This last week the Christian population was driven out of Mosul, or rather, was given the options to convert to Islam (and not just any variety of Islam, but the extremist Sunni variety practiced by Mosul’s new ISIS masters), or to pay an exorbitant extra tax, or to leave with only the clothes on their backs, or to die. All or almost all have chosen to leave. As Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako put it, “For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians.” (more…)
Marginalia Review of Books just published an interview with Sebastian Brock, who was one of the main architects for the “rediscovery” of Syriac Christianity in Anglophone scholarship since the late 1960s. His interviewer, T. Michael Law, is himself an Oxford-trained expert in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament), just as Dr. Brock himself started his academic career fifty years ago. Although in places the discussion turns to in-house matters among academics, many parts of the interview will intrigue those interested in Middle Eastern Christianity, such as the differences in the canon of the New Testament between Syriac and Greek or Latin Christians. The interview may be listened to here (unfortunately, I cannot find a transcript for those who prefer their media read rather than heard).
Readers interested in late antiquity and the rise of Christianity may also be interested in the interview with Peter Brown on the same site, in which he discusses his recent book, Through the Eye of a Needle (part 1, part 2). In the process he has some characteristically provocative suggestions regarding the shape of Christianity in a period of flux.