Saturday, December 24, 2016

Butts and Gross, The History of the ‘Slave of Christ’

From Jewish Child to Christian Martyr

Edited and Translated by Aaron Michael Butts & Simcha Gross

Publication Status: Forthcoming

Series: Persian Martyr Acts in Syriac: Text and Translation 6
Publication Date: Nov 29,2016
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 269
Languages: English, Syriac
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0573-7

The History of the ‘Slave of Christ’: From Jewish Child to Christian Martyr offers the first critical editions and English translations of the two Syriac recensions of this fascinating text, which narrates the story of a young Jewish child, Asher, who after converting to Christianity and taking the name ʿAḇdā da-Mšiḥā (‘slave of Christ’) is martyred by his father Levi in a scene reminiscent of Abraham’s offering of Isaac in Genesis 22. In a detailed introduction, the authors argue that the text is a fictional story composed during the early Islamic period (ca. 650–850) probably in Shigar (modern Sinjār). Building upon methodology from the study of western Christian and Jewish texts, they further contend that the story’s author constructs an imagined Jew based on the Hebrew Bible, thereby challenging the way that previous scholars have used this text as straightforward evidence for historical interactions between Jews and Christians in Babylonia at this time. This ultimately allows the authors to reevaluate the purpose of the text and to situate it in its Late Antique Babylonian context.
Cross-file under Syriac Watch.