Echoes of Jacob of Serugh in the Qur’ān and Late Antique Reading Culture: Public Evening Event

December 7, 2021
Academy Building – Gendarmenmarkt

Einstein Hall, Jägerstraße 22/13, 10117 Berlin

An event of the long-term project “Corpus Coranicum“ member of the Research Centre for Primary Sources of the Ancient World at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW).

The writings of Jacob of Serugh (d. 520/1) have been highlighted as one of the most significant corpora for understanding the late antique literary environment in which the Qur’ān emerged. His homilies and letters contain many exegetical and theological traditions common to the Qur’ān and the Syriac tradition. How are we to understand echoes of Jacob’s thought in the Qur’ān? Who had access to these texts and the traditions they transmit? This lecture seeks to shed light on this complex of questions by examining the circulation of Jacob’s writings in the sixth and seventh centuries. We will first investigate Jacob’s correspondence with communities within and beyond the Roman Empire during his lifetime. We will then turn to the physical manuscripts that preserve his writings from late antiquity. This approach will help identify the late antique communities that discussed these shared traditions and thereby grant insight into the question of what it means to investigate Jacob’s works as texts from the environment of the Qur’ān.

Philip Michael Forness is currently a post-doctoral researcher at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main. He received his Ph.D. in the History of Christianity from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2016 and has published widely on the traditions of eastern Christianity. He is the author of „Preaching Christology in the Roman Near East“ (Oxford, 2018) and the co-editor of „The Good Christian Ruler in the First Millennium“ (Berlin, 2021).

A lecture in the series “Languages and Cultures in the Near East and the Silk Road in Late Antiquity“ (organized by the long-term projects „Turfanforschung“ and “Corpus Coranicum“).


Welcoming Address

  • Tonio Sebastian Richter (Spokesperson of the Research Centre for Primary Sources of the Ancient World | Academy member | Freie Universität Berlin)


  • Michael Marx (BBAW)
  • Angelika Neuwirth (Freie Universität Berlin)


  • Philip Michael Forness (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a.M.)
* Important information about the event *

Registration is required by December 2, 2021 using this form.

Notes for on-site participation:

The 2G rule applies to this event.

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