Syriac Christianity under Late Sasanian and Early Islamic Rule: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Syriac Christianity under Late Sasanian and Early Islamic Rule

1st Edition

By G.J. Reinink


352 pages

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Hardback: 9780860789758
pub: 2005-11-21
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The articles in this volume are concerned with the literary responses of the Syriac communities in the Middle East to the drastic political changes of the 7th and 8th centuries, in particular the Persian occupation of the eastern provinces of Byzantium under Khusrau II, and the Islamic conquests and Umayyad rule. Several studies discuss the influential Syriac works concerning Alexander the Great written shortly after AD 628, which present the Byzantine emperor Heraclius as a new Alexander; attention is given to their polemical and propagandistic functions, and to their influence on early apocalyptic texts which respond to the Arab conquests and 'Abd al-Malik's religious propaganda at the end of the 7th century. Other studies deal with the beginnings of Syriac apologetic literature in response to early Islam, discussing texts of the first decades of the 8th century. The remaining articles focus on the religious controversies in the East Syrian community in connection with the increasing political influence of the Syrian Orthodox in Persia by the end of the 6th and the beginning of the seventh century, and the after-effects of Syriac anti-Islamic apologetics in a medieval encyclopedic text.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; 'Edessa grew dim and Nisibis shone forth': the School of Nisibis at the transition of the 6th-7th century; Babai the Great's Life of George and the propagation of doctrine in the late Sasanian empire; Die Entstehung der syrischen Alexanderlegende als politisch-religiöse Propagandaschrift für Herakleios' Kirchenpolitik; Pseudo-Ephraems 'Rede über das Ende' und die syrische eschatologische Literatur des siebenten Jahrhunderts; Pseudo-Methodius and the pseudo-Ephremian 'Sermo de Fine Mundi'; Alexander the Great in 7th-century Syriac 'apocalyptic' texts; Paideia: God's design in world history according to the East Syrian monk John bar Penkaye; Pseudo-Methodius und die Legende vom römischen Endkaiser; Ps.-Methodius: a concept of history in response to the rise of Islam; Der edessenische 'Pseudo-Methodius'; The Romance of Julian the Apostate as a source for 7th century Syriac apocalypses; Early Christian reactions to the building of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem; The beginnings of Syriac apologetic literature in response to Islam; Die Muslime in einer Sammlung von Dämonengeschichten des Klosters von Qennesrin; The lamb on the tree: Syriac exegesis and anti-Islamic apologetics; An early Syriac reference to Qur'an 112?; Communal identity and the systematisation of knowledge in the Syriac 'cause of all causes'; Addenda and corrigenda; Index.

About the Author

Dr G.J. Reinink is Associate Professor at the Department of Languages and Cultures of the Middle East, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General