1st Edition

Prayer and Worship in Eastern Christianities, 5th to 11th Centuries

Edited By Brouria Bitton-Ashkelony, Derek Krueger Copyright 2017
    330 Pages
    by Routledge

    330 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Prayer and Worship in Eastern Christianities, 5th to 11th Centuries forges a new conversation about the diversity of Christianities in the medieval eastern Mediterranean, centered on the history of practice, looking at liturgy, performance, prayer, poetry, and the material culture of worship. It studies prayer and worship in the variety of Christian communities that thrived from late antiquity to the middle ages: Byzantine Orthodoxy, Syrian Orthodoxy, and the Church of the East. Rather than focusing on doctrinal differences and analyzing divergent patterns of thought, the essays address common patterns of worship, individual and collective prayer, hymnography and liturgy, as well as the indigenous theories that undergirded Christian practices. The volume intervenes in standard academic discourses about Christian difference with an exploration of common patterns of celebration, commemoration, and self-discipline.

    Essays by both established and promising, younger scholars interrogate elements of continuity and change over time – before and after the rise of Islam, both under the control of the Eastern Roman Empire and in the lands of successive caliphates. Groups distinct in their allegiances nevertheless shared a common religious heritage and recognized each other – even in their differences – as kinds of Christianity. A series of chapters explore the theory and practice of prayer from Greco-Roman late antiquity to the Syriac middle ages, highlighting the transmission of monastic discourses about prayer, especially among Syrian and Palestinian ascetic teachers. Another set of essays examines localization of prayer within churches through inscriptions, donations, dedications, and incubation. Other chapters treat the composition and transmission of hymns to adorn the liturgy and articulate the emotions of the Christian calendar, structuring liturgical and eschatological time.

    List of Figures and Tables



    List of Contributors

    Introduction - Prayer, Worship, and Ritual Practice

    Brouria Bitton-Ashkelony and Derek Krueger

    Chapter 1 - Theories of Prayer in Late Antiquity: Doubts and Practices from Maximos of Tyre to Isaac of Nineveh

    Brouria Bitton-Ashkelony

    Chapter 2 - Prayer and the Body according to Isaac of Nineveh

    Sabino Chialà

    Chapter 3 - Psalms and Prayer in Syriac Monasticism: Clues from Psalter Prefaces and their Greek Sources

    Columba Stewart

    Chapter 4 - Expressions of Prayer in Late Antique Inscriptions in the Provinces of Palaestina and Arabia

    Leah Di Segni

    Chapter 5 - Renovation and the Early Byzantine Church: Staging Past and Prayer

    Ann Marie Yasin

    Chapter 6 - The Power of the Eucharist in Early Medieval Syria: Grant for Salvation or Magical Medication?

    Volker Menze

    Chapter 7 - The Transmission of Liturgical Joy in Byzantine Hymns for Easter

    Derek Krueger

    Chapter 8 - Greek Kanons and the Syrian Orthodox Liturgy

    Jack Tannous

    Chapter 9 - Various Orthodoxies: Feasts of the Incarnation of Christ in Jerusalem during the First Christian Millennium

    Daniel Galadza

    Chapter 10 - The Therapy for Grief and the Practice of Incubation in Early Medieval Palestine: The Evidence of the Syriac Story of a Woman from Jerusalem

    Sergey Minov

    Chapter 11 - Apocalyptic Poems in Christian and Jewish Liturgy in Late Antiquity

    Hillel I. Newman




    Brouria Bitton-Ashkelony is Associate Professor and Martin Buber Chair in Comparative Religion, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.

    Derek Krueger is the Joe Rosenthal Excellence Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA.

    "... [the volume] offers a kaleidoscopic sense of the variety of work being done in this field by some of the most notable scholars of the current moment ... [if] one wants a sense of some of the high level, solidly executed work being done in the field of early Christian liturgical studies by European and American academics, this is an excellent source."

    - Laura Lieber, Duke University, USA, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2017

    "Prayer and worship in the present volume are theoretically approached as expressions of religious identity, inextricably linked to theological speculation and doctrinal formulation, engendered by the remarkable diversity of local traditions within the geographical span of Eastern Christianities.The contributors to the volume cover specific topics of interest, study influential personalities and spatial frameworks.[...] It is certain that this book has initiated a number of discussions that will be further advanced in the future."

    -Niki Tsironi,  Byzantina Symmeikta, ePublishingEKT