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Title: "We are the mother of the Arabs" : articulating Syriac Christian selfhood in Bethlehem
Author: Calder, Mark Daniel
ISNI:       0000 0004 5348 3966
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2015
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Bethlehem is a place constituted by the innumerable movements of its inhabitants and their activities over millennia and, because these lines of movement, the connections produced by them, and the meanings associated with Bethlehem have recently undergone rapid and radical change, some of its inhabitants have experienced a “displacement in situ” indicated, not least, by their narratives. This thesis considers Syriac Orthodox Christians' “self-articulations” in the context of upheaval, “articulation” being suggestive of both connection and narration. Focussing on narrative reveals the dialogic contingency of self-articulation, especially in the situation of uncertainty and change. Out of these narratives emerges a sense of “being Syrian” that resembles participation in a Syrian “body” which persists despite the violence to which it has been subject. This “corporeal” or even “orthodox” logic of connection and belonging is arguably made more likely by active participation in the Syriac Orthodox Qurbono (Eucharist), which is best thought of as a particularly attentive encounter: with present and absent others, who comprise the Syrian body through time; and with the God who animates it. Therefore, for some, this sense of belonging to a Syrian body is refracted through Christological and ecclesiological lenses. A conflict situation reveals that not all Syrians share the same logic of articulating themselves in Bethlehem, however: alongside the corporeal logic suggested by the Qurbono is a more “detached” logic reflective of liberal conceptions of personhood and authority, and “modern” conceptions of society-for-itself. Finally, this thesis proposes that an anthropological focus on the ways in which Christians imagine belonging to “the church”, local and universal, is fruitful for those researchers seeking to incorporate Christian categories into their representations of Christian lives.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Syriac Christians ; Bethlehem