The program is still subject to change.

Eighth North American Syriac Symposium, Brown University

June 16-19, 2019

Sunday,  June 16, Kasper Multipurpose Room, Stephen Robert '62 Campus Center

3:00-5:00pm Registration/ Reception – Kasper Multipurpose Room, Stephen Robert '62 Campus Center
Co-sponsored by Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute, Piscataway, NJ

5:00 – 6:30pm Opening Plenary Session – Kasper Multipurpose Room, Stephen Robert '62 Campus Center

5:00-5:30pm Welcome/Opening Remarks
Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Brown University

5:30-6:30pm Plenary Lecture #1
Presiding: George A. Kiraz, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University, and Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute, Piscataway, NJ
Kathleen McVey, Princeton Theological Seminary: “Towns, disciples, and virgins: Symbols of the Church in Ephrem’s Hymns on Virginity”

7:00-8:30pm Dinner,  Chancellor's Dining Room, Sharpe Refectory

 Monday, June 17, Friedman Hall

Reception/Registration/Hub: 1st Floor Lobby
Coffee Breaks/Refreshments: 2nd Floor Lobby
Book Exhibit: Friedman 201

8:30am Coffee/Tea

9:00-10:40am Session 1

  • 1-A “Earliest Syriac Christianity and its Traces” Friedman 102
    Presiding: James Walters, Rochester College
    9:00-9:25: Zhan Chen, Harvard University, “The Peshitta of Isaiah as an Important Source for Textual Criticism”
    9:25-9:50: Ian N. Mills, Duke University, “Tatian the Greek: The Languages of the Diatessaron”
    9:50-10:15: Mikail Berg, Vancouver, BC, Canada, “In Pursuit of The Perfect Bishop: The Short Recension of Ignatius and Syrian Asceticism”
    10:15-10:40: T. C. Schmidt, Yale University, “Hippolytus and the Status of Revelation in Syriac Tradition”

  • 1-B “Syriac in Greek Frames” Friedman 108
    Presiding: Maria Doerfler, Yale University
    9:00-9:25 :Kevin Van Bladel, Yale University, “Elagabalus and Syriac”
    9:25-9:50: Alexandria Istok, New York University, “Finding the “Greekness”
    of Bardaisan in The Book of the Laws of Countries”
    9:50-10:15: Rodrigue Constantin, Catholic University of America, “John of Apamea in his Greek              context”
    10:15-10:40:  Yury Arzhanov, Austrian Academy of Sciences, “History of Greek Philosophy in Syriac Schools”

  • 1-C ”Relics” Friedman 202
    Presiding: Rebecca Stephens Falcasantos, Florida State University
    9:00-9:25: Catalin-Stefan Popa, The Center for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Encounters, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Be’er Sheba, “Captive among Christians. Syrians and the True Cross of Jerusalem (614-630)”
    9:25-9:50 Reyhan Durmaz, Brown University, “‘And there he obtained a piece of the True Cross’: Representations of Relics from Constantinople in Medieval Syriac Hagiography”
    9:50-10:15: Jeanne-Nicole Mellon Saint-Laurent, Marquette University, “Displaced Relics in the Travels of Rabban Sauma and Mar Jahballaha”
    10:15-10:40: Kyle Smith, University of Toronto, “The Long, Long Lives of the Persian Martyrs”

10:40-11:00am Coffee/Tea/Light refreshments

11:00am-12:00pm Plenary lecture #2 - Friedman 102
Presiding: Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Brown University
Liv Ingeborg Lied, MF Norwegian School of Theology: "Syriac Manuscripts, New Philology and the                                    Ethics of Textual Scholarship."

12:00-1:30pm Lunch [on your own: Thayer St. and area]
Optional Lunch Event: 12:15-1:15 , Friedman 202 (box lunch may be ordered) - Digital Syriac Corpus Workshop (James Walters, Rochester College)

1:30- 3:10pm Session 2

  • 2-A “Ephrem the Syrian” Friedman 102
    Presiding: Andrew J. Hayes, University of St. Thomas
    1:30-1:55 Cody Strecker, Baylor University, “Vertical Texts: New Sentence Acrostics in Ephrem’s Madrāšē”
    1:55-2:20 Emanuele Zimbardi, La Sapienza, University of Rome and Freie Universität Berlin; “Syriac and Greek in Late Antiquity: the contribution of the Greek translation of Ephrem’s memra on Jonah and the Ninevites”
    2:20-2:45 David Kiger, Marquette University and Emmanuel Christian Seminary, “The Holy Spirit in Ephrem and Basil”
    2:45-3:10 Sam Koshy Thalathayil, University of Bern, “Ephrem and Ecumenism - Pointers for Dialogues on Christology”

