Drawing on little-used sources in Syriac, once the lingua franca of the Middle East, Philip Wood examines how, at the close of the Roman Empire, Christianity carried with it new foundation myths for the peoples of the Near East that transformed their self-identity and their relationships with their rulers. This cultural independence was followed by a more radical political philosophy that dared to criticize the emperor and laid the seeds for the blending of religious and ethnic identity that we see in the Middle East today.
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