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Category: Publication Reviews

The Christian Topography of Kosmas Indikopleustes: Firenze, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, plut. 9.

This publication provides a broad and thorough introduction to an unusual and interesting work. The quality of the essays, descriptions, and reproductions is high….The editor and his team are to be congratulated for providing such a comprehensive and reasonable introduction to this manuscript.

Jeffrey C. Anderson, ed. The Christian Topography of Kosmas Indikopleustes: Firenze, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, plut. 9.28. The Map of the Universe Redrawn in the Sixth Century. Folia picta: manoscritti miniati medievali, 3. Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2013.

From the Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Charles Barber, Princeton University

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Eusebius

The last ten or fifteen years have seen a surge in new work on Eusebius that has enriched and complicated the inherited picture, as scholars have renewed focus on writings, such as the apologetic and biblical works, that traditionally received less attention and reformulated and revised some of the conventional readings….A common methodological thread in these re-readings of Eusebius is a more informed attention to the properly literary character of each of his many books, and to his unique contribution to the creation of a new and distinctively Christian literary culture. Among the younger generation of scholars who have most thoroughly incorporated this line of approach is Aaron Johnson. His new book, Eusebius, is a most valuable summation of the work of the past couple of decades. Its virtues are many.

Aaron P. Johnson. Eusebius. I.B. Tauris, 2014.

From Marginalia. Review by Michael Hollerich, University of St. Thomas

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Asinou across Time: Studies in the Architecture and Murals of the Panagia Phorbiotissa, Cyprus

As a whole, Asinou across Time provides a perfect parallel for the monument it examines. Both are multi-layered, beautifully decorated with high-quality images, and collaborative, well-funded works whose complex wholes comprise equally interesting individual parts.

Annemarie Weyl Carr and Andréas Nicolaïdès, eds. Asinou across Time: Studies in the Architecture and Murals of the Panagia Phorbiotissa, Cyprus. Dumbarton Oaks studies, 43. Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 2012.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by James G. Schryver, University of Minnesota, Morris


The Bible in Arabic

Sidney Griffith’s latest work provides an accessible and comprehensive overview of the textual evidence for the genesis of the Arabic Bible, as well as its historic and contemporary importance — liturgically, theologically, and academically. This historian of Christianity in the Middle East has not only met but far exceeded his aim of “call[ing] attention to the story of how the Bible came into Arabic at the hands of Jews and Christians, and how it fared among Muslims from early Islamic times into the Middle Ages.”

Sidney H. Griffith. The Bible in Arabic: The Scriptures of the ‘People of the Book’ in the Language of Islam. Jews, Christians and Muslims from the Ancient to the Modern World. Princeton University Press, 2013.

From Marginalia. Review by Clare Wilde, The University of Auckland 

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Theodosius II: Rethinking the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity

This volume presents a diverse and fascinating collection of papers dealing with different subjects and themes concerning Theodosius' reign. In spite of the variety of contributions, they all present a clear and revisionist impression of the first half of the fifth century. What becomes most evident is that Theodosius' reign is still firmly established in the tradition of the past, but at the same time is an era in which considerable transformations took place.

Christopher Kelly, ed. Theodosius II: Rethinking the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity. Cambridge classical studies. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Jan Willem Drijvers, University of Groningen

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Paideia and Cult: Christian Initiation in Theodore of Mopsuestia

Students and scholars alike will reap benefits from this book: the former for the clear introduction it provides to broader issues pertaining to the early Christian Church; the latter for the new lights it sheds on Theodore of Mopsuestia himself, and the role of the Christian community at large in the Christianization of the Roman Empire.

Daniel L. Schwartz. Paideia and Cult: Christian Initiation in Theodore of Mopsuestia. Hellenic Studies Series, 57. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013.

From The Medieval Review (TMR). Review by Anne-Laurence Caudano, University of Winnipeg

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Qasr Ibrim, Between Egypt and Africa

Qasr Ibrim is one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in the world. Full publication of the finds from the excavations, however, is decades in the future. Still, as the fine papers in Qasr Ibrim, Between Egypt and Africa make clear, the material already published or in the process of being published leaves no doubt that ancient and medieval Nubia was not an isolated peripheral region but part of the mainstream of world history.

