The Syriac letter of Mara bar Sarapion, which probably contains the oldest non Christian testimony about Jesus, still is accessible only through W. Cureton’s 1855 edition with English translation, B.P. Pratten’s translation in the ‘Ante-Nicene Fathers’ series (1867-72) and the German version by F. Schulthess (1897). A new edition of this highly important document, together with a translation and a discussion of interpretative issues, is an urgent desideratum, which is undertaken by a small research team consisting of David Rensberger (Syriology, New Testament Studies, Atlanta GA), Teun Tieleman (Ancient Philosophy, Utrecht) and myself. The book will be published in the series SAPERE (Scripta Antiquitatis Posterioris ad Ethicam Religionemque pertinentia) at Mohr Siebeck in 2014.
Already available are the proceedings of the first international conference on Mara, held in Utrecht 2009. A. Merz & T. Tieleman (ed.), The Letter of Mara bar Sarapion in Context. Proceedings of the Symposium, Utrecht 10-12 December 2009 (Culture and History of the Ancient Near East 58), Leiden: Brill 2012.
A programmatic article by Teun Tieleman and myself has been published in the Festschrift for Pieter van der Horst: A. Merz & T. Tieleman, ‘The Letter of Mara bar Sarapion: Some Comments on its Philosophical and Historical Context’, in A. Houtman – A. de Jong – M. Misset-van de Weg (eds.), Empsychoi Logoi. Religious Innovations in Antiquity. Studies in Honour of Pieter Willem van der Horst, Leiden: Brill 2008, pp. 107-133.