Dr. Adrian Pirtea

Team member in project PN-III-P4-ID-PCE-2016-0712

Adrian Pirtea holds a PhD in Byzantine Studies from the Freie Universität Berlin (2017) and has worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Greek and Latin Philology of the same university (2017-) and at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (2017-). From September 2020 Adrian Pirtea will start a two-year Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship at the University of Vienna (Institute of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies), with the research project: The Making of the Byzantine Ascetical Canon. Monastic Networks, Literacy and Religious Authority in Palestine and Sinai (7 th -11 th centuries).
Since March 2019 he is a member in the project Theories of Divination in Late Antiquity and Early Byzantium (2 nd -7 th centuries), where he is studying 6 th century debates on astral influence in Byzantium and Syria.




  • The Spiritual Senses in East Syriac Mysticism. From Evagrius to Joseph Hazzaya, Texts and Studies in Eastern Christianity, E. J. Brill, Leiden, forthcoming [a revised English translation of my PhD thesis, in preparation].

Articles & Book Chapters (selection)

  • A. Pirtea, “From Lunar Nodes to Eclipse Dragons: The Fundaments of the Chaldean Art (CCAG V/2, 131-140) and the Reception of Arabo-Persian Astrology in Byzantium”, in: P. Magdalino/A. Timotin (eds), Théories de la divination dans l’Antiquité tardive et à Byzance, Pomme d’Or, Geneva 2019, p. 339-365.
  • A. Pirtea, “The Origin of Passions in Neoplatonic and Early Christian Thought: Porphyry of Tyre and Evagrius Ponticus”, in: P. Pavlos, L. Janby, T. Tollefsen (eds), Platonism and Christian Thought, Routledge, London/New York 2019, p. 258-274.
  • A. Pirtea, “Isaac of Nineveh, Gnostic Chapters”, in: Nicholas Sims-Williams, with contributions by James Coakley, Dieter Maue, and Adrian Pirtea, From Liturgy to Pharmacology. Christian Sogdian Texts from Turfan, Berliner Turfantexte 45, Brepols, Turnhout 2019, p. 117-144.
  • A. Pirtea, “The Mysticism of the Church of the East”, in: Daniel King (ed.), The Syriac World, (Routledge Worlds Series), Routledge, New York 2018, p. 355-376.
  • A. Pirtea, ““Is There an Eclipse Dragon in Manichaeism? Some Problems Concerning the Origin and Function of ātālyā in Manichaean Sources”, in: Durkin-Meisterernst, Desmond; Reck, Christiane (eds), Zur lichten Heimat: Gedenkschrift Werner Sundermann (1935-2012), Iranica 25, Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2017, p. 535-554.
  • A. Pirtea, “Konkrete und abstrakte Räume der spätantiken Allegorese: Exegetische Methodik und die Deutung des Perlengleichnisses (Matth 13,45f) bei Klemens von Alexandrien und Origenes”, in: Angelika Neuwirth, Nora Schmidt und Nora K. Schmid (eds), Denkraum Spätantike. Szenarien der Konstruktion von Antike im Umfeld des Korans, Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2016, p. 235-267.

Conferences & Invited Lectures (selection)

