Plenary Lectures

Plenary Lectures

Liv Ingebord Lied
"Syriac Manuscripts, New Philology and the Ethics of Textual Scholarship"

Liv Ingeborg Lied is Professor of Religious Studies at MF Norwegian School of Theology in Oslo.  She specializes in the Christian transmission history of early Jewish texts.  She is currently finishing a book about the engagement with 2 Baruch among Syriac Christians, taking the manuscripts that contain this text as her point of departure.  Lied is the author of The Other Lands of Israel: Imaginations of the Land in 2 Baruch (Brill, 2008) and co-editor of the volumes Snapshots of Evolving Traditions: Jewish and Christian Manuscript Culture, Textual Fluidity, and New Philology (De Gruyter, 2017) and Bible as Notepad: Tracing Annotations and Annotation Practices in Late Antique and Medieval Biblical Manuscripts (De Gruyter, 2018).

Kathleen E. McVey
"Towns, disciples, and virgins: Symbols of the Church in Ephrem's Hymns on Virginity"

Kathleen E. McVey is J. Ross Stevenson Professor of Church History, Emerita, at Princeton Theological Seminary.  Her research interests extend to the intellectual, spiritual and social engagement of early Christians with their cultural contexts within the Roman Empire and beyond.  Presently her focus is on St. Ephrem's writings in the wider framework of Greek and Syriac Christian literature.

Ellen Muehlberger
"Local Knowledge: The Order of the World at the End of Late Antiquity"

Ellen Muehlberger is Associate Professor of Christianity in late antiquity in the departments of Middle East Studies and History at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on ancient history, contemporary religious traditions, scholarly methods, and Coptic and Syriac language.  Muehlberger has edited Practice, a 2017 collection of newly-translated primary sources about early Christian education, asceticism, and reading for the series Cambridge Editions of Early Christian Writings, and her new book, Moment of Reckoning: Imagined Death and Its Consequences in Late Ancient Christianity, will appear with Oxford in Spring 2019.

Michael Penn
"Big Data About Little Things: Digital Paleography and Syriac Manuscripts"

Michael Penn is the Teresa Hihn Moore Professor of Religious Studies at Stanford University.  He is the author of Kissing Christians: Ritual and Community in the Late Ancient Church; Envisioning Islam: Syriac Christians in the Early Muslim World; and When Christians First Met Muslims: A Source Book of the Earliest Syriac Writings on Islam.  His current projects include digital paleography, helping compile a source book of Syriac literature, a social network analysis of Thomas of Marga's Book of Governors, and a study on the "social lives" of Syriac manuscripts.

Columba Stewart, OSB
"Discovering a New World in the Old: Revealing, Preserving, and Sharing the Syriac Manuscript Heritage in the Near East"

Columba Stewart is the Executive Director of the Hill Museum and Monastery Library (HMML) and Professor of Theology at Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary, Collegeville, MN.  Since 2003 FR. Columba has overseen the expansion of HMML's manuscript preservation projects from one project in Lebanon to projects located in more than a dozen countries.  HMML has given priority to preserving the manuscript collections of persecuted or endangered minorities, and has conducted quiet but extensive projects to digitize the manuscripts belonging to remnants of the Armenian and Syriac Christian communities that survived the 1915-1922 massacres in Turkey.  Since 2009, FR. Columba has been working with Iraqi church leaders to digitize manuscripts displaced by war and its aftermath.  Under his leadership, HMML has developed vHmml Reading Room, which allows registered users to browse free of charge tens of thousands of digitized manuscripts from HMML's projects.  Most of these are otherwise inaccessible, and many have been relocated or even destroyed in recent conflicts.  The author of numerous scholarly publications in early Christian monasticism, Fr. Columboa's current book project is titled, "Between Earth and Heaven: Interpreting the Origins of Christian Asceticism and Monasticism." 

David G.K. Taylor
"The Reception and After-Life of the Teaching of Addai" 

David Taylor is Associate Professor of Aramaic and Syriac, and Fellow of Wolfson College at the University of Oxford.  His primary research interests are in Syriac language, history, and literature, and in language contact in the Late Antique Near East.  In addition to a number of critical editions of Syriac texts, he co-authored with Sebastian P. Brock the three-volume work, The Hidden Pearl: the Syriac Orthodox Church and its Ancient Aramaic Heritage (Trans World Film Italia, 2001; published in multiple languages).  He has published studies on multilingualism diglossia in Late Antique Syria and Mesopotamia, Syriac Christology, and a diversity of other topics.  He is currently producing editions of early Syriac Gospel texts, and of the sixth-century Psalter commentary of Daniel of Salah.