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Abū al-Barakāt, Catalog of Christian Literature in Arabic (2009)

[Translated by Adam McCollum, Ph.D.
acmccollum101 AT gmail DOT com]

            The purpose of the following document[1] is to make freely available in English to a wider audience than has been possible before a fascinating snapshot of what Christian literature looked like for an Arabic reader in the fourteenth century. It is not a fully critical or commented text, and is intended especially for general readers (or, at least, those that care about such things as are in this work!) and students, but perhaps scholars, particularly those outside of Christian Arabic studies, will find it of some use as well.

            Among the works of Šams al-Riyāsah Abū al-Barakāt, also known as Ibn Kabar[2] (†1324) is the Light of the Darkness and the Illumination of the Service, in Villecourt’s words,[3] an “encyclopédie de la science ecclésiastique dans l’église copte,” and, as Graf (GCAL II 439) says, a complete theological encyclopedia for both clergy and laypeople.” The seventh chapter of this work is a listing, sometimes detailed, sometimes not, of the Christian literature from various sects available for an Arabic reader, including translations into Arabic, in the first third of the fourteenth century.[4] It was first edited by Wilhelm Riedel in 1902: “Der Katalog der christlichen Schriften in arabischer Sprache von Abū ’l-Barakāt,” in Nachrichten der Kgl. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, Philologisch-hist. Klasse 5, pp. 635-706. This edition serves as the basis for the present translation. Like Graf,[5] I have not infrequently found myself in disagreement with Riedel both in reading and in translation, but I have not always indicated my disagreement. The pages in Riedel’s edition are indicated in the translation below, and I have indicated a few important Arabic words in certain places. In addition to Riedel’s 1902 publication, this chapter may be found in the more recent edition of the whole of Abū al-Barakāt’s book, edited by Fr. Samir.[6]

            The translation is meant to be clear, rather than too literal, but there are some difficult places that are not completely understood where I did translate more literally. As to the book titles mentioned, it is not always certain when Abū al-Barakāt is simply describing the book or giving what served as its title (or one of them), so I have generally refrained from italicizing them, as we would do today, but I have capitalized what might be the titles. With the exception of the Greek Fathers mentioned, I have mostly given the names of the authors in their Arabic forms, but some appear in a more conventional guise. In many cases I have indicated the places in GCAL (for those that read German) and elsewhere where interested readers may find more data on this or that writer; the Coptic writers can also be easily found in Aziz S. Atiya, ed., The Coptic Encyclopedia, 8 vols. (New York, 1991), which was a source for parts of the Dictionary of African Christian Biography online ( Finally, readers are encouraged to check the index of Sidney H. Griffith, The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque: Christians and Muslims in the World of Islam (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008) for particular writers. I have refrained from giving particular notices of the Greek and Syriac writers mentioned except to the appropriate pages in GCAL where translations of their work into Arabic are noted and discussed; the interested reader may find more general information on these authors with little difficulty in the patrologies.[7] The other footnotes draw attention to a small number of textual or other interpretive issues and hopefully make the translation more easily understood.

            I hereby express hearty thanks to Roger Pearse, enthusiastic Maecenas extraordinaire, for commissioning this translation. At this point, no other Arabic readers have perused the translation, so I happily offer it for review to those interested. Suggestions and corrections, sent to the email address spelled out above, are warmly and heartily encouraged, and feedback will be gratefully accepted. A revised version, if necessary, will then be made available.


[p. 641]

            In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the one God: glory to him forever, amen!

            We begin with the help of God—may he be exalted!—and the excellence of his success [to copy] the book, The Light of the Darkness and the Illumination of the Service, a work by the eminent father and presbyter Šams al-Riyāsah Abū al-Barakāt, known as Ibn Kabar. May God give him rest! He said...

Chapter Seven

            Recounting[8] the works of the Fathers and the writings of eminent men from both before and after the schism, and all the scholars who were industrious in religion, researching and laboring in it, and on the following genres in which they wrote: useful treatises, distinguished commentaries, homilies full of virtue, exhortations restraining from every vice, with a desire for the increase of explanation, the benefit of the people of faith, the illumination of obscure concepts to the intellect. All this has edification for its intent, guidance and exposition for its aim. Also included are those later writers that follow them, who composed anything on religion, whether from those sects [ṭawā’if] that are joined with us in confession [millah], or those that are separated from us in creed [niḥlah]. But we have not listed the compositions of this latter group, unless we[9] have received thorough knowledge of them and grown in understanding from them, even though something differing from the views of the orthodox and inconsistent with the aims of the Jacobites might be mixed in among them, for eminent men do not[10] gather gems, without being interested in pearls: they pick out what is suitable without harping on the differences.

            What follows is the recounting of what has crossed our ears and the details of what has reached our understanding with respect to their works and names.

            Clement, the disciple of Peter, the Pope of Rome[11] He has two letters, which the 318[12] appointed. They make up one book

[p. 642]

from the collection of books of the new law [al-šarī‘ah al-ḥadīṯah] reckoned in the Church. He also has a book called The Book of Secrets, which includes the beginning of creation, the formation of the world, the creation of Adam, information about him and his descendants in succession up to Noah and then Abraham and those that came after him up to the appearance of Christ our Lord, his ascent, information about the apostles and kings that had come and would come in the future, and other matters. There are also Canons attributed to him, which contain rules and other things.

            Hippolytus, Patriarch of Rome[13] He has Canons, the number of which is thirty-eight.

            John the Antiochene, Patriarch of Constantinople, nicknamed Golden-mouthed (Chrysostom)[14] He has a Canon, of narrow compass, containing commandments, an explanation of the Gospels of the Evangelists Matthew and John, an explanation of the Epistles of Paul the Apostle, an explanation of the Book of Creation, a number of homilies on the feasts of the Lord and his life-giving sufferings, some sayings, and moral lessons.

            Gregory the Theologian[15] He has thirty homilies and sermons. [Extra note] An index contained in the book of St. Gregory the Theologian, for his sermons. It is found written in the manuscript, which is in the handwriting of Anba Yūsāb, bishop of Fuwwa, having been collated and corrected with what is contained under the heading “the Theologian” according to its title [qawl]. What is in the text of the original, from which the text current in Egyptian monasteries was made, is in a different order, as the copyist recounts that he used as a basis

[p. 643]

for the order of listing the homilies those which people have need of for quick access, then he copied the rest afterwards.[16]

1. For Frankincense (in which reference is made to [Christ’s] birth).

2. On the Holy Birth of the Lord.

3. On Epiphany (which is “Appearance,” i.e. the Appearance of the secret of the Trinity).

4. The Admonition to Baptism.

5. On Love of the Poor.

6. On Gregory of Nyssa.

7. The Glorious Feast of Easter.

8. The Feast of Easter (again).

9. For New Sunday.

10. On the Feast of Weeks[17] (which is Pentecost, the Feast of Worshiping the Trinity).

11. On Divinity.

12. On the Son.[18]

13. On the Son (again).

14. On the Holy Spirit.

15. That Monasticism is Good in Communities.

16. A letter he wrote to Cledonius.

17. Another letter to the same.

18. A section from the Gospel of Matthew.

19. A sermon given against Bishop Eulalius.

20. A homily he delivered to those who summoned him to the presbytery, which he at first did not come to, but later did so.

