Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Book Note: The Bible in the Syriac Tradition (Sebastian Brock)

I don't know how many of you are aware of Gorgias Press, but it is worth knowing about if you don't already. They started up four years ago to feature publications on subjects pertaining to Near East-Middle East. They publish both new titles and reprints of rare books in the areas of Arabic and Islamic studies, archaeology, classics, history, religion, languages and linguistic, Jewish studies, Syriac studies, and more.

An example of their excellent publications in areas that other publishers do not touch is Sebastian Brock's Gorgias Handbook, The Bible in Syriac Tradition. Gorgias published it last year (2006). It is a compilation of two earlier separate studies published by Brock: a small booklet he called The Bible in Syriac Tradition (SEERI, 1988); and the last chapter in volume 3: The Hidden Pearl: The Syrian Orthodox Church and its Ancient Aramaic Heritage (Rome, 2001).

This book is extremely valuable because it lays out the biblical traditions of the Syrian Christians, traditions that are not so familiar to many biblical scholars who are trained in Greek and Hebrew and who study traditions west of Edessa. So the book covers everything from the Peshitta to the Syro-Hexapla to the Diatessaron to Philoxenian and Harclean. The use of the Syriac Bible in preaching, liturgy, and Syriac spirituality are also discussed.

Brock presents us here with a handy overview of what the Syrian Christians were reading, and how it is different from other bibles in the ancient world. He includes a fantastic bibliography on the Syriac Bible, so all the resources are listed out by category (e.g., Jacob of Edessa, Christian Palestinian Aramaic, Old Syriac Gospels, Peshitta, etc.).

And the cost? Only $38. For more information about the book and ordering from Gorgias, click here.


D. Timothy Goering said...

Thanks for the tip! I'll look into the book as soon as possible!

Jared Calaway said...

This looks very useful...I have been wanting to pump up my Syriac studies. It is actually very much like the Coptic issue...there are people around who know Syriac and Syriac stuff, but you must be very proactive or know where to look! Although JTS does offer a Syriac course once every few years.