Monk and Mason on the Tigris Frontier: The Early History of Tur `Abdin
Tur cAdin is a plateau skirted by the Upper Tigris in south-eastern Turkey. Syrian Orthodox Christians of Aramaic tongue still worship in its Late Antique churches. Monks converted the region and the most powerful monastery, founded in the fourth century, is still flourishing today. This book grew out of an attempt to document more fully the early history of this abbey. It aims to rediscover the practical and symbolic function of the monuments of Tur cAdin and place them in their original social context. A recurring theme is the relationship between village and monastery and, within each, between community and individual. The final chapters also contribute to our understanding of the Syrian Orthodox community under the Abbasid caliphate. A 500-page microfiche supplement contains the first editions of the Qartmin Trilogy, a monastic text to which the book refers, constantly, and the Book of Life, a unique quasi-epigraphical document of a Christian village and its will to surive.
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