21. A Eulogy for the Holy Maccabeans.

[p. 644]

22. On Virtue (according to the alphabet).

23. A Doxology to be spoken at bedtime.

24. On the Arrival of the 150 Bishops[19] (also called “Farewell”).

25. On the Silence of his Father during the Plague of Hailstones.

26. On the Priesthood, during his delay from the Presbytery.

27. A Eulogy for Athanasius, Patriarch of Alexandria.

28. A Eulogy for Basil the Great, and the extension [naql] of his famous Hexaemeron.[20]

29. A Eulogy for St. Cyprian.

30. A message on St. Gregory, called jam‘[21] by the Cappadocians.

            Gregory, the brother of Basil of Caesarea[22] He treats the following themes:

1. The Mass of the Mysteries, “Whither?”

2. The completion of the Hexaemeron commentary of St. Basil his brother.

3. A letter following the previous item that he wrote to Father Peter, his brother, with his apology for abridging the commentary; in it there is also a certain passage borrowed from the Genesis commentary.

4. A Commentary on the Song of Songs by Solomon ibn David, a spiritual commentary.

5. The Book of Chapters on the Description of the Nature of Man, translated from Greek into Arabic by the physician Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq,[23] with 23 chapters.

6. The Eisagoge, which is the introduction to Aristotle’s Categories; although it is a philosophical book, it is nevertheless useful concerning the division of meanings and instruction in the principles of doctrine, on which further building [in doctrine] is established.

[p. 645]

            Gregory, Bishop of Neocaesarea,[24] known as the Wonderworker [Thaumaturgus][25] He has a work written in response to Heretics with twelve sections.

            St. Basil, Bishop of Caesarea[26] He has:

1. The Mass of the Mysteries, one book.

2. The Asceticon, containing answers to questions circulating between him and Gregory, with 128 questions.

3. Canons on the Rites of the Church, 106 in number.

4. The Hexaemeron, containing a commentary on the beginning of Genesis. When he got to the end of the fifth day, death reached him and he rested, so St. Gregory his brother completed the interpretation of the sixth day at the request of St. Peter the Martyr, his and Basil’s brother, in 31 chapters, so the book was completed with them, having ten divisions containing 152 sections.

a. On the phrase, “In the beginning God made heaven and earth,” four sections.

b. On the fact that the earth was invisible and formless, nine sections.

c. On the word of God, “Let a firmament be in the midst of the waters,” eleven sections.

d. On the gathering together of the water, ten sections.

e. On the word of God, “Let the earth produce grassy plants and seeds sown according to the kind of grass they are,” seventeen sections.

f. On the word of God, “Let there be two luminaries in the firmament of heaven,” twenty sections.

g. On the word of God, “Let the water bring forth things that creep, beings with life, and birds that fly in the firmament of heaven, each according to their kind,” numbering eight sections.

[p. 646]

h. On the word of God, “Let the earth bring forth a living being, beasts, and creeping things,” seventeen sections. This is the last part that Basil commented on; what his brother Gregory commented on, after Basil’s death, concerning what God created on the sixth day, namely humanity, has 31 chapters, and that part is the end of the work.

            St. Macrina, sister of Gregory and Basil When she was near death and her brother Gregory was with her, they had a discussion about the rational soul, that which gives life to the body, and she gives an explanation of its situation in terms of connection to and separation from the body. It is a pleasant debate containing convincing intellectual proofs.

            St. Athanasius, the Apostolic, the Patriarch of Alexandria[27] He has a commentary on the Psalms, and the introduction to it has been discovered, which contains the division of the Psalms, their ratio to each other,[28] and their objectives. He also has Questions and Answers that circulated between him and Antiochus the “foreigner”, forty-five questions in number, on the meaning of Trinity, unity, faith, and other things. He wrote Canons on the priesthood and other things, numbering 106; the index of these canons was written in the index chapter of the Canons. There is also a letter that he sent to Constantine when he was brought back from exile to his throne; a treatise on announcement,[29] concerning what it is; and an exhortation to permanence in the faith.

            St. Cyril the Great, Patriarch of Alexandria[30] He has a Mass of the Mysteries, and it is said that he took the Mass of St. Mark the Apostle and completed it. He also has a number of synod-writings and treatises on strengthening faith and establishing the confession. There are shorter pieces he gave at the Council of Ephesus, twelve in number, a Book of Treasures, and a book called Hermes.

[p. 647]

            Severus, Patriarch of Antioch[31] He has chapters on strengthening the orthodox faith, which are mentioned in his Vita, and some remarks on interpreting certain passages in the holy Gospels.

            Dionysius the Pauline [Disciple], the Athenian[32] He has a book mentioning the upper orders, angelic ranks, priestly levels; a letter he sent to Timothy, Paul’s disciple, to console him about the martyrdom of Paul, the supporting apostle [rasūl], the teacher of both of them, as well as of Peter the apostle [salīḥ].

            Mar Ephrem the Syrian, the Monk[33] He has a famous book of homilies and sermons, in which the Fathers who are solitary monks study, and from which the eminent and devoted ascetics quote; the number of homilies is fifty-two. At the end of the book is a eulogy[34] that Gregory, Basil’s brother, delivered for him as a funeral oration, mentioning his exploits and prestige.

            Mar Isaac the Syrian, his Disciple[35] He has a well known book of homilies, and it is among those the monks rely on for its sayings and the deeds which they imitate; in it are many bits of divine wisdom and spiritual instruction. There are forty homilies and forty separate sayings. The deacon ‘Abdallāh ibn al-Faḍl[36] translated it from Syriac into Arabic.

            St. Antony, the Father of Monks[37] It is said that he has some twenty-odd letters, and they are in his monastery in the desert, in Coptic, not having been translated into Arabic. In them are glorious benefits and beautiful and useful commandments. He also has commandments in the Canons of Monasticism and Guide for Monks.

[p. 648]

            St. Shenute of Upper Egypt[38] He has many exquisite sermons with illuminating teachings and esteemed spiritual philosophy. A number of them are in Upper Egypt [al-ṣa‘īd] in [Sahidic] Coptic; some have been translated into Bohairic Coptic, some into Arabic.

            The Spiritual Master, whose name is hidden, but whose knowledge is manifest He has a glorious book containing fifteen homilies, forty-eight letters, three treatises, and five question-documents in two letters with his seal on them.

            Mar Simon the Stylite[39] He has a book of treatises, numbering thirty-six, answers to questions asked of him, numbering forty-one, and fifteen sayings.

            Epiphanius, Bishop of Cyprus[40] He has a book called al-haujal, but it is said that the name is actually al-aujal, which is the Coptic word ⲉⲩϫⲁⲗ, meaning “anchor,” and it contains...[41] He also has a Hexaemeron, an explanation of the first six days.

            Severianus, Bishop of Gabala[42] He also has a Hexaemeron.

            Eusebius of Casarea[43] He has explanations on passages of the holy Gospels and other separate religious treatises.

[p. 649]

            Master Abū Zakaryā Yaḥyā ibn ‘Adī[44] His writings are:

1. An answer to the book of Abū ‘Īsā al-Warrāq on the elements of religion and the Trinity and unity.

2. A letter in answer to the Nestorians, and within it are eleven questions to them and against them; following these comes an additional part on the subject. Abū al-Qāsim ibn Ḥabīb asked him to put it down in writing.

3. A treatise confirming the error of that proud Nestorian in the discussion [kalām] of Abū al-Ḥusayn, known as Ramaq, which he spoke in support of Nestorianism.

4. A treatise corroborating the truth of the Gospel with proof and evidence.

            Master Abū Isḥāq Ibrāhīm ibn Zur‘ah, his Disciple[45] His writings are:

1. A letter on the correctness of Christianity and the corruption of Judaism.

2. A letter on mentioning the Trinity, and that Christians have never mentioned the unity [al-tawḥīd] apart from it.

3. A treatise on the fact that the Jacobites are free of the charge of having said that sufferings came upon the substance [ḏāt] of the eternal Son.

