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10.4.8 Arabic Translations

(2,546 words)

Author(s): Juan Pedro Monferrer Sala
Part of 10 Psalms - 10.4 Secondary Translations Some scholars have claimed that pre-Islamic translations of Arabic texts of the Bible (especially the Gospels and the Psalms) were available to Christian Arabs, and that these Arabic versions were subsequently borrowed, copied, and transmitted by the monks of St. Sabas and St. Catherine in Palestine. However, these early Arabic translations were made in Palestine by Palestinian Christian translators from the eighth century c.e. onwards. In the eighth and ninth centuries c.e., bilingual Psalters (Greek-Arabic) were used by the…
Date: 2017-03-01

 Radd Abī l-Qāsim ʿAbdallāh ibn Aḥmad al-Balkhī ʿalā l-Naṣārā fī kitābihi l-musammā Awāʾil al-adilla

(330 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Abū l-Qāsim ʿAbdallāh ibn Aḥmad al-Balkhī's refutation of the Christians in his book entitled 'Fundamentals of the proofs' Ibn Zurʿa Date: 997 Original Language: Arabic Description The work replies to selected arguments that appeared in a lost theological compendium of the early 9th-century Baghdad Muʿtazilī Abū l-Qāsim al-Balkhī (d. 931) (q.v.). They include attacks on the Trinity, the anthropomorphization of God ( tashbīh) through comparing him with creatures, and the prophethood of Muḥammad. By the 10th century, all these topics had become familiar features of deba…

 Risāla fī maʿānin saʾalahu ʿanhā baʿḍ ikhwānihi

(230 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Epistle on the meanings about which one of his brothers asked him Ibn Zurʿa Date: 989 Original Language: Arabic Description This letter or treatise, which is addressed to a Muslim friend, is concerned with God's essential attributes of knowledge and power, as well as his active attributes ( ṣifāt al-fiʿl) and the transcendent mystery of God. Significance As in his other works, Ibn Zurʿa readily resorts to the use of theological and philosophical analogies to explain the Christian concept of the Godhead. Manuscripts MS Vat - Ar. 127, fols 5r-15r MS Aleppo, Fondation Georges et Mathild…

 Maqāmiʿ al-ṣulbān wa-marātiʿ (rawātiʿ) riyāḍ (rawḍat) ahl al-īmān

(593 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Maqāmiʿ al-ṣulbānMallets for crosses and provender in the meadows of the faithful, Mallets for crosses Al-Khazrajī Date: Mid-1140s Original Language: Arabic Description Al-Khazrajī’s Maqāmiʿ al-ṣulbān was written when the author was around 20 years old (though al-Sharfī thinks that perhaps it was written by one of his pupils). The text, which belongs to the broad genre of polemics ( radd), was written by al-Khazrajī during his two years of captivity in Toledo in 1145-46/1147-48. The book comprises an attack on Islam by a Visigothic priest of Toledo ( qissīs min al-Qūṭ) and the answer…

 Risāla fī faḍīlat al-ʿafāf

(287 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Epistle on the merit of chastity Elias of Nisibis Date: Before 1046 Original Language: Arabic Description This treatise is a rejoinder to the 9th-century Muʿtazilī al-Jāḥiẓ’s (d. 869) (q.v.) endorsement of the pleasures of the flesh. It is divided into two parts, the first containing an exposition of the Muslim’s nine arguments in favor of fleshly pleasures, and the second refutations of these, together with examples of chaste men that support Elias’ arguments. Significance Elias shows that al-Jāḥiẓ’s arguments defy both reason ( ʿaql) and revelation ( sharʿ). The fact that he tak…

The Chronicle of Se'ert

(27 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Biography - Primary Sources of Information - Secondary Sources of Information - Works on Christian-Muslim Relations Taʾrīkh al-Siʿīrd Juan Pedro Monferrer Sala

Ibn al-Qūṭiyya

(367 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Muḥammad ibn ʿUmar ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn Ibrāhīm ibn ʿĪsā ibn Muzāḥim Date of Birth: After 900 Place of Birth: Unknown; possibly Cordova Date of Death: 977 Place of Death: Cordova Biography As is indicated by his laqab, ‘son of the Goth’, Ibn al-Qūṭiyya came from a noble Visigothic family of Seville. He himself says that he was descended from the Visigothic King Witiza. He was educated in Seville and Cordova by some of the most famous scholars of the period, including Qāsim ibn Aṣbagh, and he became known as a philologist, jurist a…

