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Al-Ṣafī ibn al-ʿAssāl

(1,298 words)

Author(s): Awad, Wadi
Al-Ṣafī Abū l-Faḍāʾil Mājid ibn al-ʿAssāl Date of Birth: Unknown; second half of the 12th century Place of Birth: Cairo Date of Death: Most likely between 1253 and 1275 Place of Death: Cairo Biography Al-Ṣafī ibn al-ʿAssāl was from a rich and famous family from Miṣr (Old Cairo) (and not from Sadamant [Beni Suef] as many scholars believe). Al-Ṣafī’s father's first wife died and he  remarried. Al-Ṣafī was probably a child of the first marriage. He had a full brother, al-Asʿad, and two half-brothers from his father’s second marriag…

 Tiryāq (or Diryāq) al-ʿuqūl fī ʿilm al-uṣūl

(793 words)

Author(s): Awad, Wadi
Tiryāq al-ʿuqūl li-taḥṣīl al-uṣūlDiryāq al-ʿuqūl wa-ghāyat al-maḥṣūl fī ʿilm al-uṣūl'Antidote of the minds in the science of fundamentals' Al-Rashīd Abū l-Khayr ibn al-Ṭayyib Date: Probably after 1265 Original Language: Arabic Description The Tiryāq (or Diryāq) was probably written after 1265, as it is not mentioned by al-Muʾtaman ibn al-ʿAssāl (q.v.). It is theological, moral, liturgical and spiritual, though its ultimate intention is apologetic. It consists of a short introduction, two parts, and a relatively long conclusion. The introduction is dedicated to an anonym…

Al-Muʾtaman ibn al-ʿAssāl

(734 words)

Author(s): Awad, Wadi
Al-Muʾtaman Abū Isḥāq Ibrāhīm ibn al-ʿAssāl Date of Birth: Unknown; first quarter of the 13th century Place of Birth: Cairo Date of Death: Between 1270 and 1286 Place of Death: Cairo Biography Al-Muʾtaman Abū Isḥāq Ibrāhīm ibn al-ʿAssāl was half-brother to al-Ṣafī (q.v.) and al-Asʿad, and evidently a son of his father’s second marriage. He was a married priest in the Coptic Church. He received news of his wife’s death when he was away from Cairo, probably in Damascus. He travelled to this city on a number of occasions between about 1237 and 1260, and in 1260 he lost his li…

 Maqāla tanfī l-shakk wa-l-kufr ʿan al-Naṣārā l-muwaḥḥidīn

(239 words)

Author(s): Awad, Wadi
'Treatise denying doubt and unbelief on the part of Christians, believers in divine unity' Buṭrus al-Sadamantī Date: Unknown Original Language: Arabic Description In the only known manuscript this treatise is anonymous, so there must be some reservations about its attribution to Buṭrus. In addition, it should be noted that, while the same topics are covered in the Maqāla fī l-iʿtiqād, the terms employed are different.   The intention of the treatise is clearly apologetic. It deals with the Trinity and the divinity of Christ, the two doctrines most questioned b…

 Al-ifhām baʿd al-istibhām

(82 words)

Author(s): Awad, Wadi
‘Understanding after ambiguity’ Yūḥannā ibn Sawīrus Date: Unknown, but before Kitāb al-ʿilm wa-l-ʿamal Original Language: Arabic Description The work is no longer extant. Yūḥannā mentions it several times in Kitāb al-ʿilm wa-l-ʿamal, and it would seem that it was a theological/apologetic work, defending Christian doctrines from Islamic challenges. Significance Nothing can be said without more information about the work. Manuscripts - Editions & Translations - Studies - Keywords Chronological Category: 1100-1200 Genre & Source Type: Apologies Wadi Awad

 Jawāb al-Nāshiʾ al-Akbar

(384 words)

Author(s): Awad, Wadi
'Response to al-Nāshiʾ al-Akbar' Al-Ṣafī ibn al-ʿAssāl Date: Unknown, perhaps before 1235 Original Language: Arabic Description This work is also known by the titles Jawāb ʿAbdallāh al-Nāshiʾ fī l-Maqālāt (so al-Muʾtaman and Abū l-Barakāt), Al-radd ʿalā Kitāb al-maqālāt li-l-Nāshiʾ, and Ijābat al-Nāshiʾ. In his introduction, al-Ṣafī states that he had read al-Nāshiʾ’s (q.v.) work in a copy by Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī (q.v.), and that he had made a summary. When he returned the book to its owner, the latter asked him to respond to al-Nāshiʾ’s att…

 Majmūʿ uṣūl al-dīn wa-masmūʿ maḥṣūl al-yaqīn

(1,459 words)

