Academic journal article Theological Studies

The Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage

Academic journal article Theological Studies

The Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage

Article excerpt

THE GORGIAS ENCYCLOPEDIC DICTIONARY OF THE SYRIAC HERITAGE. Edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz, and Lucas van Rompay. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias, 2011. Pp. xl + 539. $160.

This is the first comprehensive reference encyclopedia devoted exclusively to Syriac Christianity (SC). With over 600 entries by an international team of scholars in the field, the volume treats SC in all its complexity, including its Judeo-Christian origins, its early literature and development, the theological controversies that led to its fragmentation, and major authors from antiquity to the present. The rich diversity of SC tradition is well represented with penetrating treatments of the tradition's ethnic and linguistic relation to Judaism; its contributions to Arabic and Greek literature and culture; and its role in the development of Armenian, Coptic, and Georgian Christianities. Up-to-date treatments of modern authors, movements, and challenges from 1900 to the present chart the course of SC to the present.

If a major strength--and there are many strengths--can be singled out, it is the treatment of SC as a rich and diverse living tradition, and not as a historical artifact; the majority of contributors are distinguished by their active engagement in primary research in the field; discrete facts and figures are not merely stated; they are contextualized within the broader tradition. …

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