How did the Bible influence the earliest writings of the Syriac christianity? And what interaction was there with Hellenic culture? The project LinkSyr focusses these questions on the second century document The Book of the Laws of the Countries, which is written in the form of a dialogue about destiny and free will. The arguments that are put forward in the book criticise contemporary cosmological and astrological ways of thinking and contain encyclopedic knowledge about all sorts of lands and peoples.
LinkSyr uploads this book and other texts into the Linked Data Cloud and connects them with text corpora (SEDRA) en online encyclopedic and lexicographic sources (Syriaca). The wealth of information that is connected in this way will help answering questions as: what is the relation of this document with the biblical tradition? Do the Greek loanwords in this Syriac text say something about the Hellenic influence? And where did the author get his knowledge about Mesopotamian astrology and the ancient geography?
LinkSyr is a CLARIAH Research Pilot, lead by prof. Wido van Peursen (VU-ETCBC), who has reinforced the project with additional funding, which has been used to organise a lively international workshop.
The role of DANS is to make the Syriac texts available online, so that they can be linked to linked data entities. The ancient-data.org domain has been put up (now available through GitHub), on which other data sources – like the Hebrew Bible on shebanq.ancient-data.org – are accessible as well.
LinkSyr uses the DANS-lab Text-Fabric as an intermediate format and tool to process the texts, which have been collected from obtained from various databases, in a uniform manner.