Ibn Ḥazm

(983 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Abū Muḥammad ʿAlī ibn Aḥmad ibn Saʿīd ibn Ḥazm Date of Birth: 994 Place of Birth: Cordova Date of Death: 1064 Place of Death: Manta Līsham (Niebla, Huelva) Biography Ibn Ḥazm of Cordova, one of the best-known authors of al-Andalus, was famous as a theologian, philosopher, and jurist. He was probably descended from a Christian convert to Islam, and could trace his genealogy back to a Persian mawlā of Yazīd ibn Abī Sufyān. His father was vizier at the Umayyad court under the royal chamberlain al-Manṣūr ibn Abī ʿĀmir (d. 1002) and his son al-Muẓaffar (d. 1008). He…

Ibn Zurʿa

(428 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Abū ʿAlī ʿĪsā ibn Isḥāq ibn Zurʿa ibn Marqus ibn Zurʿa ibn Yūḥannā Date of Birth: 943 Place of Birth: Baghdad Date of Death: 1008 Place of Death: Baghdad Biography The Jacobite Ibn Zurʿa was one of the best-known students of the celebrated Christian Arab writer Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī (q.v.), with whom he studied physics, mathematics, philosophy and literature. He was a merchant who traded with the Byzantines and suffered the jealousy of Syrian merchants, but he was also an expert on philosophy and logic, and a distinguished translat…

 Risāla fī l-Khāliq

(190 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Treatise on the Creator Elias of Nisibis Date: Before 1046 Original Language: Arabic Description This tract focuses on God as a substance ( jawhar) who subsists in himself ( qāʾim bi-nafsihi). In response to the Muslim accusation that Christians are ‘associators’ ( mushrikūn), Elias explains that the meaning of the statement that God is three hypostases ( thalāthat aqānīm) is that He is subsistent in himself, living by Life and articulating by a Word ( nāṭiq bi-nuṭq). The three hypostases are not simply divine accidents, but three actualities, Essence, Life and Word. Significance Elias …

 al-Mustakhraja min al-asmiʿa

(595 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Al-ʿUtbiyyaThe Selection from what is heard, The ʿUtbiyya Abū ʿAbdallāh Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Umawī l-Sufyānī l-ʿUtbī l-Qurṭubī Date: Before 869 Original Language: Arabic Description Al-mustakhraja or al- ʿ Utbiyya contains legal questions ( masāʾil) on the authority of Mālik ibn Anas and his pupils, some of which relate to the process of Islamization. The work is preserved in Ibn Rushd al-Jadd, al-Bayān wa-l-taḥṣīl (12th c.). Al-ʿUtbī gathered more than 280 masāʾil dealing with Christians and Jews, most of which are related to the Christians of al-Andalus. Apart …

 Kitāb al-rasāʾil wa-l-wasāʾil

(225 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
‘Treatises and devices’ Ibn ʿAtīq Date: Unknown; before 1235 Original Language: Arabic Description Kitāb al-rasāʾil wa-l-wasāʾil has survived in al-Wansharīsī’s Miʿyār (q.v.). This short polemical text gives an account of a debate that took place in the town of Tudmīr (Murcia) between a Muslim, Ibn Rashīq, and some Christian priests and monks concerning the inimitability of the Qur’an. The Christians compare the Qur’an with the Arab genre of the maqāma (which may be understood as an account of an individual’s activities related by a second person to a wider audience, and typically in sa…

 Risāla fī waḥdāniyyat al-Khāliq wa-tathlīth aqānīmihi

(270 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Epistle on the oneness of the Creator and threeness of his hypostases Elias of Nisibis Date: Between 13 September and 12 October 1029 Original Language: Arabic Description This work, which Elias composed in Mosul in response to a request from a judge, has an introduction and two chapters. In the introduction Elias establishes God’s oneness as substance ( kiyān wāḥid) and threeness as hypostases ( thalāthat aqānīm). In the first chapter he goes on to justify the three hypostases by arguing that God subsists in himself ( qāʾim bi-nafsihi), and is wise ( ḥakīm) and living ( ḥayy), while in the…