J. van der Vliet and J. L. Hagen, eds. Qasr Ibrim, Between Egypt and Africa: Studies in Cultural Exchange. (NINO symposium, Leiden, 11-12 December 2009). Egyptologische uitgaven, 26. Leiden; Leuven: Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten; Peeters, 2013.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Stanley M. Burstein, California State University, Los Angeles

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The Petra Papyri II

The book contains the edition of a single document, P.Petra II 17 (Inv. 10), a division of property among three brothers, with extensive introduction and commentary….The decipherment and interpretation of this remarkable document was a similarly arduous task as those of the other Petra papyri and was accomplished with the same professionalism as in the previous volumes. The scholarly world can be grateful to the editors for making this extraordinary document available for further study.

Ludwig Koenen, Jorma Kaimio, Maarit Kaimio, and Robert W. Daniel, eds. The Petra Papyri II. American Center of Oriental Research Publications, 7. Amman: American Center of Oriental Research, 2013.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Lajos Berkes, Universität Heidelberg, Zentrum für Altertumswissenschaften, Institut für Papyrologie

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Doctrine and Power: Theological Controversy and Christian Leadership in the Later Roman Empire

This is … a thoughtful and scholarly volume that has much to offer to anyone interested in either the Arian controversy itself or the wider subject of episcopal authority in late antiquity.

Carlos R. Galvão-Sobrinho. Doctrine and Power: Theological Controversy and Christian Leadership in the Later Roman Empire. Transformation of the classical heritage, 51. Berkeley; Los Angeles; London: University of California Press, 2013. 

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Richard Flower, University of Exeter

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Byzantine Gardens and Beyond

Throughout its exploration of the cultural transfer of the Byzantine garden to the West, Byzantine Gardens and Beyond takes great pains to place the gardens of Byzantium in an appropriate historical, cultural, and social context, not only making clear the debt owed to the gardens of Graeco-Roman antiquity, but also making clear the debt that is in turn owed to the gardens of Byzantium by those not only of the Mediterranean, but also the Near and Middle East, and northern Europe.

Helena Bodin and Ragnar Hedlund, eds. Byzantine Gardens and Beyond. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Studia Byzantina Upsaliensia, 13. Uppsala: Uppsala Universitet, 2013.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Jane Draycott, University of Wales Trinity Saint David

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The Fourth Crusade in the Historical Memory of the Eastern Orthodox Slavs

Dr. Rakova has produced a praiseworthy book on the attitudes of the Orthodox Slavs toward the Fourth Crusade. Setting her investigation within the broader supranational framework of Orthodox Slavdom enables her to see the larger picture both geographically and temporally and gives credence to her conclusion that the Orthodox Slavs as a cultural entity developed a mutual sense of history over the middle ages.

Snezhana Rakova. Peter Skipp, trans. The Fourth Crusade in the Historical Memory of the Eastern Orthodox Slavs. Sofia: Tendril Publishing House, 2013.

From The Medieval Review (TMR). Review by Denis Crnković, Gustavus Adolphus College

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Shenoute of Atripe and the Uses of Poverty

In this reader's view, the great strength of this work is the integration of Shenoute into the late Roman world, and scholars and students of the rural economy or poverty in the ancient world would do well to pick up this book. The wealth of information López has provided about Shenoute's place in the economy of fifth-century Panopolis is valuable in itself, but his convincing interpretation concerning the connection between Shenoute's self-presentation and his support of the poor also adds an important new angle for the interpretation of the fifth-century monastic economy.

Ariel G. López. Shenoute of Atripe and the Uses of Poverty: Rural Patronage, Religious Conflict and Monasticism in Late Antique Egypt. Transformation of the classical heritage, 50. Berkeley; Los Angeles; London: University of California Press, 2013.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Elizabeth Platte, Kalamazoo College

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Byzantines, Latins, and Turks in the Eastern Mediterranean World after 1150

And taken both independently and as a whole, the fourteen excellent chapters in this collection demonstrate both the Mediterranean character of late medieval Anatolia and its environs, and also the ways in which it was an arena for conflict and competition among external regions that might be seen as non-Mediterranean.