  • 2-B “Asceticism: New Directions After Arthur Vööbus,” Friedman 108
    Presiding: Robert Kitchen, Sankt Ignatios Theological Academy
    1:30-1:55: Shraga Bick, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, “Living by the Law: Jewish
    Motifs in the Book of Steps”
    1:55-2:20: Dmitrij F. Bumazhnov, University of Göttingen, “‘Do not eat too much honey!’ Jewish and Christian Mystical Readings of Prov 25:16”
    2:20-2:45: John Zaleski, Harvard University, “Ḥanūn ibn Yūḥannā ibn al-Ṣalt’s Translation of Isaac of Nineveh and the Islamic Language of Asceticism”
    2:45-3:10: Adam H. Becker, New York University, “The Manuscript Tradition of the Isaacs of Antioch”

  • 2-C “Late Antique Histories,” Friedman 202
    Presiding: Reyhan Durmaz, Brown University
    1:30-1:55: Jacob A. Lollar, Abilene Christian University, “Refugees, Religion, and Reconstructing History: The Effects of Forced Migration on the Development of Syriac Literature in the Fourth Century”
    1:55-2:20: Maria E. Doerfler, Yale University, “Burying the Emperor’s Son: Valens, Valentinian, and the legacy of Basil in a Syriac funerary sermon”
    2:20-2:45: Walter F. Beers, Princeton University, “A Microhistorical Approach to John of Ephesus (c. 507–88)”
    2:45-3:10: Joel Walker, University of Washington, Seattle, “Animal Sacrifice in the Syriac Tradition: Condemnation, Remembrance, and Revival”

3:10-3:40pm Coffee/Tea/Juice/Fruited water/Cookies /Fresh fruit

3:40-5:20pm Session 3

  • 3-A “Late Antique Persia,” Friedman 102
    Presiding: Kevin Van Bladel, Yale University
    3:40-4:05: Jae Hee Han, Brown University, “The Cologne Mani Codex and Late Antique Mesopotamian Christianity”
    4:05-4:30: James E. Walters, Rochester College, “Demonstration 14 and Historiography of Fourth-Century Persian Christianity”
    4:30-4:55: Natalie Maria Reynoso, Fordham University, “Identity Formation through the Transitions and Transformations of a Living and Dying Body in the Martyrdom of Anahid”
    4:55-5:20: Ute Possekel, Harvard Divinity School, “Man as Microcosm and the Refutation of Heresy: Perspectives from the School of Nisibis”

  • 3-B “Evagrius of Pontus,” Friedman 108
    Presiding: Charles Stang, Harvard University
    3:40-4:05: Joel Kalvesmaki, Washington, DC,, “The Syriac Versions of Evagrius’s Praktikos and New Digital Approaches to Studying Translations”
    4:05-4:30: Columba Stewart, Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, Saint John’s University, “Readers of the Syriac Evagriana: suggestions from the multiple translations of the ‘Gnostic Trilogy’ and the later manuscript tradition”
    4:30-4:55: Robin Darling Young, The Catholic University of America, “The Common Syriac Version of Evagrius’ Kephalaia Gnostika (S1): Reception and Interpretation”
    4:55-5:20: Dominique Sirgy, Yale University, “The Role of Human and Divine Will in the Soul’s Union with God: Origen’s theology in Syriac Translations of Evagrius’ Letter to Melania and its Influence on Early Islamic Mystical Thought”

  • 3-C: "Syriac Music," Friedman 202
    Presiding: Susan R. Holman, Valparaiso University
    3:40-4:05: Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Brown University, "Holy Sound: Preaching as Divine Song in Late Antique Syrian Tradition"
    4:05-4:30: Claudia Tavolieri, Università degli Studi Roma Tre, “Singing in the monastery: between teaching and tradition”
    4:30-4:55: Gabriel Aydin, Syriac Symposium Institute, "New Manuscript Evidence for the Structure of Early Syriac Hymns"
    4:55-5:20: Tala Jarjour, King's College London, "Endangered Reality and Virtual Emergence: Syriac Digital Musical Culture in the 21st Century"

