The workshop ‘Syriac and its Users in the Early Modern World, c.1500-c.1750’ took place at Christ Church, University of Oxford, on March 15-16 2018. The workshop brought together, for the first time, scholars from across the globe working on this neglected period of the history of the Syriac Churches. The papers touched upon many of the distinctive features of this period, including the increasingly close contacts between Syriac Christianity and Catholicism, the growth of Syriac studies in western Europe, and the renewed contacts between the Syriac churches and the St Thomas Christians of India. They addressed Syriac and its users in a multitude of contexts, including Ottoman history, global history, and Reformation history. Many papers highlighted the particular methodological challenges of working on this period, for which fewer literary and narrative sources survive than for the Middle Ages, but for which other forms of evidence, including archival material and inscriptions, are increasingly abundant. Discussion was lively throughout the workshop and the participants agreed that further events on early modern Syriac could and should be organised. It is hoped that a publication of select proceedings from the conference will ensue. The organiser, Lucy Parker, would like to thank all the participants for their contributions to making the workshop so successful.
The speakers were: Colin Clarke (Toronto), Theodor Dunkelgrün (Cambridge), Erica Hunter (SOAS), Ephrem Ishac (Salzburg/Bologna), George Kiraz (IAS Princeton/Beth Mardutho), András Mércz (Avicenna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies, Hungary), Sergey Minov (Oxford), Heleen Murre-van den Berg (Radboud University), Radu Mustaţă (CEU, Budapest), Lucy Parker (Oxford), Hidemi Takahashi (Tokyo), David Taylor (Oxford) and Joanna Weinberg (Oxford). Philip Forness (Frankfurt) was unable to participate because of illness but his paper was read out. Lucy Parker delivered the opening remarks and John-Paul Ghobrial (Oxford) the closing remarks.
Other attendees and participants included: Philip Booth (Oxford), Sebastian Brock (Oxford), Richard Calis (Princeton), Chip Coakley (Cambridge), Bodgan Draghici (Oxford), Teresa Fitzherbert (Oxford), Tobias Graf (Oxford), Edmund Herzig (Oxford), Jijimon Joseph (Oxford), Luca Koronli (Cambridge), Feras Krimsti (Oxford), Alexandra MacFarlane (Oxford), Aslı Niyazioğlu (Oxford), Salam Rassi (HMML/Oxford), Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina (Oxford), Seth Stadel (Oxford), and Cecilia Tarruell (Oxford).
The workshop received funding from both the Stories of Survival project and the University of Oxford John Fell Fund.