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e-Gorgias (Issue 90, August 2015)


Issue 90
August 2015
Reading Time: 10 minutes

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It’s a great time to be publishing with Gorgias! August saw several of our books critically acclaimed in the reviews (below), while we continue to expand our range of publishing options with a new Islamic Studies acquisitions editor, Adam Walker, and a new series which will be unveiled shortly. Plus, we’re pleased to welcome on board a new graphic designer, Melissa, who has already done some excellent work on our advertising campaigns.

Some highlights of this newsletter: our senior acquisitions editor, Melonie Schmierer-Lee, discusses forthcoming books, and one of our authors, Helen Jacobus, describes her work as a Biblical scholar. We’ve also shared some of the photos from the Summer Syriac Course with you.

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Happy reading!


  • Recently Released
  • Coming Soon
  • From the Acquisitions Desk
  • News
  • Author's Corner: Helen Jacobus
  • Reviews

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

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

ISBN 978-1-4632-0549-2
 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.


Numbers According to the Syriac Peshitta Version with English Translation
Numbers: English Translation by Edward M. Cook; Text Prepared by George Anton Kiraz & Joseph Bali

ISBN 978-1-4632-0529-4
 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.


Orthodox Monasticism Past and Present
Edited by John A. McGuckin

ISBN 978-1-4632-0530-0
 Hardback, $227.5 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $204.75)

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.


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

Bar Hebraeus The Ecclesiastical Chronicle Translated by David Wilmshurst
The Ecclesiastical History of Bar Hebraeus is an important source for the history of the Syrian Orthodox Church and the Church of the East. It deserves to be widely read, but has hitherto but has never before been fully translated into English. David Wilmshurst, a noted historian of the Church of the East, has now provided a graceful and accurate English translation of the Ecclesiastical History, with the aim of winning this important text the readership it deserves. Wilmshurst's elegant translation is complemented by a well-informed and helpful introduction, several pages of maps and a comprehensive index of places and persons.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0535-5, Hardback, $140 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $126.00)

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, $51.155 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $46.04)

Judges According to the Syriac Peshitta Version with English Translation Judges: English Translation by Donald M. Walter & Gillian Greenberg; Text Prepared by George Anton Kiraz & Joseph Bali
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.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0555-3, Cloth, $150 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $135.00)

The Vision of Theophilus Edited and Translated by Juan Pedro Monferrer-Sala
A critical edition of a fragmentary Arabic manuscript (Mingana Chr. Arab. 18), together with a study which suggests that the three Arabic versions do not represent three different texts, but rather three versions all drawing on the same original text.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0550-8, Paperback, $51.35 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $46.22)

Structural Lexicology and the Greek New Testament By Todd Price
This study demonstrates a method for using corpus linguistics to disambiguate polysemes in the Greek New Testament. Included are several examples applying the method to exegetically problematic texts.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0534-8, Hardback, $180.7 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $162.63)

Gorgias Press is pleased to announce the publication of the following books in Archaeology and Jewish Studies:

"It’s better to hear the rebuke of the wise than the song of fools" (Qoh 7:5): Proceedings of the Midrash Section, Society of Biblical Literature, Volume 6 is a collection of papers by leading scholars of rabbinic interpretation. Among other topics, this volume explores how the study of Midrash illuminates and informs rabbinic thinking on race and slavery in antiquity, myth and theology in biblical tradition, reason and rationalism in the Hebrew Bible, inner-biblical interpretation, and literary and form analysis. This is an important collection for anyone working in rabbinic studies, early Christianity, or the history of biblical interpretation

Additionally, we are releasing a new volume on visualizing the world of the ancient Near East. How do We Want the Past to Be? On Methods and Instruments of Visualizing Ancient Reality represents the most current research in reconstructing the ancient world. Discussions include the role of virtual images in archaeological work, what can be known about Assyrian royal architecture, and the effects of sculpture inside Assyrian palace walls. This volume will be highly useful, not only to Assyriologists, but anyone interested in reconstructing the physical world of the past.

