ZDMG online - vital German Oriental Publications

Monday, December 26, 2011

Great news- some key Syriac resources are now online.
Roger Pearse writes that he:
"...discovered what looks like all the issues of the Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft online, for free, up to 2005, here:


It includes indexes, supplements and all. You can’t download whole volumes, but you can download the individual articles you want. The scans are greyscale, and good quality.

This journal is very important for Syriac studies, I know. Probably for Arabic also. And it’s all here. Wow."

Jihad/ Struggle in Australian Newspapers

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I've been noticing how the cognitive metaphor of struggle (jihad) is used in Aussie newspapers, and I've collected many examples of politicians "struggling to explain their policies", "struggling for control of their party" etc. Also of sportspeople "battling", "striving" and "struggling" against fatigue, opponents, the weather etc.
I've also been researching the idea of struggle/jihad in various European language newspapers, and in key literature like Jane Eyre! The notion of jihad is alive and well in the European mind in the West!!

Struggle in Latin authors

Friday, October 28, 2011

I've found lots of very interesting references to mental battles etc in various Latin authors, eg Abelard- seehttp://www.forumromanum.org/literature/abelardx.html

Some great Latin doc sites include The Latin Library http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/ and Medieval Sourcebook at http://www.fordham.edu/Halsall/sbook.asp

Jihad in Sulami's commentary on the Qur'an

Thursday, September 8, 2011

How exactly is the concept of struggle "jihad" used in the Qur'an. An important early witness is the Sufi scholar Sulami (Husayn al-Sulami al- Nlsaburi) whose main Quran tafsir has a lot to say:
http://www.blogtopsites.com/outpost/8b477bd11c588a5d0c00710a66b37cbd was working but now not?
Also, Gerhard Bowering wrote on this work: The Minor Qur'an Commentay of al-Sulami (Ziyadat haq'iq al-tafsir), Beirut 1995.
Found a good Qur'an interpretation reading list: http://www.iis.ac.uk/view_article.asp?ContentID=110572

Islamic Manuscripts site

There's an enormous resource of Islamic manuscripts available at:
The site is run by Jan Just Witkam, Emeritus-Professor of Paleography and Codicology of the Islamic world in Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands. There's plenty of material to search for any researcher. Where to begin!

Latest Syriac research at Oxford

The Oxford Patristics Conference is oh so far to go, but at least their blog has some basic info on latest research. The Syriac papers are available at: http://oxfordpatristics.blogspot.com/search/label/Syriac There's also lots of other relevant material elsewhere on the blog, eg some great bits on St John Chrysostom.

Syriac ascetic struggle and the Greek agon

Recently had a wonderful relaxing week with great friends the Rudolphs. In between beach walks I was researching how the Syrian Christian ascetic struggle was shaped by earlier Greek notions of the agon, the "contest" of wrestling, music, ideas, etc. In Syriac agon is agona and is used in pretty much the same way as the earlier Greek playwrights and historians write of the "struggle". Also found an excellent site for all the Greek plays (in Greek) that allows searching on individual words like agon eg in Sophocles: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0189%3Acard%3D1556


Friday, July 15, 2011

The Diatessaron is an important early reference for the formative years of Syriac Christianity, and there's some very interesting material available on it. The original Syriac only exists in portions as quotes in other authors like St Ephrem, and the Arabic version is apparently an 11th century translation. But what does it have to say about struggle/agona/jihad? Watch this space...

Some resources:
1. Diatessaron Wiki
2. The complete Latin and Arabic translations are available here, plus links to English translation etc.
3. English Translation
4. This is a key book by William Petersen, with very comprehensive and extensive research, although ridiculously expensive!

Pre-Islamic Arabic Poetry

Monday, July 11, 2011

There's lots of very significant material in pre-Islamic Arabic Poetry related to Allah (and His identity), struggle (jihad), inter-tribal contests etc. Some great sites are: Al-Moallaqat in Arabic and an excellent book and the Muallaqat in English.
Also, an excellent thesis "The concept of Allah as the highest God in Pre-Islamic Arabia (A study in Pre-Islamic Arabic Religious Poetry)".

Stuck in the middle with you, oh Syriac

Saturday, June 11, 2011

With apologies to "Stealers Wheel", I find myself not quite fitting into many of the Uni department categories and typical conference themes. My research doesn't quite fit properly into Arabic and Islamic studies, although it covers a lot about early Islam. It doesn't quite fit Byzantine or medieval studies, although there's lots of overlap. And Syriac is usually specifically Christian-focussed, whereas my work is half about Islam. Hmmm. This is both a negative and a positive- at least I get to build bridges to people in several fields :-)

Jihad and agonia

Monday, May 30, 2011

Both Christians and Muslims in the 7th-9th CE equated the Arabic word "jihad" with the Syriac "agona", and thus by extension with Greek "agon" and agonia, ideas that are important in Greek plays. Hence the study of Greek tragedy and the "struggle" (jihad) to overcome some challenge. Suddenly Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes are even more appealing. Sigh, I'll just *have* to read them all again :-) This site is useful...Greek Theater and Society.

Aphrahat, Resurrection, Philosophy etc

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Aphrahat is the first Syriac author whose works we still have. I've been studying the structure and mindset of his "Demonstrations" and noticing how teleological it all is- he advocates for ascetic practice especially celibacy because of the future resurrection which we somewhat live in right now. (I'm writing a paper on this, which will also be part of my PhD Thesis).

Also, I've been reading about how various late-antique and medieval ideas shape modern and post-modern society. So I've been reading various views on texts, and critical theory, cultural theories etc. Found a useful website with lots of postgrad-level video lectures by many leading lights. eg Agamben on Monasticism. There's Zizek, Baudrillard, Badiou etc. This will inform my final chapter on worldviews and implications of ascetic struggle/jihad/agona.

St Athanasius: "On the Incarnation"

Saturday, March 5, 2011

St Athanasius was not a Syrian. But his theology probably influenced the Syrian fathers, and exactly how would make a good study. The emphasis on Christ as victor over sin and death is all through Orthodoxy, including in St. Ephrem. Very inspiring: http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/history/ath-inc.htm

Syriac Psalter

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Just finished a 1 month intensive Syriac course and now Syriac makes far more sense :-) Also now it is much easier to read. And I also found more free online Syriac resources eg Syriac psalter: http://books.google.com/books?id=TO5NvDQlwZMC&oe=UTF-8 Plus my copy of Sokeloff's new edition/update of Brockelmann's massive Syriac lexicon arrived, and a Syriac NT in Estrangelo. Lovely.

All the classical MSS in Florence now online

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Roger Pearse on his excellent blog has made me aware that the Laurentian library in Florence has put online a mass of manuscripts! As Roger notes: "The Biblioteca Medicea-Laurenziana, to give it its formal title, is the library of Lorenzo the Magnificent. Florence was the home of the renaissance, the base of the rediscovery of the classics, and the great library of Nicolo Nicoli ended up in this collection. There are treasures to be found there!"
"This is wonderful, wonderful news. Suddenly it becomes possible for us all to consult these manuscripts. Better still, you can download individual pages and do digital enhancement on them, if you need to.
Magic! Well done the BML!"
I can just say "amen".
The search page is here: http://teca.bmlonline.it/TecaRicerca/index.jsp