Conference: Syriac intellectual activity in late antiquity. Oxford, 30th-31st January 2015.

Today I became aware of a two-day conference in Oxford that sounds rather interesting.  It takes place in three weeks time.

The title is Syriac intellectual culture in late antiquity: translation, transmission and influence and the abstracts are here.  The cost is negligible – £5 / $8 – and accomodation is possible for a rather more serious sum.

Here’s a list of papers from the abstracts:

  • The Sources of the Syriac Apocalypse of Daniel. 
  • The exegetical  Activity  of  Mar  Aba  I (d.  552).  He was a promoter of the exegesis of Theodore of Mopsuestia.
  •  The Syriac Odes and the Syrohexapla
  • Greek exegetical traditions in the Syriac commentary on the Diatessaron 
  • Human weakness: Isaac of Nineveh and the Syriac Macarian corpus.  And how the transmission of both from/to Greek happens.
  • The Syriac Vorlage and Translation Technique of the Arabic Version of Acts in Sinai Ar. 154.  This Arabic version of Acts is hardly studied, apparently.  
  • Dialogues in Syriac translation: Theodotus of Ancyra Contra Nestorium 
  • The Harclean Syriac, the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method, & the Development of the Byzantine Text: The State of Their Union
  • The Old Testament and Invention of Holy Places in Syria-Mesopotamia during Late Antiquity
  • A paper on Ephrem’s Commentary on Genesis (title seems to be missing from the page of abstracts), discussing connections with both Greek and Jewish sources.
  • Eusebius’ Historia Ecclesiastica in Syriac and Latin: a first comparison.  This one about why the HE got translated into each language.  The manuscripts of the Syriac version are 5th century!
  • The Syriac Nachleben of Jewish Apocrypha: The case of Joseph and Aseneth 

It’s all cutting-edge stuff, from the look of it, addressing areas well outside the normal run of patristic or biblical studies, but closely connected to things that we’d all like to know about.

Oxford in late January will be cold and grey and full of students.  I don’t know whether I’ll go; if I’m not busy “tent-making”, then I might go.  But if you’re in the area, it sounds certainly worth your time.


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