In June, Columbia University Press will release Armenia Christiana: Armenian Religious Identity and the Churches of Constantinople and Rome (4th – 15th century) by Krzysztof Stopka (Jagiellonian University). The publisher’s description follows;
This book presents the dramatic and complex story of Armenia’s ecclesiastical relations with Byzantine and subsequently Roman Christendom in the Middle Ages. It is built on a broad foundation of sources – Armenian, Greek, Latin, and Syrian chronicles and documents, especially the abundant correspondence between the Holy See and the Armenian Church. Krzysztof Stopka examines problems straddling the disciplines of history and theology and pertinent to a critical, though not widely known, episode in the story of the struggle for Christian unity.
In March, the Oxford University Press released “The Last Pagan Emperor: Julian the Apostate and the War against Christianity,” by H.C. Teitler. The publisher’s description follows:
Flavius Claudius Julianus was the last pagan to sit on the Roman imperial throne (361-363). Born in Constantinople in 331 or 332, Julian was raised as a Christian, but apostatized, and during his short reign tried to revive paganism, which, after the conversion to Christianity of his uncle Constantine the Great early in the fourth century, began losing ground at an accelerating pace. Having become an orphan when he was still very young, Julian was taken care of by his cousin Constantius II, one of Constantine’s sons, who permitted him to study rhetoric and philosophy and even made him co-emperor in 355. But the relations between Julian and Constantius were strained from the beginning, and it was only Constantius’ sudden death in 361 which prevented an impending civil war.
As sole emperor, Julian restored the worship of the traditional gods. He opened pagan temples again, reintroduced animal sacrifices, and propagated paganism through both the spoken and the written word. In his treatise Against the Galilaeans he sharply criticised the religion of the followers of Jesus whom he disparagingly called ‘Galilaeans’. He put his words into action, and issued laws which were displeasing to Christians–the most notorious being his School Edict. This provoked the anger of the Christians, who reacted fiercely, and accused Julian of being a persecutor like his predecessors Nero, Decius, and Diocletian. Violent conflicts between pagans and Christians made themselves felt all over the empire. It is disputed whether or not Julian himself was behind such outbursts. Accusations against the Apostate continued to be uttered even after the emperor’s early death. In this book, the feasibility of such charges is examined.
Fordham University’s Orthodox Christian Studies Center has passed along a call for papers from the American Academy of Religion. The Academy seeks papers on the topic of Eastern Orthodox Studies, and the deadline for submissions is March 1. Three primary subtopics have been identified: “Evangelicals, Eastern Orthodox Christians, and ‘Traditional Values’: A Global Alliance?”; “Sergii Bulgakov and Modern Western Theology”; and “Peacemaking and Hospitality in Middle Eastern Christianity: Accommodating Difference in the Eastern Christian Traditions.” More information is available here. Those interested in submitting proposals can do so here.
In December, I.B. Tauris published “Imagined Communities in Greece and Turkey: Trauma and the Population Exchanges under Ataturk,” edited by Emine Yesim Bedlek (Bingol University). The publisher’s description follows:
In 1923 the Turkish government, under its new leader Kemal Ataturk, signed a renegotiated Balkan Wars treaty with the major powers of the day and Greece. This treaty provided for the forced exchange of 1.3 million Christians from Anatolia to Greece, in return for 30,000 Greek Muslims. The mass migration that ensued was a humanitarian catastrophe – of the 1.3 million Christians relocated it is estimated only 150,000 were successfully integrated into the Greek state. Furthermore, because the treaty was ethnicity-blind, tens of thousands of Muslim Greeks (ethnically and linguistically) were forced into Turkey against their will. Both the Greek and Turkish leadership saw this exchange as crucial to the state-strengthening projects both powers were engaged in after the First World War. Here, Emine Bedlek approaches this enormous shift in national thinking through literary texts – addressing the themes of loss, identity, memory and trauma which both populations experienced. The result is a new understanding of the tensions between religious and ethnic identity in modern Turkey.
Next month, Routledge releases Eastern Christianity and Politics in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Lucian N. Leustean (Aston University, UK). The publisher’s description follows:
This book provides an up-to-date, comprehensive overview of Eastern Christian churches in Europe, the Middle East, America, Africa, Asia and Australia. Written by leading international scholars in the field, it examines both Orthodox and Oriental churches from the end of the Cold War up to the present day. The book offers a unique insight into the myriad church-state relations in Eastern Christianity and tackles contemporary concerns, opportunities and challenges, such as religious revival after the fall of communism; churches and democracy; relations between Orthodox, Catholic and Greek Catholic churches; religious education and monastic life; the size and structure of congregations; and the impact of migration, secularization and globalization on Eastern Christianity in the twenty-first century.
This is an absolutely wonderful looking new study about the interaction of various religious traditions in the pre-early-medieval period — Jacob Lassner’s (Northwestern) Jews, Christians, and the Abode of Islam: Modern Scholarship, Medieval Realities (Chicago 2012). The publisher’s description follows.
In Jews, Christians, and the Abode of Islam, Jacob Lassner examines the triangular relationship that during the Middle Ages defined—and continues to define today—the political and cultural interaction among the three Abrahamic faiths. Lassner looks closely at the debates occasioned by modern Western scholarship on Islam to throw new light on the social and political status of medieval Jews and Christians in various Islamic lands from the seventh to the thirteenth centuries. Utilizing a vast array of primary sources, Lassner balances the rhetoric of literary and legal texts from the Middle Ages with other, newly published medieval sources, describing life as it was actually lived among the three faith communities. Lassner shows just what medieval Muslims meant when they spoke of tolerance, and how that abstract concept played out at different times and places in the real world of Christian and Jewish communities under Islamic rule. Finally, he considers what a more informed picture of the relationship among the Abrahamic faiths in the medieval Islamic world might mean for modern scholarship on medieval Islamic civilization and, not the least, for the highly contentious global environment of today.
This year, Dr. Yannis Papadogiannakis, lecturer in Patristics at Wolfson College, Oxford, publishes Christianity and Hellenism in the Fifth-Century Greek East: Theodoret’s Apologetics against the Greeks in Context (Oxford, 2012). Dr. Papadogianakis contextualizes Theodoret’s last apologetic within its socio-cultural milieu—in the conflict between emergent Christian civilization and the dominant socio-religious structures of the late Roman Empire. See the publisher’s abstract after the jump. Read more