E-Newsletter - March 2017

New Publication by Professor Amir Harrak

The Chronicle of Zuqnīn: Parts I and II. from the Creation to the Year 506/7 AD

The chronicle of Zuqnin is a universal history, the first of its kind in the Near East, written by a monk living in the monastery of Zuqnin near Amid (modern Diar-Bakr) in 775. Parts III and IV (488-775 CE) were previously published (at PIMS) by Prof. Harrak in translation only, but Parts I and II are published in edition and translation. In these two parts, the chronicler compiled a variety of sources some of which survived only in his work.

He began with the biblical account of the creation, and then proceeded to include, among many other sources, the genealogy of Adam, of Jewish origin, the story of the Magi, of Persian background, the story of Alexander the Great and the Sleepers of Ephesus, which both found their ways in some details in the Qur’an (surah al-Kahf), accounts from three ecclesiastical histories and chronicles written in Greek, and finally a short chronicle that details a bloody war between the Sassanians and the Byzantines between 495 and 506 CE. This part of the chronicle ends with a positive note, a treaty of peace signed by these two archenemies!

The manuscript is palimpsest; which means it is made of reused parchments, but the under text (folios from an ancient Greek Bible) reappeared; confusing the Syriac.

The edition of the Syriac text was arduous, time consuming, and at times very frustrating, although a late digital version of the chronicles greatly helped. Prof. Harrak hopes that the Syriac text will be used by students, scholars, and the interested public for centuries to come!

More Information>>

Dr. Stephen Batiuk, recently presented The ‘Kingdom of Idols’: Recent Investigations at Tell Tayinat (Ancient Kunulua, Biblical Calno) in Southeastern Turkey,” at Brown University, an event sponsored by the AIA Narragansett Society.

Stephen also organized “The study of Kura-Araxes pottery,” at the symposium, “Peoples of the Hills: the Prehistoric Kura-Araxes Cultural Tradition,” on Saturday, 11 March 2017. This event was sponsored by the The Canadian Society for Mesopotamian Studies and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.