An Introduction to Syriac Studies
This introduction aims to provide basic guidance to important areas of Syriac studies. This second edition (the first was published in 1980) has been considerably expanded and parts completely rewritten in view of the many developments in the field during the last twenty-five years.After a brief first chapter indicating how Syriac is still very much alive in the twenty-first century, chapter II looks at how Syriac studies are of relevance to a variety of other fields, notably Biblical studies, Patristics, and the general history of the Near East, especially in Late Antiquity and the early Arab period. A brief orientation to the history of Syriac literature is offered in chapter III, while chapter IV sets Syriac within the context of the other Aramaic dialects.Nearly half the book is taken up by chapter V, on important tools, or Instrumenta Studiorum. This should prove invaluable both for the student commencing on study in the field and for scholars working in adjacent areas who need some guidance in an area that may be less familiar. Topics covered include Grammars, Dictionaries, the Bible in Syriac, Histories of Syriac Literature, bibliographical aids and relevant series, periodicals, and encyclopedias. Chapter VI, written in a more light-hearted vein, describes some of the delights of working with Syriac manuscripts. Finally, an Appendix explains how the different Churches of Syriac tradition are related to one another and how they fit into the Christian tradition as a whole. It also sorts out the confusing variety of terms by which they are known.
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