Jonathan Harris, Catherine Holmes, Eugenia Russell, eds. Byzantines, Latins, and Turks in the Eastern Mediterranean World after 1150. Oxford studies in Byzantium. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Brian A. Catlos, University of Colorado at Boulder

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The Hypotyposis of the Monastery of the Theotokos Evergetis, Constantinople

In this volume, then, one finds not only this finely crafted exposition, but also, with measured voice, a careful unpacking and persuasive analysis of difficult texts concerning the Evergetis.

Richard H Jordan and Rosemary Morris. The Hypotyposis of the Monastery of the Theotokos Evergetis, Constantinople (11th–12th Centuries): Introduction, Translation and Commentary. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2012.

From The Medieval Review (TMR). Review by Glenn Peers, University of Texas at Austin

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Byzantine Epirus: A Topography of Transformation

The immediate achievement of Byzantine Epirus is to situate this half-millennium of regional history within a longer, more dynamic narrative of geographic and social evolution that continues down to the present; its larger contribution may be to remind us to view the margins of political mainstreams on their own terms rather than through the lens of external control. Theoretically justified, clearly organized, and closely documented, this fresh reconsideration of a remote and beautiful mountainous land will be of lasting value.

Myrto Veikou. Byzantine Epirus: A Topography of Transformation: Settlements of the Seventh-Twelfth Centuries in Southern Epirus and Aetoloacarnania, Greece. The Medieval Mediterranean. Leiden: Brill, 2012.

From The Medieval Review (TMR). Review by Marcus Rautman, University of Missouri

 

Trade and Institutions in the Medieval Mediterranean

This is a magnificent book. Anyone wishing to make any claims regarding the relative strengths and weaknesses of Christian European and Islamic economic systems, and their long-term trajectories, will need to consider carefully Goldberg's findings.

Jessica L Goldberg. Trade and Institutions in the Medieval Mediterranean: The Geniza Merchants and their Business World. Cambridge Studies in Economic History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

From The Medieval Review (TMR). Review by Shami Ghosh, Independent Scholar

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Unrivalled Influence: Women and Empire in Byzantium

Herrin's mastery of her source materials, the breadth and variety of these materials, and the wealth of historical threads that she teases out of them make this far more than a retrospective collection of scholarly articles. This collection of articles draws together many aspects of Herrin's fertile and extensive research. It will become a valuable tool both for historians of women and for historians of the Byzantine state.

Judith Herrin. Unrivalled Influence: Women and Empire in Byzantium. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013.

From The Medieval Review (TMR). Review by Kathryn M. Ringrose, University of California, San Diego

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Re-reading Gregory of Nazianzus: Essays on History, Theology, and Culture

…[the collection] is perhaps more likely than other recent scholarship to facilitate discourse between theologians, philologists, social historians, and historians of the Church.

Christopher A. Beeley, ed. Re-reading Gregory of Nazianzus: Essays on History, Theology, and Culture. CUA studies in early Christianity. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2012.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Edward Whitehouse, Bryn Mawr College

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L’ hagiographie syriaque

The series, Études syriaques, published by the Société d'études syriaques has, in the less than ten years of its brief existence, already established itself as one of the most essential reference series in the field of Syriac studies....The present ninth volume, on Syriac hagiography, is no exception.

André Binggeli, ed. L' hagiographie syriaque. Études syriaques, 9. Paris: Geuthner, 2012. 

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Edward G. Mathews, Jr., Independent Scholar

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Le cheval dans les sociétés antiques et médiévales

...the thematic and cultural range of the contributions offers something of interest to a diverse readership beyond hippomaniacs.

Stavros Lazaris, ed. Le cheval dans les sociétés antiques et médiévales: actes des journées d'étude internationales organisées par l'UMR 7044 (Étude des Civilisations de l'Antiquité), Strasbourg, 6-7 novembre 2009. Bibliothèque de l'antiquité tardive, 22. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2012.

From Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR). Review by Philip Rance, Koç University

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THE MARY JAHARIS CENTER
for Byzantine Arts and Culture

Founded in 2010 through a generous gift from the Jaharis Family Foundation, the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture is dedicated to the promotion and advancement of knowledge about the rich heritage of Byzantine art and culture.

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