contact us to make alternative arrangements to satisfy this requirement.
  • 4. 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 at the beginning of April.


In other news, we are releasing a free e-book on Yezidi beliefs and customs, written by Thomas Bois in 1961. You can download the e-book here. Please note that the book is in French.

Sayfo Books on Sale

In order to commemorate the centennial of Sayfo, we are discounting two of our most popular books. The Hidden Pearl is a three-volume set that tells the story of the Aramaic people from their origins three thousand years ago to the twenty-first century. Each volume contains beautiful illustrations of Syriac art, architecture, inscriptions, and daily life. Massacres, Resistance, Protectors, by David Gaunt, compares Russian and Turkish sources with the oral testimony of survivors of the ethnic cleansing of 1915, particularly those from the areas of Urmia and Diyarbekir.

For a limited time, we are offering these books at 50% off, exclusive to e-Gorgias readers. At checkout, use the coupon code 02GB33H3 to claim your discount.

Dr. Aaron Brody is Robert and Kathryn Riddell Associate Professor of Bible and Archaeology at Pacific School of Religion and Director of the Bade Museum of Biblical Archaeology. Since the collection at the Bade Museum is based around the excavations of Tell en-Nasbeh (ancient Mizpah) his recent research has focused on questions of society, economy, and religion in late Iron Age-Persian period northern Judah.

Dr. Brody’s interest in archaeology began as early as age four, when, as he put it, “My parents were dragging me to sites and museums in Europe,” and his passion never left him. Later, as a graduate student, he conducted fieldwork at Ashkelon and wrote a dissertation on the specialized religion of Canaanite and Phoenician seafarers.

Dr. Brody’s most recent book has just been published by Gorgias Press, "As for me, I will dwell at Mizpah …”: The Tell en-Nasbeh after 85 Years. The book describes research on Tell en-Nasbeh by a cadre of international scholars, the first book on the topic since the final reports came out in 1947.

It was a pleasure working with Gorgias on all aspects of my co-edited publication! Employees at the Press were knowledgable, professional, and prompt; the results are stunning.

His favorite Gorgias books are: Ina Berg's Negotiating Island Identities; and Jill Katz's The Archaeology of Cult in Middle Bronze Age Canaan.

"As for me, I will dwell at Mizpah …": The Tell en-Nasbeh Excavations after 85 Years
  Edited by Jeffrey R. Zorn & Aaron J. Brody

ISBN 978-1-4632-0416-7
 Hardback, $95 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $85.50)

 Collected essays on aspects of daily life at the Israelite site of Tell en-Nasbeh (biblical Mizpah of Benjamin). These include: trade and economy, death and burial, metals, cooking, water management, curation of the site’s materials, and a site bibliography.


Negotiating Island Identities
  By Ina Berg

ISBN 978-1-4632-0392-4
 Paperback, $40.11 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $36.10)

 Negotiating Island Identities explores the history of interaction between Crete and the Cycladic islands from the late Middle to Late Bronze II periods when Minoan influence was at its peak. Based on a thorough investigation of pottery assemblages from key sites, the book advocates a rethink of established acculturation scenarios (such as “Minoanisation”) in relation to the Cycladic islands. Openness or closure towards outside influences was not predetermined by cultural, geographical or ecological variables but was socially constructed. Island communities could consciously fashion their worlds and make choices about the nature and degree of interaction with their neighbours.


The Archaeology of Cult in Middle Bronze Age Canaan
  By Jill Katz

ISBN 978-1-59333-791-9
 Hardback, $99 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $89.10)

 What was Canaanite religion like during the Middle Bronze Age, at the time of the biblical patriarchs? This volume presents a theoretical model for identifying ritual behavior in the archaeological record, providing a test case using the rich material culture and structures that have been unearthed at the biblical city of Gerar (Tel Haror, Israel).


Review of Biblical Literature just gave a high grade to one of the volumes in our Antioch Bible series, The Book of the Twelve Prophets, translated by Donald Walter and Gillian Greenberg. Below is a short excerpt:

" The result. . . is a beautiful printed Syriac, very clear and easy to read. . . This edition of the Syriac text of the Minor Prophets and the translation are very valuable and can be recommended for scholars as well as for members of churches in the Syriac traditions."

You can read the full review here.

In related news, Parrhesia: Review of Eastern Christianity published an enthusiastic review of the Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage. Below is an excerpt in translation:

"'Finally!' This was the shout that echoed from many Syriac scholars around the world when this volume was published in 2011. . . Dictionary entries from leading researchers in the field ensure that readers get not only the most complete, but also most up to date information about [Syriac] issues. The exceptional value of the volume is indisputable."

The Book of the 12 Prophets According to the Syriac Peshitta Version with English Translation
  Translation by Donald M. Walter & Gillian Greenberg; Text Prepared by George A. Kiraz & Joseph Bali

ISBN 978-1-4632-0177-7
 Cloth, $150 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $135.00)

 This volume is part of a series of English translations of the Syriac Peshi?ta along with the Syriac text carried out by an international team of scholars. Greenberg and Walter have produced an annotated translation of the Peshi?ta version of The Twelve Minor Prophets, while Kiraz and Bali have edited the Peshi?ta text. The English translation and the Syriac text are shown on facing pages so that both can be studied together.


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.


Image and video hosting by TinyPicIn December, Gorgias exhibited at the Association of Jewish Studies Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. Our Marketing and Editorial Assistant, Jeffrey Haines, reported the following:

"2014 was only our second year at AJS, but it was a blast. Our booth attracted a lot of attention (especially with our new banner), as well as customers both old and new. As usual, the Gorgias booth also brought scholars together for some animated academic discussions – one of the best parts about going to conferences!

Several of our newest books dovetailed with panels at the conference, including Dora Zsom’s Conversos in the Responsa of the Sephardic Halakhic Authorities in the 15th Century, and Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians: Religious Dynamics in a Sasanian Context. Additionally, authors Rivka and Moshe Ulmer made a personal appearance at our table to promote their new book, Righteous Giving to the Poor: Tzedakah ("Charity") in Classical Rabbinic Judaism.

We’re definitely looking forward to going back for the 2015 AJS conference, and we hope to have an even stronger lineup this time around."

Conversos in the Responsa of Sephardic Halakhic Authorities in the 15th Century
  By Dora Zsom

ISBN 978-1-4632-0239-2
 Hardback, $95 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $85.50)

 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. ?ema? Duran and his descendants: Solomon b. Simeon Duran, ?ema? b. Solomon Duran and Simeon b. Solomon Duran.


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.


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

ISBN 978-1-4632-0261-3
 Paperback, $65 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $58.50)

 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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