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e-Gorgias (Issue 87, May 2015)


Issue 87
May 2015
Reading Time: 10 minutes

As we prepare for summer, this newsletter contains information about a number of upcoming conferences and summer sales.

But most importantly, we want you to know about our intensive Syriac summer courses. These months in the academic year bring a change in routine that could provide the perfect opportunity to study a new language! Beth Mardutho (The Syriac Institute) will be holding two intensive Syriac summer courses from July 20-August 7. The class will be taught by Dr. George A. Kiraz who has a long experience in teaching the Syriac language at various levels. There will also be a series of guest lectures on various topcis by Syriac scholars.

As always, we hope you are aware of our deal regarding a subscription to the Antioch Bible, 50%-off for a limited-time only (originally $150/volume, $75/volume with subscription discount). Please note that the 50% discount applies only to subscribers to the series and not to the individual books. Subscribe now!

Happy reading!


  • Recently Released
  • Coming Soon
  • From the Acquisitions Desk
  • News
  • Enthusiast of the Month: Markus Zehnder
  • Conferences

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

Common Grounds without Foundations
By David Kratz Mathies

ISBN 978-1-60724-042-6
 Hardback, $95 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $85.50)

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.


Gorgias Concise Syriac-English, English-Syriac Dictionary
By Sebastian P. Brock & George A. Kiraz

ISBN 978-1-4632-0224-8
 Hardback, $48 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $43.20)

As the first two-way Syriac-English/English-Syriac dictionary, the Concise Dictionary is both a convenient academic resource and a door into the world of Modern Literary Syriac. With 13,000 entries drawn from the major existing works, the Syriac-English section is a practical tool for all but the most specialized Classical Syriac texts, while the English-Syriac entries open up new opportunities for scholars to compose their own texts and to participate in modern Syriac usage.


Soteriology as Motivation in the Apocalypse of John
By Alexander E. Stewart

ISBN 978-1-4632-0419-8
 Hardback, $95 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $85.50)

This monograph employs Toulmin’s model of argumentation analysis to examine how the Apocalypse of John motivates its hearers to respond to John’s prophetic apocalyptic exhortation. John’s visions of salvation and judgment provide the positive and negative grounds for motivational argumentation.


Leviticus According to the Syriac Peshitta Version with English Translation
Leviticus: English Translation by James D. Moore; Text Prepared by George Anton Kiraz & Joseph Bali

ISBN 978-1-4632-0468-6
 Cloth, $150

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.


Ezekiel According to the Syriac Peshitta Version with English Translation
Ezekiel: English Translation by Gillian Greenberg & Donald M. Walter; Text Prepared by George Anton Kiraz & Joseph Bali

ISBN 978-1-4632-0478-5
 Cloth, $150

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 Syriac Dot
By George A. Kiraz

ISBN 978-1-4632-0425-9
 Hardback, $42 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $37.80)

The dot is used for everything in Syriac from tense to gender, number, and pronunciation, and unsurprisingly represents one of the biggest obstacles to learning the language. Using inscriptions, early grammars, and experiments with modern scribes, Dr. Kiraz peels back the evolution of the dot layer by layer to explain each of its uses in detail and to show how it adopted the wide range of uses it has today.


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

Orthodox Monasticism Past and Present Edited by John A. 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, $247 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $222.30)

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)

Numbers According to the Syriac Peshitta Version with English Translation English Translation by Edward M. Cook; Text Prepared by George Anton Kiraz & Joseph Bali
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 978-1-4632-0529-4, Cloth, $150

This month, we are pleased to announce the following forthcoming books in the fields of Syriac Studies and Eastern Christianity.

Mar Narsai: Homily 33 on the Sanctification of the Cross, edited and translated by Amir Harrak, is an edition of Narsai’s memra written to celebrate the feast of the Dedication of the Church. Narsai – ‘the Lyre of the Holy Spirit’ – composed many metrical hymns, and in this one the relationship between God and the Church is expressed in terms of a wedding, with the Church as the Bride, Christ as the Bridegroom, and the Eucharist as the bridal feast. Christ chose the Church as his Bride, saving her through his suffering and cleansing her with baptism.

Altuigurische Texte der Kirche des Ostens aus Zentralasien, by Peter Zieme, documents the Old Uigur texts of the Church of the East in Central Asia. The texts, probably belonging to the 13th or 14th century, are presented and accompanied by a German translation. The themes of the texts are very diverse, including fragments of a creed, the legend of the Magi, prayers and confessional texts, a letter of petition, the legend of Saint George, a fragment of the apocryphal acts of Paul and a marriage benediction. One is a Syriac text in Uigur transcription, which has been edited by M. Dickens and the author.