5:45-6:45pm Plenary Lecture #3 Friedman 102
Presiding: Aaron Michael Butts, The Catholic University of America
Columba Stewart, Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, St. John’s University: “Discovering a New World in the Old: Revealing, Preserving, and Sharing the Syriac Manuscript Heritage in the Near East"

 7:15-8:45pm Dinner at the Faculty Club (1 Bannister Street)

Tuesday,  June 18, Friedman Hall
Reception/Registration/Hub: 1st floor lobby
Coffee breaks/Refreshments: 2nd Floor Lobby
Book Exhibit: Friedman 201

8:30am Coffee/Tea

9:00-10:00am Plenary lecture #4,  Friedman 102
Presiding: Andrew S. Jacobs, Scripps College
Ellen Muehlberger, University of Michigan: "Local Knowledge: The Order of the World at the End of Late Antiquity"

10:00-10:20am Coffee/Tea/Light refreshments

10:20am-12:00pm Session 4

  • 4-A “Religious Others: Heretics and Jews,” Friedman 102
    Presiding: Jeffrey Wickes, Saint Louis University
    10:20-10:45: Christine Shepardson, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, “Contagious Heretics: John of Tella on the Physical Danger of Chalcedonians”
    10:45-11:10: Daniel Picus, Carleton College, “Books as Bishops: Living Texts in Late Antiquity”
    11:10-11:35: Aaron Michael Butts, The Catholic University of America, “Mapping the ‘Other’ onto Jews: Syriac Anti-Jewish Polemic during the Fifth and Sixth Centuries”
    11:35-12:00: Andrew S. Jacobs, Scripps College, “The Children's Hour: Conversion and Play in The History of the ‘Slave of Christ’”

  • 4-B “Manuscripts,” Friedman 108
    Presiding: Stephen D. Ryan, O.P. Dominican House of Studies
    10:20-10:45: Iskandar Bcheiry, American Theological Library Association, “The rediscovery of six leaves from the lost Syriac manuscript known as the Canons of Beth Sabrīnā (nine century)”
    10:45-11:10: András Mércz, Avicenna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies, “Andreas Masius’ manuscript of the Anaphora of Saint Basil in light of his correspondence with Moses of Mardin”
    11:10-11:35: Grigory Kessel, Austrian Academy of Sciences & University of Manchester, “Cataloguing Chaldean manuscript collections digitized by the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library: a report on the work in progress”
    11:35-12:00 Slavomír Čéplö, Austrian Academy of Sciences, “HUNAYNNET: Greek-Syriac-Arabic corpus of scientific texts”

  • 4-C "Encounters with Islam," Friedman 202
    Presiding: Sandra Toenies Keating, Providence College
    10:20-10:45: Laura Locke Estes, Saint Louis University, "Etiologies in Syriac Christian Accounts of the Origins of Islam"
    10:45-11:10: Kelli Bryant Gibson, Abilene Christian University, "Interreligious Polemic in the Works of John of Dara"
    11:10-11:35: Michael Payne, Brown University, "East Syrians and the Design Complex in 9th Century Iraq"
    11:35-12:00: Joshua Mugler, Georgetown University and Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, "An Egyptian History of Syriac"

12:00-1:30pm    Lunch [on your own: Thayer St. and area]
Optional Lunch Event: 12:15-1:15, Friedman 202 (boxed lunch may be ordered) - “Women in Syriac Studies” – Panel/ discussion (Dina Boero, The College of New Jersey, presiding)

1:30-2:45pm Session 5

  • 5-A “Literary Transmissions,” Friedman 102
    Presiding: Jeanne-Nicole Mellon Saint-Laurent, Marquette University
    1:30-1:55: Anton Pritula, Hermitage Museum, “Poetic correspondence and correspondence of poetry: unknown Syriac verse texts from the Islamic time”
    1:55-2:20: Lijuan Lin, Peking University, “A Winged Word on Marriage: Socrates and the Gnomological Tradition.”
    2:20-2:45: Jan J. van Ginkel, Freie Universität Berlin, “That's What Friends Are For …A close reading of the Fable of the Cat and the Mouse in Syriac Kalila and Dimna Collections”

