Gateway to the Syriac Saints: A Database Project

Jeanne-Nicole Mellon Saint-Laurent

Abstract


This article describes The Gateway to the Syriac Saints, a database project developed by the Syriac Reference Portal (www.syriaca.org)It is a research tool for the study of Syriac saints and hagiographic texts. The Gateway to the Syriac Saints is a two-volume database: 1) Qadishe and 2) Bibliotheca Hagiographica Syriaca Electronica (BHSE).   

Hagiography, the lives of the saints, is a multiform genre.  It contains elements of myth, history, biblical exegesis, romance, and theology.  The production of saints’ lives blossomed in late antiquity alongside the growth of the cult of the saints.  Scholars have attended to hagiographic traditions in Greek and Latin, but many scholars have yet to discover the richness of Syriac hagiographic literature: the stories, homilies, and hymns on the saints that Christians of the Middle East told and preserved.  It is our hope that our database will give scholars and students increased access to these traditions to generate new scholarship. 

The first volume, Qadishe or “saints” in Syriac, is a digital catalogue of saints or holy persons venerated in the Syriac tradition.  Some saints are native to the Syriac-speaking milieu, whereas others come from other linguistic or cultural traditions.  Through the translation of their hagiographies and the diffusion of saints’ cults in the late antique world, saints were adopted, “imported,” and appropriated into Syriac religious memory. 

The second volume, the BHSE, focuses on Syriac hagiographic texts.  The BHSE contains the titles of over 1000 Syriac stories, hymns, and homilies on saints.  It also includes authors’ or hagiographers’ names, the first and last lines of the texts (in Syriac, English, and French), bibliographic information, and the names of the manuscripts containing these hagiographic works.  We have also listed modern and ancient translations of these works. 

All of the data in the Gateway to the Syriac Saints has been encoded in TEI, and it is fully searchable, linkable, and open.  


Keywords


Syriac; hagiography; late antiquity; saints; manuscripts; digital humanities; theology; religious studies; history

Full Text:

PDF

References


Primary Sources

Amar, Joseph, ed. and trans, 2011. The Syriac Vita Tradition of Ephrem the Syrian. CSCO 629–30. Louvain: Peeters.

Assemani, Stephen. E., ed., 1748. Acta sanctorum martyrum orientalium et occidentalium. Vol. I-II. Rome: J. Collini.

Athanasius, Saint. The Life of Antony.

The Life of Antony and the letter to Marcellinus, 1980. Robert Gregg, trans. New York: Paulist Press.

La vie primitive de S. Antoine conservée en Syriaque, 1980. René Draguet, ed. and trans. CSCO 417-418/Scr. Syr. 183-184. Louvain: Secrétariat du CorpusSCO.

Bedjan, P., ed., 1890–97. Acta martyrum et sanctorum [AMS]. 7 vols. Paris and Leipzig: Harrassowitz. Reprint, 1968. Hildesheim: G. Olms. Reprint, 2009. With new introduction by C. Detienne. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press.

Brock, Sebastian P., trans., 2009. History of the Holy Mar Maʿin, with a guide to the Persian Martyr Acts. Persian Martyr Acts in Syriac: Text and Translation. Edited by A. Becker. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press.

Brock, Sebastian, trans., 2015. The Martyrs of Mount Ber‘ain. Introduction by Paul Dilley. Persian Martyr Acts in Syriac: Text and Translation 4. Edited by Adam Becker. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press.

Brock, Sebastian, ed. and trans, 2008a. “St Marina and Satan: a Syriac Dialogue Poem.” Collectanea Christianana Orientalia 5, pp. 35-57.

Brock, Sebastian P. and Susan Ashbrook Harvey, trans., updated edn., 1998. Holy Women of the Syrian Orient. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Burkitt, Francis C., 1913. Euphemia and the Goth with the Acts of Martyrdom of the Confessors of Edessa, Shmona, Guria, and Habib. London and Oxford: Williams and Norgate. Reprinted, 2007. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press.

Drijvers, H. J. W, trans, 1963. Acts of Thomas. In New Testament Apocrypha. Edited by W. Schneemelcher, 2: 322-411. Philadelphia: Westminster Press.