4. A treatise on four investigations into the union that Christians claim.

5. Answers to the book of Abū al-Qāsim[46] al-Balḫī entitled The First Parts of Indication, in which he wrote against the Christians.

6. A treatise he relates to Abū Zakaryā, his master, on which he advised him concerning the views he set down concerning the intellect [‘aql], and that it is composite.

7. Answers to questions that Abū Ḥalīm al-Buḥṯurī, of Mayyāfāriqīn,[47] asked him.

            The Eminent Hermes, the Sage[48] He has a letter in which he addresses the soul and which contains philosophical wisdom, spiritual admonitions, and rational analogies. It has fourteen chapters and is called The Letter of Meanings.

[p. 650]

Nestorians in the East and Elsewhere

            ‘Ammār al-Baṣrī[49] He has a Book of Proof on Religion for the direction of divine guidance; also a Book of Questions and Answers with four main sections and a total of 102 questions: § 1, twenty-eight questions; § 2, fourteen questions; § 3, nine questions; § 4, fifty-one questions.

            ‘Amr ibn Mattā of Tirhan[50] He has a Book of the Tower [mijdal], for seeing clearly and debating[51]—the meaning of mijdal is tower [burj]. It has two parts, containing thirty sections in seven chapters:

1. The edifice, one section.

2. The declaration, three sections:

a. The unity of God (may he be exalted!).

b.  Belief in the union of the Word with man, and the appearance of the Christ as born.

c. Faith in God and the Trinity of his hypostases.[52]

3. The foundations, four sections:

a. On the glory of baptism.

b. On the majesty of the Eucharist[53] of bread and wine.

c. Evidence from the Gospel on [Jesus’] divinity and humanity.

d. On the nobility of the form of the cross.

4. The lamps, seven sections:

a. The beauties of piety.

b. The blessings of love.

c. The virtues of prayer.

d. The distinctions[54] of fasting.

e. The benefits of prayer.

f. The merits of modesty.

g. The greatnesses of chastity.

5. The columns, seven sections:

a. The attraction[55] of the world.

b. The truth of the resurrection,[56] the reckoning, punishment, and recompense. (This is the end of the first part.)

c. The assertion that Isaac was slaughtered. (This is the beginning of the second part.)

d. Setting up the proofs of Christ’s coming.

e. Taking ordinances, practices, and rules from the apostles and their successors.

f. The establishment of faith, and the invalidation of religion’s heresies.

g. The books of the Old and New Testaments.

6. Little streams, four sections:

a. On bowing toward the east.

b. On revering Sunday.

c. On fastening belts on the waist, the burning of lamps, incense, and singing Psalms.

d. On receiving repentance.

7. Gardens, four sections:

a. On abstaining from circumcision.

b. On the cancellation of work on Saturday.

c. On the release from foods at first forbidden.

d. Reprimanding the Jews and demonstrating.

[p. 651]

their slander.

That is the end of the book. In it are [mentioned] some of the views of people that should be avoided and require caution. Much of these the author presents in chapter five, section five, containing the part, “Taking ordinances, practices, and rules from the pure apostles and the Fathers following them.” A great part[57] of the book is packed with mention of the catholicoi of the east, and with information about them. Whoever wishes to extract any of the benefits that this book contains, let him not be worried about [meeting] his aims.

            Ibrāhīm ibn ‘Awn, the Shoemaker [al-iskāf][58] He has a book called The Solution to Doubts, which some Jews presented against the Christian Scriptures as being inconsistent, and the cancellation of such allegations. The number of chapters in the book is 127.

            The Sage, Yaḥyā al-Askalānī[58a] He has a book called The Coming About of the World, and it is useful for eliminating doubt occurring to the mind with the claim of its pre-existence.

            The Master, Yaḥyā ibn Ḥarīz He has a treatise On the Priest and the Priesthood.

            [Theodore] Abū Qurrah, Bishop of Ḥarrān[59] He has a famous Debate and treatises.

            Mar Elias, Metropolitan of Nisibis[60] He has a letter on abstinence that he sent to his brother, Abū Sa‘īd Manṣūr, and he adorned it with rare information and exploits coming from sages and monks, eloquent in composition and excellent in writing. He also has a letter On the Trinity and Unity, and a number of other letters. He is counted among virtuous men.[61]

[p. 652]

            The Sage, Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq, the Physician[62] He has a treatise On How to Grasp Truth in Religion.

            Israel, Bishop of Kaskar[63] He has a book On the Basic Elements of Religion.

            Thaddaeus of Edessa[64] He lived on the island of Bakrīn among the islands of the Red Sea. He has a book called The Teacher and the Student, containing forty-three treatises.

            Paul of Baṣra, Metropolitan of Nisibis[65] He has a letter, in which he included what happened to him in his debate with Justinian, the Byzantine emperor, on the basic elements of religion; when he summoned him, he wrote the letter to Qisway, the emperor’s physician.

            Elias, Bishop of Edessa[66] He has a treatise on the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew.

            Cyriacus the Great[67] He has a discussion in which he explains some sections of Paul’s epistles, and other things.

            Theodore the Interpreter, of the Teachers of the Syrians[68] He has a commentary on some of the Pauline Epistles and Apostolic Narratives [qiṣaṣ].[69]

            And well known in his sect for his distinguished knowledge is

[p. 653]

            Presbyter Abū al-Faraj ibn al-Ṭayyib,[70] scribe of Catholicos Timothy. He has

1. A collected Commentary on the Holy Gospels. Some Jacobites revised it and removed the phrases consistent with a Nestorian view. Afterward, a number of copies were made from it with an eye to the virtues and thoughts in it that take in the whole of it.[71]

2. The Jurisprudence of Christianity, containing ecclesiastical canons and eastern and western synods. A catalog of what it contains has already been given following the canons.

3. A treatise On Repentance, with a summary of what it means and its divisions, fourteen chapters.

4. A book entitled The Paradise of the Church.

5. A number of works besides these.


            Antiochus the monk,[72] from the Monastery of Sabas[73] in Jerusalem. He has a book, The Collector, and it is called The Πανδέκτης [receiver of all]. It contains the principles of religion and its branches in sixty-three treatises. The Jacobites have abridged it so that there is nothing [doctrinally] suspect in it, and written it down.

            Yuḥannā, head of the Mt. Sinai Monastery. He has a book, The Ladder of Virtues. He wrote it and sent it to Yuḥannā, head of the Raitu Monastery. It contains thirty “steps.” Most of it pertains to monasticism and monks. It is also called the Step-book.

            The Presbyter Abū ‘Alī ibn Yumn,[74] the physician. He has a useful treatise on the essence of the belief of the Christians.

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The Later and Contemporary Jacobites

            Anba Severus ibn al-Muqaffa‘, Bishop of al-Ašmūnein, the Egyptian writer[75] The number of his works is 26.

