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Religious Poetry in Vernacular Syriac from Northern Iraq 17th-20th Centuries: An Anthology


Alessandra Destefanis Libri


The present publication ideally continues the CSCO 589-590, in which 17th-century religious poems in Vernacular Syriac (i.e., Neo-Aramaic or Sureth) were published. It offers the reader a rich anthology and the most complete historical sketch of the dorektha genre, surveying published and unpublished works by Chaldean and Assyrian authors. Texts dating from 1607/08 to 1980 AD are critically edited and translated into English, with linguistic, philological and literary comments: On Repentance by Hormizd of Alqosh (17th cent.); the poetic diptych On the Torments of Hell and On the Delights of the Kingdom by Damynanos of Alqosh, which shows the author's indebtedness to Italian Baroque sermons; On a Famine in the Year 1898 by the poetess Anne of Telkepe, probably the first work by a woman to enter the CSCO; the fascinating and living story of the Hermit Barmalka by Joseph 'Abbaya of Alqosh; On an Attack by the Mongols at Karamlish, in which Thomas Hanna of Karamlish elaborates on classical sources such as Gewargis Warda and Barhebreus; the touching and beautiful elegy On Exile by Yohannan Cholagh, who deals with the Christian emigration from Iraq, a contemporary social problem that is even more pressing today than in 1980, when the poem first appeared in Qala Suryaya.
 
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