  • 5-B “The Translation Movement,” Friedman 108
    Presiding: Michael Payne, Brown University
    1:30-1:55: Nestor Kavvadas, University of Siegen, “Non-Arabs Standing Together? The Barmakid Viziers and Syriac and Greek Elites in the Age of the Translation Movement"
    1:55-2:20: George A. Kiraz, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute, Piscataway, NJ, “Are we Overstating or Understating the Role of Syriac in the Abbasid Translation Movement?”
    2:20-2:45: Kevin J. Ball, The Catholic University of America, “The East Syriac Heritage into Arabic: Ibn al-Tayyib's Commentary on the Gospels”

  • 5C “Bar ‘Ebroyo,” Friedman 202
    Presiding: John Zaleski, Harvard University
    1:30-1:55: Jens Ole Schmitt, Wuerzburg University, “Barhebraeus on Modal Logic”
    1:55-2:20: Patrick Conlin, Marquette University, “The Beauty of Perfection: An Examination of Bar ‘Ebroyo ‘On Perfection’”
    2:20-2:45: Bogdan-Gabriel Draghici, University of Oxford, “Between Theology and Kalam: Bar Hebraeus’ Teaching on the Resurrection”

2:45-3:15pm Coffee/Tea/Juice/Fruited water/Cookies/Fresh fruit

3:15 – 5:30pm Session 6

  • 6-A “Modern Communities,” Friedman 102
    Presiding: Kyle Smith, University of Toronto
    3:15-3:40: Henry Clements, Yale University, “Documenting, Forgetting, and Remembering the Süryani of the Ottoman Empire”
    3:40-4:05: Borja W. González Fernández, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, “Creoles in Syriac midst: The Maronites, the Catholic Church, and the Identity Question in 19th-century Mount Lebanon”
    4:05-4:30: Anna Hager, Radboud University, “The Syriac Orthodox in Lebanon after WWI: The Emergence of a ṭāʾifa”
    4:30-4:40:10 min break
    4:40-5:05: Abdulmesih BarAbraham and Isa Doğdu, Mor Afrem Foundation and Foundation of Monastery of Mar Gabriel, “Rebuilding Churches and Homes in Tur Abdin”
    5:05-5:30: Hannah Ayer, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, “Aramean Christians in Israel: Discovering a Syriac World”

  • 6-B “Saints and Cults,” Friedman 108
    Presiding: Dina Boero, The College of New Jersey
    3:15-3:40: Tracy Russell, Saint Louis University, “The Betrothed of Christ: Virgin Martyrs in the Sinaitic Palimpsest”
    3:40-4:05: Blake Hartung, Arizona State University, “The Prophet as Saint: Hagiography, Asceticism, and Veneration in Late Antique Syriac Homilies on Elijah”
    4:05-4:30: Jeffrey Wickes, Saint Louis University, "A Reliquary of Words: The
    Presence and Absence of the Saints in the Hagiographical Poetry of Jacob of Serugh"
    4:30-4:40: 10 min break
    4:40-5:05: Anna Williams, Saint Louis University, “Hagiography of a Greek Heretic: Theodore of Mopsuestia in Barhadbeshabba’s Ecclesiastical History”
    5:05-5:30: Erin Galgay Walsh, Duke University, “The Holy Fool in Syriac Literature: Scripting Female Sanctity”

  • 6-C “Preaching: Isaac of Antioch and Jacob of Sarug,” Friedman 202
    Presiding: Jan J. Van Ginkel, Freie Universität Berlin
    :15-3:40: Robert A. Kitchen, Sankt Ignatios Theological Academy, “A Fowl Theology of the Cross: Isaac of Antioch’s Mēmrā on the Parrot”
    3:40-4:05: Glenn Peers, Syracuse University, “Isaac of Antioch’s Parrot and Voice’s Manifold Subject Formations”
    4:05-4:30: Andrew Hochstedler, OFM Conv., University of Notre Dame, “ The Christology of Jacob of Sarug in Mēmrā 130 on the Gerasene Demoniac
    4:30-4:40: 10 Minute Break
    4:40-5:05: Jacob Thekeparampil, St. Ephrem Ecumenical Research Institute, "Simon's Fall - Church's Fall? Jacob of Sarug's Mimra on Simon"
    5:05-5:30: Mary Hansbury, Philadelphia, PA, “Symbolic Language in Jacob of Serug”

6:00 - 7:00pm Plenary Lectures #5, Friedman 102
Presiding: Christine Shepardson, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville 
Michael Penn, Stanford University: “Big Data About Little Things: Digital Paleography and Syriac                                    Manuscripts”