Abū Zayd Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq al-ʿIbādī

(1,499 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq Date of Birth: 809 Place of Birth: al-Ḥīra Date of Death: 873 Place of Death: Baghdad Biography As can be inferred from his nisba, al-ʿIbādī, Ḥunayn’s father belonged to the Arab Christian community of the ʿIbād in the southern Iraqī town of al-Ḥīra, the provincial capital of the Lakhmids. Ḥunayn started the practice of medicine with his father, who was a druggist. He learned Syriac in al-Ḥīra and was ordained deacon ( shammās) of the East Syrian church in that city. He moved to Gundishāpūr, where he learned Persian. Then he went to Baghdad and studied…

 Maqāla fī l-ājāl

(932 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Kitāb al-ājāl, Fī l-aʿmār wa-l-ājāl, Kayfiyyat al-iʿtiqād fī l-aʿmār wa-l-ājālTreatise on lifespansBook on lifespans, On ages and lifespans, How to believe in ages and lifespans Abū Zayd Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq al-ʿIbādī Date: Unknown Original Language: Arabic Description Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq's Fī l-aʿmār wa-l-ājāl is preserved in Ch. 58 of the Majmūʿ uṣūl al-dīn ('Encyclopaedia of the fundamentals of religion') by the 13th-century Copto-Arabic author al-Muʾtaman ibn al-ʿAssāl. It deals with the general topic of the limitation ( ḥadd) of human beings' lives by God, and addresses th…

Fray Anselmo Turmeda

(720 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
ʿAbd Allāh al-Tarjumān, ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAbd Allāh al-Tarjumān al-Mayūrqī al-Muhtadī (al-Tūnisī), Turmeda Date of Birth: Approximately 1352 Place of Birth: Palma de Mallorca Date of Death: Between 1424 and 1430 Place of Death: Tunis Biography Anselmo Turmeda (Ancelm Turmeda in Catalan) was born in Palma, Mallorca. According to the Tuḥfa, at the age of six he started to study the Gospel with a learned priest, and two years later he started on Greek (‘the language of the Gospel’) and also logic. At the age of 14 he went to the University of Aragon in Lerida to study natural scie…

 Maqāla fī naʿīm al-ākhira

(153 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Treatise on the bliss of the afterlife Elias of Nisibis Date: Before 1046 Original Language: Arabic Description This work, which comprises an introduction, three answers to two objections, and a conclusion, emphasizes that, according to Christian teachings, there are no physical or sensual pleasures in the afterlife. Significance Elias’ arguments show how Christians felt compelled to respond to Muslim views about the nature of existence in the afterlife, and also how they looked down on these views.  Manuscripts MS Cairo, Coptic Patriarchate – Theology 83 (Simaika 370, Gr…

Ibn ʿAtīq

(240 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Abū ʿAlī l-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAtīq ibn al-Ḥusayn ibn Rashīq al-Taghlibī Date of Birth: 1154 Place of Birth: Murcia Date of Death: 1235 Place of Death: Cairo Biography A native of Murcia, Ibn ʿAtīq was a renowned Andalusī scholar. As a boy he lived in Ceuta in northern Morocco, and then he went to Alexandria to study. He remained in Egypt, and taught there. Some reports state that he spent his last days in Granada and others that he died in Egypt. Similarly, some say that he died in 1235 and others in 1281, though the latter seems unlikely in view of the date of his birth. Ibn ʿAtīq wrote on a range of subj…

 Maqāla fī l-radd ʿalā l-Muslimīn

(82 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Treatise in refutation of the Muslims Al-Yabrūdī Date: First half of the 11th century Original Language: Arabic Description The work is not extant, and is known only from Sbath, F ihris, Supplemente, ii, p. 32. Significance It is not possible to comment on the significance of this work. Manuscripts Inaccessible MS once in a private collection in Aleppo; see Sbath, F ihris, Supplemente, ii, p. 32. Editions & Translations Studies Keywords Chronological Category: 1000-1100 Juan Pedro Monferrer Sala

 Taʾrīkh al-Siʿīrd

(537 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
The Chronicle of Seʿert The Chronicle of Se'ert Date: Before 1023 Original Language: Arabic Description This work is a universal history. It is divided into two parts, the first narrating the events of the years 251 to 422, and the second dealing with the period 484 up to 650, at which point the MS containing this part breaks off. The remainder of the Chronicle may have followed events up to the 11th century. The author, who is anonymous, was evidently a Nestorian priest who must have finished writing before the year 1023 (see Youssif, Chroniqueurs, p. 280). The Chronicle is based on a numbe…
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