1. On the Unity.

2. On the Joining [of God and man].

3. The Splendid [Book]: On Answering the Jews and Mu‘tazilites.

4. The Eloquent [Book] (on the same thing).

5. An Answer to Sa‘īd ibn Baṭrīq,[76] the Melkite Patriarch, known as ibn al-Farrāš, the author of a History.

6. The Explanation and Detailed Statement in Answer to Nestorius and his Followers.

7. A Letter on Religion, which he wrote to the writer Abū al-Yumn Quzmān ibn Mīnā.

8. Stringing together of Jewel[77] and Pearls, in answer to the doctrine of fate and divine decree.

9. The Councils.

10. Medicine for Grief, Healing for Sorrow, and the Reformation of Morals.

11. The Synods.

12. Explanation of the Orthodox Faith.

13. A Letter on the State of Children of Believers and Unbelievers, and How the Soul May Stand at the Judgement.

14. The Faculty of Sight [or Reason], i.e. the Lamp of the Intellect.

15. The Trip.

16. The Victory.

17. The Arrangement of the Priesthood, i.e. Information on Ranks in the Church.

18. On the Distinction of the Sects.

19. Judgements.

20. The Explanation of the Joining [of God and man] and the Doctrine of the Incarnation of the Lord—Glory to him!

21. Commentary on the Holy Gospels.

22. Answers to Questions of ibn Jārūd.

23. Explanation of the Principles of Religion, the Arrangement of the Service, the Incense, the Sign of the Cross, and the Family Relationships of the Lady [Mary].

24. The Book of Brief Explanation on the Faith.

25. The Book of Proverbs and Symbols.

26. The Book of Instructions on Confession of Sins.

            Anba Michael, Metropolitan[78] of Dumyāṭ[79] He has a book he called The Aim of Those who have sought Salvation and Deliverance for Themselves at the Day of Reckoning,

[p. 655]

containing five chapters and comprising 24 sections.

1. On the incarnation of God, the Word, and that he is one person [qunūm] and one nature. The number of its sections is four:

a. The confirmation of his being single in person.

b. The confirmation of his being single in nature [ṭabī‘ah], i.e. essence [jawhar].

c. His being single in wish and will.

d. The division between his specific sonship and other kinds.

2. The definition of the body in which the person [uqnūm] of God the Word was incarnated. Four sections:

a. On the fact that the body is a person [uqnūm] with a nature.

b. On the fact that the body is from the Holy Spirit.

c. On the fact that the form [of the body] is from Mary, the divine Virgin.

d. On the fact that his appearance is from this body and from the Holy Spirit.

3. On the fact that the body is the body of God. Two sections:

a. The confirmation of the body according to what has been explained.

b. The charge of unbelief against those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit, from whom the body of God comes.

4. On the fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he should not be called “man,” but “God.” Four sections:

a. The confirmation of the Word becoming a body, and the body a word.

b. On the fact that Jesus is the Son of God.

c. On the fact that the one who worked the miracle is the same as the one who worked weakness.[80]

d. On the fact that his words and deeds both proceed from one indivisible person.

He also made a collection of canons divided into chapters.

            Anba Peter, Bishop of Malīj[81] He has a book he called The Innovations [bida‘][82] of the Sects; it is also called The Divisions. It includes mention of the innovations of the Nestorians, Melkites, and Syrians, with a response against them. The first of its chapters, after the introduction, is

The response to the Melkites

1. On the unbelief they charge us with, regarding our doctrine of one nature [ṭabī‘ah] and one essence [jawhar], one act and one will.

2. The second response: On

[p. 656]

their rebuke of us for [making the sign of] the cross with one finger, and their error in [making it with] two fingers.

3. The third response: They say that, when we recite the trishagion, we relate the nativity, the crucifixion, and the resurrection to the Trinity.

4. The fourth response: Their response to us for putting the chrism into the baptismal water.

5. The fifth response: They say we disdain the Eucharist by taking it every day.

6. The sixth response: On their response to us concerning circumcision.

7. The seventh response: On their response to us [concerning] the marriage of close relations.

8. The eighth response: On their response to us [concerning] the consecration of a deacon when he is young, and his marriage after he is consecrated.

9. The ninth response: On their response to us concerning the burial of our dead without the Eucharist.

10. The tenth response: On their response concerning our fasting during the week before Quadragesima,[83] on the assumption that we reckon it from the whole.

            Following that is the mention of what the aforementioned sect believes that is different from the Church’s traditions [sunan].[84]

1. The first difference of theirs is regarding the offering up of the Host[85] cold, from yesterday or before.

2. That they cut the Host in a round form.

3. On offering up the Host.

4. That, most of the time, they do the Mass with no deacon.

5. That they read nothing from the Epistles or Gospel [sic] at their baptisms.

6. That they baptize in dwelling places.

7. That they do marriage in two parts: a) they practice open fornication in their lands; b) related to this they do it in Egypt, Syria [al-Šām], and elsewhere.

8. That they break their fast on Wednesday and Friday most of the time during the year on the pretext of feast days not belonging to the Lord.

9. That they break their fast on Wednesday and Friday of the Ninevite[86] week. Their food then is meat, and the food of monks is eggs and cheese.

10. Concerning their fast on the feast day of the cross, which is celebrated the 17th of Tūt,[87] which is the 14th of Ēlul.

11. During the holy Quadragesima, their food is fish, and their drink is wine [nabīḏ]; some do this for the entire Quadragesima, some only on Saturday and Sunday, some only on the feast day of the Forty Martyrs and the Annunciation. Their difference in this is from what gives assurance to [the idea of] the permanence of all their sins[88] during this time.

12. That they forsake obeisance[89] in prayer.

13. That they differ concerning the feast day of Epiphany, neglect most of its duties, and think little of its vigil.[90]

14. That they consider the other Christian denominations inferior and criticize them.

[p. 657]

15. The fact that their monks throw the qalansuwa,[91] which is called in the church the helmet of salvation,[92] from their heads after the priest puts it on them.

16. That their monks, when they throw off the qalansuwa, took a cloth, called the shoulder-piece, attaching it on their necks with a cord, and putting something else like a belt—which they call al-busṭulikīn [ἀποστολικήν], which means “apostolic” [al-rasūlī]—with it on their head.

17. That they let their hair grow on their heads, even their monks.

18. The significant belief of the people of Syria [ahl al-Šām], in their ignorance of the unity,[93] when they refuse to say that the crucified one is God the Word.

19. Their Mass is in a low estate,[94] and the Europeans,[95] Armenians, the Syrians [suryān al-Šām], etc., have agreed with them in this error.

20. That the reader[96] reads the Gospel only in Arabic, with no substitution.

The mention of the innovations of the Europeans

1. That they hold to two natures and essences, two actions and wills, like the Melkites.

2. Their addition to the faith [i.e. Creed] the 150 [Fathers] wrote down in Constantinople, with the words, “proceeding from the Father and the Son.”

3. Their difference in the matter of baptism, that they commit four defective practices in it:

a. That they do not put chrism in the baptism.

b. That they omit the sign [of the Cross] at the time of the baptism.

c. That they pray over the baptismal water and close the doors over it; and whoever is intent on baptism is baptized until [the water] dries, then they get rid of it and do something else [with it?].

d. That they do not give communion to the [newly] baptized, but put salt with a little spit into his hand.

4. On the Eucharist, and more than one difference is in it:

a. On the unleavened bread; he [the author] has obtained information about the failure of their pretexts in this matter with fourteen proofs.

b. On offering up the Eucharist cold: a day or two old, or more, even months old.

5. That a presbyter among them may celebrate two or three Masses in a single day on the same altar.

6. That their priests rinse their mouth[97] before the Mass three times and clean their teeth with their fingers.

7. That they consecrate a presbyter when he is young.

8. That they prohibit the marriage of a presbyter.

9. That their priests have sex with “foreign” women[98] on the pretext of the service.

10. That a presbyter among them may become a rider, enter battle, and shed

[p. 658]


11. That they break their fast on Monday and Tuesday at the start of the holy Quadragesima.

12. That they always break their fast on Wednesday and eat meat then.

13. Their Saturday fast.

14. That they eat blood, dead animals, strangled animals, and things torn by predators.[99]

15. That their high priests eat meat, and their monks fat.

16. That they eat of the sacrifices of the Jews.

17. That they forsake the Eucharist a number of years.

18. The fact that the Pope, when he celebrates the Mass, does not drink the blood except from a chalice[100] of gold or some similar material.