Harrak, Amir, trans., 2005. The Acts of Mār Māri. Writings from the Greco-Roman World 11. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature.

Jacob of Sarug, 1995. A Metrical Homily on holy Mar Ephrem. Edited and translated by Joseph P. Amar. PO 47. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols.

John of Ephesus, 1923-25. The Lives of the Eastern Saints. Edited and translated by E. W. Brooks. PO 17, pp. 1–304; PO 18, pp. 513–698; PO 19, pp. 153–282. Paris: Firmin-Didot.

Klijn, A. F. J., trans., 1962, ed. rev. 2003. Acts of Thomas. Supplement 5 to Novum Testamentum. Leiden: Brill.

Nau, François, ed. and trans., 1913-14, 1917. “Résumé de monographies syriaques.” Revue de l’Orient chrétien 1, pp. 270-276, 379-389; 19, pp. 113-134, 278-289, 414-440; 20, pp. 3-32.

Smith, Kyle, trans., 2014. Martyrdom and History of Blessed Simeon Bar Sabbaʿe. Persian Martyr Acts in Syriac: Text and Translation 3. Edited by

Adam Becker. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press.

Teaching of Addai, 1876. Edited by George Phillips. The Doctrine of Addai, the Apostle, Now First Edited in a Complete Form in the Original Syriac. London: Trübner and Co.

____. Syriac text and translation by George Howard, 1981. The Teaching of Addai. SBL Texts and Translations 16, Early Christian Literature Series. Scholars Press: Chico, CA.

Secondary Sources

Bingelli, André, 2012a. “Introduction.” In L’hagiographie syriaque, edited by André Bingelli. Études Syriaques 9. Paris: Geuthner. pp. 3-8.

Bingelli, André, 2012b. “Les Collections de Vies de Saints dans les Manuscrits Syriaques.” In L’hagiographie syriaque, edited by André Bingelli. Études Syriaques 9. Paris: Geuthner. pp. 49-75.

Brakke, David, 1994. “The Greek and Syriac Versions of the Life of Antony.” Le Muséon 107, 1-2: pp. 29–53.

Bremmer, Jan, 2001. Apocryphal Acts of Thomas. Louvain: Peeters.

Brock, Sebastian P., 2012. “L’hagiographie Versifiée.” In L’hagiographie syriaque, edited by André Bingelli. Études Syriaques 9. Paris: Geuthner. pp. 113-126.

Brock, Sebastian P., 2008b. “Saints in Syriac: A Little Tapped Resource.” JECS 16, no. 8, pp. 181–96.

Brown, Peter, 1971. “The Rise and Function of the Holy Man in Late Antiquity.” JRS 61, pp. 80–101.

A. M. Butts, 2011. “Syriac Language,” in Gorgias Encyclopedia of the Syriac Heritage. Gorgias Press: Piscataway, NJ. pp. 390-391.

Debié, Muriel, 2012. “ «Marcher dans leurs Traces » : Les Discours de L’Hagiographie et de L’Histoire. ” In L’hagiographie syriaque, edited by André Bingelli. Études Syriaques 9. Paris: Geuthner. pp. 9-48.

Efthymiadis, Stephanos, ed. 2011, 2014. The Ashgate Research Companion to Byzantine Hagiography, 2 vols. Farnham, UK, and Burlington, VT: Ashgate.

Fiey, J-.M, 2004. Saints syriaques. Edited by L. Conrad. Saints syriaques. Studies in Late Antiquity and Early Islam 6. Princeton, NJ : Darwin Press.

Gardner, Iain, Paul Dilley, and Jason BeDuhn 2014. Mani’s Wisdom at the Court of the Persian Kings: Studies on the Chester Beatty Kephalaia Codex. Leiden: Brill.

Harvey, Susan Ashbrook, 1990. Asceticism and Society in Crisis: John of Ephesus and the Lives of the Eastern Saints. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Harvey, Susan A., 2008. “Martyr Passions and Hagiography.” In The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies, edited by Susan A. Harvey and David G. Hunter. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 603-627.

