Sebastian P. Brock


Retired Reader, Syriac Studies 

Faculty / College Address:

Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies / Wolfson College


Research Interests:

Having started out with a primary research interest in the textual history of the Septuagint, the encounter with important unpublished texts in Syriac led me to turn for the most part to various areas of Syriac literature, in particular, translations from Greek and the history of translation technique, dialogue and narrative poems, hagiography, certain liturgical texts, and monastic literature.

Current Projects:

  • Editing various unpublished Syriac texts
  • Greek words in Syriac
  • Diachronic aspects of Syriac word formation
  • Syriac dialogue poems

Recent Publications:

  • From Ephrem to Romanos: Interactions between Syriac and Greek in Late Antiquity(Aldershot: Variorum CSS 664, 1999).
  • (with D.G.K.Taylor, E.Balicka-Witakowski, W.Witakowski), The Hidden Pearl. The Syrian Orthodox Church and its Ancient Aramaic Heritage. I, (with DGKT) The Ancient Aramaic Heritage; II, (with DGKT, EB-W, WW), The Heirs of the Ancient Aramaic Heritage; III (with WW), At the Turn of the Third Millennium: the Syrian Orthodox Witness (Rome: Trans World Film Italia, 2001).
  • Fire from Heaven: Studies in Syriac Theology and Liturgy (Aldershot: Variorum SCSS 863, 2006).
  • The Wisdom of Isaac of Nineveh [Syriac-English] (Piscataway NJ, 2006).
  • (with G. Kiraz), Ephrem the Syrian. Select Poems [Syriac-English] (Eastern Christian Texts 2; Provo, 2006).
  • (ed), reprint (with new vol. 6) of P. Bedjan, Homilies of Mar Jacob of Sarug, I-VI (Piscataway NJ, 2006).
  • An Introduction to Syriac Studies (Piscataway NJ, 2006).
  • The Bible in the Syriac Tradition (2nd, revised edition; Piscataway NJ, 2006).


