Encounters and interactions between individuals, generations, communities,traditions, ideas, languages, and religions.
This general theme allows us to highlight various kinds of diachronic and synchronic interaction and dialogue, formation of communal identity, construction of tradition, language contact, and religious conversation both within Syriac Christianity and between Syriac Christianity and other traditions, in particular Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Islam, and various forms of Western Christianity. The overall theme is not meant, however, to exclude topics that are not directly related to it.
Depending on the response to the Call for Papers (which will be sent out in September 2010), a number of (partly parallel) sessions, each consisting of three or four papers, will be put together. These may include some of the following:
(1) Syriac Christianity in its Graeco-Roman context.
(2) Syriac Christianity and Judaism.
(3) The Syriac Bible: Old Testament, New Testament, and Apocrypha.
(4) Ephrem and fourth-century Syriac Christianity.
(5) Aphrahat and fourth-century Syriac Christianity in the Sassanid-Persian Empire.
(6) The fifth and sixth centuries and the development of separate West-Syrian and East-Syrian traditions.
(7) Syriac Christianity and Early Islam.
(8) Syriac Christianity in the 11th-13th centuries and the “Syriac Renaissance”.
(9) Syriac Christianity in the modern period and its contacts with the West.
(10) The Syriac-Christian Diaspora in the 20th and 21st century.
(11) Literary genres in Syriac Christianity, or more specifically: biblical interpretation, historiography, poetry, philosophy.
(12) Asceticism in the Syriac Christian context.
(13) Syriac liturgical traditions.
(14) Syriac in the Aramaic language family.
(15) The study of Syriac manuscripts.
(16) Art and material culture of Syriac Christianity.
(17) Syriac Christianity: continuity and transformation.
(18) New methodologies, tools, and projects.
(19) Syriac Computing (as in previous symposia, this section, or these sections, will be organized and directed by George A. Kiraz, Director of Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute).
In addition to the standard papers (20 minutes plus 10 minutes of discussion), there will be five plenary sessions, delivered by invited speakers several of whom – as was the case in previous symposia – are from Europe. At present, all five speakers have accepted our invitation; a sixth speaker, whom we invited to deliver the opening lecture, will make his decision in September. The five speakers are:
(1) Riccardo Contini, Professor of Semitic Philology, University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’, Italy.
(2) Sidney H. Griffith, Professor and Chair, Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures, The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.
(3) Amir Harrak, Professor of Aramaic and Syriac, Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto, Canada.
(4) Heleen Murre-van den Berg, Professor in the History of Modern World Christianity, especially in the Middle East, Leiden University, The Netherlands.
(5) Alison G. Salvesen, University Research Lecturer at the Oriental Institute, University of Oxford, and Polonsky Fellow in Jewish Bible Versions at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, UK.