Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Anthony David of Baghdad, Scribe and Monk of Mar Sabas: Arabic in the Monasteries of Palestine

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 July 2009

Sidney H. Griffith
Affiliation:
associate professor of Semitic Languages in The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

Extract

Forty years ago George Every called the attention of the scholarly world to the likelihood that in the oriental patriarchates after the time of John of Damascus the Arabic language increasingly became the language of the Melkite, or Roman (rūmī), community of Christians in the caliphate. They came to use Arabic, Every suggested, not only for scholarly purposes, but even for the divine liturgy, at least for the Scripture lessons.1 In the years since Every made these observations it has become increasingly clear that not only was there such an increase in the use of Arabic in the church during the first Abbasid century, but that the crescendo in the use of Arabic went hand in hand with the diminishment of Greek as a language of church scholarship in the monasteries of the Holy Land from early Abbasid times, perhaps even until the Ottoman period, when the so-called “Rūm Millet” reintroduced the control of Greek speakers in the Jerusalem patriarchate.2 Accordingly, one might speak of the first flowering of Christian life in Arabic in the Holy Land as having occurred during the three centuries stretching from 750, the beginning of the Abbasid caliphate, to around the year 1050, the eve of the crusader period in Near Eastern history.3 And the documentary evidence for the literary activity of the Holy Land monks who wrote in Arabic during this period is largely the archive of “old south Palestinian texts” which Joshua Blau studied for his Grammar of Chrtstian Arabic.4

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © American Society of Church History 1989

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

1. See Every, George, “Syriac and Arabic in the Church of Jerusalem,” The Church Quarterly Review 145 (19471948): 230239.Google Scholar See also Every's, Syrian Christians in Palestine in the Early Middle Ages,” The Eastern Churches Quarterly 7 (1946): 363372.Google Scholar

2. See remarks, Every's in “Syriac and Arabic,” pp. 236237.Google Scholar On the diminishment of Greek and the growth of Arabic, see the remarks of Griffith, S. H., “Greek into Arabic: Life and Letters in the Monasteries of Palestine in the Ninth Century, the Example of the Summa Theologiae Arabica,” Byzantion 56 (1986): 117138;Google Scholaridem, “The Monks of Palestine and the Growth of Christian Literature in Arabic,” The Muslim World 78 (1988): 1–28.

3. Rachid Haddad has studied the works of the writers of this period in his La Trinité divine chez les théologiens arabes (750–1050) (Paris, 1985).Google Scholar

4. Blau, Joshua, A Grammar of Christian Arabic, vols. 267, 276, 279 (Louvain, 19661967).Google Scholar See the list of “old south Palestinian” texts in volume 267, pp. 2133.Google Scholar Additional manuscripts, to which Blau had no access in earlier catalogs, are listed in Meimarēs, J.J., Katalogos tōn neōn Arabikōn Cheirographōn tēs hieras monēs hagias aikaterinēs tou orous Sina (Athens, 1985),Google Scholar Greek and Arabic.

5. See Dick, Ignace, “Un continuateur arabe de saint Jean Damascène: Théodore Abuqurra, évêque melkite de Harrān, Ia personne et son milieu,” Proche-Orient Chrétien 12 (1962): 209223, 319332;Google Scholar 13(1963): 114–129; Vollers, K., “Das Religionsgespräch von Jerusalem (urn 800 D) aus dem Arabischen Übersetzt,” Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 29 (1908): 2971, 197221;Google ScholarVajda, G., “Un traité de polémique christiano-arabe contre les Juifs attribué à ‘Abraham de Tiberiade,’” Bulletzne de l'Institut de Recherche et d'Histoire des Textes 15 (19671968): 137150;Google ScholarGriffith, S. H., “Stephen of Ramlah and the Christian Kerygma in Arabic in Ninth-Century Palestine,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 36 (1985): 2345;CrossRefGoogle ScholarNasrallah, J., “Deux versions Melchites partielles de Ia bible du ixe et du Xe siècles,” Oriens Christianus 64 (1980): 203206.Google Scholar

6. Mai, A., Scriptorum Veterum Nova Collectio e Vaticanis Codicibus Edita, vol. 4 (Rome, 1831), pp. 143145.Google Scholar Note the mistaken date on page 145 and the fact that the current folio numbers do not correspond to those quoted by Mai.

