MRB editor-in-chief Timothy Michael Law talks to Sebastian Brock in Oxford. Formerly Reader in Syriac Studies in the Oriental Institute in Oxford and currently Professorial Fellow at Wolfson College, Brock is widely recognized as the world’s leading authority on Syriac language and history. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and in 2009 received the honor of the Leverhulme Medal and Prize. The Medal is awarded every three years for “a significant contribution to knowledge and understanding in a field within the humanities and social sciences.”
In this conversation, Brock talks about his educational background, his doctoral research on the Septuagint in the 1960s, his shift into Syriac Studies, and the emergence of Syriac Studies conferences in the 1970s that nourished a fledgling field. He then discusses the influence of the Syriac intellectual tradition outside of explicitly Christian history, particularly the role of scholars on the transmission of the Greek classics into Arabic, some of the key figures and preserved works in Syriac intellectual tradition, and the Syriac Bible and questions of the Christian biblical canon.