19. On marriage, and there are two parts to it:

a. That men take women without prayer or crown[101] and are given children; then, if they wish, they are crowned with them, yet if they do not wish, they do not take the trouble.

b. That they permit a fourth marriage.

20. That they consider images as idols.

21. On their baptizing believers a second time.

22. That they abandon the baptism of their slaves and prisoners with them, on the assumption that it would prevent them from utilizing them.

23. That they shave their beards.

24. That they enter the baths with their genitals exposed.

25. That they enter the bath with women.

26. That they kill those who disagree with them, or disown them.

27. That they alter the texts of the books[102] and reject them.

The mention of the innovations of the Armenians

1. That they offer up the Host unleavened.

2. That they offer the wine unmixed.

3. That their high priests take ordination to the priesthood for money.

4. The fact that they substitute sesame oil for olive oil in the chrism.

5. That they consecrate a presbyter when he is young.

6. That a priest takes silver from a confessor, claiming he will forgive his sins.

7. The fact that a presbyter celebrates the Mass without a deacon.

8. That they forsake the Eucharist for long periods of time.

9. That they abstain from fat, but eat other simple foods, and claim that they are fasting.

10. That they eat eggs and cheese on Holy Saturday.[103]

11. That their priests let their hair grow long and leave it unkempt on their shoulders.

12. That their monks and high priests eat meat.

13. The fact that they do not celebrate the feast day of the Nativity with other Christians, but fast from that day

[p. 659]

until the tenth of Ṭūbah,[104] then they hold the Mass in the evening and celebrate the Nativity, then Epiphany the next day.

14. That they do obeisance on Sundays, feast days, and the time of Pentecost.

15. That a priest among them sacrifices[105] with his own hand for the people, then they call to him for it, and he takes of the sacrifice the part assigned to him.

16. That they prohibit the wife of a presbyter to remarry[106] after his death, even if she is a young woman.

17. That they differ from the rest of the believers regarding the Fast of the Apostles:[107] they fixed forty days for them, eating fat a week during the time, with a week in which they eat until the end of it.[108]

The mention of the Innovations of the Syrians [al-suryān]

1. The oil and salt which they use in the Eucharist.

2. That they consecrate a bishop under twenty-five years old.

3. That they believe the night precedes the day.[109]

4. That they convey bishops from see to see, adding some to others.

            The Book of Innovations is ended.

            Anba Agathon, Metropolitan of Homs[110] He has a book, The Elucidation of the Faith and the Secret [or Sacrament][111] of the Priesthood. He made it as an apology concerning his having sought from the Patriarch [?][112] the authority of the priesthood in Homs, and that a reduction in his status was not necessary.

            Patriarch Anba Cyril ibn Laqlaq[113] He has a Disputation with a group of eminent Muslims in the majlis[114] of the perfect king, Ibn al-‘Ādil ibn Ayyūb. Also present at the disputation was the presbyter, Būlus al-Būšī.

            Būlus al-Būšī,[115] Bishop of Cairo. He has seven excellent homilies on the feast days of the Lord.

[p. 660]

            Yu’annis, Bishop of Sammanūd[116] He has an Introduction and Ladder, for the interpretation of Coptic and its grammar.[117]

            Al-Mu’taman Abū Isḥāq ibn al-‘Assāl[118] He has:

1. Collection of the Principles of Religion and What was Heard of the Result of Certainty, seventy chapters in two parts.

2. The Abridged Instruction, sixteen chapters in two sections.

3. The Mores of the Church, six chapters.

4. A number of sermons for the feast days of the Lord and other times.

5. The Rhymed Ladder and Purified Gold of its Speech, on the interpretation of Coptic into Arabic.

            Al-Ṣafī Abū al-Faḍā’il,[119] his brother. He has:

1. A book of sound [arguments] in answer to words of advice; it is called The Pursuit of the Path in Answering the Embarrassment brought by one reckless [in reading] the Gospel. The book has two parts. Part one, with fifteen sections:

1. On the presentation of the book, and its cause.

2. On the useful principles of this answer (10).

3. On the fruits of the aforementioned[120] principles.

4. On the answer [jawāb] to the presentation of the reply [al-radd].

5. On the answer to the seven questions.

6. The answer of one that professes the habitation,[121] etc.

7. The answer in reply to the Catholic Faith, etc.

8. An answer in four aspects.

9. On designating Christ as God, etc.

10. That the simple spiritual person is not said to be within the body, nor outside of it, but only in terms of likeness, etc.

11. On the cancellation of sin and death, etc.

12. On his question about the king, etc.

13. An answer to what he alleged of inconsistency in the Gospel, etc.

14. On glorifying the Cross, and what comes afterward.

15. On the fact that the adversary moved about with one cause, [but was] ineffectual, etc.

The second part: The beginning is on the cause of the book and on the answer in summary form; following this are five principles:

1. On the unity.

2. On sonship and Christ generally, etc.

3. On the addition[122] and address

[p. 661 ]

to the soul, etc.

4. On the likeness of the crucifixion and Peter’s doubt, etc.

5. The answer concerning [the verse] “Altogether, twelve great men[123] were born to Ishmael,”[124] etc., until he concludes this principle with the reason of being forbidden from receiving anyone who comes other than in the law of Christ.[125]

2. An abridged collection of canons.

3. An abridgment of that abridgment, called Competence for Beginners in the Study of Canons.

4. He also has an answer he wrote to the discussion of ‘Abd Allāh al-Nāšī in essays,[126] and it is [called] The Middle Book. Al-Ṣafī abridged part of his discussion and answered it usefully for those that look into it.

            Yuḥannā ibn Severus, the writer[127] He has a Book of Knowledge and Purpose, and it is an essay containing ten chapters.

            Sim‘ān ibn Macarius, the monk, known as Ibn Kalīl[128] He has a book, The Garden of the Solitary and Consolation of the Hermit, twelve sayings.[129]

            Peter the Armenian, presbyter and monk, of Sadmant[130] He has a book, The Confirmation of the Faith, concerning the Sufferings of Christ the Lord, and the Explanation of the Truth in Him from a Correct Perspective.

            The Presbyter, Al-Rašīd Abū Al-Ḫayr, the physician[131] He has exhortations and a book on the principles of religion. It is said that he composed the book to answer

[p. 662]

the book of the dissidents, but he fell short of this rank and slipped into reproof and difficulty,[132] and he was accused of having a corrupt view in his doctrine.

            Al-‘Alam ibn Kātib Qaysar[133] He has an Introduction to the Grammar of Coptic.

            Al-Ṯiqah ibn al-Dahrī [or al-Duhayrī], the writer[134] He has a similar excellent Introduction; perhaps this is the one that Cyril ibn Laqlaq, metropolitan of Dumyāṭ, preferred.

            Al-Nušū Abū Šākir al-Musannā,[135] the Monk, Son of the Abbess[136] He put together a book and called it The Book of Healing: On the Discovery of what is Hidden and Missing of the Divinity of Christ. He says it contains three main parts and two epilogues; it branches out from each main part to a beginning, theories, and a final result. He also put together a History that he worked hard on, and he included in it many views of the historians and substance dedicated to religious knowledge.

