NEW BOOK: The Hidden Pearl (The Aramaic Heritage)
- The following book and video set is available from Gorgias Press.
Brock, Sebastian (et. al). The Hidden Pearl: The Aramaic Heritage
Format: Hardcover, with case
Size (in): 9.5 x 12.5
Volumes: 3 (plus three 1-hour video tapes)
Pages: vol. 1: 201; vol. 2: 265; vol. 3: 262
Photos/Illustrations: 100s of colored and black and white photos, dozens of maps and tables
Film Produces: Trans World Film, Italy
Publication Year: 2001
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Vol. 1. The Ancient Aramaic Heritage (By S. P. Brock and David Taylor)
- Aramaic among the languages of the Middle East
- The Aramaean Kingdoms
- Religion and Culutre
- Aramaic as the Official Language of the Achaemenid Empire
- The Aftermath of Alexander's Conquests: Aramaic in the Hellenistic Period
- Relics of Aramaic Literature From the First Millenium BC
The Assyrian and Babylonian civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia and the Arabic world of the modern Middle East are widely familiar, but between the two there is a period of over a thousand years when Aramaic was the main cultural language of this area - and Aramaic was, of course, the language of Jesus of Nazareth. The earliest inscriptions in Aramaic belong to the time of the Aramaen city states of Syria in the early first millennium BC. Although these city states eventually became swallowed up by the Assyrian Empire, the use of their language, Aramaic, gradually spread all over the Middle East, and during the time of the Achaemenid Persian Empire it had become the official language of the state, and was in use from western Iran to the Mediterranean, and down to the south of Egypt, where it was also used by a local Jewish community with their own temple. In the Hellenistic period (3rd - 1st cent. BC), after the conquests of Alexander the Great, Aramaic continued in use, now alongside Greek. It flourished especially in the east, and was used by the Indian king Asoka in a series of religious inscriptions found in the twentieth century in Afghanistan. In the early period of Roman domination in the Middle East, a number of small desert kingdoms came into being (1st century BC to the 3rd century AD), all of which use Aramaic (in different scripts) as their written language; these were based on Palmyra (with its famous queen, Zenobia), Petra and Hatra.
Vol. 2. The Heirs of the Ancient Aramaic Heritage (By S.P. Brock and David Taylor)
- Aramaic in Palestine at the Time of Jesus and in the Early Centuries of Christianity
- The Evidence of Jewish Aramaic and Christian Aramaic, 4th to 7th century
- The Flowering of the Aramaic Literature
- The Syriac Christian Tradition
- The Spread of Syriac Christianity
- The Arts: Architecture, Wall Painting and Manuscript Illustration
- The Art of the Scribe
Although Hebrew had been the language of the ancient Israelite kingdom, after their return from Exile the Jews turned more and more to Aramaic, using it for parts of the books of Ezra and Daniel in the Bible. By the time of Jesus, Aramaic was the main language of Palestine, and quite a number of texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls are also written in Aramaic. Aramaic continued to be an important language for Jews, alongside Hebrew, and parts of the Talmud are written in it. After the Arab conquests of the seventh century, Arabic quickly replaced Aramaic as the main language of those who converted to Islam, although in out of the way places, Aramaic continued as a vernacular language of Muslims. Aramaic, however, enjoyed its greatest success in Christianity. Although the New Testament wins written in Greek, Christianity had come into existence in an Aramaic-speaking milieu, and it was the Aramaic dialect of Edessa, now known as Syriac, that became the literary language of a large number of Christians living in the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire and in the Persian Empire, further east. Over the course of the centuries the influence of the Syriac Churches spread eastwards to China (in Xian, in western China, a Chinese-Syriac inscription dated 781 is still to be seen), to southern India where the state of Kerala can boast more Christians of Syriac liturgical tradition than anywhere else in the world.
Vol. 3. At the Turn of the Third Millennium; The Syrian Orthodox Witness (By S. P. Brock and Witold Witakowski)
- The Churches of the Syriac Tradition
- The Syrian Orthodox People in the 20th Century
- A.D. 2000: The Syrian Orthodox Presence Worldwide
- The People and Their Language: Cultivating Syriac
- Twentieth Century Writing in Syriac
- The Wider Significance of the Syriac Tradtion
- In Retrospect: A Glance Back to the Past
- The Bible in Syriac
Testimony to the artistic creativity of the Syriac Churches in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages is provided above all by the survival of numerous churches and monasteries, as well as by frescoes and manuscripts, many of which are works of art, either for their calligraphy or for their illustrations. Until the present century Syriac Christianity was almost entirely confined to the Middle East and southwestern India. The late nineteenth and early twentieth century were traumatic times for almost all the Middle Eastern Christian communities, with large-scale massacres and forced migration. In recent decades too, emigration to the West has been increasing, with the result that there are now large diaspora communities from the Syriac Churches in various European countries (Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden in particular), the Americas and Australia. In many of these a keen awareness of their Syriac and Aramaic heritage is maintained in various ways.
Videos 1-3: Each corresponding to a volume
This fascinating and challenging programme will oblige us to trace the historical routes of the Aramaic-speaking peoples and to investigate, by means of ancient inscriptions, the most distant origins of their language. We will also revisit their first settlements, which at various times in history linked the common Aramaic Heritage. This historical "excursion" will take us first to the heart of the Middle East (Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Israel), then further afield to the regions of Kerala in Southern India, to Asia, Europe (Switzerland, Holland, Great Britain, Germany, Sweden) and finally to various parts of the United States.
Countries involved 14 Museums involved 34 Historical findings filmed 160 Universities involved 11
Sebastian P. Brock. Before joining the University of Oxford in 1974 Professor Brock taught at the University of Birmingham (1964 - 1967) and at the University of Cambridge (1967-1974). He is a fellow of the British Academy and a Corresponding Member of the Syriac Section of the Iraqi Academy. He has an Honorary Doctorate from the Pontificio Istituto Orientate (1992), and was nominated to the Order of St. Silvester by the Maronite Diocese of St. Maron, USA (1989). He has published many works in his field.
The Producer. Perhaps never before, as in this case, has a production enterprise centred around a producer, in the physical form of a cinema entrepreneur, rather than a television network and/or a film company. The producer: an Italian, Giacomo Pezzali. The well known producer has thirty years of unique experience behind him, which have led him to venture - with success - into other extremely challenging multimedia projects. The multimedia Encyclopaedia "ROMA IMA GOURBIS" known throughout the world, is destined to remain in the annals of culture and cinema. The Italian producer worked on this project, which brought him to sixteen countries on three continents, during the course of the last ten years. Giacomo Pezzali is therefore in a position to develop the fascinating project on the Aramaic Heritage as an ethnographic film, thereby bringing the language and the face of the descendants of the ancient Aramaic peoples to the limelight, through thousands of historical roads and crossroads; civilisations, cultures, traditions and diverse peoples. These heirs are alive, active and vital with all the wealth of their history, their traditions and their customs in the context of contemporary society.