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Book: The Use and Dissemination of Religious Knowledge in Antiquity

Chapter: 10. Public and Private Religious Practices Amongst the Christian Communities of 7th Century Mesopotamia

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.37999


This paper considers the dynamics of the transmission of religious knowledge in both the public and private arenas amongst the Christian communities in Mesopotamia during the Late Sassanid-Early Islamic period. Formal transmission of knowledge, via the schools, the most notable being the School of Nisibis, saw its realisation in the mid-7th century compilation of the Hudra, the annual ecclesiastical cycle of services in the Church of the East. In stark contrast, the interpolation of Christian formulae into a small number of Syriac incantation bowls affords unique insight into the changing religious landscape of southern Mesopotamia. Written for both men and women, the texts show the adaptation of traditional incantation formulae to assimilate Christian elements and are indicative of vernacular religious beliefs.

Chapter Contributors

  • Erica Hunter ( - ehunter) 'SOAS, University of London'