7:30 - 9:30pm: Faculty Club and Terrace

Wednesday June 19, Friedman Hall
Reception/ registration/ hub: 1st floor lobby
Coffee breaks/ refreshments: 2nd floor lobby
Book Exhibit: Friedman 201

8:30am Coffee/Tea

9:00-10:40am Session 7

  • 7-A “Patristics,” Friedman 102
    Presiding: Kelli Bryant Gibson, Abilene Christian University
    9:00-9:25: Emanuel Fiano, Fordham University, “The Syriac Fragments of Eustathius of Antioch And the ‘Eustathian’ Tradition”
    9:25-9:50: Marion Pragt, KU Leuven, “The Syriac Afterlife of Gregory of Nyssa's Homilies on the Song of Songs: Extracts and Exchanges”
    9:50-10:15: Madalina Toca, KU Leuven, “Reception and Innovation: A Syriac Corpus of Pseudo-Isidore of Pelusium?”
    10:15-10:40: Emiliano Fiori and Claudia Simonelli, University of Venice 'Ca' Foscari', “The ‘Catenae Patrum’ of the British Library (8th -10th centuries): first soundings of their structure and historical aims”

  • 7-B “Material Piety,” Friedman 108
    Presiding: Jae Hee Han, Brown University
    9:00-9:25: James Shire, University of Toronto, “God Sweeping up the Aries: An Analysis of the Use of Astrology in the Syriac Chronicle of Zuqnin”
    9:25-9:50: Linda Wheatley-Irving, Chicago, “Lions in Christian architectural sculpture of Ṭūr ʿAbdīn, Aghtamar, and Mosul”
    9:50-10:15: Charles Stewart, University of St. Thomas, “Syriac Gravestones Iconography in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan”
    10:15-10:40: David Calabro, Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, “The Social Context of Syriac Amulets in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries”

  • 7-C “Christian Communities of the Middle East,” Friedman 202
    Presiding: Robin Darling Young, The Catholic University of America
    9:00-9:25: Andrew W. Litke, The Catholic University of America, “The Chaldean Collection”
    9:25-9:50: Ryann Craig, The Catholic University of America, “The Münster Collection”
    9:50-10:15: Dina Boero, The College of New Jersey, “The Syriac Orthodox Collection”
    10:15-10:40: George Kiraz,  The Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University and Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute, Piscataway, NJ, “A Community Partner’s Perspective”

10:40-11:00am Coffee/Tea/Light refreshments

11:00am-12:00pm Plenary lecture #6, Friedman 102
Presiding: Ute Possekel, Harvard Divinity School
David G. K. Taylor, University of Oxford: “The Reception and After-Life of the Teaching o                                               Addai”

12:00 - 12:30pm Closing session/Business Meeting Friedman 106

12:30pm Lunch on your own [optional box lunch may be ordered]/ depart
Pre-paid boxed lunches can be picked up on the 2nd floor.

Eighth North American Syriac Symposium: Brown University

Local Steering Committee:
Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Brown University, Chair
Sargon Donabed, Roger Williams University
Jae Hee Han, Brown University
Sandra Toenies Keating, Providence College
Nancy Khalek, Brown University
Ute Possekel, Harvard Divinity School

Nijmeh Kiraz Prize for Best Graduate Student Paper
2019 Committee:
Robert Kitchen, Chair
Aaron Michael Butts
Sargon Donabed
Kelli Bryant Gibson

National Advisory Committee:
Since its inception in 1991, the North American Syriac Symposium has had an informal advisory committee to ensure continuity of scholarly agenda between each of the symposium meetings and to provide support and advice for the organization of the next meeting. The committee has been loosely comprised of those who have organized the prior Syriac Symposia, although some previous members have chosen to revolve off due to retirement or other obligations. Each instance of the North American Syriac Symposium, however, has been wholly in the hands of the local organizing committee. At present the National Advisory Committee consists of:
Joseph P. Amar
Aaron Michael Butts
Amir Harrak
Susan Ashbrook Harvey
George Anton Kiraz
Robin Darling Young

Meetings of the North American Syriac Symposium:
1991 at Brown University
1995 at The Catholic University of America
1999 at The University of Notre Dame
2003 at Princeton Theological Seminary
2007 at Toronto University
2011 at Duke University
2015 at The Catholic University of America
2019 at Brown University