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Unknown author

(208 words)

Author(s): Treiger, Alexander
Destruction of the Cathedral of Our Lady Mart Maryam in Damascus Date of Birth: Unknown (probably before 1300) Place of Birth: Unknown, possibly Damascus Date of Death: Unknown (probably before 1300) Place of Death: Unknown, possibly Damascus Biography Nothing is known about the author, other than that he was an eyewitness to the destruction of the Orthodox Cathedral of Our Lady Mart Maryam ( kanīsat al-sayyida Mart Maryam al-kāthūlīkī; al-kāthūlīkī means ‘cathedral [church]’) in Damascus, which he describes in his only surviving work (discussed below). The chron…

 Kitāb al-manfaʿa

(2,208 words)

Author(s): Treiger, Alexander
Benefit ʿAbdallāh ibn al-Faḍl al-Anṭākī Date: Between 1043-52 Original Language: Arabic Description Benefit is ʿAbdallāh ibn al-Faḍl’s major work. It spans 50 folios in MS Beirut, Bibliothèque Orientale – 541, and consists of 75 chapters, of which seven and a half (chs 28-31, 71-72, second half of 74, and 75) seem to be lost (though the oldest manuscript, MS Khenchara, Dayr al-Shuwayr – 56, still needs to be consulted). The book is a theological, philosophical, and scientific encyclopedia, drawn from a vari…

Michael al-Simʿānī

(513 words)

Author(s): Treiger, Alexander
Michael al-Simʿānī, Michael of the Monastery of St Symeon of the Wondrous Mountain near Antioch Date of Birth: Unknown; probably about 1040 Place of Birth: Unknown; probably Antioch Date of Death: Unknown; probably ca. 1100 Place of Death: Unknown; probably Antioch Biography Michael al-Simʿānī is the author of the extant Arabic recension of the Vita of St John of Damascus. Little is known about his life, other than what he tells us in the important prologue to the Vita (extant only in some of the manuscripts; see below). There he calls himself ‘monk and priest’ and recoun…

Ṣāliḥ ibn Saʿīd al-Masīḥī; Christodoulos (monastic name)

(628 words)

Author(s): Treiger, Alexander
Ṣāliḥ ibn Saʿīd al-Masīḥī Date of Birth: About 980 Place of Birth: Jerusalem Date of Death: Unknown; about 1050 Place of Death: Probably Mount Sinai Biography Ṣāliḥ ibn Saʿīd’s life can be reconstructed as follows. He was born into a Melkite Christian family in Jerusalem, perhaps in about 980, and moved to Egypt at the age of nine when his father became a Fatimid civil servant ( fī khidma maʿa l-salāṭīn). During al-Ḥākim’s persecution of non-Muslims, Ṣāliḥ, who had initially been a secretary ( kātib) and administrator ( mutaṣarrif) in al-Ḥākim’s service, fled Egypt (probably with t…

 Waṣf sīrat Abīnā l-nabīl fī l-abrār al-mashhūr fī l-qiddīsīn al-akhyār al-anbā Yūḥannā l-qiss al-Dimashqī l-mukannā bi-mujrī l-dhahab

(2,900 words)

Author(s): Treiger, Alexander
An account of the life of our noble and pious Father, the famous and excellent saint Anbā John, the priest of Damascus, called Flowing with Gold [=Gr. Chrysorrhoas]’, ‘The Arabic Vita of St John of Damascus Michael al-Simʿānī Date: After 1085 Original Language: Arabic Description Michael al-Simʿānī’s Arabic Vita of St John of Damascus occupies 23 pages in Bacha’s edition and 12 folios in the oldest manuscript (MS Vat – Ar. 79). In its complete form, it includes an important prologue, the main body of the Vita, and a short epilogue with a supplicatory prayer to St John of Damascus…

 Kitāb bahjat al-muʾmin yataḍammanu masāʾil sharʿiyya wa-mawḍūʿāt falsafiyya

(1,412 words)

