The chronicle of Zuqnin is a universal history, the first of its kind in the Near East, written by a monk living in the monastery of Zuqnin near Amid (modern Diar-Bakr) in 775. Parts III and IV (488-775 CE) were previously published (at PIMS) by Prof. Harrak in translation only, but Parts I and II are published in edition and translation. In these two parts, the chronicler compiled a variety of sources some of which survived only in his work. He began with the biblical account of the creation, and then proceeded to includes, among many other sources, the genealogy of Adam, of Jewish origin, the story of the Magi, of Persian background, the story of Alexander the Great and the Sleepers of Ephesus, which both found their ways in some details in the Qur’an (surah al-Kahf), accounts from three ecclesiastical histories and chronicles written in Greek, and finally a short chronicle that details a bloody war between the Sassanians and the Byzantines between 495 and 506 CE. This part of the chronicle ends with a positive note, a treaty of peace signed by these two archenemies!
The manuscript is palimpsest; which means it is made of reused parchments, but the under text (folios from an ancient Greek Bible) reappeared; confusing the Syriac.
The edition of the Syriac text was arduous, time consuming, and at times very frustrating, although a late digital version of the chronicles greatly helped. Prof. Harrak hopes that the Syriac text will be used by students, scholars, and the interested public for centuries to come!
At the beginning of the sixteenth century Sultan Selim I invaded Syria and Lebanon, and the area would remain nominally under Ottoman rule until the end of World War I. Whether defined as essentially ‘Turkish’, and therefore alien to the Lebanese experience, or remembered in its final years as a tyrannical and brutal dictatorship, the period has not been thought of fondly in most Lebanese historiography.
In a far-reaching and much-needed analysis of this complex legacy, James A. Reilly looks at Arabic-language history writing emanating from Lebanon in the post-1975 period, focusing on the three main Ottoman administrative centres of Saida, Beirut and Tripoli. This examination highlights key aspects of Lebanon’s current political and cultural climate, and emphasises important points of agreement and conflict in contemporary historical discourse.
The 1989 Ta’if Accords, for example, which ended the Lebanese Civil War, were accompanied by calls for reinterpretation of how the country’s history could assist in creating a sense of national cohesion. The Ottoman Cities of Lebanon is invaluable to all historians and researchers working on Lebanese history and politics, and wider issues of identity, postimperialist discourse and nationhood in the Middle
JCSSS is a refereed journal published under the direction of its General Editor, Prof. Amir Harrak.
JCSSS 16 (2016) includes the following articles:
Sidney H. Griffith, Catholic University of America
“Syriac into Arabic: A New Chapter in the History of Syriac Christianity”
Alexander Treiger, Dalhousie university
“The Earliest Dated Christian Arabic Translation (772 AD): “Ammonius’ Report on the Martyrdom of the Monks of Sinai and Raithu”
Aaron Butts, Catholic University of America
“The Christian Arabic Transmission of Jacob of Serugh (d. 521): The Sammlungen”