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

Melonie Schmierer-Lee

Acquisitions Editor

"It’s better to hear the rebuke of the wise than the song of fools" (Qoh 7:5) Edited by W. David Nelson & Rivka Ulmer
This volume contains selected proceedings of the Midrash Section sessions convened during the 2012-2014 meetings of the Society of Biblical Literature. It is comprised of contributions by leading and emerging scholars that share a common focus on Rabbinic biblical interpretation as it intersects with a range of biblical texts and associated fields of study, including: Jewish legal literature; Hellenistic Judaism; post-biblical interpretation; biblical commentary; liturgical studies; and, cultural studies.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0560-7, Hardback, $164.125 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $147.71)

How Do We Want the Past to Be? Edited by Maria Gabriella Micale & Davide Nadali; Contribution by Davide Nadali
How Do We Want the Past to Be? The question is not purely rhetoric: rather, it points out the importance of how archaeologists deal with the interpretation and visualization of the past that they excavate and study. The essays in this book offer a contribution to the current debate on archaeology and the contemporary methodological approaches to the study of ancient Near Eastern architecture.
ISBN 978-1-4632-0544-7, Hardback, $99 (Gorgias BiblioPerks™ $89.10)

Summer Course Photos

The Beth Mardutho summer course is over, and it’s been a bit quieter here at the press. It was a wonderful three weeks of Syriac Orthodox liturgy, Theodore of Mopsuestia, the Apocalypse of Baruch, and an end-of-course barbeque.

Below are some photos that we took during the course, along with some testimonies from the students in their own words.

Don’t forget, we’re expanding our summer course offerings next year for an even bigger experience. Space is limited, so sign up today!

Dr. Charles Häberl, lecturing on the Mandaeans

Students attending a Syriac Orthodox liturgy at the local monastery

Dayroyo Joseph Bali lecturing on Syriac monastic life

“In three weeks, the Summer Syriac Course has taught me the basic grammar of the Syriac language, and has given me the tools to further my own individual study of the language.” – Sami J.

James Walters lecturing on early Syriac literature

“[Syriac II] provides the unique opportunity to study Syriac texts with a native speaker, so students are alerted to many of the language’s nuances that would otherwise not be recognized.” – Miriam D.

Both classes ended with a joint barbeque at Malphono George's house. . .

. . .a celebration that went late into the night.

Thanks to everyone who participated in Syriac I and II! We hope to see you again next year.

Our guest for Author’s Corner this month is Helen Jacobus, an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at University College London.

Dr. Jacobus, together with Philippe Guillaume and Anne Katrine de Hemmer Gudme, recently edited one of our most popular books in Biblical Studies: Studies on Magic and Divination in the Biblical World (2013), where, in addition to her editorial work, she also contributed an essay on ancient Jewish calendars in the Book of Esther. We asked Dr. Jacobus to share a little bit about her research and her experience publishing with Gorgias, and she was kind enough to write a few words:

"The glowing review for Studies on Magic and Divination in the Bible World, in the Review of Biblical Literature from Professor Craig A. Evans recently (March 27, 2015 online) was a tribute to all concerned with this volume.

Not only did the contributors and editors work extremely hard but the production staff at Gorgias ensured that the scholarly material was presented without any typographical errors. Step forward Melonie Schmierer-Lee who made certain, among other things, that the specialist and unusual Aramaic and Hebrew chapter appeared as it was intended, reversed writing, strange words and variants included.

Melonie’s work shows how important it is for publishers in this field to employ scholars in key production roles. Gorgias’s reputation amongst academics researching and publishing material involving Oriental languages is now second to none due to the expertise of its editorial staff.

Since Studies on Magic and Divination has been available, this rich seam of sources is increasingly being mined by other study groups. This may result in the traditional subject of biblical studies becoming somewhat more colourful and bringing some surprises. It is apparent that the practitioners of magic and divination in early Judaism and Christianity distinguished between the ‘dark arts’ referred to in Deut 18:10, where these are placed in the same category as child sacrifice, and their kind of predictive and ‘magical’ skills and religious practices.

Magic and divination in the biblical world covers historical anthropology and the philosophy of religion, as well as subject areas that biblical scholars still broach in a different tone of voice. So, the study of these traditions may still be far from the mainstream curriculum, but it has made a hole in the perimeter fence."

