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The Martyrs of Mount Ber’ain is the poignant tale of three noble Iranian siblings who are martyred under Shapur II. Composed in the seventh century, it demonstrates enduring concerns of Christian self-definition in Iran, especially with respect to the Zoroastrian priesthood.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-0421-1
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Dec 1,2014
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 129
Languages: English, Syriac
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0421-1
$43.00
$25.80

The Martyrs of Mount Ber’ain is the poignant tale of an Iranian nobleman’s three children, Adarparwa, Mihrnarse, and Mahdukht, who embrace Christianity after the youngest brother’s near-death vision of God. This decision estranges them from their disbelieving father and ultimately results in death at the hands of King Shapur II. Gabriel “the Cow,” abbot of the monastery of Beth ‘Abe, composed the account of these events in the middle of the seventh century.

The Martyrs of Mount Ber’ain provides important evidence for enduring concerns of Christian self-definition in the framework of the Sasanian Empire, especially as represented by the Zoroastrian priesthood. The three children, Adarparwa, Mihrnarse, and Mahdukht, work to forget their education by the Magi, with whom they soon find themselves engaged in battle; and yet some key features of the narrative, especially Mihrnarse’s vision, reflect shared idioms between Christians and their Zoroastrian rivals. This rivalry was committed to writing and commemorated even after the Arab conquest, and one of these three sibling-martyrs, the sister Sultana Mahdukht, is still memorialized in both Iraq and the United States.

The Martyrs of Mount Ber’ain is the poignant tale of an Iranian nobleman’s three children, Adarparwa, Mihrnarse, and Mahdukht, who embrace Christianity after the youngest brother’s near-death vision of God. This decision estranges them from their disbelieving father and ultimately results in death at the hands of King Shapur II. Gabriel “the Cow,” abbot of the monastery of Beth ‘Abe, composed the account of these events in the middle of the seventh century.

The Martyrs of Mount Ber’ain provides important evidence for enduring concerns of Christian self-definition in the framework of the Sasanian Empire, especially as represented by the Zoroastrian priesthood. The three children, Adarparwa, Mihrnarse, and Mahdukht, work to forget their education by the Magi, with whom they soon find themselves engaged in battle; and yet some key features of the narrative, especially Mihrnarse’s vision, reflect shared idioms between Christians and their Zoroastrian rivals. This rivalry was committed to writing and commemorated even after the Arab conquest, and one of these three sibling-martyrs, the sister Sultana Mahdukht, is still memorialized in both Iraq and the United States.

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Contributor Biography

Paul Dilley

Paul Dilley (PhD, Yale, 2008) is an assistant professor of ancient Mediterranean Religions at the University of Iowa, with a joint appointment in the departments of Classics and Religious Studies. His research interests include early Christian asceticism, Manichaeism, and the Syro-Mesopotamian borderlands.

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).

  • Table of Contents (page 5)
  • Preface (page 7)
  • Introduction to the Martyrs of Mount Ber'ain (Paul Dilley) (page 9)
    • Outline (page 10)
    • Synopsis (page 10)
    • Date Of Composition (page 13)
    • Topographical Data (page 15)
    • Chronological Data And Historicity (page 16)
    • Religious Polemics (page 19)
  • Introduction to the Text (Sebastian Brock) (page 31)
  • Text and Translation (page 35)
  • Indexes (page 128)
    • Index of Biblical References (page 128)
    • Index of Names (page 129)
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