Author(s): Awad, Wadi
Majmūʿ uṣūl al-dīn'Compendium of the principles of religion and the received tradition of what has been found to be certain', 'Compendium of the principles of religion' Al-Muʾtaman ibn al-ʿAssāl Date: Between 1260 and 1275 Original Language: Arabic Description This substantial work comprises 70 chapters in five parts, together with an introduction and conclusion. In some manuscripts it is divided into two volumes. Vol. 1 contains two parts divided into 19 chapters. The first part, chs 1-15, can be regarded as a general introduction …

 Risālat al-bayān al-aẓhar fī l-radd ʿalā man yaqūl bi-l-qaḍāʾ wa-al-qadar

(316 words)

Author(s): Awad, Wadi
Risāla fī l-radd ʿalā man yaqūl bi-l-qaḍāʾ wa-l-qadar'A treatise of the most manifest elucidation in refutation of those who teach divine predestination and decree', 'A treatise in refutation of those who teach divine predestination and decree' Al-Rashīd Abū l-Khayr ibn al-Ṭayyib Date: Before 1265 Original Language: Arabic Description The fact that this treatise is extensively reproduced in ch. 56 of the Majmūʿ uṣūl al-dīn of al-Muʾtaman ibn al-ʿAssāl (q.v.) indicates that it was written before 1265. In it Abū al-Khayr presents the arguments of those who cl…

Al-Asʿad ibn al-ʿAssāl

(1,332 words)

Author(s): Awad, Wadi
Al-Asʿad Abū l-Faraj Hibat Allāh ibn al-ʿAssāl Date of Birth: Unknown; later 12th century Place of Birth: Miṣr (Old Cairo) or Cairo Date of Death: Between 1253 and 1259 Place of Death: Miṣr or Cairo Biography Al-Asʿad Abū l-Faraj Hibat Allāh ibn Abī l-Mufaḍḍal ibn Abī Isḥāq, known as Ibn al-ʿAssāl, was one of the famous ‘Awlād al-ʿAssāl’, four brothers who contributed greatly to the Copto-Arabic literary ‘renaissance’ of the 13th century. He was the full brother of al-Ṣafī (q.v.) and half brother of al-Muʾtaman (q.v.). He wrote less than these two brothers and has…

 Aqwāl, Maqālāt, Jawāb masʾala, Masʾala

(349 words)

Author(s): Awad, Wadi
'Sayings' Michael, Bishop of Atrīb and Malīj Date: Between 1242/3 and 1247 Original Language: Arabic Description The Aqwāl consist of 13 texts that deal with a variety of topics (Sbath identifies only 12, and is followed in this by all later authors on this work). The author does not number them or use consistent titles: he calls one of the ‘sayings’ a ‘Treatise’, another ‘Response to a question’, and others ‘Question’. The lengths vary from one text to another; the longest is the first, and the shortest the last. The first saying (on the rejection of the Jews by God) and the last a…

 Maqāla fī l-nafs

(785 words)

Author(s): Awad, Wadi
Treatise on the soul Al-Asʿad ibn al-ʿAssāl Date: 4 June 1231 Original Language: Arabic Description The treatise, which occupies about 30 folios in the unique Vatican manuscript, is chiefly accessible due to the abridgment ( mukhtaṣar) made by al-Muʾtaman ibn al-ʿAssāl in ch. 60 of his great theological compendium Majmūʿ uṣūl al-dīn. The description below is based on this abridgement. The abridged treatise begins with the text of a question addressed by al-Amjad Abū l-Majd Faḍl Allāh ibn al-ʿAssāl (the often forgotten ‘fourth’ of the Awlād al-ʿAssāl, a w…

 Fuṣūl mukhtaṣara fī l-tathlīth wa-l-ittiḥād

(677 words)

Author(s): Awad, Wadi
'Brief chapters on the Trinity and the act of Uniting' Al-Ṣafī ibn al-ʿAssāl Date: June 1242 Original Language: Arabic Description Fuṣūl mukhtaṣara is quoted by al-Muʾtaman ibn al-ʿAssāl, who identifies it as min al-taṣānīf al-Ṣafawiyya, ‘from Ṣafī’s works’. The work is not listed by Abū l-Barakāt ibn Kabar in the bibliographical chapter of his Miṣbāḥ al-ẓulma. The treatise is divided into two parts, the first on the Trinity (chs 1-6), and the second on the act of uniting between the divine and human natures in Christ (chs 7-11). At the beginning of …

Buṭrus al-Sadamantī

(638 words)

Author(s): Awad, Wadi
Buṭrus al-Sadamantī l-Armanī; Peter of Sadamant the Armenian Date of Birth: Unknown; first quarter of the 13th century Place of Birth: Unknown; presumably Sadamant Date of Death: Unknown; second half of the 13th century, after 1260 Place of Death: A monastery in Wādī l-Naṭrūn or Sadamant Biography Buṭrus was a monk and priest, and was considered a holy man. The only known date in his life is 1260 (Cheikho and Atiya place him in the 11th century, though Atiya attests that one of his writings dates to 1260), when he wrote a work dedicated to h…

