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Theodora the “Believing Queen”: A Study in Syriac Historiographical Tradition


Syriac tradition remembers sixth century Byzantine emperor Justinian I as the harsh persecutor of the faithful, while his wife Theodora is revered as the “believing queen”, champion and protectress of the dissenting non-Chalcedonian church.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-0088-6
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Publication Status: In Print

Series: Analecta Gorgiana 1040
Publication Date: Dec 14,2011
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 30
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0088-6
$36.00
$25.20

Syriac tradition remembers the sixth century for the tragic separation of the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches. The Byzantine emperor Justinian I is remembered as the harsh persecutor of the faithful, while his wife Theodora is revered as the “believing queen”, champion and protectress of the dissenting non-Chalcedonian church. Greek and Syriac sources of the sixth century present more complex views of the imperial couple, with sharply differing portraits of Theodora used to interpret the reign. Later Syriac chronicles rework and reshape the sixth century material, fashioning a significantly changed historical experience for the Syriac Orthodox through a changed memory of Theodora’s past.

Syriac tradition remembers the sixth century for the tragic separation of the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches. The Byzantine emperor Justinian I is remembered as the harsh persecutor of the faithful, while his wife Theodora is revered as the “believing queen”, champion and protectress of the dissenting non-Chalcedonian church. Greek and Syriac sources of the sixth century present more complex views of the imperial couple, with sharply differing portraits of Theodora used to interpret the reign. Later Syriac chronicles rework and reshape the sixth century material, fashioning a significantly changed historical experience for the Syriac Orthodox through a changed memory of Theodora’s past.

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Contributor Biography

Susan Harvey

Susan Ashbrook Harvey is the Willard Prescott and Annie McClelland Smith Professor of Religious Studies at Brown University. She has published extensively on Syriac and Byzantine Christianity, and has a particular interest in women and their representation in ancient Christianity.

  • Remembering Theodora (page 6)
  • The Syriac Sources (page 16)
  • Competing Memories (page 25)
  • Bibliography (page 28)
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