Emma Loosley

Emma Loosley
University of Exeter | UoE · Department of Theology and Religion

PhD

About

51
Publications
8,482
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71
Citations
Introduction
Emma Loosley currently works at the Department of Theology and Religion, University of Exeter. Emma does research in Archaeology, Art History, Late Antiquity, Liturgy, Middle Eastern and Caucasian Christianity, with a speciality in Syrian Christianity. Her most recent project is 'Architecture and Asceticism: Cultural Interaction between Syria and Georgia in Late Antiquity'.
Additional affiliations
April 2013 - present
University of Exeter
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
January 2004 - March 2013
The University of Manchester
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
September 2002 - September 2004
Holy Spirit University of Kaslik
Position
  • Lecturer
Education
September 1996 - February 2001
SOAS, University of London
Field of study
  • The Architecture and Liturgy of fourth to sixth century Syria
October 1994 - June 1995
The Courtauld Institute of Art
Field of study
  • Classical & Byzantine Art
October 1991 - June 1994
The University of York
Field of study
  • History & History of Art

Publications

Publications (51)
Article
Yana Tchekhanovets: The Caucasian Archaeology of the Holy Land: Armenian, Georgian and Albanian Communities between the Fourth and Eleventh Centuries CE. (Handbook of Oriental Studies. Section One: The Near and Middle East, Volume 123.) xxiv, 307 pp. Leiden: Brill, 2018. €150. ISBN 978 90 04 36224 6. - Volume 82 Issue 3 - Emma Loosley Leeming
Chapter
Full-text available
Chapter
The eastern Mediterranean region in the third century ce was the center oaf wide variety of social, political, and religious changes that inevitably impacted on the ways that religion was practiced, enacted, and expressed tithe wider community. The fact that little early Islamic art and architecture had survived, apart from religious monuments such...
Conference Paper
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Before the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War there were a number of international teams working in the Khanuqa Gap, a pinch point in River Euphrates north of Deir ez Zor, where a variety of sites were threatened by a proposed Russian-built dam and hydro-electric power station. Despite appeals to the highest court in the land, the Directorate General...
Article
Full-text available
An article written for Aktuel Arkeoloji magazine's special issue on monuments destroyed by Daesh. The piece discusses the history of the Monastery of Mar Elian, Syria and Mar Behnam, Iraq and what we have lost with their destruction. The article is in Turkish.
Article
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This is the English text of the article published in Turkish on the destruction of these two monasteries.
Conference Paper
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When surveying the situation in Syria with regard to the damage and destruction of the nation’s cultural heritage since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, it is important to approach the subject with a keen awareness of the problems that were already endemic in Syrian society before the outbreak of hostilities. The Syrian Arab Republic h...
Article
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With the growth of the so-called Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the world is being forced to contemplate if there is any way we can ever comprehensively prevent cultural heritage of international significance falling into the hands of terrorists. The international community also has to consider the uncomfortable truth that how we handle the curre...
Article
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The Limestone Massif of northwest Syria has the largest concentration of late antique churches in the world. All date from between the second half of the 4th century and the first decade of the 7th century and are remarkably consistent in their conformity to a recognizably ‘Syrian’ architectural style. Almost without exception they are apsed basili...
Article
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Book
First published in 2003 this is a new edition of a work that remains the only study of the nave platform known as the Syrian Bema to utilise an interdisciplinary approach. By combining archaeological and architectural research with a study of the Syriac Liturgy to explore how worship evolved on the Syrian Limestone Massif in Late Antiquity, this vo...
Article
Western society appears inordinately keen on outdated and stereotypical tropes of Islamic architecture, talking of a ‘hidden world’ of Islam in which women are seen and not heard as they live their lives incarcerated in the harem. This trope of Western Orientalism has become entrenched in our culture through travel accounts, the writings of histori...
Conference Paper
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One of the notable aspects of the Islamic conquest of Jerusalem was the ease and relative peace with which the manoeuvre was accomplished. Despite the fears of the Christian population, the Caliph Umar personally safeguarded the major Christian sites of worship and allowed freedom of religious worship within the city; this was a marked contrast wit...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
There is extremely little extant evidence of the Syrian Orthodox iconographic tradition outside a small corpus of illustrated manuscripts and much of this visual material dates from late antiquity to the Middle Ages. There is then a break in the tradition until the events of the twentieth century caused widespread disruption of the Syrian Orthodox...