7. Tisserant, E., Specimina Codicum Orientalium (Bonnae, 1914), pp. xxxviii–xxxix.Google Scholar

8. Ibid., and G.Garitte, “Homélie d'Ephrem ‘Sur la Mort et Ic Diable,’” Le Muséon 82 (1969): 135.

9. Oestrup, J., “Über zwei arabische codices sinaitici der Strassburger Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek,” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 51 (1987): 455458.Google Scholar

10. Kračkovsky, I., “Novozavetniy apokrif v arabskoy rukopisi 885–886 goda,” (A New Testament Apocryphon in an Arabic MS of the Year A.D. 885–886) Vizantijskij Vremennik 14 (1907): 246275.Google Scholar Kračkovsky was particularly excited by his encounter with these manuscript leaves. It was one of his first dealings with Arabic manuscripts as a new scholar. He told the story years later in his reminiscences. See Kratchkovsky, I. Y., Among Arabic Manuscripts: Memories of Libraries and Men (Leiden, 1953), pp. 23.Google Scholar

11. Garitte, G., “Homélie d'Ephrem ‘Sur Ia mort et le diable,’ version géorgienne et version arabe,” Le Muséon 82 (1969): 127129.Google Scholar

12. Heffening, W., “Die griechische Ephraem-Paraenesis gegen das Lachen in árabischer Übersetzung,” Oriens Christianus 23 (1927): 94119.Google Scholar

13. van Esbroeck, M., “Un feuillet oublié du codex arabe or. 4226, à Strasbourg,” Analecta Bollandiana 96 (1978): 383384;CrossRefGoogle ScholarFleischer, H. L., “Beschreibung der von Prof. Dr.Tischendorf im J. 1853 aus dem Morgenlande zurückgebrachten christlich-arabischen Handschriften,” Zeilschrift der Deutschen Morgenlindischen Gesellschaft 8 (1854): 584587Google Scholar(reprinted in Fleischer, H. L., Kleinere Schriften, vol. 3 [Leipzig, 1888], pp. 389394).Google Scholar

14. See the Arabic text published in Kračkovsky, “New Testament Apocryphon,” p. 261; Garitte, “Homélie d'Ephrem,” p. 128.

15. Heffening, , “Die griechische Ephraem-Paraenesis,” pp. 100101.Google Scholar

16. Garitte, , “Homélie ‘Surla mort et le diable,’” p. 136;Google ScholarSauget, J.-M., “Le dossier Éphrémien du manuscrit arabe Strasbourg 4226 et de ses membra disiecta,” Orieritalia Christiana Periodica 42 (1976): 430.Google Scholar

17. See Esbroeck, M.van, “Le Codex Rescriptus Tischendorf 2 à Leipzig Ct Cyrille de Scythopolis en version arabe,” in Actes do deuxième congrès international d'études arabes chrétiennes, ed. Samir, K. (Rome, 1986), p. 84.Google Scholar

18. See Blake, R. P., “La littérature grecque en Palestine au viiie siécle,” Le Muséon 78 (1965): 367380.Google Scholar For Mar Sabas monastery, see Ehrhard, A., “Das griechische Kioster Mar-Saba in Palaestina, seine Geschichte und seine litterarischen Denkmäler,” Römische Quartalschrift 7 (1893): 3279;Google ScholarVailhé, S., “Les écrivains de Mar Saba,” Échos d'Orient 2 (1898): 111, 3347;CrossRefGoogle ScholarMeinardus, Otto F. A., “Historical Notes on the Lavra of Mar Saba,” Eastern Churches Review 2 (19681969): 392401.Google Scholar See also the appropriate sections of Chitty, Derwas J., The Desert a City (Crestwood, N.Y., 1966);Google Scholar and Flusin, Bernard, Miracle thistoiredansl'oeuvre de Cyrille de Scythopolis (Paris, 1983).Google Scholar See also the important work of Hirschfeld, Yizhar, “The Judean Desert Monasteries in the Byzantine Period: An Archeological Investigation” (Ph.D. diss., Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1987).Google Scholar

