George Anton Kiraz, Ph.D.
George is the President and co-founder of Gorgias Press. Born in Bethlehem, he immigrated to the United States and attended California State University, Northridge, where he obtained a degree in Engineering in 1990. He then obtained an M.St. degree in Syriac Studies at the Oriental Institute, University of Oxford in 1991. Wishing to combine his technical background with his passion for Syriac and Semitic languages, he joined the University of Cambridge where he obtained an M.Phil. in Computational Linguistics and a Ph.D. in the same. He wrote his thesis on computing the morphology of Arabic and Syriac which was later published by Cambridge University Press.
In 1996, George became a research scientist at Bell Laboratories, NJ, where he worked on speech technology. In 2000, he was hired by Nuance Communications, a speech technology startup, to help establish and lead a New York branch of the company. This gave George tremendous experience in management, but was short lived due to the stock market crash of 2001.
Already a published author, George co-founded Gorgias Press along with his wife Christine in 2001. The press was announced to the public in the summer of 2001 at the Leiden Peshitta conference, and later to a larger public in November 2001 with 10 books in the Press’s catalog. Within a short period of time, the press grew at a rate of publishing about 50 titles per year.
George has taught Syriac in Princeton, Rutgers, the POLIS Institute (Jerusalem) and runs an annual Syriac Summer School at Beth Mardutho.
George is married to Christine and together they have three children, Tabetha Gabriella, Sebastian Kenoro and Lucian Nurono. In his free time (whatever is left of it), George directs Beth Mardutho, The Syriac Institute. His hobbies include collecting printed types, reading, and writing.
Christine Kiraz, Ph.D.
Christine is the Vice President and co-founder of Gorgias Press. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from UCLA. Later, Christine worked in the pharmaceutical industry to return to graduate school where she obtained her M.S. in Chemistry from UCLA and then a Ph.D. from Rutgers University.
At Gorgias Press, Christine wears many hats. She is the Director of Marketing and in charge of Human Resources, as well as Customer Service. During the first year of the press, she designed book covers for over 100 books. She would love to go back to designing covers at some point but still remains involved in the design process.
Christine has always loved literature and read most of the European classics since an early age, first in Turkish then in English. She still likes to think that she has time to read and continues to collect books in various areas of literature, fiction and history of science especially alchemy. She loves to listen and dance to Syriac and Turkish folk music and is very happy that she finally got an iPod. She claims to have a reading knowledge of Syriac and was quite impressed with her ability to speak Syriac at a level of a three year old during her trip to Tur Abdin in her conversations with the angelic nuns of the Mor Gabriel Monastery in Turkey.
Christine is married to George and together they have Tabetha Gabriella, Sebastian Kenoro and Lucian Nurono.
Melonie Schmierer-Lee, Ph.D.
Senior Acquisitions Editor
In 2012 Melonie gained her PhD in the historical linguistics of Aramaic from the University of Cambridge. Her research interests include the linguistic and sociolinguistic background to Eastern Aramaic, and the Aramaic and Hebrew documentary material (letters and legal documents) from the Cairo Genizah.
When not reviewing manuscript submissions, Melonie can be found reading the Economist, learning elementary cooking techniques, and - British weather permitting - gardening.
Acquisitions Editor (Islamic History & Thought)
Born on the Scottish Borders, and now based in the United Kingdom, Adam studied Arabic at the University of Leeds (UK) and the University of Suez Canal (Egypt). He also holds a degree in Law (Leeds) and is approaching the end of an MA in Theology and Religion (specialism Islamic studies) at Radboud University (the Netherlands). Adam has a specific interest in Islamic history during the Late Antique period and intends to pursue a PhD in this area on completion of his Masters degree. Adam has a background in publishing and research, having most recently worked as a researcher in classical Islamic history at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (Germany). When not sitting beside a stack of dusty Arabic manuscripts, Adam can be found trying to teach his son how to play football (soccer!), travelling and baking cakes!
Acquisitions Editor (New Testament/Early Christianity)
Yael will earn her PhD in Hebrew Bible from Yeshiva University in 2017. She holds a BA in Jewish Studies and English from the University of Pennsylvania, has completed fellowships at the Center for Jewish Law and Contemporary Civilization at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and the Tikvah Center for Law and Jewish Civilization at New York University School of Law, and is a recipient of an Association for Jewish Studies Dissertation Completion Fellowship. Yael’s research interests include biblical and ancient Near Eastern law, Semitic languages and linguistics, and literary approaches to the Bible. A former recipient of a Gorgias Press Book Grant, Yael is excited to develop Gorgias’ Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, ancient Near East, and Jewish Studies collections.
Joan completed her BS in Computer Science and a minor in Business Administration at the University of Delaware. After working several years programming for Unisys, she and her husband went into missionary work with college students, first at SUNY Buffalo and then at Rutgers University. Leaving after 17 years to pursue other opportunities, Joan picked up various part-time jobs while continuing to take care of their household of 8. Between teaching special-needs children, sales, teaching fitness classes, dabbling in web design with search engine optimization, and her daily household schedule, she is a natural at addressing many competing, simultaneous demands. In her spare time, Joan likes to spend time with her family, run, swim, organize things, make jewelry, and read.
Zackary Wainer, Ph.D.
Marketing and Editorial Assistant
The newest member of the Gorgias team, Zack received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in the Ancient Near East (2010) and Ph.D. from Brown University in Assyriology (2016). His research focuses on the scholarly and literary cultures of ancient Mesopotamia and Israel, and he has a special place in his heart for the commentary traditions thereof. Born and bred in northern New Jersey, Zack enjoys reading, food, music, and watching/listening to the Mets win baseball games.
Melissa received her BFA from Cornell University, where she concentrated in new media art and minored in game design. She is inspired by stories, nature, and all creatures great and small. In her free time, Melissa collects art supplies, nurtures an interest in philosophy and theology, works through an endless reading list, dabbles in photography, and tries fruitlessly to win her cat's affection. She also designs and sews whimsical plush toys.
Rachel is currently studying at Rutgers University. At Gorgias Press she is the digitalization specialist, and is responsible for making books ready for reprints. She also gives a hand around the office with small projects that anyone may need a little extra help in completing. Her hobbies are playing soccer, reading books, and hanging out with her sisters.
Jack Tannous, Ph.D.
Honorary Acquisitions Advisor
Jack Tannous was born and raised in Houston, Texas. For his BA, he attended the University of Texas, at Austin, where he majored in Philosophy, Arabic, Middle Eastern Studies and History. After UT, Jack attended Oxford, where he recieved an MPhil in Eastern Christian Studies and represented Gorgias Press at academic conferences in the UK. He did his PhD at Princeton and was a frequent visitor at George and Christine's house, as well as the GP offices in Piscataway; he always loved the people, the books, and of course, Christine's great food. After Princeton, he lived in Washington, DC for two years as a post-doc at Dumbarton Oaks. As part of that post-doc, he taught at George Washington University as well. He is now an assistant professor in the History Department at Princeton and is interested in Late Antique, early Islamic, and Byzantine history in the Near East.
Jack started working for Gorgias not too long after the company was founded. Over the course of nearly a decade, he has been a number of things: an employee, an acquisitions specialist, and a constant emailer of George, but most of all, he has been a big fan. Here is a picture of him reading through a ninth-century Arabic Bible with his wife, Jeannette, at St Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai.