The governing board oversees the mission, direction, and financial decisions of Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute. It is comprised jointly of academics in the field of Syriac studies and members of the Syriac heritage community, the two communities served by the institute.
George A. Kiraz, PhD
George A. Kiraz is the founder and director of Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute. He holds an MPhil and PhD in Computational Linguistics from the University of Cambridge, where he wrote his thesis on computing the morphology of Arabic and Syriac. He worked at Bell Labs and then founded Beth Mardutho, an institution dedicated to furthering the study of Syriac and the Syriac tradition throughout the world. He received a fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study in 2017-2018 and is a current Research Associate. He has taught Syriac at Princeton University, Rutgers University, and the POLIS Institute (Jerusalem).
Thomas Joseph, PhD
Thomas Joseph is a Vice President of Data Engineering at the Capital Group Companies. He holds a B.Tech from IIT Varanasi, an MS in Systems Engineering from USC, and a Ph.D. in Management from UCLA. He has served on the Board of Beth Mardutho since 1998, serving as the first technical editor of Hugoye until 2013. Thomas is a Syriac enthusiast, an avid reader of Syriac Studies research, and provides technology advice for Beth Mardutho’s various projects.
Christine Altinis, PhD
Christine Altinis is Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University. She received the 2022 SAS Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education. She holds a BS and MS in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of California Los Angeles and a PhD in Chemistry and Chemical Biology from Rutgers University.
Jack Tannous, PhD
Jack Tannous is Associate Professor of History and Hellenic Studies at Princeton University and Chair of the Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity (CSLA). His research focuses on the cultural history of the eastern Mediterranean in the late antique and early medieval period and on the Syriac-speaking Christian communities of the Near East. His book, The Making of the Medieval Middle East won the 2019 James Henry Breasted Prize from the American Historical Association. He received his PhD from Princeton University, an MPhil from the University of Oxford as a Marshall Scholar, and a BA from the University of Texas at Austin.
Sebastian Brock, PhD
Sebastian Brock is Emeritus Reader in Syriac Studies and Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson College, University of Oxford. Elected a Fellow of the British Academy, awarded the Medal of Saint Ephrem the Syrian by the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, and awarded the Leverhulme Medal by the British Academy, he is one of the world’s foremost scholars of Syriac Studies. His research focuses on Semitic languages and culture, in particular Syriac. With helping to develop SyrCOM, the predecessor of Beth Mardutho, Brock has supported the institute’s mission from its inception. He currently one of the primary reviewers of the Antioch Bible.
Former Board Members
Sidney H. Griffith, PhD
Catholic University of America
Fr. Sidney H. Griffith is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Semitic Languages and Cultures at The Catholic University of America (CUA). He has authored multiple works on Arabic Christianity, Syriac monasticism, and medieval Christian-Muslim encounters, including The Church in the Shadow of a Mosque, which received the Albert C. Outler Prize from the American Society of Church History. He has held fellowships at Dumbarton Oaks and the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has also been awarded a Rumi Peace Prize. He earned a Licentiate in Sacred Theology and a PhD in Semitic Languages from CUA.
Susan Ashbrook Harvey, PhD
Susan Ashbrook Harvey is the Willard Prescott and Annie McClelland Smith Professor of History and Religion at Brown University. Her research is on late antique and Byzantine Christianity, with a focus on Syriac Christianity. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, Dumbarton Oaks, and the American Association of University Women, and she has been awarded three honorary doctorates. She earned her PhD in Byzantine History at the University of Birmingham, after a BA in Classics at Grinnell College and an MLitt in Byzantine History at the University of Birmingham as a Marshall Scholar.
John Marks, ThD
A founding member of Beth Mardutho, John Marks was a Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. With a BA in Classics from the University of Denver, a BD from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a ThD in Old Testament from the University of Basel, he specialized in Semitic languages, especially Syriac. He served as President of the American Center for Oriental Research (1969-1979) and trustee of the American Schools of Oriental Research (1971-1986).
Kathleen E. McVey, PhD
Princeton Theological Seminary
The Joseph Ross Stevenson Professor of Church History Emerita at Princeton Theological Seminary, Kathleen E. McVey specializes in the history of Syriac Christianity and its intersections with broader late antique cultures. She holds a PhD from Harvard University and has held fellowships at Dumbarton Oaks and the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. She is a founding member of Beth Mardutho, served on the editorial board of Hugoye, and also helped found the North American Syriac Symposium. She has participated in ongoing ecumenical consultations, including the Pro Oriente dialogue among Syriac tradition churches.
Lucas Van Rompay, PhD
A Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Duke University, Lucas Van Rompay works on the religion, history, and culture of Christian communities in the Middle East from late antiquity to the present, especially in the Syriac tradition. He studied Classical Philology at the Catholic University of Leuven before earning a PhD in Oriental Philology and History from the same institution. He has been elected a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Accademia Ambrosiana. He served on the editorial board of Hugoye.