19. See Bacha, C., Les Oeuvres arabes de Théodore Aboucara, évêque d'Haran (Beirut, 1904), pp. 6061.Google Scholar

20. Stahl, Harvey, Mt. Sinai Arabic Codex 157; I, Pauline Epistles, vols. 452–453 (Louvain, 1983).Google Scholar

21. See Sauget, “Le Dossier Ephrémien.” See also Khalil, Samir, “L'Ephrem arabe, état des travaux,” in Symposium Syriacum 7976 célébré du 13 au 17 septembre 7976 au Centre Culturel “Les Fontaine?” de Chantilly, ed. Craffin, F. and Guillaumont, A. (Rome, 1978), pp. 229240;Google Scholar and Khalil, Samir, “Un example des contacts culturels entre let églises syriaques et arabes: Jacques de Saroug dans Ia tradition arabe,” in III° Symposium Syriacum 1980. Les contacts do monde syriaque avec les autres cultures (Goslar, 7–11 09 1980),Google Scholar ed. R.Lavenant (Rome, 1983), pp. 213–245.

22. See the English translation and introduction in The Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac the Syrian [trans. Dana Miller] (Brookline, Mass., 1984).Google Scholar For a general orientation to Isaac of Nineveh, see Brock, Sebastian, “St. Isaac of Nineveh and Syriac Spirituality,” Sobornost 7 (1975): 7989;Google Scholaridem, “Isaac of Nineveh: Some Newly-Discovered Works,” Sobornost 8 (1986): 28–33.

23. SeeFiey, J. M., “‘Rūm”' a l'est de l'Euphrate,” Le Muséon 90 (1977): 365420.Google Scholar See also the very general survey byAllard, M., “Les chrétiens à Bagdad,” Arabica 9 (1962): 375388.Google Scholar

24. Peeters, P., “S. Romain le néomartyr (d. I mai 780) d'après un document gérgien,” Analecta Bollandiana (1911): 393427.Google Scholar

25. See S. H. Griffith, “Stephen of Ramlah,” and “Greek into Arabic.”

26. Vatican Arabic MS 71 was purchased in Cairo by Andreas Scandar, who was sent on an expedition to purchase manuscripts for the Vatican library in 1718. See Assemani, J. S., Bibliotheca Orientalis, vol. 2 (Rome, 1721), pp. 485, 510511.Google Scholar Strasbourg Oriental MS 4226 was likewise purchased in Cairo by an agent for the library, a certain Dr. Reinhart; see Oestrup, , “Über zwei arabische Codices,” p. 453Google Scholar n. 1.

27. Tisserant, , Specimina, p. xxxix;Google ScholarGaritte, , “Homélie d'Éphrem,” p. 135.Google Scholar

28. Graf, G., “Iğtimāc l-ahi bacda Šatāt aš-šaml [sic],” al-Machriq 12 (1909): 695706;Google ScholarSauget, J.-M., “Une version arabe du ‘sermon ascétique’ d'Étienne Ic Thébain,” Le Muséon 77 (1964): 367406.Google Scholar

29. Seen. 10 above.

30. Garitte, , “Homélie d'Éphrem,” pp. 156157.Google Scholar

31. Seen. 12 above.

32. Sauget, , “Le Dossier Ephrémien,” pp. 426458.Google Scholar

33. Mai, , Scriptorum Veterum, pp. 143145.Google Scholar Note that Mai's folio numbers do not correspond to those now on the MS.

34. Oestrup, , “Über zwei arabische codices,” pp. 455458.Google Scholar

35. On Cyril and his work, see particularly Flusin, Miracle et histoire.

36. See Fleischer, H. L., “Über einen griechisch-arabischen Codex rescriptus der Leipziger Universitäts-Bibliothek,” in Fleischer, Kleinere Schriften, pp. 378388.Google Scholar The manuscript is now in Leningrad. See Graf, Georg, Geschichte der christlichen arabischen Literatur, 5 vols. (Rome, 19441953), 1:407.Google Scholar

