Sunday, January 31, 2016

Gorgias Press

SYRIAC WATCH: Why Gorgias Matters (Philip Jenkins, The Anxious Bench).
Writings from the eastern churches, above all in Syriac, survive in large quantities, although they are not easily accessible to most Western scholars. Hence the enormous significance of the Gorgias Press, based in Piscataway, NJ, which tries to make these materials readily available. Gorgias was founded in 2001, by George Kiraz. The Press “is an independent academic publisher of books and journals covering several areas related to religious studies, the world of ancient western Asia, classics, and Middle Eastern studies. Specific areas of our current specializations are studies in Ancient Near East, Arabic and Islam, Archaeology, Bible, Classics, Early Christianity, Judaism, Linguistics, Syriac, and Ugaritic.”


To give some idea of what I am talking about, just imagine an alternate world where Christianity had boomed in Asia but not in Western Europe, and where Latin writings were largely lost to scholarship. Then imagine the experience of a historian suddenly discovering the forgotten texts of these obscure characters called Augustine, Gregory the Great, Benedict, Thomas Aquinas …. Then felt I like some watcher of the skies when a new planet swims into his ken.
Some ancient Jewish writings whose originals are now lost still survive in Syriac, notably 4 Ezra (also in Latin) and 2 Baruch.