A comprehensive survey of Syriac Christianity over three thousand years
Syriac is often referred to as the third main language of Christianity, along with Latin and Greek, and it remains a foundational classical, literary, and religious language throughout the world. Originating in Mesopotamia along the Roman and Parthian frontiers, it was never the language of a powerful state or ethnic group, but with the coming of Christianity it developed into a rich religious and cultural tradition. At the same time that Christianity was making its way through Europe, Syriac missionaries were founding churches from the Mediterranean coast to Persia, converting the Turkic tribes of Central Asia, and building communities in India and China.
This comprehensive work tells the underexplored story of the Syriac world over three thousand years, from its pre-Christian roots in the Aramaic tribes and the ancient Near East to its vibrant expressions in modern diaspora churches. Enhanced with images, songs, poems, and important primary texts, this book shows the importance of Syriac history, theology, and literature in the twenty-first century.
Françoise Briquel Chatonnet, a French historian and senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research, specializes in Syriac and Northwest Semitic studies. Muriel Debié holds a chair in ancient Eastern Christianities at the École Pratique des Hautes Études-PSL and specializes in Syriac studies. Jeffrey Haines is a historian of Eastern Christianity and specialist in Syriac studies.
“In this extraordinarily learned and wide-ranging book, an entire lost world is brought into the light. The Syriac World reminds us of the vigor and diversity that made up the culture and religion of the Middle East from Late Antiquity until today.”—Peter Brown, author of Through the Eye of a Needle
“This is a marvelous gem of a book. In one short volume, we are given three thousand years of history. Readers will learn an enormous amount about Syriac literature and the history of Middle Eastern Christianity. This book is a small classic.”—Jack Tannous, author of The Making of the Medieval Middle East
“The authors have provided a wonderfully readable, and beautifully illustrated, guide to the various aspects of the Syriac world: the narrative is exceptionally well informed, and the attention paid to material culture is particularly welcome. This is a book that every self-respecting library ought to have.”—Sebastian Brock, author of An Introduction to Syriac Studies
“The Syriac World is a fine piece of scholarship, and a truly valuable contribution to the literature on Christian history. The authors present a picture of the Syriac world that is at once authoritative and attractive to the non-specialist reader.”—Philip Jenkins, author of Crucible of Faith: The Ancient Revolution That Made Our Modern Religious World
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