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Letters, Essays, and Sermons by Saint Gregory Nazianzus
This 18th-century manuscript is a collection of letters, essays, and sermons by Saint Gregory Nazianzus (died circa 389). The manuscript is thought to be the first Arabic translation from the original Greek and has not yet been edited or published. It is the second volume of a two-volume work. Gregory of Nazianzus, also known as Gregory the Theologian, is recognized as a Father of the Church in both the Eastern and Western traditions. He was born in Cappadocia (eastern Anatolia), where he spent much of his life. He was a ...
Discourse on Universal History
This work is a translation into Arabic of Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet’s history of the world, Discours sur l’histoire universelle (Discourse on universal history), in which the author argues for the divine right of kings. Bossuet’s book, originally published in 1681, is regarded as a classic statement defining the monarch as the embodiment of the state. Bossuet wrote the book for the benefit of the crown prince of France and based his argument on an interpretation of Biblical history. The work was translated by ‘Abd Allah al-Bustāni. It was ...
Duke Albrecht's Table of Christian Faith (Winter Part)
This manuscript is a document of the first importance in the history of Dutch manuscript illumination and contains an important medieval Dutch devotional text. The Tafel van den Kersten ghelove (Table of Christian faith) is a compendium of Christian knowledge written by a learned Dominican, Dirc van Delf. The text is in two parts, one for winter, another for summer. This manuscript is of the winter part and is incomplete, omitting the prologue and chapters 13, 14, and 35−57; chapters 23−24 are in inverse order. The arms of ...
Elements of Christian Teaching, or a Short Sacred History and a Short Christian Catechism
Ioann Veniaminov (1797-1879) was a Russian Orthodox priest who in 1823 volunteered to go to Alaska as a missionary. Settling with his wife and family in Unalaska, he built a church and school and began his lifelong task of studying the native languages of the region. With the help of the Aleut chief Ivan Pan'kov, Veniaminov invented an alphabet for the Unangan (Aleut) language which he used to translate religious and educational material from Russian. This book, from the collections of the National Library of Russia, was first translated ...
Brief Interpretation of the Holy Church, and How Many Holy Vessels and Vestments are Kept There, and of the Everyday Services, of the Divine Liturgy, and of the Holy Church Mysteries
Brief Interpretation of the Holy Church, and How Many Holy Vessels and Vestments Are Kept There, and of the Everyday Services, of the Divine Liturgy, and of the Holy Church Mysteries is a Bulgarian translation of a liturgical work originally written in Greek. Shown here is the second edition. In 1837, when the first edition of this work was published, very few Bulgarian books existed for educational or even religious purposes. The Greek original is by the Hellenistic educator, Demetrios Nikolaos Darvares (1757–1853); the translation is by Raino Popovich ...
This text is an Arabic translation of a Christian work originally written in Greek in the 11th century, known as the Pandect (or Pandektes) of Nikon of the Black Mountain. The Greek title of the book means The Universal (Book). The Arabic title, Al-Ḥāwī, has almost the same meaning: The Comprehensive Book. The text is divided into 63 sections and offers an exposition of Christian doctrine and life based on excerpts from the Bible, the church fathers, and church canons. The work was popular among Arabic-speaking Christians, as evidenced by ...
Five Doctrinal Works
This 17th-century manuscript is a collection of five doctrinal works translated into Arabic from Greek. Three of the works are by John of Damascus (died circa 750): On the Orthodox Faith, Dialectics, and Against the Heretics. John of Damascus was often read in both Greek and Arabic (he himself was bilingual, although he wrote only in Greek). The other two texts are by the monk, Paul of Antioch, Bishop of Sidon in the 13th century. They are a letter entitled That the Creator is One and that Christians are not ...
The Rubrics of the First Book of Lactantius Firmianus's On the Divine Institutes Against the Pagans Begin …
This very rare work by Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius is one of the first books printed in Italy and the first dated Italian imprint. It was produced by the German typographers Conrad Sweynheym and Arnold Pannartz, who established a printing press in 1465 at the Benedictine abbey of Subiaco, near Rome. According to the colophon, the book was completed “In the year of Our Lord 1465, in the second year of the papacy of Paul II, the thirteenth indiction and the last day but two of the month of October ...
Canons of the Councils
This volume contains the canons (decisions on ecclesiastical matters), translated from Greek into Arabic, of the seven great Church councils and extracts from six local or provincial councils. The seven great ecumenical councils were: Nicea (which took place in 325), Constantinople I (381), Ephesus (431), Chalcedon (451), Constantinople II (553), Constantinople III (680), and Nicea II (787). This collection of canons was compiled and arranged by Yūḥannā Ibn Zinda in 1690. The manuscript is dated 1851 by two copyists and is said to have belonged to the library of the ...
