10. Public and Private Religious Practices Amongst the Christian Communities of 7th Century Mesopotamia

The Use and Dissemination of Religious Knowledge in Antiquity - Diana V. Edelman

Erica C.D. Hunter [+-]
SOAS, University of London
Dr. Erica C.D. Hunter is Senior Lecturer in Eastern Christianity and co-Chair, Centre of World Christianity, Dept. of History, Religions and Philosophies, SOAS. She held an AHRC Large Grant (2008-2011) for her project, “The Christian Library from Turfan”, and a second AHRC Large Grant (2012-2015) for her project, The transmission of texts at Turfan”. She has a particular interest in the ethno-religious communities of Mesopotamia during the Late Antique-Islamic eras. As the Gertrude Bell Fellow of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq (1989-1990) she researched the Aramaic, Syriac and Mandaic incantation bowls in the Iraq Museum. She has written many articles on incantation bowls and assisted Prof. J.B. Segal FBA in the publication, A Catalogue of Aramaic and Mandaic Incantation Bowls in the British Museum (London: British Museum Press, 2000).

Description

This paper considers the dynamics of the transmission of religious knowledge in both the public and private arenas amongst the Christian communities in Mesopotamia during the Late Sassanid-Early Islamic period. Formal transmission of knowledge, via the schools, the most notable being the School of Nisibis, saw its realisation in the mid-7th century compilation of the Hudra, the annual ecclesiastical cycle of services in the Church of the East. In stark contrast, the interpolation of Christian formulae into a small number of Syriac incantation bowls affords unique insight into the changing religious landscape of southern Mesopotamia. Written for both men and women, the texts show the adaptation of traditional incantation formulae to assimilate Christian elements and are indicative of vernacular religious beliefs.

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Citation

Hunter, Erica. 10. Public and Private Religious Practices Amongst the Christian Communities of 7th Century Mesopotamia. The Use and Dissemination of Religious Knowledge in Antiquity. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Nov 2020. ISBN 9781781798768. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=37999. Date accessed: 17 Jun 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.37999. Nov 2020

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