37. See the facsimile published in Fleischer, , Kleinere Schriften, vol. 3,Google Scholar plate 1, and in Graf, G., “Athar naşrānī qadīm; aw tarĝamah mār Abramiūs al-quiddīs hi l-carabiyyah,” al-Machriq 8 (1905): opp. p. 260.Google Scholar

38. Fleischer, , Kleinere Schriften, p. 381.Google Scholar

39. Ibid., p. 380.

40. Ibid., p. 380 n. 2. For other instances of the use of forms of the verb tafsīr to mean “to translate,” see Griffith, S. H., “The Arabic Account of cAbd al-Masīh an-Nağrānī al-Ghassānī,” Le Muséon 98 (1985): 338339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

41. Graf, G., Die christlich-arabische Literatur bis zurfränkischen Zeit (Freiburg im Breisgau, 1905), pp. 13, 16;Google Scholaridem, “Die arabische Vita des hi. Abramias,” Byzantinische Zeitschrift 14 (1905): 509.

42. Graf, , Geschichte, 1:407Google Scholar n. 1.

43. See Esbroeck, van, “Le Codex Rescriptus Tischendorf 2,” pp. 8191.Google Scholar

44. The Arabic text of the life of St. Abramios was first published by Graf, G., “Athar nasrānī qadim,” pp. 258–265. Graf also published a German translation of the text in “Die arabische Vita des hl. Abramios,” pp. 509518.Google Scholar A Latin version appears in Peeters, P., “Historia S. Abramii ex apographo arabico,” Analecta Bollandiana 24 (1905): 349356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar See the remarks of Vailhé, S., “Saint Abraham de Cratia,” Échos d'Orient 8 (1905): 290294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar Finally, what is preserved in Arabic is incorporated into the French version of the life of Abramios in Festugiére, A. J., Les moines d'orient, vol. 3, part 3, Les moiaes de Palestine (Paris, 1963), pp. 6979.Google Scholar

45. With Mar Sabas, the monastery of St. Charitōn was also the site of scribal work in Arabic. See Griffith, “Stephen of Ramlah,” and the colophons in Cachia, P. and Watt, W. M., Eutychius of Alexandria, the Book of the Demonstration (Kitāb al-Burhān), vols. 192, 193, 209, 210 (Louvain, 19601961).Google Scholar Eutychius of Alexandria had nothing to do with this work, which is the product of the monks of the Holy Land. See now Breydy, M., Études sur Sa'īd ibn Batrīq et ses sources, vol. 450 (Louvain, 1983).Google Scholar See also Arbache, Samir, “Sentences arabes de saint Basil,” Le Muséon 98 (1985): pp. 315329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

46. Boor, Carolus De, ed. Theophanis Chronographia, 2 vols. (Lipsiae, 18831885), 1:499.Google Scholar See also Turtledove, Harry, The Chronicle of Theophanes: An English Translation of Anni Mundi 6095–6305 (AD. 602–813), with Introduction and Notes (Philadelphia, 1982), p. 178.Google Scholar

47. See Eulogius, of Toledo, , “Memoriale Sanctorum, Documentum Martyriale, Apologeticus Martyrum,” Patrologia Latina, ed. Migne, J. P., vol. 115, cols. 786788.Google Scholar See also Colliert, Edward P., The Martyrs of Cordoba (850–859): A Study of the Sources (Washington, 1962), pp. 239242.Google Scholar

48. Wilkinson, J., Jerusalem Pilgrims Before the Crusades (Warminster, 1977), p. 32.Google Scholar

49. Donner, H., “Die Palästinabeschreibung des Epiphanius Monachus Hagiopolita,” Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins 87 (1971): 71.Google Scholar

50. See the Commemoratorzum de Casis Dei vel Monasteriis in Tobler, T. and Molinier, , Itinera Hierosolymitana et Descriptiones Terrae Sanctae, vol. 1 (Geneva, 1879), p. 303.Google Scholar See also Schmid, K., “Aachen und Jerusalem,” in Das Einhardkreuz, ed. Hauck, K. (Göttingen, 1974), pp. 122142;Google ScholarBorgolte, M., Der Gesandtenaustausch der Karolinger mit den abbasiden und mit den Pat riarchen von Jerusalem (München, 1976).Google Scholar

