Near Eastern Studies Lecture
Early Modern European Humanism and the Syriac New Testament
The Syriac Bible (specifically the New Testament) was first printed in Europe in the Early Modern period. The protagonists were European humanists who saw in Syriac holy symbolism. Its closeness to Hebrew gave them the illusion that they can use it to convert Jews to Christianity. Its closeness to Arabic—at a time when the Ottomans are knocking on the doors of Europe—misguided them into thinking that Moslem souls can be gained through it. The talk gives the history of how Syriac reached Europe and how humanists began to study it and published numerous editions of the Bible.
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