Work at the Albright concludes
As the month draws to a close, so does my research fellowship at the Albright. It was the goal of the project to expand on the article I wrote for Michmanim (27:18-28). A weakness of the original work was its reliance on an analytical framework from Bernard Mulholland, The Early Byzantine Church (Oxford, 2014). Mulholland’s analysis was rightly criticized for being based on a rather small dataset of forty-seven churches (Fiema, BASOR 376:246-249).
I used time at the Albright to test his model on a larger set of Late Antique churches. My dataset came to include 106 churches from Palaestina Secunda, the northern part of the province of Arabia, and the Syrian Hauran south of Damascus. I focused on basilical churches with a nave and two aisles.
I have built a bibliography of preliminary and final reports on each site and have begun to summarize the critical data. While I am not ready to state conclusions, I expect that the analytical model will be revised to reflect the particularities of the regions around Hippos/Sussita. Whether changes in the 6th century can be tied to liturgical practice or theological alignment have yet to appear conclusively in the data.
Working at the Albright has been a distinct privilege and has given me the resources to advance my work.