51. Commemoratorium, p. 302.

52. See Chitty, Desert a City; Hunt, E. D., Holy Land Pilgrimage in the Later Roman Empire, A.D. 312–460 (Oxford, 1982).Google Scholar

53. Schwartz, E., Kyrillos von Skythopolis (Leipzig, 1939);Google ScholarFestugière, A. J., Les moines d'Orient, 3 vols. (Paris, 1962).Google Scholar

54. See Flusin, Miracle et hntoire; Perrone, L., La chiesa di Palestina e le controversie cristologiche (Brescia, 1980).Google Scholar

55. The ground-breaking work in this area is Hirschfeld, “Judean Desert Monasteries in the Byzantine Period.”

56. See Christides, V., “Arabs as barbaro, before the Rise of Islam,” Balkan Studies 10 (1969): 315324;Google Scholaridem, “Pre-Islamic Arabs in Byzantine Illuminations,” Le Muséon 83 (1970): 167–181. See also Shahid, I., Rome and the Arabs (Washington, 1984), pp. 123141;Google Scholaridem, Byzantium and the Arabs in the Fourth Century (Washington, 1984), pp. 277–283.

57. See Schwartz, , Kyrillos von Skythopolis, pp. 1519;Google ScholarGenier, R., Vie de saint Euthyme le grand (Paris, 1909).Google Scholar

58. See Ševčenko, Ihor, “Hagiography of the Iconoclast Period,” in Iconoclasm, ed. Bryer, A. and Herrin, J. (Birmingham, 1977), pp. 112118;Google ScholarVailhé, S., “Saint Michelle syncelle et les deux frères Grapti, saint Théodore et saint Théophane,” Revue de l'Orient Chrétien 9 (1901): 313332, 610642;Google ScholarFeatherstone, J., “Theophane of Caesarea, Encomium of Theodore Graptos,” Analecta Bollandiana 98 (1980): 93150;CrossRefGoogle ScholarHalkin, F., “Saint Antoine lejeune et Pétronasle vainquer des arabes en 863,” Analecta Bollandiana 62 (1944): 187225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar See also Gouillard, J., “Un ‘quartier’ d'emigrés palestiniens à Constantinople au ixe siècle?Revue des Études Sud-Est Européenes 7 (1969): 7376.Google Scholar

59. On the loca sancta, see Busse, H. and Kretschmar, G., Jerusalem Heiltgtumstraditionen in altkirchlicher undfrühislamischer Zeit (Wiesbaden, 1987).Google Scholar A Christian Arab writer of the ninth/tenth centuries composed a list of sites associated with the life of Christ that were also pilgrimage sites. See Cachia, P. and Watt, W. M., Eutychius of Alexandria, the Book of Demonstration, vol. 192 (Louvain, 1960), pp. 165197.Google Scholar At least one monk from Byzantium visited Jerusalem, with no mention at all of local monasteries. See Martini, E., “Supplementa ad Acta S. Lucae lunioris,” Analecta Bollandiana 13 (1894): 87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

60. See, for example, Halkin, F., “Saint Jean l'érémopolite,” Analecta Bollandzana 86 (1968): 14, 20;Google ScholarDetorakis, T., “Vie inédite de Cosmas le mélode,” Analecta Bollandiana 99 (1981): 102, 108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

61. Vitry, Jacques de, The History of Jerusalem: A.D. 1180, trans. Stewart, Aubrey (London, 1896), pp. 6869.Google Scholar

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 24 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 28th January 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Hostname: page-component-898fc554b-t4g97 Total loading time: 0.282 Render date: 2021-01-28T06:44:45.399Z Query parameters: { "hasAccess": "0", "openAccess": "0", "isLogged": "0", "lang": "en" } Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false }

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Anthony David of Baghdad, Scribe and Monk of Mar Sabas: Arabic in the Monasteries of Palestine
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Anthony David of Baghdad, Scribe and Monk of Mar Sabas: Arabic in the Monasteries of Palestine
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Anthony David of Baghdad, Scribe and Monk of Mar Sabas: Arabic in the Monasteries of Palestine
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *