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Syriac Historiography And Identity Formation

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, historiographical texts are read as literary compositions of their time, providing the reader with various elements of the process of identity construction or reconstruction. An important part of the Leiden research project under discussion in this book is devoted to historical writing. According to the Doctrina Addai, the conversion of the city of Edessa occurred under Abgar Ukkama , though even the alleged conversion of King Abgar VIII is a myth and Christianity in fact took hold only in the fourth century. The notion of Mesopotamian origins is closely related to a supposed homeland, that of Aram. Control over the writing of the past was placed in the hands of senior members of the Church, such as John of Ephesus (Bishop, representative of the Syrian Orthodox in Constantinople), Dionysius of Tel Mahre , Michael the Great , and Barhebraeus .

Keywords: Abgar Ukkama; Dionysius of Tel Mahre; Edessa; Greek Christianity; John of Ephesus; Michael the Great; sons of Aram; Syriac historiography; Syro-Mesopotamian origin



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