Some Writers and Authors in the Noble Denomination whose Time Period is not Confirmed

            Eustathius the monk[137] He has a Book of Explanation. In it, he answers some philosophers from a letter [one] wrote to him expressing a preference for the view of the “uniters” [al-mu’aḥḥidīn], like the Jews and those similar to them, of those who have not professed multiplicity [al-takṯīr] according to the view of the Christians, preferring the former to the latter.

[p. 663]

            The Book of Barlām and Yuwāṣif,[138] the son of Abṯīr, the unbelieving king. It[139] contains what happened with reference to Yuwāṣif’s move to the religion of Christianity; then his father also made the move after what happened with him with reference to the resistance of the Christians and the worship of idols in the countries of his rule in India; and [it contains] the questions of al-Mahdī to the Catholicos (twelve in number), with the answers to them, which pertain to belief and its progress.

            The works of an individual that converted to Christianity—after his baptism, he was named Yuḥannā, and is known as Ibn Rajā[140]—include The Lives of the Patriarchs. St. Mercurius brought it from the plain of Mecca to his church in Egypt. He composed four [other] books:

1. On confession, and he called it The Clear [Book].

2. Choice Selections of the Interpreters and the Corruption of the Dissidents.

3. The Disclosure of the Concealed.

4. His biography.

            Chapters Connected with the the Fathers [and] Monks in the Monastery of Bū Maqār[141] With these [chapters], they answered a letter sent to them by an individual named Isḥāq ibn Pachomius from Būra. He asked them for an answer to it, and they responded with a clarification of the corrupt belief of the Chalcedonians and Nestorians, and the correctness of the Jacobite view. They included 100 sections in it.[142]

[p. 664]

            The Book of the Fathers’ Confession[143] It is called The Faith of the Holy Fathers, which is collected from homilies and letters of the Catholic, Apostolic [Church], and the explanation of the faith from each one of them, from the words of the twelve apostles, Paul the chosen [vessel],[144] James the brother of the Lord[145] in the body, the seven deacons together with the rest of the seventy-two disciples, and the Fathers, their successors, who came after them, generation after generation, down to the time of Anba Christodoulos, the 66th of the Alexandrian patriarchs. The number of speakers in it is sixty-six: fifty-seven of whose sayings are on the faith, with nine that excommunicated those that overstepped the faith. The last of those mentioned in it is Christodoulos, Patriarch of Alexandria. Here are their names and the number of their sayings:

The Didascalia, the Mystagogia: 2 sayings.

Barnabas, disciple of the apostles, Bishop of ‘Adan: 2.

Atticus, disciple of the apostles, Patriarch of Byzantium: 1.

Archelaus, disciple of the apostles, Bishop of [Beth?] Lafaṭ: 1.

Dionysius, Bishop of Athens: 1.

Ignatius, the disciple, Patriarch of Antioch: 1.

Gregory the Wonderworker, Bishop of [Neo-]Caesaraea: 2.

Gregory, Bishop of the Armenians: 3.[146]

Alexander, Patriarch of Alexandria: 2.

The 318 at Nicaea: 2.

Athanasius, the apostolic: 17 sayings.

Basil, Bishop of Caesarea: 5.

Gregory, his brother: 4.

Felix, the martyr, Patriarch of Rome: 3.

Paul, Patriarch of Rome: 8.

Maṭūlīqas [?],[147] its [Rome’s] Patriarch: 1.

[p. 665]

Salūsīus [?],[148] its [Rome’s] Patriarch: 1.

Natalius, its [Rome’s] Patriarch: 1.

Mar Efrem the Syrian: 5.

Proclus,[149] Bishop of Cyzicus, and appointed Patriarch over Constantinople, after the excommunication of Nestorius: 11 sayings.

Severian, Bishop of Gabala: 1.

Aphrosius, Bishop of the Armenians: 2.

John, Bishop of Jerusalem: 1.

Theodotus: Bishop of Ancyra: 8.

Epiphanius, Bishop of Cyprus, from the Book of the Anchor:[150] 16.

Gregory, the speaker in theology, transferred from the bishopric of Nazianz to the patriarchate of Constantinople after the excommunication of Macedonius: 5.

John Chrysostom: 30.

Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria: 2.

Cyril, its [Alexandria’s] Patriarch: 52.

Theodosius, its [Alexandria’s] Patriarch: 3.

Severus of Antioch: 9.

Jacob, Bishop of Sarug: 4.

Benjamin of Alexandria: 1.

John, its [Alexandria’s] Patriarch: 1.

Cyriacus of Antioch: 1.

Theodosius of Antioch: 1.

Dionysius, its [Antioch’s] Patriarch: 1.

Gabriel of Alexandria: 1.

Quzmān, its [Alexandria’s] Patriarch: 2.

Basil of Antioch: 1.

Macarius of Alexandria: 1.

Dionysius of Antioch: 1.

Menas of Alexandria: 1.

[p. 666]

Dionysius of Antioch: 1.

John, its [Antioch’s] Patriarch: 2.

Philotheus of Alexandria: 2.

Athanasius of Antioch: 1.

John, its [Antioch’s] Patriarch: 2.

Zacharias of Alexandria: 4.

Shenute, its [Antioch’s] Patriarch: 1.

Dionysius of Antioch: 1.

Christodoulos of Alexandria: 1.

John of Antioch: 4.

Christodoulos of Alexandria: 5.

Ḥabīb, also known as Abū Rā’iṭa, Bishop of Takrit: 3.

Abū Zakaryā, Yaḥyā ibn ‘Adī, from his letter to Abū al-Ḥasan al-Qasim ibn Ḥabīb, a response to Nestorianism: 1.

[Those involved with]Excommunication:

Gregory the Wonderworker: 12 sayings.

Julian, Patriarch of Rome: 6.

Vitalius,[151] its [Rome’s] Patriarch: 5.

Gregory the Theologian: 12.

Cyril, the wise, of Alexandria: 12.

Theodosius, its [Alexandria’s] Patriarch: 5.

John, Bishop of Al-Burlus: 13.

[Total:] 65.

            The Book of Paradise [Barādīsūs] Information on monks and relics of worshippers: their way of life and struggle [jihād]. The interpretation of it [Barādīsūs], is “garden” [bustān].

            Questions and Answers on Concepts of the Faith, by ‘Abd al-Masīḥ, known as Ibn Nūḥ.[152]


Ended is that which is known of the writings of the Christian Faith.[153]

Glory to God always!

[1] This file and its contents are hereby placed in the public domain.

[2] The vocalization of the last part of his name is sometimes also seen as Kabr and Kubr. On Abū al-Barakat, see GCAL II 438-445. GCAL = Georg Graf, Geschichte der christlichen arabischen Literatur; vols. 1 and 2 (Vatican City, 1944, 1947) only are cited below.

[3] Page [5] in the work cited in the following note.

[4] The first two chapters of his work are also edited, with French translation, in Dom Louis Villecourt, ed. and trans. (with Eugčne Tisserant and Gaston Wiet) Livre de la lampe des ténčbres et de l’exposition (lumineuse) du service (de l’église) / par Abū’l-Barakāt connu sous le nom d’Ibn Kabar (Patrologia Orientalis 20.4; Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1928). See also below on Fr. Samir’s edition of the work.

[5] On Riedel’s edition: “leider nicht ohne manche Mängel der Textgestaltung und mit noch mehr Ungenauigkeiten in der Übersetzung” (GCAL I 9).

[6] Samir Khalil Samir, ed., Ibn Kabar, Abū al-Barakāt, Miṣbāḥ al-ẓulma fī iḍāḥ al-khidma, 2 vols. (Cairo: Maktabat al-Karuz, 1971-1998).

