The reign of Constantine (306-37), the starting point for the series in which this volume appears, saw Christianity begin its journey from being just one of a number of competing cults to being the official religion of the Roman/Byzantine Empire. The involvement of emperors had the, perhaps inevitable, result of a preoccupation with producing, promoting and enforcing a single agreed version of the Christian creed. Under this pressure Christianity in the East fragmented into different sects, disagreeing over the nature of Christ, but also, in some measure, seeking to resist imperial interference and to elaborate Christianities more reflective of and sensitive to local concerns and cultures. This volume presents an introduction to, and a selection of the key studies on, the ways in which and means by which these Eastern Christianities debated with one another and with their competitors: pagans, Jews, Muslims and Latin Christians. It also includes the iconoclast controversy, which divided parts of the East Christian world in the seventh to ninth centuries, and devotes space both to the methodological tools that evolved in the process of debate and the promulgation of doctrine, and to the literary genres through which the debates were expressed.
'… it can be stated that this anthology achieves its purpose, giving the reader (who is not necessarily a specialist) a cross-cultural overview of the theological debate in the Christian Middle East,maintaining a high scholarly level and a valuable historical balance in its presentation of the state of research.' Islamochristiana 'It goes without saying that each of the articles is a classic and the publishers are to be commended for producing them in such an accessible format, given that many of the original sources are now hard to obtain … The publishers have given us a valuable compendium of scholarship in a relatively little-known branch of learning and this volume will serve the academic community accordingly.' Ecclesiastical History
Contents: Introduction; Supplementary bibliography; Part 1 The Formative Period: The making of a heretic: the Life of Origen in Epiphanius Panarion 64, J. Rebecca Lyman; Manichaeans and public disputation in late antiquity, Richard Lim; The conversations with the Syrian Orthodox under Justinian (532), Sebastian Brock; Anti-Jewish polemic and the emergence of Islam, V. Déroche. Part 2 The Encounter with Islam: Byzantine accounts of Islam, Wolfgang Eichner; Disputes with Muslims in Syriac Christian texts: from Patriarch John (d.648) to Bar Hebraeus (d.1286), Sidney H. Griffith; The signs of prophecy: the emergence and early development of a theme in Arabic theological literature, Sarah Stroumsa; Reopening the Muslim-Christian dialogue of the 13th-14th centuries: critical reflections on Ibn Taymiyyah's response to Christianity, Nancy N. Roberts. Part 3 Iconoclasm: A Dark-Age crisis: aspects of the Iconoclastic controversy, Peter Brown; Texts as weapons: polemic in the Byzantine dark ages, Averil Cameron. Part 4 Anti-Latin Texts: Byzantine perceptions of Latin religious 'errors', Tia M. Kolbaba. Part 5 The Tools of Argument: Dyophysite florilegia of the 5th and 6th centuries CE, Marcel Richard; The saint, the scholar and the astrologer: a study of hagiographical themes in some 'question and answer' collections of the 5th-7th centuries CE, Gilbert Dagron; The first Christian Summa Theologiae in Arabic: Christian Kalam in 9th-century Palestine, Sidney H. Griffith; Communal identity and the systematisation of knowledge in the Syriac 'cause of all causes', G.J. Reinink; Abdallah ibn al-Fadl's exposition of the Orthodox faith, Ramy Wannous; Index.