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The Christian Heritage of Iraq


Collected papers from the Christianity of Iraq I-V Seminar Days


Edited by Erica C. D. Hunter
Iraq has been a centre of Syriac Christianity for almost two thousand years. This volume of collected papers from the Christianity in Iraq I-V Seminar Days (2004-2008) explores the Christian heritage of Iraq, highlighting the churches’ innate ability to transcend barriers of language, culture, ethnicity and religion.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-60724-111-9
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Apr 5,2009
Interior Color: Black with Color Inserts
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 324
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-60724-111-9
$193.18
$115.91

Iraq has been a centre of Syriac Christianity for almost two thousand years. From its beginnings in the second century CE until the twenty-first century, Christianity has had a significant religious profile in Iraq, variously enriching the culture of Mesopotamia from where its influence extended into adjacent and more distant regions. This volume of collected papers from the Christianity in Iraq I-V Seminar Days (2004-2008) explores the heritage and contribution of Syriac Christianity to Iraq, highlighting its innate ability to transcend barriers of language, culture, ethnicity and religion. Papers are organized into four major sections. The first probes exchanges with the Muslim world in the Ummayid and Abbasid era. The second section investigates the legacy of monasticism that continues, albeit tenaciously, to the present day. The remarkable ‘outreach’ programme of The Church of the East in Central Asia that, amongst other things, introduced the Syriac Bible is the subject of the third section. Finally, the volume examines post-medieval responses following the ravages of the fourteenth century, which essentially confined Syriac Christianity to northern Mesopotamia. Growth and innovation are charted in various ways: in literary production as well as architecture. However, in the vernacular domain, traditional forms were maintained: particularly Neo-Aramaic dialects and the use of amulets. The entrepreneurial spirit also saw the establishment of private schools in the twentieth century; a remarkable response in view of the tragedies suffered by so many of the Christians. Today Christianity in Iraq is still confronted by many formidable challenges.


Dr. Erica C. D. Hunter is the Lecturer in Eastern Christianity, Dept. for the Study of Religions, SOAS. She is also Chair, Centre of Eastern and Orthodox Christianity, Dept. for the Study of Religions, SOAS, University of London. She is the organiser of the highly successful annual Christianity in Iraq Seminar Days (inaugurated 2004).

Iraq has been a centre of Syriac Christianity for almost two thousand years. From its beginnings in the second century CE until the twenty-first century, Christianity has had a significant religious profile in Iraq, variously enriching the culture of Mesopotamia from where its influence extended into adjacent and more distant regions. This volume of collected papers from the Christianity in Iraq I-V Seminar Days (2004-2008) explores the heritage and contribution of Syriac Christianity to Iraq, highlighting its innate ability to transcend barriers of language, culture, ethnicity and religion. Papers are organized into four major sections. The first probes exchanges with the Muslim world in the Ummayid and Abbasid era. The second section investigates the legacy of monasticism that continues, albeit tenaciously, to the present day. The remarkable ‘outreach’ programme of The Church of the East in Central Asia that, amongst other things, introduced the Syriac Bible is the subject of the third section. Finally, the volume examines post-medieval responses following the ravages of the fourteenth century, which essentially confined Syriac Christianity to northern Mesopotamia. Growth and innovation are charted in various ways: in literary production as well as architecture. However, in the vernacular domain, traditional forms were maintained: particularly Neo-Aramaic dialects and the use of amulets. The entrepreneurial spirit also saw the establishment of private schools in the twentieth century; a remarkable response in view of the tragedies suffered by so many of the Christians. Today Christianity in Iraq is still confronted by many formidable challenges.


Dr. Erica C. D. Hunter is the Lecturer in Eastern Christianity, Dept. for the Study of Religions, SOAS. She is also Chair, Centre of Eastern and Orthodox Christianity, Dept. for the Study of Religions, SOAS, University of London. She is the organiser of the highly successful annual Christianity in Iraq Seminar Days (inaugurated 2004).

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Contributor Biography

Erica C. D. Hunter

John Healey

John Watt

Sidney Griffith

Florence Jullien

Sebastian Brock

Emeritus Reader in Syriac Studies, Oxford University, and Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. Author of a number of contributions in the area of Syriac studies (including several books published by Gorgias Press).

Suha Rassam

Wassilios Klein

Alexei Savchenko

Mark Dickens

Heleen van den Berg

Amir Harrak

Amir Harrak is full professor at the University of Toronto. His specialty is Aramaic and Syriac languages and literatures. His many publications deal with Syriac epigraphy, Chronicles, and cataloguing of manuscripts.

Martin Tamcke

Robin Bet Shmuel

Geoffrey Khan

Geoffrey Khan has recently been elected 'Regius Professor of Hebrew' at the University of Cambridge. He was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 1998 and Honorary Fellow of the Academy of the Hebrew Language in 2011. In 2004 he was awarded the Lidzbarski Gold Medal for Semitic Philology.

Anthony O’Mahony

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