[7] In English, note the following sources. For Greek writers: Johannes Quasten, Patrology, vols. 1-3 (Utrecht: Sprectrum, 1953-60), and Hubertus Drobner, The Fathers of the Church: A Comprehensive Introduction, trans. Siegfried S. Schatzmann (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2007), and Angelo di Berardino, ed., Patrology: The Eastern Fathers from the Council of Chalcedon (451) to John of Damascus († 750), trans. Adrian Walford (Cambridge: James Clarke, 2006). For Syriac writers: William Wright, A Short History of Syriac Literature (London, 1894; reprint, Piscataway: Gorgias, 2001), Ignatius Aphram I Barsoum, The Scattered Pearls: A History of Syriac Literature and Sciences, 2d rev. ed., trans. Matti Moosa (Piscataway: Gorgias Press, 2003), and Sebastian P. Brock, A Short History of Syriac Literature (Mōrān ‘Eth’ō 9, Kottayam, 1997).

[8] This paragraph functions as a description for the seventh chapter of the work. The first sentence is incomplete. I have been less literal in the translation than I would have liked, but the writer’s style necessitated it.

[9] Reading لنحاط with R (i.e. the Vatican and Borgia mss.); similarly with the following verb, reading نزداد with D.

[10] With R.

[11] GCAL I 302-04.

[12] That is, the bishops present at the Council of Nicea in 325.

[13] GCAL I 306-08.

[14] GCAL I 337-55.

[15] GCAL I 330-32. Editions of th Syriac and Arabic translations of many of Gregory Nazianzen’s orations have appeared in recent years in the Corpus Christianorum, Series Graeca (Corpus Nazianzenum) (Turnhout: Brepols).

[16] The grammar (esp. gender confusion) and arrangement of this paragraph is unfortunately not very clear, and I propose the interpretation here rather tentatively. Riedel’s German translation reads as follows in English: “This index was collated and has been corrected in the copied manuscript, which was by the pen of Anba Joseph, bishop of Fuwwa, according to content under the name ‘the Theologian.’”

[17] The author uses a Syriac-Aramaic word here ultimately of Hebrew origin (see E. Cook, A Glossary of Targum Onkelos [Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2008], p. 216 s.v. עצרא) and then gives the Greek word πεντηκοστή to further explain it. See also G. Graf, Verzeichnis der arabischer kirchlicher Termini, CSCO 147/Subs. 8 (Louvain, 1954), p. 80.

[18] There is an extra note here in the ms. that says Ibrāhīm ibn Yuḥannā was very sick, lazy, or stupid (cf. Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon, vol. 1, p. 343 s.v. ثَقُلَ). Without a context the meaning is unsure.

[19] At the Council of Constantinople (381).

[20] Cf. no. 2 below under Gregory, the brother of Basil of Caesarea, and no. 4 under Basil.

[21] Riedel takes this to be equivalent to ὁ πάνυ, but it is not obvious that this is correct.

[22] GCAL I 332-35.

[23] Ḥunayn has his own (brief) entry below.

[24] I have followed Riedel’s interpretation of ديار دار سبا as دناوقساريا.

[25] GCAL I 308-09.

[26] GCAL I 319-29.

[27] GCAL I 310-16.

[28] The word here is nisbah. Apparently what is meant is the size of each group of Psalms in relation to the others.

[29] Riedel translates this word (انباء) “prophecy”. The roots of these words are similar, but the word here derives from نبأ, rather than نبي, so I have translated accordingly. Alternatives are “news, information.”

[30] GCAL I 358-65.

[31] GCAL I 418-20.

[32] GCAL I 370-71.

[33] GCAL I 421-33.

[34] Reading مدحة for مديحة of Riedel’s text.

[35] GCAL I 436-42.

[36] GCAL II 52-64.

[37] GCAL I 456-9.

[38] GCAL I 461-4.

[39] GCAL I 404-5.

[40] GCAL I 356-8.

[41] There is a lacuna here.

[42] GCAL I 355-6.

[43] GCAL I 318-9.

[44] GCAL II 233-49. See also Robert Henry DeValve, The Apologetic Writings of Yaḥyā b. ‘Adī, Ph.D. dissertation, Hartford Seminary, 1973, and Sidney H. Griffith, Yaḥyā ibn ‘Adī. The Reformation of Christian Morals (Eastern Christian Texts; Provo: BYU Press, 2002).

[45] GCAL II 252-6.

[46] The name is actually given as القسم in Riedel’s text.

[47] Cf. no. 3 in Graf’s list of ibn Zur‘ah’s works, given as “Response to the Five Questions of Yūsuf ibn al-Buḥairī, called Abū Ḥakīm of Mayyāfāriqīn,” i.e. where the work is addressed to a slightly differently named individual.

[48] GCAL I 389. See also Kevin Thomas Van Bladel, The Arabic Hermes: From Pagan Sage to Prophet of Science (Oxford Studies in Late Antiquity; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009) .

[49] GCAL II 210-11. See also S. H. Griffith, “‘Ammār al-Baṣrī’s Kitāb al-Burhān: Christian Kalām in the First Abbasid Century,” reprinted in his Beginnings of Christian Theology in Arabic: Muslim-Christian Encounters in the Early Islamic Period (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002). Wageeh Mikhail recently announced his completed translation of the Kitāb al-Burhān.

[50] GCAL II 216-17.

[51] There is a wordplay between tower [mijdal] and debating [jadal].

[52] The word is uqnūm (pl. aqānīm), a Syriac loanword (qnomā).

[53] Lit., “offering” (qurbān), as in Syriac.

[54] I.e., in the sense of “eminence, etc.”

[55] The word is jaḏb, “pull, attraction” (see Lane’s Lexicon, p. 394). Riedel translates “Ende”; while this certainly fits the context, I am not sure what he has based this meaning on.

[56] Not Jesus’, but the resurrection of end times.

[57] Reading (as, apparently, Riedel did too) معظمه, and not معظّمه of the text.

[58] GCAL II 212-3.

[58a] This is John Philoponus (GCAL I 417-18); the Arabic name derives ultimately from Syriac eskolāyā, “scholar.”

[59] GCAL II 7-26. See also John C. Lamoreaux, Theodore Abu Qurrah (Library of the Christian East; Provo: BYU Press, 2006).

[60] GCAL II 177-89.

[61] Assemani (Bibliotheca Orientalis III.1, p. 270) mentions both these and other works of Elias.

[62] GCAL II 122-9.

[63] GCAL II 155-6.

[64] GCAL II 219.

[65] Cf. Duval, Littérature syriaque, p. 349, who refers to this passage in Bibliotheca Orientalis III.1, p. 632 (and on Justinian, Bibliotheca Orientalis II, p. 89).

[66] GCAL II 219.

[67] GCAL II 227-8.

[68] GCAL I 355.

[69] The last reference is almost certainly to the book of Acts, but this is not the regular title of the book.

[70] GCAL II 160-77.

[71] I.e., provide a reasonable summary of the book’s contents in full.

[72] GCAL I 411-2.

[73] Cf. Graf, Verzeichnis, p. 64. For Sabas himself, see Joseph Patrich, Sabas, Leader of Palestinian Monasticism (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 1995).

[74] GCAL II 48-9.

[75] GCAL II 300-18. See also S. H. Griffith, “Apologetics and Historiography in the Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria: Christian Self Definition in the World of Islam,” in R. Ebied and H. Teule, eds., Studies on the Christian Arabic Heritage [Samir FS] (Peeters: Leuven, 2004), pp. 70-71, with more sources cited there.

[76] Also known as Eutychius of Alexandria (877-940).

[77] Perhaps read the pl. “jewels,” i.e. جَواهِر instead of جَوهَر.

