By Richard E. Payne
Christian groups flourished in the course of overdue antiquity in a Zoroastrian political process, referred to as the Iranian Empire, that built-in culturally and geographically disparate territories from Arabia to Afghanistan into its associations and networks. while past reviews have seemed Christians as marginal, insular, and infrequently persecuted members during this empire, Richard Payne demonstrates their integration into elite networks, adoption of Iranian political practices and imaginaries, and participation in imperial associations. the increase of Christianity in Iran relied on the Zoroastrian thought and perform of hierarchical, differentiated inclusion, in accordance with which Christians, Jews, and others occupied valid areas in Iranian political tradition in positions subordinate to the imperial faith. Christians, for his or her half, located themselves in a political tradition now not in their personal making, with recourse to their very own ideological and institutional assets, starting from the writing of saints’ lives to the judicial arbitration of bishops. In putting the social background of East Syrian Christians on the heart of the Iranian imperial tale, A country of combination is helping clarify the patience of a culturally assorted empire throughout 4 centuries.
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Extra resources for A State of Mixture: Christians, Zoroastrians, and Iranian Political Culture in Late Antiquity (Transformation of the Classical Heritage, Volume 56)
Although its language was sometimes revised to reflect the priorities of its editors, 20 Introduction the Synodicon Orientale preserved the substance of the canons issued at the dozen synods that convened during the Sasanian era, as well as related materials. These canons regulated the beliefs, rituals, and social and economic activities of Christians, especially ascetics, priests, and bishops. 65 Ranging from the Regulations of Marriage of the fifth-century Mar Aba to an eleventh-century treatise on inheritance and marriage, these jurisprudential works concentrate on the social and economic dilemmas of lay men and women.
The following chapters undermine the foundations of the model of an Iranian society composed of separate, bounded religious communities in favor of a model of mixture that focuses on the institutions through which East Syrian communities were realized. The approach arises from the nature of the evidence. Two institutions have yielded the great bulk of the source material available for the study of Christian communities in Iran in the Sasanian period: the shrines of martyrs and the episcopal court.
49 Scholars introduced a number of additional manuscripts to the study of East Syrian hagiography during the twentieth century, on the basis of which new works were published and known ones were revised. Greek, Armenian, and Sogdian translations of many of these works have further enriched our knowledge of their dates of composition and cross-cultural, even transimperial transmission. 52 The lives of saints that East Syrian authors produced in the Sasanian era were so fundamental to the institutions of Christianity that its proponents exported them, together with scriptures and liturgical texts, to the embryonic communities of Central and East Asia.