Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Available to Download: Sidney Griffith's Arabic Christianity in the Monasteries of Ninth Century Palestine

Find it on Archive.org here.

The history of Christian literature took a new turn in the 8th century when monks in the monasteries of Palestine began to write theology and saints' lives in Arabic, and they instituted a veritable programme for translating the Bible and other Christian texts from Greek (and Syriac) into the language of the Qur'an, the "lingua franca" of the Islamic caliphate. This is the subject of the present volume. Two key factors leading to this change where that the confrontation with the developing theology of Islam created a direct need for apologetics to face this new religious challenge in its own language; and that as the memory of Byzantine power waned, so too did the knowledge of Greek. Issues of particular interest in this apologetic literature are those of the freedom of the will, a key topic in the controversies between the Melkites and the Muslims, and of the legitimacy of icon veneration, a subject of great contemporary concern at the time of Iconoclasm in the Byzantine Empire.

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