Healey, J. F., 2005. Leshono Suryoyo: First Studies in Syriac. Piscataway: Gorgias Press.

Insley, Sarah and Jeanne-Nicole Mellon Saint-Laurent, forthcoming in 2017. “Biography, Autobiography, and Hagiography.” A Companion to Late Antique Literature, Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World. Edited by Edward Watts and Scott McGill. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Palmer, A., 1990. Monk and Mason on the Tigris Frontier: The Early History of Tur Abdin. Cambridge : University of Cambridge Press.

Payne, Richard, 2009. “Christianity and Iranian Society in Late Antiquity, ca. 500–700 C.E.” PhD diss., Princeton University.

Peeters, Paul, 1910. Bibliotheca hagiographica orientalis. Subsidia Hagiographica 10. Brussels: Société des Bollandistes.

Saint-Laurent, Jeanne-Nicole, 2012. “Images de Femmes dans L’Hagiographie Syriaque.” In L’hagiographie syriaque. In L’hagiographie syriaque, edited by André Bingelli. Études Syriaques 9. Paris: Geuthner. pp. 201-224.

Saint-Laurent, Jeanne-Nicole Mellon, 2015. Missionary Stories and the Formation of the Syriac Churches. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Saint-Laurent, Jeanne-Nicole Mellon, Forthcoming in 2016. “Syriac.” In Routledge Encyclopedia of Ancient Mediterranean Religions. Edited by Eric Orlin. London: Routledge.

Schilling, Alexander M., 2008. Die Anbetung der Magier und die Taufe der Sāsāaniden: Zur Geistesgeschichte des iranischen Christentums in der Spätantike. CSCO 621. Louvain: Peeters.

Smith, Kyle, 2012. “Constantine and Judah the Maccabee: History and Memory in the Acts of the Persian Martyrs.” Journal of the Canadian Society for Syriac Studies 12. pp. 16-33.

Tannous, Jack, 2012. “L’hagiographie Syro-Occidentale à la Période Islamique.” In L’hagiographie syriaque, edited by André Bingelli. Études Syriaques 9. Paris: Geuthner, pp. 225-245.

Taylor, David G. K., 2012. “Hagiographie et Liturgie Syriaque.” In L’hagiographie syriaque, edited by André Bingelli. Études Syriaques 9. Paris: Geuthner. pp. 77-112.

Walker, Joel, 2006. Legend of Mar Qardagh: Narrative and Christian Heroism in Late Ancient Iraq. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Wright, William, 1870-1872. A Catalogue of the Syriac Manuscripts in the British Museum acquired since the year 1838, I-III. London: British Museum, Department of Oriental Printed Books and Manuscripts.

Zanetti, Ugo., 1993. “Projet d’une Bibliotheca Hagiographica Syriaca.” In A Festschrift for Dr. Sebastian Brock, 1995. Aram 5, pp. 657-670.

Digital Resources:

André Bingelli, et al., eds. 2015. E-ktobe [database on Syriac manuscripts]. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 May 2015]

Carlson, Thomas A. and David A. Michelson, eds., 2014. The Syriac Gazetteer. In Syriaca.org: The Syriac Reference Portal, edited by David A. Michelson. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 May 2015]

Johnson, Scott. F and Jack Tannous, 2015. Syri.ac: an annotated bibliography of Syriac resources online.[online] Available at [Accessed 9 August 2015]

Minov, Sergey, 2015. A Comprehensive Bibliography on Syriac Christianity. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 May 2015]

Saint-Laurent, Jeanne-Nicole Mellon and David A. Michelson, eds. forthcoming in 2015. Qadishe: A Guide to the Syriac Saints. In Syriaca.org: The Syriac Reference Portal, edited by David A. Michelson.

Saint-Laurent, Jeanne-Nicole Mellon and David A. Michelson, eds. forthcoming in 2015. Bibliotheca Hagiographic Syriaca Electronia: A Guide to the Syriac Saints. In Syriaca.org: The Syriac Reference Portal, edited by David A. Michelson.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.