 Maqāla fī l-iʿtiqād; Maqāla fī l-ʿaqīda

(381 words)

Author(s): Awad, Wadi
'Treatise on belief' Buṭrus al-Sadamantī Date: 12 May 1260 Original Language: Arabic Description This treatise, which is like a short catechism, is dedicated to Buṭrus’s friend Anbā Yūsāb, Bishop of Akhmīm. In MS Cairo, Franciscan Centre 741, it is divided into 49 chapters. These cover the being of God, the Trinity, creation and human sin, the Incarnation and crucifixion of Christ, death, resurrection and the end of the world, and Christ’s second coming. Significance While the treatise follows the structure of the creed, a number of the topics it presents are those th…

Buṭrus Sawīrus al-Jamīl

(524 words)

Author(s): Awad, Wadi
Biography Louis Cheikho (and Kāmil Nakhla after him) counts Buṭrus among 14th-century authors, though this is unlikely since he is mentioned by Abū l-Barakāt, who died in 1324. Graf places him among 13th-century authors, which is confirmed by his writings. Among the chronological indications for Buṭrus’ life are the following. He says that he writes more than 300 years after the first great schism of the Eastern Church in the time of Photius (d. c. 891), which gives a date in the 13th century. And there are other more precise indicati…

Al-Rashīd Abū l-Khayr ibn al-Ṭayyib

(669 words)

Author(s): Awad, Wadi
Biography According to al-Muʾtaman ibn al-ʿAssāl (q.v.) and Abū l-Barakāt ibn Kabar (q.v.), as well as some manuscripts of his own works, al-Rashīd Abū l-Khayr ibn al-Ṭayyib was a priest and a physician ( mutaṭabbib), though he is not mentioned in the History of the patriarchs or the Ṭabaqāt al-aṭibbāʾ. His dates are not known, though he lived after al-Ghazālī (d. 1111) (q.v.), Maimonides (d. 1204), Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī (d. 1210) (q.v.) and al-Ṣafī ibn al-ʿAssāl (d. after 1265) (q.v.), and since he is known as a contemporary ( muʿāṣir – not collaborator, muʿāḍid, as is read by Mīkhā’īl …

 Kitāb al-ʿilm wa-l-ʿamal, Tartīb al-ʿilm wa-l-ʿamal

(628 words)

Author(s): Awad, Wadi
'Knowledge and works'; 'Relationship of knowledge and works’ Yūḥannā ibn Sawīrus Date: Unknown; probably after 1189 Original Language: Arabic Description This work was written after the death of the Patriarch Mark III in 1189. In the introduction, Yūḥannā explains his method and identifies the otherwise unknown Bū ʿAlī Abū l-Ḥasan ibn Mawhūb. The latter has been thought to be a Muslim, and it has been claimed that Yūḥannā wrote his book against him. However, despite the Muslim elements in his name, there is no reas…

 Maqāla mukhtaṣara fī uṣūl al-dīn

(326 words)

Author(s): Awad, Wadi
Al-tabṣira l-mukhtaṣara'A concise treatise on the principles of religion', 'The concise instruction' Al-Muʾtaman ibn al-ʿAssāl Date: 13 March-13 April 1260 Original Language: Arabic Description This booklet, a kind of catechism, is a foretaste of and preparation for Majmūʿ uṣūl al-dīn. It is not a summary, as Graf believed, because in the introduction al-Muʾtaman promises he will write a longer work. He also explains the intention of this short work: to defend Christians against attacks from opponents who seek to put them in difficul…

 Kitāb al-burhān; Kitāb al-bayān

(561 words)

Author(s): Awad, Wadi
'The demonstration'; 'The statement' Buṭrus Sawīrus al-Jamīl Date: Unknown; probably after 1246 Original Language: Arabic Description This book, which is not listed by Abū l-Barakāt, consists of five treatises of varying lengths and on different topics. The first concerns the Incarnation and death of Christ, and the second the Coptic teaching about the union of the divine and human natures in the one nature of Christ. In the third treatise, which comprises 11 chapters, Buṭrus responds to a letter of the faqīh Jamāl al-Dīn by comparing the Mosaic, Christian and Islamic laws. …

Al-Shams ibn Kabar

(533 words)

Author(s): Awad, Wadi
Shams al-Riʾāsa Abū l-Barakāt ibn al-Akmal al-Asʿad ibn Kabar, al-qiss Barṣawmā Date of Birth: Unknown; second half of the 13th century Place of Birth: Possibly Old Cairo Date of Death: 10 May 1324 Place of Death: Old Cairo Biography It appears that Abū l-Barakāt was born into a wealthy family in Old Cairo. He learned Arabic, mathematics and Coptic, and at some point he became secretary ( kātib) to the prince ( amīr, not the sultan as Cheikho and some Copts assert) Baybars Rukn al-Dīn al-Manṣūrī l-Dawādār (d. 1324). In this position, according to al-Maqrīzī, he assi…
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