Book of the Conversation of Wisdom, and Other Works
The major part of this 18th-century manuscript is taken up by the text of Ktaba da-swad sofia (Book of the conversation of wisdom), a philosophical work by the famous Syriac Orthodox bishop and author, Gregory Bar ‘Ebraya (also seen as Bar Hebraeus, 1226–86). Of special interest is the fact that the work was copied here not only in Syriac, but also in Garshuni (Arabic written in Syriac script) in a parallel column on each page. The manuscript contains numerous marginal and interlinear annotations in both Garshuni and Arabic. After ...
Collection of Canons
This Armenian manuscript is a collection of canons (regulations or dogma as laid down by a church council). It is dated 1710 and exhibits the script known as nōtrgir (late minuscule). Each page has a clear border and 25 straight lines in one column. The manuscript is in good condition throughout, but some evidence of text repair can be seen on page 261. There are very many page decorations, human representations, and birds. Nōtrgir, a later minuscule script dominant in Armenian from the 17th century, differs from Armenian uncial ...
Book of Theology
Shem’un al-Turani was born in 1670 near Tur Abdin in present-day Turkey. He studied in Tur Abdin and became a monk at the age of twenty. He was appointed maphrian—historically the prelate second to the patriarch in the hierarchy of the Syriac Orthodox Church—in 1710 and took the name Basileios. Maphrian Basileios Shem’un was martyred in 1740. He wrote in verse and prose, and his works are considered important both because he was one of the most-renowned Syriac writers, and because very little of the great ...
The Weapon of Religion and the Shield of Certainty
Shem’un al-Turani was born in 1670 near Tur Abdin in present-day Turkey. He studied in Tur Abdin and became a monk at the age of twenty. He was appointed maphrian—historically the prelate second to the patriarch in the hierarchy of the Syriac Orthodox Church—in 1710 and took the name Basileios. Maphrian Basileios Shem’un was martyred in 1740. Kitāb silāḥ al-dīn wa-turs al-yaqīn (The weapon of religion and the shield of certainty) contains his polemical treatise in support of Syriac Orthodox doctrine and practice and against ...
Selections from the Book of the Holy Hierotheos with Commentary
This manuscript contains commentary on the Ktābā d-Irotē’os (Book of the holy Hierotheos), an early sixth-century theological epic on the hidden mysteries of the Divine, which is attributed to Stephen Bar Sudayli. The commentary is by Gregory Bar ‘Ebraya (also seen as Bar Hebraeus, 1226–86), who was a Syriac Orthodox bishop and a Syrian mystic. Both Bar Sudayli and his book were liable to suspicion in the Orthodox Church. This was because of the work’s associations with Origenism and with Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (both linked to attempts ...
Book of the Dove
Gregory Bar ‘Ebraya (also seen as Bar Hebraeus, 1226–86) was a Syriac Orthodox bishop and major author in the later Syriac tradition. He wrote prolifically, mostly in Syriac but also in Arabic, on philosophy, theology, spirituality, and history. His works also included commentaries on scripture, devotions, moral treatises, logic, the sciences, poetry, and humorous stories. This manuscript, dated 1360, is an important early witness to his writings. It contains his Ktābā d-yawnā (Book of the dove), which represents Bar Hebraeus’s instructions on how to start and then continue ...
The name commonly given to this work, Biblia pauperum (Paupers' Bible), does not reflect the true importance of this outstanding manuscript, which might be said to contain the summa of the religious knowledge of its time. The work was commissioned, together with another remarkable manuscript of the Rule of Saint Benedict, by Abbot Petrus I of the Benedictine Abbey of Metten in Bavaria and was completed in 1414–15. To carry out his demanding program of manuscript creation, the abbot engaged artists of note, who were well versed in the ...
Theological Miscellany, Circa 764-83
This miscellany manuscript was written in the time of Bishop Arbeo (circa 764–83) in the Bavarian diocesan town of Freising. It is remarkable especially for its script, a form of Anglo-Saxon minuscule, and its typically insular decoration: initials are adorned with animals and interlace patterns and surrounded by red dots. These insular features must be attributed to an English scribe active in the Freising scriptorium at that time, which is remarkable because Freising lay outside the area where the influence of English missionaries was strong in the eighth century ...
The Qur’an in the Earliest Printed Version, with the Life and Teachings of Muhammad and Other Works
This volume contains the first-ever printing of the Qur’an, presented in the 12th-century Latin translation by the English scholar Robert of Ketton. This translation was commissioned by Abbot Peter the Venerable of the monastery of Cluny in France, who was also responsible for monasteries in Spain. Islam was still a strong presence in Spain in the 1300s, although Muslim control of the Iberian Peninsula was waning. When this edition was printed 400 years later, Islam was again a pressing concern for Christian authorities: in 1529 the Ottoman Turkish sultan ...