Author(s): Treiger, Alexander
Joy of the believer, incorporating religious issues and philosophical topics, Joy of the believer ʿAbdallāh ibn al-Faḍl al-Anṭākī Date: 1052 Original Language: Arabic Description Joy of the believer is extant in two recensions, which differ substantially in content, though not in approach. Recension A spans 193 folios in MS St Petersburg, Oriental Institute – B1226. Preceded by a beautiful introduction in rhymed prose ( sajʿ), it includes 365 questions and answers, divided into four ‘centuries’ (the fourth being shorter) to be read a question a day over the …

ʿAbdallāh ibn al-Faḍl al-Anṭākī

(1,210 words)

Author(s): Treiger, Alexander
Abū l-Fatḥ ʿAbdallāh ibn al-Faḍl ibn ʿAbdallāh al-muṭrān al-Anṭākī Date of Birth: Unknown; probably about 1000 Place of Birth: Unknown; probably Antioch Date of Death: Unknown; after 1052 (remained active as a translator and theologian until the early 1050s) Place of Death: Unknown; probably Antioch Biography The 11th-century Arab Orthodox (Melkite) translator and theologian ʿAbdallāh ibn al-Faḍl al-Anṭākī is one of the most prolific contributors to the (unfortunately hitherto insufficiently studied) Antiochene Graeco-Arabic translation move…

 Kitāb al-maṣābīḥ

(982 words)

Author(s): Treiger, Alexander
The book of lamps ʿAbdallāh ibn al-Faḍl al-Anṭākī Date: Unknown Original Language: Arabic Description Ever since Graf’s GCAL, it has been assumed that ‘Abdallāh ibn al-Faḍl authored a Book of lamps. Graf and Nasrallah state that this work deals with dogmatic theology and ethics. Asad Rustum calls the Book of lamps Ibn al-Faḍl’s ‘most important work’, which contains ‘words of the wisemen, the prophets, and the holy apostles’. According to him, Ibn al-Faḍl ‘divided it neatly into sections and gave numerous examples from the scriptures and the say…

 Sharḥ al-amāna l-mustaqīma wa-ibānat ghalaṭ al-yaʿāqiba wa-l-nasṭūr ʿalā sabīl al-ījāz

(774 words)

Author(s): Treiger, Alexander
Exposition of the Orthodox faith and concise clarification of the error of the Jacobites and the Nestorians, Exposition of the Orthodox faith ʿAbdallāh ibn al-Faḍl al-Anṭākī Date: Unknown, but probably late in Ibn al-Faḍl’s life Original Language: Arabic Description The Exposition of the Orthodox faith is a dogmatic treatise with extensive polemic against the Jacobites and the Nestorians. Originally written in Greek, it was then translated by the author into Arabic at the request of John, bishop of Manbij (Hierapolis) and Dulūk (Doliche),…

 Masāʾil wa-ajwiba ḥawl al-tathlīth wa-l-ittiḥād

(575 words)

Author(s): Treiger, Alexander
Challenges and responses on the Trinity and the [hypostatic] Union ʿAbdallāh ibn al-Faḍl al-Anṭākī Date: Unknown Original Language: Arabic Description Challenges and responses is Ibn al-Faḍl’s collection of questions and answers on details of Christian belief and practice, as well as on several scriptural passages. It has parallels (and sometimes verbatim correspondences) with his other works, notably the Discourse on the Holy Trinity, Joy of the believer, and Concise questions and answers about the Gospel based on St John Chrysostom. In its present, truncated form, Challenges a…

 Khabar ʿan iḥrāq kanīsat al-sayyida Mart Maryam al-kāthūlīkī bi-madīnat Dimashq wa-kharāb bāqī l-kanāʾis wa-ikhrāj al-kahana minhā ʿurāh wa-nahb mā kāna bihā wa-mā kāna min al-maṣāyib al-ʿaẓīma allatī aṣābat jamīʿ Naṣārā madīnat Dimashq