[78] Instead of muṭrān, V has usquf, “bishop.”

[79] GCAL II 333-335.

[80] I.e., was in a humble estate. There is a wordplay here in Arabic: miracle = mu‘jiz, weakness = ‘ajz.

[81] GCAL II 340-44.

[82] On this term, the plural of bid‘ah, see (within the context of Islam) Encyclopaedia of Islam2, vol. 1 (Leiden: Brill, 1960), p. 1199.

[83] I.e. (Great) Lent.

[84] Sunnah, the plural of which we have here, is the opposite of bid‘ah (see J. Robson in the Encyclopaedia of Islam article cited above).

[85] The word here (qurbān) may refer to both elements of the Eucharist, or just the Host; cf. Graf, Verzeichnis, pp. 89-90.

[86] See (in Syriac and Latin) Bibliotheca Orientalis II, pp. 304-305 and (in Arabic in Latin) pp. 426-29 some remarks on the Ninevite fast.

[87] A Coptic month name; see Graf, Verzeichnis, p. 31.

[88] Reading خطايا for Riedel’s خطاء.

[89] The word here is sujūd, but cf. Graf, Verzeichnis, p. 58, where sijdah = προσκύνησις.

[90] A Greek loanword, παραμονή; cf. Graf, Verzeichnis, p. 19 and, for the Greek, Lampe, p. 1022.

[91] Cf. Graf, Verzeichnis, p. 92: “a cylindrical head covering for clerics.” For further discussion (including non-ecclesiastical use), see R. P. A. Dozy, Dictionnaire détaillé des noms des vętements chez les Arabes (Amsterdam, 1845), pp. 365-71.

[92] This language comes from Eph 6:17 and 1Thes 5:8.

[93] Reading بالاتحاد for Riedel’s بالايتحاد.

[94] The Arabic is bil-waṭā’, but I am not fully certain of the sense.

[95] For the use of this term (al-fi/aranj), see Encyclopaedia of Islam2, vol. 3 (Leiden: Brill, 1971), pp. 1044-46, s.v. “Ifrandj.”

[96] Another Greek loanword, ἀναγνώστης (Graf, Verzeichnis, p. 10).

[97] The verb ينمضمضون should be read يمضمضون.

[98] I.e. women they may not lawfully have sex with. For this language cf. biblical verses such as Prov 2:16, 5:3, 5:20, etc.

[99] Cf. Acts 15:20. The “dead animals” (mayyitah) are those found dead and then taken as food, and obviously not simply animals that were killed for food.

[100] The word (ṣaffārah) apparently refers to some kind of cup, so called for its yellowish/brass (ṣufr) coloring.

[101] Derivatives of “crown” are used in Christian Arabic to refer to marriage itself in its fullest sense (cf. Graf, Verzeichnis, p. 98, as well as Hans Wehr, A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, ed. J. Milton Cowan, 4t ed. [Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1979], pp. 977-78).

[102] Presumably scriptural or, at least, patristic books are meant here.

[103] I.e. the day after Good Friday.

[104] I.e. Coptic ⲧⲱⲃⲓ, which corresponds to Jan 9-Feb 7.

[105] The term is, of course, used here with reference to the Mass.

[106] يتزوّج should be read تتزوّج.

[107] Thus known in English, but Arabic “of the Disciples.”

[108] The syntax of the Arabic here is not very clear.

[109] A marginal note in one ms. has: “Anyone with sense understands that day precedes night, and no one rejects the fact except ignorant people!”

[110] GCAL II 270.

[111] Cf. Graf, Verzeichnis, p. 59; in GCAL II 71, Graf translates this part of the book’s title as “Sakrament.”

[112] The form is البتريّ.

[113] GCAL II 360-67.

[114] That is, a session or gathering for philosophical or theological discussion (kalām).

[115] GCAL II 356-60. In general also see chapter one of Shawqi N. Talia, Bűlus al-Bűši’s Arabic Commentary on the Apocalypse of St. John, Ph.D. dissertation, Catholic University of America, 1987.

[116] GCAL II 371-75.

[117] On this and the other Coptic grammatical works written in Arabic and mentioned by Abū al-Barakāt, and the role they played in familiarizing Europeans with Coptic, see Alastair Hamilton, The Copts and the West, 1439-1822: The European Discovery of the Egyptian Church (Oxford-Warburg Studies; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 199-203.

[118] GCAL II 407-414.

[119] GCAL II 388-403.

[120] Read مذكورة (not مذكور).

[121] Riedel (p. 696) guesses the reference here is to Jn 1:14 or 14:2.

[122] Or relation (iḍāfah).

[123] Reading عظيما with ms. V.

[124] Cf. Gen 25:16.

[125] Cf. perhaps Gal 6:2

[126] This phrase (fī al-maqālāt) may in fact go either with al-Ṣafī’s answer or al-Nāšī’s discussion (kalām).

[127] GCAL II 436-7.

[128] GCAL II 336-8.

[129]A note has “The presbyter, Šams al-Riyāsah, said: I am aware of a text with the title, Blessed Mores and Spiritual Parables, extracted from the book, The Garden of the Solitary and Consolation of the Hermit, the number of its chapters being twenty, but the name of its author is not indicated.”

[130] GCAL II 351-6.

[131] GCAL II 344-8.

[132] Riedel translates “Strafe,” i.e. punishment, penalty (reading عقوبة instead of عقبة?).

[133] GCAL II 379-87.

[134] GCAL II 378-9.

[135] Probably a corruption of “ibn al-Sanā.” See GCAL II 428-29 on the forms of this writer’s name.

[136] GCAL II 428-34.

[137] GCAL II 256-57.

[138] The work, which exists in several languages, is known most commonly in English as Barlaam and Josaphat; for brief treatments, see the articles in F. L. Cross, ed., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 3d ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 158; The Coptic Encyclopedia, vol. 2, pp. 346-47; and Ken Parry, et. al., eds., The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity (Oxford: Blackwell, 1999), p. 77.

[139] Before this description, one manuscript (V) has the following: “The Book of Barlām, the ascetic, and Yuwāṣif. In the aforementioned book are many questions and answers that were exchanged between Barlām, Yuwāṣif, and his father, and then between his father and the worshipers of his idols, and between him and his cupbearer. His father divided the rule between him and himself, and then returned to convert to Christianity and died. Then Yuwāṣif left royalty and died while wandering in the desert.”

[140] GCAL II 318-9.

[141] I.e. Father Macarius. Bū is a colloquial form of Abū (father).

[142] An additional note, marked as marginal originally, appears in V: “It is said: His father Pachomius sent it [the letter] to Anba Yuḥannā, the 48th of the Alexandrian patriarchs, in the year 505 of the martyrs, but he did not answer it. Its arrival to the monks was not until the year 560—55 years after it was composed. The answer to it at that time was in the days of Patriarch Anba Yūsāb, the 52nd Coptic Patriarch.”

[143] GCAL II 321-3.

[144] Cf. Acts 9:15.

[145] Gal 1:19.

[146] Commonly known as Gregory the Illuminator.

[147] A corruption of Miltiades (bishop 310-14 in Rome)? The following name might then be a corruption of Sylvester, who was bishop 314-35.

[148] See prev. note.

[149] The reading is Riedel’s conjecture.

[150] See the entry above for Epiphanius.

[151] Written Būṭālīs.

[152] GCAL II 320 (at the end of the entry on ‘Abd al-Masīḥ al-Isrā’īlī).

[153] The few vowels and diacritical marks given in this line of Riedel’s text should all be shifted one place to the right.

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