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Emmanuel Papoutsakis

  • Near Eastern Studies
Position: Core Faculty
Title: Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies.

I studied Classics at the University of Athens, Greece (BA 1990), and Hebrew at University College London (BA 1994). As part of my degree in London, I spent the 1992-1993 academic year at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. At UCL I was also introduced to Classical Armenian. In 1994 I began my doctoral research in Syriac studies at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Sebastian Brock. I worked on the verse homily On the Flood by the Syriac poet and exegete Jacob of Serugh (d. 521), a representative of the golden age of Syriac literature (fourth-seventh cent.), and submitted my dissertation in 2000. In my years at Oxford (1994-2001) I continued my study of Classical Armenian under the guidance of Robert Thomson.

In 2001 I was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship at Princeton University and in the spring semester of 2002 I taught Syriac and Classical Armenian as a visiting lecturer in the Department of Near Eastern Studies. During the 2002-2003 academic year I was a Research Fellow at Harvard University’s Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., where I worked on the Syriac literary background of the sixth-century Byzantine poet Romanos. Between 2003 and 2008 I taught as a lecturer in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton where I offered courses in Syriac and Classical Armenian languages and literatures.  Before my re-appointment as an assistant professor, I spent the 2008-2009 academic year as a member at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

Research Interests
Syriac Christianity, its literature and history

Interaction between Greek and Syriac, especially in the areas of poetry and homiletical literature, transmission of literary motifs, and translation literature (Greek into Syriac/Syriac into Greek)

Bilingualism in Late Antiquity

Translation theory and practice in Late Antiquity

Interaction between Syriac Christianity and Judaism

“The Making of a Syriac Fable: From Ephrem to Romanos,” Le Muséon 120, 1-2 (2007), pp. 29-75.

“Ostriches into Sirens: Towards an Understanding of a Septuagint Crux,” Journal of Jewish Studies 55 (Spring 2004), pp. 25-36.

“A Small Thing: Early Syriac Views of Zoar (Gen. 19:20-22),” in Wiles, M.F. and Yarnold, E.J., (eds.), Studia Patristica XXXV (Thirteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies, Oxford, 1999), Leuven, 2001, pp. 484-487.

“Formulaic Language in the Verse Homilies of Jacob of Serugh,” in Lavenant, R., (ed.), Symposium Syriacum VII (OCA 256), Rome, 1998, pp. 445-451.

Edited Volumes
(In collaboration with Philip Rousseau) Transformations of Late Antiquity: Essays for Peter Brown, London, 2009

Past Conferences
Syriac Studies Workshop, Princeton University, May 4-6, 2005

Dumbarton Oaks Colloquium on Romanos the Melodist, Washington , D.C. , November 12, 2005

Current Projects
Preparing my doctoral dissertation for publication

A series of articles on the Byzantine poet Romanos and his Syriac literary background

Annotated translation, with an introduction, of the Syriac Julian Romance for the series Translated Texts for Historians, Liverpool University Press (under contract)