You have no items in your shopping cart.
Search
Filters

The History of Mar Behnam and Sarah


Martyrdom and Monasticism in Medieval Iraq


Edited and Translated by Jeanne-Nicole Mellon Saint-Laurent & Kyle Smith
The History of Mar Behnam and Sarah tells the story of two siblings who convert to Christianity under the tutelage of Mar Mattai, a monastic leader and wonderworker from the Roman Empire. In this volume, Jeanne-Nicole Mellon Saint-Laurent and Kyle Smith provide the first critical edition and English translation of this fascinating martyrdom narrative.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-3914-5
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Sep 9,2018
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 166
Languages: English, Syriac
ISBN: 978-1-4632-3914-5
$58.00

The History of Mar Behnam and Sarah tells the story of two siblings who convert to Christianity under the tutelage of Mar Mattai, a monastic leader and wonderworker from the Roman Empire. After the children refuse to worship pagan gods, they are killed by their own father, the Persian king. Strangely, he is identified as Sennacherib the Assyrian, a pre-Christian ruler better known from the biblical Book of Kings. This is not the only chronological oddity with the text. Although Behnam and Sarah is set in the fourth century, during the golden age of martyrdom in the Sasanian Empire, the text was not composed until hundreds of years later. The composition of the narrative about the two martyrs seems to have coincided with the construction of a twelfth-century shrine that was built in their honor by Syrian Orthodox monks on the Nineveh Plain, near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The beautiful martyrium, which housed intricate relief sculptures and inscriptions in several languages, was an important pilgrimage site for Christians, Muslims, and Yezidis until it was destroyed in 2015.

In this volume of the “Persian Martyr Acts in Syriac” series, Jeanne-Nicole Mellon Saint-Laurent and Kyle Smith provide the first critical edition and English translation of this fascinating martyrdom narrative, a text that was once widely popular among numerous communities throughout the Middle East. 

The History of Mar Behnam and Sarah tells the story of two siblings who convert to Christianity under the tutelage of Mar Mattai, a monastic leader and wonderworker from the Roman Empire. After the children refuse to worship pagan gods, they are killed by their own father, the Persian king. Strangely, he is identified as Sennacherib the Assyrian, a pre-Christian ruler better known from the biblical Book of Kings. This is not the only chronological oddity with the text. Although Behnam and Sarah is set in the fourth century, during the golden age of martyrdom in the Sasanian Empire, the text was not composed until hundreds of years later. The composition of the narrative about the two martyrs seems to have coincided with the construction of a twelfth-century shrine that was built in their honor by Syrian Orthodox monks on the Nineveh Plain, near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The beautiful martyrium, which housed intricate relief sculptures and inscriptions in several languages, was an important pilgrimage site for Christians, Muslims, and Yezidis until it was destroyed in 2015.

In this volume of the “Persian Martyr Acts in Syriac” series, Jeanne-Nicole Mellon Saint-Laurent and Kyle Smith provide the first critical edition and English translation of this fascinating martyrdom narrative, a text that was once widely popular among numerous communities throughout the Middle East. 

Write your own review
  • Only registered users can write reviews
  • Bad
  • Excellent
Contributor Biography

Jeanne-Nicole Mellon Saint-Laurent

Jeanne-Nicole Mellon Saint-Laurent (Ph.D., Brown University, 2009) is a scholar of Syriac Studies and Early Christianity, with special interests in hagiography and sacred narrative.

Kyle Smith

Kyle Smith is an assistant professor of Historical Studies and Religion at the University of Toronto.

Acknowledgments (vii) 
Map (ix) 
Introduction (1)
   Summary of the Text (6) 
   Historicity and Origins (16) 
   Literary Context (20) 
   Editions, Translations, and Manuscripts (26)
      Editions (26)
      Translations (26) 
      Manuscripts (27) 
      Further Notes on the Manuscripts and Apparatus (34)
   Stemma (38) 
   Synopsis (38)
Text and Translation (43) 
Bibliography (141) 
   Primary Sources (141) 
   Secondary Sources (142)
Index of Biblical References (151)
Index of People and Places (153)

Customers who bought this item also bought

The New Syriac Primer, 2nd Edition

Series: Gorgias Handbooks 9
ISBN: 978-1-59333-325-6
A truly useful introduction to the Syriac language is a rare find. This practical initiation to the study of this ancient language of the Christian church speaks with clarity and authority. A fruitful integration of scholarly introduction and practical application, this primer is more than a simple grammar or syntactic introduction to the language. Writing in a style designed for beginners, Kiraz avoids technical language and strives for a reader-friendly inductive approach. Readings from actual Syriac texts allow the student to experience the language first hand and the basics of the grammar of the language are ably explained. The book comes with downloadable material so that readers may listen to all reading sentences and text passages in the book.
$48.00

Gorgias Concise Syriac-English, English-Syriac Dictionary

ISBN: 978-1-4632-0224-8

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.
$48.00

Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage

ISBN: 978-1-59333-714-8
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.
$130.00

The Arts and Crafts of Syria and Egypt from the Ayyubids to World War I

Collected Essays
ISBN: 978-1-4632-3900-8
This book focuses on the production, sale, and consumption of portable arts in regions covered today by the modern polities of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and the Palestine Authority. The reprinted chapters in this volume have been revised and updated. They offer interdisciplinary approaches to the material culture of the region from the twelfth to the early twentieth centuries, combining evidence from primary written sources, archaeology, and objects in museums and private collections. Topics include the production and distribution of pottery, importation of glazed wares into the Middle East, shadow puppetry, economic activity associated with the Syrian hajj, the manufacturing practices of the crafts operating in Damascus during the last decades of Ottoman rule, and the decoration of artillery shell cases during and after World War I. Also included are an introduction containing a critical evaluation of the main sources of information, a cumulative bibliography, and a previously unpublished study of leatherworking in the late Ottoman period.
$135.00