If you’re interested in Studies on Magic and Divination in the Biblical World, you can buy it at a 30% discount with the coupon code AUGUSTEGORGIAS. Simply enter the coupon code at checkout to claim your discount.

Studies on Magic and Divination in the Biblical World
  Edited by Helen R. Jacobus, Anne Katrine de Hemmer Gudme & Philippe Guillaume

ISBN 978-1-61143-869-7
 Hardback, $150 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $135.00)

 A selection of essays on magic and divination in relation to the biblical world, including Mesopotamian demonology, Akkadian literary influences, exorcism, healing, calendars, astrology, bibliomancy, dreams, ritual magic, priestly divination, prophecy, magic in the Christian Apocrypha and the New Testament, magic in rabbinic literature, and Jewish Aramaic magic bowls.


We like to think that Gorgias Press holds its authors to rigorous academic standards and produces truly excellent works of scholarship. More and more, it looks like the critics agree.

Our books have been receiving so many enthusiastic reviews from academic journals that we couldn’t fit them into a single newsletter. For this issue, we’ll just include a teaser of some of the feedback we’ve been getting about our books – not just in Syriac, but also Classics, Linguistics, and Biblical Studies.

We couldn’t be prouder of our authors. Well done!

Journal for the Study of the New Testament: Insiders Versus Outsiders, edited by Jacobus Kobus Kok and John Anthony Dunne

"[Insiders Versus Outsiders] is a valuable, well-focused collection of work. The methodological frame proves a fruitful basis for noticing fresh aspects of various of the texts under consideration."

Laval théologique et philosophique: Language and Textual History of the Syriac Bible by Jan Joosten

"This collection of work, through its unity, its documentary richness, [and] careful analysis, will be of interest to specialists of the text of the New Testament just as much as Syriacists."

Dreamtime: The Dreams and Visions of Aelius Aristides, by John Stephens

"John Stephens has written a fascinating book, providing a valuable historical companion to current studies of dreams and healing. . . At several points Stephens challenges the received wisdom about Aristides, particularly the portrait of classicist E.R. Dodds and his 1951 work The Greeks and the Irrational. . . Although Dodds was a giant of 20th century scholarship, and although that book in particular was a fascinating study of psychology and ancient religions, I still believe Stephens gets the best of this particular debate."

Journal of Semitic Studies: Studies in the Historical Syntax of Aramaic, by Na'ama Pat-El

""Pat-El’s book does not disappoint. . . I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book as Pat-El presents a diligent and carefully written philological work. It is to be hoped that this book will be the first of many more linguistic excursions of younger scholars into Semitic historical syntax." "

Insiders versus Outsiders
  Edited by Jacobus (Kobus) Kok & John Anthony Dunne

ISBN 978-1-4632-0257-6
 Hardback, $95 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $85.50)

 Christianity as a movement developed within the already established, but volatile Jewish movement/religion, expressing a profound sense of inclusivism illustrated in the transcendence of social boundaries. In this book the dynamic reality of creating and transcending boundaries and the relationship between insiders and outsiders are explored by way of reflecting on mission and ethos.


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.


The Dreams and Visions of Aelius Aristides
  By John Stephens

ISBN 978-1-4632-0232-3
 Hardback, $95 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $85.50)

 An analysis of the religious experiences of the Greco-Roman sophist, Aelius Aristides. As a member of the cult of Asclepius, Aristides recorded his nocturnal dreams, waking visions and spiritual healings in a diary entitled the Sacred Tales. A study of this diary sheds light on the spiritual environment of the Roman world in the first and second century CE.


Studies in the Historical Syntax of Aramaic
  By Na’ama Pat-El

ISBN 978-1-59333-645-5
 Hardback, $180.31 (Gorgias BiblioPerks $162.28)

 Historical syntax has long been neglected in the study of the Semitic languages, although it holds great value for the subgrouping of this diverse language family. Focusing on the development of adverbial subordination, nominal modifiers and direct speech marking, as well as reviewing changes through language contact and drift, this book is the first step in the syntactic reconstruction of the Aramaic dialect group, the longest-attested branch of the Semitic language family.


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