  1. “Between Byzantium, Sasanian Iran and the Qur’an: Greek and Syriac Hagiography in the 7th Century”, European Conference of Iranian Studies 9, Freie Universität, Berlin, 9-14 September, 2019.
  2. “The Power of Books. Arethas of Caesarea as a Scholar and Manuscript Collector”, International Congress of South-East European Studies, Bucharest, 2-7 September, 2019.
  3. “Syriac Monastic Charity and its Influence on Early Islam: Glimpses from an Unpublished Paper by Arthur Vööbus (ca. 1948)”, Oxford Patristics Conference 2019, Oxford, 19-24 August, 2019.
  4. “Syriac Cosmology and the Liber Nemroth”, presented at the Workshop on the Liber Nemroth, organised by Isabelle Draelants (IRHT, Paris) and Klaus Geus (FU Berlin), Paris, 17-19 July, 2019.
  5. “Aristotelian and Biblical Cosmologies in Syriac Literature (3rd-10th centuries)”, Natural Sciences and Technologies in Manuscripts and Artefacts, Kekelidze Centre of Manuscripts/MPIWG Berlin, Tbilisi, 27-28 June, 2019.
  6. “The Macrocosm-Microcosm Analogy in Manichaeism, Zoroastrianism, and Early Islamic Gnosis”, Formative Exchanges in the Islamicate World: Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, and Islam in Contact, Bochum, 5-6 June, 2019.
  7. “Gathering Souls Through Parables: The Shepherd of Hermas Fragment from Turfan (M97) and its Manichaean Context”, Versions of the Apostolic Past: Ancient Translations of the Apostolic Fathers, Leuven, 22-23 May, 2019.
  8. “The Sound of Silence: Spiritual Perception and Apophaticism in East Syriac Mystical Literature (7th-8th)”, International Orthodox Theology Conference, Iași, 9-12 January, 2019.
  9. “Philosophical Approaches to Spiritual Perception in the Multi-Religious Context of the Early Abbasid Period”, 10th German-Israel Seminar on the Frontiers of the Humanities (Humboldt-Foundation), Berlin, 19-21 November, 2018.
  10. “The Leiden Physiologus and some Overlooked Manuscripts in Syriac and Arabic”, The World of the Physiologus – Animal Stories and Representations in Oriental Manuscripts, COMSt/University of Hamburg, Hamburg, 28-29 June, 2018.
  11. “Ascetic Struggle and Divine Providence: East Syriac Mysticism in Turfan”, Dall’ Iran allo Xinjiang. Le comunità siro-orientali tra VI-XI sec., ÖAW/Pontificio Istituto Orientale, Rome, 9 June, 2018.
  12. “Georg der Araberbischof und die syrische Kommentartradition zu Aristoteles’ Organon im 8. Jh.”, 10. Deutscher Syrologentag, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin 30 May – 2 June, 2018.
  13. “The Buddha in the West: Real and Imagined Knowledge about Buddhism in Late Roman Egypt”, East-West Networks Seminar, Part II, University of Bergen, Bergen, 9 March, 2018.
  14. “The Messiah in China: Syriac Christianity and Manichaeism in Turfan”, East-West Networks Seminar, Part I, University of Bergen, Bergen, 7 March, 2018.
  15. “Eclipses, Dragons, Dark Planets. On the Function and Relevance of Lunar Nodes in Late Antique and Byzantine Astrology”, Theories of Divination in Late Antiquity and Byzantium, International Conference, Institute for Philosophy “Alexandru Dragomir”/University of Bucharest, Bucharest, 17-18 November, 2017.
  16. “Syriac Literature as a Source for Understanding Justinian’s Anathemas against Origen (543/553)”, First Annual Conference of the Romanian Society for Byzantine Studies, Nicolae Iorga Institute for History, Bucharest, Bucharest, 16 November, 2017.
  17. “The Eclipse Dragon in Syriac and Manichaean Sources”, East-West Encounter in the Science of Heaven and Earth, International Conference on Traditional Sciences in Asia, Kyoto University, Kyoto, 25-27 October, 2017.
  18. “Isaac of Nineveh’s ‘Gnostic Chapters’ in Sogdian: The Identification of an Anonymous Text from Bulayïq and Its Relevance”, EASR Annual Conference, Panel: Versions of Late-Antique Christian Literature, KU Leuven, Leuven, 18-21 September, 2017.
  19. “Pseudo-Macarius in the Melkite Tradition: Greek, Syriac, and Arabic Collections at St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai”, ARAM Conference on Melkite Christianity, Oxford, 12-14 July, 2017.
  20. “The Syriac Translations of Evagrius and the Spectre of Origenism”, Translate, Mislead, Transmit: The Greek Fathers Between Latin Western and Syriac Eastern World, Rome, 20-21 February, 2017.
  21. “Christ Descending in Disguise: An Origenist Idea in the Syriac Physiologus?”, GIF-Seminar: Visitors from Heaven, Visitors to Heaven, TOPOI-Villa, Berlin, 31 January, 2017.
  22. “Two Fountains Gushing Out by Nature’s Impulse – Porphyry and Evagrius on Pleasure, Pain, and the Soul’s Passions”, Platonism and Christian Thought in Late Antiquity: International Workshop on the Philosophy of Late Antiquity, University of Oslo, Oslo, 1-3 December, 2016.
  23. “Babai the Great and Dionysius bar Salibi on Evagrius’ Theory of Spiritual Perception”, XIIth Symposium Syriacum – Pontificio Istituto Orientale, Rome, 19-24 August, 2016.