Article
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In western society, as in the rest of the world, the vast majority of teenagers mould their identity by reacting to the world around them. However this sense of identity is unlikely in the early twenty-first century to be predicated by religion; music, sport, fashion and choice of friends are the elements by which schoolchildren and students define...
Book
The term Syriac Christianity refers to the various Middle Eastern and Indian churches which belong to the Syriac tradition. Since late antiquity they have divided liturgically and doctrinally into three main groups: The Syrian Orthodox Church sometimes known erroneonsly as the Jacobite Church, which has rejected the doctrinal definition of the coun...
Book
Messiah and Mahdi explains the formation of the Safavid capital at Isfahan from a new angle by looking at Shah `Abbas I's expansion of the city from the point of view of his Christian subjects. By blending field work in Isfahan with contemporary academic evaluations of the rule of `Abbas and his successors, it is hoped that this book will offer som...
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Book
In the aftermath of 9/11 there has been much talk of a need to engage on a meaningful level with Islam, but where do we begin and what is the right approach? This book looks at case studies from around the world in order to explore how Christian groups, sometimes as minorities and sometimes as the majority, engage with their Muslim neighbours in th...
Article
One of the most contentious issues between Christians and Muslims has been the attitude that both sides demonstrate towards the religious life in the other faith. Easy stereotypes have been employed on both sides, but what is the truth? What is the reality behind these accusations of drunkenness and sexual licentiousness? By exploring the facts and...
Conference Paper
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For some years it has been common knowledge that the houses of New Julfa contain many images of European men and women. What has not been so widely discussed is the fact that these same images were present within the private pleasure palaces of the Shah. This leads us to ask how far the fashions of the day were influenced by the strange apparel of...
Article
Full-text available
This paper has evolved out of a series of community projects that I have initiated in Syria since 1997. My hypothesis is that a knowledge of the archaeological remains and religious traditions of a region bring local people more in touch with their cultural roots and encourage a sense of belonging. This is particularly the case when a religious min...
Article
Full-text available
Although the early history of the Maronite Church remains contested and controversial, it is much easier to trace the later evolution of Maronite history. From the seventeenth century onward, the Maronite Church has sought to reinvent itself and present its official view of its origins and development to the world. Although many scholars, both insi...
Article
Since the summer of 2001 archaeological excavations have been underway at the Syrian Catholic monastery of St Julian of the East (Dayr Mar Elian al-Sharqi), Qaryatayn. This monastery dates, according to historical sources, from at least the twelfth century although there are indications that elements of the complex may date from a much earlier peri...
Article
Full-text available
Recent publication of archaeological and art historical studies of Dayr Mār Mūsa, an-Nabk, have begun to shed light on the monasteries of the Syrian rite in the al-Qalamūn region of Syria, both within their period of foundation, but also their continued use in subsequent periods and until the present day. A recent development programme at Dayr Mār...
Presentation
Full-text available
Talk given at the British Council in Damascus in September 2001 on the occasion of a facsimile of the censer taken from Deir Mar Musa al-Habashi, Nebek, Syria by Richard Burton in the nineteenth century and sold to the British Museum being presented to the contemporary monastic community of Deir Mar Musa

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
The Dayr Mar Elian Archaeological Project (DMEAP) was founded to explore the late antique monastery of Mar Elian (St. Julian) in Qaryatayn in central Syria in 2001. After an initial survey season, a joint British-Syrian team excavated at the site 2002-2005. The worked continued under the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) and in 2011 a roof was constructed over the site to protect the excavations with a view to welcoming tourists in the future. In the spring of 2015 Qaryatayn was overrun by IS and in September of that year the monastery was deliberately destroyed by Jihadists. At the time of writing it remains unclear how much of the site can be salvaged when it is safe to return to Qaryatayn.
Project
The aim of the project is to explore the Georgian belief that monasticism was brought to the country by the "Thirteen (As)Syrian Fathers" in the sixth century. As there is no textual evidence still extant from this early period, the project is evaluating the surviving material culture in both countries in order to identify any common movements in architecture and art, as well as to study the ecclesiastical history of both countries in order to pinpoint similarities in liturgy, pilgrimage or any other area of historical ritual practice. It is hoped that data from further afield will be contributed in the future, but the parameters of the current project (which will run until November 2017) encompass the modern countries of Georgia, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian Territories.