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

Melonie Schmierer-Lee

Acquisitions Editor

Mar Narsai: Homily 33 on the Sanctification of the Church Edited and Translated by Amir Harrak
Narsai’s memra 33 is made of 12 by 12 syllables, and its title “On the Sanctification of the Church” suggests that it was written for the feast of the Dedication of the Church celebrated by the Church of the East to this day on the first of November. The memra names the Church of the Nations the Bride of the Bridegroom Christ. The Church had a pagan origin but Christ chose her to become his bride. He thus saved her through his suffering, cleansed her with baptism, prepared the bridal feast for her through the Eucharist, and crowned her victory over all the nations.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0552-2, Paperback, $45 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $40.50)

Altuigurische Texte der Kirche des Ostens aus Zentralasien By Peter Zieme
The book presents a full documentation of the Old Uigur texts of the Church of the East known from several places of Central Asia, mainly Bulayık and Kurutka in the Turfan oasis, as well as Xaraxoto, from the 10th to 14th century.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0551-5, Hardback, $120 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $108.00)

Job Opening at Gorgias Press: Graphic Designer

Gorgias Press LLC, an independent academic publishing house based in Piscataway NJ, is seeking a freelance graphic designer to work on a project-by-project basis. Tasks will include designing book covers, pamphlets, catalog inserts, and other advertising materials to appeal to an academic market. Candidates can work remotely from any region in the U.S. This is an ideal position for a student or recent graduate who is looking to build their portfolio and make some money on the side. For more information, including qualifications, visit this link.

Summer Syriac Program: Registration Now Open

For the second year in a row, George Kiraz (president of Gorgias Press, director of Beth Mardutho, and PhD in Computational Linguistics) will be teaching two Syriac language courses at Beth Mardutho (Gorgias' sister institute) this summer from July 20-August 7.

  • Introductory Syriac (reading/writing) - 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) - This 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.Visit this website to register or for more information, and pass the word and the website along to your friends, students, and interested colleagues.


This month we are offering a coupon discount for our Ancient Near East books. A full list of books included can be found at this link. To redeem your 30% discount, please enter coupon code 08Q9E3P8 at checkout.

Did you know that Robert Payne Smith's Syriac lexicon was thirty-three years in the making? Read more about that lexicon here. In more modern news, our new Concise Syriac-English, English-Syriac Dictionary is out, and took significantly less than thirty-three years to complete!

Concise Syriac-English, English-Syriac Dictionary
By Sebastian P. Brock & George A. Kiraz

ISBN 978-1-4632-0181-4
 Hardback, $0 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $0.00)

This Syriac-English, English-Syriac Dictionary is designed for quick and easy reference. Syriac entries are in alphabetic order (and not by root); an innovation is the inclusion of certain derivative forms of weak verbs that cen be hard to identify.


Welcome to our inaugural "Distinguished Author Corner" column. This column will temporarily replace the "Enthusiast of the Month" column. The Author Corner will have a slightly different focus, which is providing authors an opportunity to share current research projects and their importance for other fields, for academics as well as for laypeople. For the next few monthly issues of eGorgias, we’ll feature this column to give it a solid initiation. Then starting in the fall, we’ll be alternating between Authors and Enthusiasts. So, without further ado, here is a column by Markus Zehnder, introducing some of his most recent work:

The Bible is a fascinating, quite often challenging collection of ancient texts that have shaped the Western world profoundly over millennia. Therefore, It is a privilege to have the opportunity to be engaged in biblical studies part-time or full-time. Though the Bible has been scrutinized for millennia, there is still more to detect. New – especially linguistic - methods help to understand new aspects of the texts´ meaning; the excavation of new documents from Israel and the ancient Near East improve the understanding of the historical-cultural context of biblical texts. However, being engaged in biblical studies is not only fun. Bitter antagonisms between various schools representing different worldviews, for example, may make things harder and may deter from the core project, the deepening of the understanding of this important collection of texts.

Against this background, attempts to build bridges and thereby promote real diversity are needed and can help to further knowledge in the field of biblical studies. One such initiative is the “Norwegian Summer Academy of Biblical Studies." It will hold its second international meeting August 10-11, 2015 on the premises of Ansgar Theological Seminary in Kristiansand, Norway. The topic of the first meeting (held in August 2012) was “Violence as an Ethical Challenge." The papers presented at that meeting have been published in a volume entitled Encountering Violence in the Bible (ed. by Markus Zehnder and Hallvard Hagelia).

The second meeting will deal with the topic of “Interreligious Relations – Biblical Perspectives.” It does not need special explanation why this topic is important in a globalized world in which direct contacts between adherents of different religious traditions have become all-pervasive, and very often marked by serious problems. Theological reflection on the challenges of such relations is important, but for the most part confined to scholars working in the field of systematic theology or religious studies. The goal of the upcoming meeting is to approach the topic from the unique perspective of biblical scholarship, a discipline that is normally not engaged at the forefront of the discussions on interreligious relations, with the hope that insights gleaned from a close reading of various biblical texts by expert exegetes may shed new and helpful light on some crucial aspects of the problem. As in the first meeting, the biblical scholars invited to present papers on various aspects of the topic represent a broad range of scholarly traditions across the various aisles of the guild. Another specialty of the meeting is that papers will not only be presented, but made accessible in advance and discussed thoroughly during the meeting, in order to promote dialogue and a process of mutual interaction that enables continued learning on the side of all participants. At the same time, the lectures and discussions are open to the public. For further information please visit this site.


In the next few months, Gorgias will be exhibiting at the following conferences:

  • ATLA Conference: June 17-20 in Denver, CO. Our Marketing and Editorial Assistant, Jeffrey Haines, will be presenting on Friday, June 19 at 3:30pm. He'll be talking about some of our Syriac-English series and how they can be useful to theology libraries, even if their institutions do not have any Syriac specialists.
  • The Seventh North American Syriac Symposium: June 21-24, 2015 at The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

We hope to see you there!


Gorgias Press
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Tel. +1 732-885-8900
Fax. +1 732-885-8908