The publication of these three texts concerning the life and works of St. Gregentios should facilitate the investigation of a new set of fascinating and important issues. But the pioneering nature of the publication forces us to ask: what issues? Due to the mysterious provenance of these texts and the misty historicity of Gregentios himself, it is not clear whether they tell us more about the literary activities of Middle Byzantine monks or the attempted Christianization of the Jewish state of Himyar (roughly modern Yemen) in the time of Justinian. In this first modern edition B. edits and translates the traditional group of texts that he calls the dossier: a substantial saint's life of Gregentios; Gregentios' law code used purportedly to Christianize the Himyarite state; and a lengthy debate between Gregentios and a Himyarite rabbi. As an introduction and critical/historical background the editor Albrecht Berger, hereafter B., aided by a substantial contribution from Gianfranco Fiaccodori, hereafter F., argues that a 10th-century monk in Constantinople composed these texts as a fictional compilation drawn from a wide variety of available source material. In so doing B. and F. survey the existing scholarly literature in a lively and judiciously thorough way, but I am left with the impression that their efforts will spur a good deal more discussion. So I will start with a summary of the book's content and end with a few comments on the book's contentions.

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Copyright © 2007 Bryn Mawr Classical Review. This book review first appeared in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 9:6 (2007), 1-4.

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