  • Gabriel of Qatar's Commentary on the Liturgy, Hugoye 6:2 (2003).
  • Syriac on Sinai: the main connections, in V. Ruggieri and L. Pieralli (eds), Eukosmia: Studi miscellanei per il 75o di Vincenzo Poggi S.J. (Soveria Mannelli, 2003), 103-17.
  • Syriac lexicography: reflections on resources and sources, Aramaic Studies 1:2 (2003), 165-78; also in A.D. Forbes and D.G.K. Taylor (eds), Foundations for Syriac Lexicography I (perspectives on Syriac Linguistics 1; Piscataway NJ, 2005), 195-208..
  • The earliest Syriac literature; Ephrem and the Syriac Tradition, in F. Young, L. Ayres, A.Louth (eds), The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature (Cambridge, 2004), 161-72, 362-72, 513-15.
  • A neglected revision of the Peshitta Psalter [by Mar Clemens Joseph David, 1877], in C.McCarthy and J.F. Healey (eds), Biblical and Near Eastern Essays. Studies in Honour of Kevin J. Cathcart (JSOT Suppl. 375; London, 2004), 131-42.
  • The Syriac Churches in ecumenical dialogue on christology, in A. O'Mahony (ed.), Eastern Christianity. Studies in Modern History, Religion and Politics (London, 2004), 44-65.
  • Secondary formations from Greek loanwords in Syriac, in H. Juusola, J. Laulainen and H. Palva (eds), Verbum et Calamus. Semitic and Related Studies in Honour of Professor T. Harviainen (Studia Orientalia 99; 2004), 31-9.
  • Changing fashions in Syriac translation technique: the background to Syriac translations under the Abbasids, JCSSS 4 (2004), 3-14.
  • Some early witnesses to the East Syriac liturgical tradition, JAAS 18:1 (2004), 9-45.
  • Transformations of the Edessa portrait of Christ, JAAS 18:1 (2004), 46-56.
  • Syriac Dialogue: an example from the past, JAAS 18:1 (2004), 57-70. [= Mar Aprem Fs, reprinted with small alteration].
  • Syriac Studies: a Classified Bibliography 1996-2000, Parole de l‘Orient 29 (2004), 263-410.
  • Crossing the boundaries: an ecumenical role played by Syriac monastic literature, in M. Bielawski and D. Hombergen (eds), Il monachesimo tra ereditá e aperture (Studia Anselmiana 140; 2004), 221-38.
  • A neglected witness to the East Syriac New Testament Commentary tradition, Sinai Arabic ms 151, in R. Ebied and H. Teule (eds), Studies on the Christian Arabic Heritage[Festschrift Samir Khalil] (Eastern Christian Studies 5; Leuven 2004), 205-215.
  • The earliest Syriac manuscript of the Martyrdom of Philemon and companions, in U. Zanetti and E.Lucchesi (eds), Aegyptus Christiana. Mèlanges d'hagiographie ègyptienne dèdiès á la mèmoire du P.Paul Devos Bollandiste (Cahiers d'Orientalisme 25; Geneva, 2004), 29-42.
  • Without Mushe of Nisibis where would we be? Some reflections on the transmission of Syriac literature, in R. Ebied and H. Teule (eds), VIIIth Symposium Syriacum = Journal of Eastern Christian Studies 56 (2004), 15-24.
  • Du grec en syriaque: l'art de la traduction chez les syriaques, in Les Syriaques transmetteurs de civilisations. l'expèrience du Bilad el-Sham á l'époque omeyyade(Patrimoine Syriaque: Actes du Colloque IX; Antelias/Paris, 2005), 11-34.
  • Introduction, Liturgical Texts, Poetry, Secular Literature, Appendix 1-2, in Nos Sources: Art et Littèrature Syriaques (Sources Syriaques 1; Antelias, 2005), 9-20, 291-313, 315-338, 451-474, 581-592.
  • The Syriac Anaphora of the Twelve Apostles: an English translation, in J. Getcha and A. Lossky (eds),.Thysia aineseos: Mèlanges liturgiques offerts á la mèmoire de Georges Wagner (1930-1993), (Analecta Sergiana 2; Paris, 2005), 65-75.
  • Greek and Latin words in Palmyrene inscriptions: a comparison with Syriac, in E. Cussini (ed.), A Journey to Palmyra. Collected Essays to Remember Delbert R. Hillers (Leiden, 1905), 11-25.
  • Il dibattito cristologico del V e VI secolo nel contesto del dialogo teologico moderno, in E. Vergani and S. Chialá (eds), Le Chiese sire tra IV e VI secolo: dibattito dottrinale e ricerca spirituale (Milano, 2005), 73-92.
  • Sobria ebrietas according to some Syriac texts, Aram 17 (2005), 185-91.
  • The Syriac Orient: a third 'lung' for the Church?, Orientalia Christiana Periodica 71 (2005), 5-20. [Russian tr. in Stranitsi 10:4 (2005), 520-535].
  • Dinah in a Syriac poem on Joseph, in G. Khan (ed.), Semitic Studies in Honour of Edward Ullendorff (Leiden, 1905), 222-235.
