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Khidr and the Politics of Translation in Mosul: Mar Behnam, St George and Khidr Ilyas

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on a Syrian Orthodox monastery dedicated to Mar Behnam near the town of Qaraqoche east of the ancient city of Nimrud and 35 km south of Mosul. It presents a formal overview of the site, dating, and style of the buildings in the monastery. The chapter discusses the relationship between changes in the Syrian Orthodox church and the production of hagiographical material on Mar Behnam. It reviews Khidr Ilyas' functions and meanings in reinforcing the local sanctity of sites during periods of dramatic changes in population and political control. Most observers from recent centuries have understood Khidr as little more than a Muslim variant of St George or the prophet Elijah. Far from an arrested state of transfer, Khidr's presence provided and continued to allow local sacred places a lasting significance to a variety of audiences.

Keywords: Elijah; hagiographical material; Khidr Ilyas; Mar Behnam; Mosul; St George; Syrian Orthodox church

10.1163/9789004280229_022
/content/books/b9789004280229s022
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