(2,278 words)

Author(s): Treiger, Alexander
An account of the burning of the Cathedral of Our Lady St Mary in Damascus, the destruction of other churches, the expulsion of priests robbed of their vestments [lit. ‘naked’], the plunder of church property, and the terrible calamities that befell all the Christians of Damascus, Destruction of the Cathedral of Our Lady Mart Maryam in Damascus Unknown author Date: Unknown (probably before 1300; see discussion below) Original Language: Arabic Description The anonymous text Destruction of the Cathedral of Our Lady Mart Maryam in Damascus occupies three folios in the only survivi…

 Kalām fī l-thālūth al-muqaddas

(772 words)

Author(s): Treiger, Alexander
Kalām fī l-lāhūtDiscourse on the Holy Trinity, Theological discourseThe little book of benefit ʿAbdallāh ibn al-Faḍl al-Anṭākī Date: After 1043 Original Language: Arabic Description The Discourse on the Holy Trinity (often called Theological discourse or, erroneously, the Little book of benefit) is ʿAbdallāh ibn al-Faḍl’s concise treatise on Trinitarian theology and Christology in 14 chapters. It spans five folios in MS Beirut, Bibliothèque Orientale – 541. The date of the treatise is determined by the fact that it cites Benefit, written after 1043. The Discourse on the Holy Tr…

 Kitāb al-rawḍa

(866 words)

Author(s): Treiger, Alexander
The garden ʿAbdallāh ibn al-Faḍl al-Anṭākī Date: Translated from Greek into Arabic after 1043 Original Language: Greek Description This is an anonymous Greek work, translated into Arabic and commented upon by ʿAbdallāh ibn al-Faḍl. In the majority of studies devoted to Ibn al-Faḍl, The garden is treated as if it were Ibn al-Faḍl’s independent work. Only one author, Michel van Esbroeck, has recognized that it is an integral Arabic translation of the Byzantine florilegium Loci communes (in the version MaxI, dated, according to Ihm, between 650 and the 10th century). This florilegium bel…

 Marginal notes

(2,330 words)

Author(s): Treiger, Alexander
Marginal notes Ṣāliḥ ibn Saʿīd al-Masīḥī; Christodoulos (monastic name) Date: Mid-11th century (written late in life) Original Language: Arabic Description Nine marginal notes by Ṣāliḥ ibn Sa‘īd (one, two, or three pages each in length) have so far been identified and deciphered.   1. On the last folio of MS Sinai – Ar. 1, there is a note entitled ‘A wondrous report that strengthens the faith’ ( khabar ‘ajīb yuqawwī l-īmān). Ṣāliḥ describes the persecutions of Christians at the hands of the Fatimid Caliph al-Ḥākim bi-amr Allāh (whose name means ‘he who rules with …

A narrative about Sophronius of Jerusalem, ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb, and the term 'Melkite'

(52 words)

Author(s): Treiger, Alexander
Date of Birth: Place of Birth: Date of Death: Place of Death: Biography Primary Sources of Information Secondary Sources of Information Works on Christian-Muslim Relations Khabar wajadahu baʿḍ al-muʾminīn fī kutub kānat ʿindahu fī Bayt al-Maqdis Alexander Treiger

 Khabar wajadahu baʿḍ al-muʾminīn fī kutub kānat ʿindahu fī Bayt al-Maqdis

(714 words)

Author(s): Treiger, Alexander
‘A narrative that a certain believer found in the books he owned in Jerusalem’‘On the origin of the term “Melkite”’ A narrative about Sophronius of Jerusalem, ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb, and the term 'Melkite' Date: Before 1642 Original Language: Arabic Description The short text, conventionally called A narrative about Sophronius of Jerusalem, ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb, and the term ‘Melkite’ (or On the origin of the term ‘Melkite’), occupies three-and-a-half folios in the oldest known manuscript and four pages in the printed edition. The text argues that the term ‘Mel…