  • The Syriac inscription of Androna/al-Andarin, in A. Schmidt and S. Westphalen (eds), Christliche Wandmalereien in Syrien. Qara und das Kloster Mar Yakub (SKCO 14; Wiesbaden, 2005), 199-202.
  • The Bridal Chamber of Light: a distinctive feature of the Syriac liturgical tradition, The Harp 18 (2005), 179-191.
  • Judah Benzion Segal, Proceedings of the British Academy 130, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, IV (2005), 210-12.
  • The Instructions of Anton, Plato's Physician, in Studia Semitica (Journal of Semitic Studies Supplement 16; 2005), 129-38.
  • The imagery of the spiritual mirror in Syriac literature, JCSSS 5 (2005), 3-17.
  • The use of Hijra dating in Syriac manuscripts: a preliminary investigation, in J.J. van Ginkel, H.L. Murre-van den Berg, and T.M. van Lint (eds), Redefining Christian Identity. Cultural Interaction in the Middle East since the Rise of Islam (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 134; Leuven, 2005), 275-290.
  • An unknown Syriac version of Isaiah 1:1-2:21, in W.Th. van Peursen and R.B. Ter Haar Romeny (eds), Text, Translation, and Tradition. Studies on the Peshitta and its Use in the Syriac Tradition Presented to Konrad D. Jenner on the Occasion of his Sixty-Fifth Birthday (MPIL 14, 2006), 11-23.
  • A fragment of the Harklean version of St Matthew's Gospel in the Monastery of Mar Musa, Collectanea Christiana Orientalia 3 (2006), 337-342.
  • St Aninas/Mar Hanina and his monastery, Analecta Bollandiana 124 (2006), 5-10.
  • A concordance to Bedjan's Breviarium Chaldaicum and Darmo's Hudra, The Harp 19 (2006) [Festschrift J. Madey], 117-136.
  • The Dialogue between the Two Thieves (Luke 23:39-41), The Harp 20 (2006) [Festschrift J. Thekeparampil], 151-170.
  • The origins of the qanona 'Holy God, holy Mighty, holy Immortal' according to Gabriel of Qatar (early 7th century), The Harp 21 (2006) [Festschrift E. Thelly], 173-185.
  • The Lives of the Prophets in Syriac: some soundings, in C. Hempel and J.M. Lieu (eds), Biblical Traditions in Transmission. Essays in Honour of M.A. Knibb (JSJ Suppl. 111; Leiden, 2006), 21-37.
  • Syriac literature: a crossroads of cultures, PdO 31 (2006), 17-35.
  • Manuscrits liturgiques en syriaque, in F. Cassingena-Trevèdy and I. Jurasz (eds), Les liturgies syriaques (Ètudes syriaques 3; 2006), 267-83.
  • Syriac sources and resources for Byzantinists, in Proceedings of the 21st International Congress of Byzantine Studies, London 2006 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006), I, 193-210.
  • The genealogy of the Virgin Mary in Sinai Syr. 16, Scrinium 2 (2006), 58-71.
  • Mary and the Angel, and other Syriac dialogue poems, Marianum 68 (2006), 117-151.
  • An archaic Syriac prayer over baptismal oil, Studia Patristica 41 (2006), 3-12.
  • The use of the Syriac versions in the Liturgy, in B. ter Haar Romeny, The Peshitta: its Use in Literature and Liturgy (Leiden, 2006), 3-25.
  • (with H. Goldfus and A. Kofsky), The Syriac inscriptions at the entrance to the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, Aram 18/19 (2006/7), 415-38.
  • East Syriac pilgrims to Jerusalem in the early Ottoman period, Aram 18/19 (2006/7), 189-201.
  • A further funerary mosaic from Osrhoene, Aram 18/19 (2006/7), 715-21.
  • The Fenqitho: a source for theologizing in the Syriac Church. The present state of study, in J. Puthuparampil (ed.), Theologizing in the Malankara Catholic Church (Pune, 2007), 233-250.
  • A Syriac intermediary to the Arabic Theology of Aristotle? In search of a chimera. in C. D’Ancona (ed.), The Libraries of the Neoplatonists (Philosophia Antiqua 107; 2007), 293-306.
  • St Ephrem the Syrian on reading scripture, Downside Review 438 (Jan. 2007), 37-50.
  • The contribution of deceased Syriacists, 1997-2006, Hugoye 10:1 (2007).
  • Syria and Mesopotamia: the shared term Malka Mshiha, in M.Bockmuehl and J. Carleton Paget (eds), Redemption and Resistance. The Messianic Hopes of Jews and Christians in Antiquity (London, 2007), 171-182.
  • Joseph and Potiphar's Wife: two anonymous dispute poems, in W.J. van Bekkum, J.W. Drijvers and A.C. Klugkist, Syriac Polemics. Studies in Honour of Gerrit Jan Reinink (OLA 170), 41-57.

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