21 results in English
The Book of the Stairway of Virtues
This manuscript has a number of distinguishing features. The text is in Garshuni (Arabic in Syriac characters), but the catchword (a word given at the bottom of one page matching the first word on the next page to ensure the proper page order is kept) is given in Arabic script. Biblical citations are indicated (sometimes in red) in the margin, written sideways (as in, for example, folio 13r, where Matthew 10:16 is cited). The diacritical dots given to the letters are black when the main script is red, and ...
The Waymarks to Benefits
This manuscript, dated AH 1294 (AD 1877), contains a copy of a very famous prayer book by the Moroccan Sufi, Muḥammad al-Jazūlī (died 1465), with the title Dalā’il al-Khayrāt (The Waymarks to Benefits). The work exists in many manuscripts and is one of the most widely copied Islamic texts. The opening section consists of the 99 names of Allah, followed by prayers and blessings for the Prophet Muhammad, which are divided into sections for daily recitation. The Arabic script is a clear, but slightly ornate, Naskh. The copyist used ...
The Marvelous Address: The Revelation of the Beloved (Disciple)
This 18th-century manuscript is a copy of a commentary on the Book of Revelation (also known as the Apocalypse of Saint John), a work by the 18th century writer Yūsuf al-Bānī entitled The Marvelous Address: The Revelation of the Beloved (Disciple). The text is Garshuni (Arabic in Syriac script), and very clearly written, but the title is also written in Arabic script at the beginning of the book. There are also notes in Arabic script, for example, at the bottom of page 3 and in the margin of page 4 ...
The Festive Maronite
This Maronite prayer book was copied in 1888 by the self-styled “wretched, lazy scribe” Yūsuf Dib. The text is partly in Syriac, partly in Garshuni (Arabic written in Syriac letters). Instead of rubrication—indicating titles and important words in red ink—purple ink is mostly used for this purpose. The manuscript provides a fine example of a carefully written and well-preserved text. The Maronite Church is an Eastern Catholic Church in communion with the Holy See in Rome. Centered in Lebanon, the church takes its name from Saint Marun (died ...
The Four Gospels
This volume contains a lectionary—a collection of biblical texts to be read according to the church calendar—for readings from the Gospels. The language is Arabic, but it is written in West Syriac script (Serto) rather than in Arabic letters, a phenomenon known as Garshuni. The table of readings given at the beginning of the manuscript, however, is in Syriac, not Arabic. Each reading is numbered in the margin, and the proper time in the year for it is indicated in red ink at the head of each reading ...
The Divine Office for Lent
This late 17th century manuscript, copied by a deacon named Jacob, contains the Maronite Divine Office for Lent in Syriac. The numeration, using Syriac letters, is in pages rather than folios. The colophon is in Garshuni (Arabic written in Syriac letters). The Maronite Church is an Eastern Catholic Church in communion with the Holy See in Rome. Centered in Lebanon, the church takes its name from Saint Maron (died 410), a Syrian monk whose followers built a monastery in his honor that became the nucleus of the Maronite Church.
The Book of Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, the Founder of the Jesuit Monastic Order
This manuscript is an Arabic translation of the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. At the beginning of the manuscript, Ignatius (1491–1556) is expressly described as the founder of “Jesuit monasticism.” The text also states that this work was translated from Latin into Arabic in the Phoenician city of Sidon, in the year 1731 by the Jesuit Pierre Fromage (1678–1740). The translation was for the benefit of those in Eastern countries, as it was known that many in Western countries had benefited from the Latin version of the ...
Mirror of the Souls
The Maronite theologian and philosopher Buṭrus al-Tūlānī (1655–1745) was active as a teacher, preacher, and writer. This manuscript, dated 1822 and with the author’s full name given on folio 2r, contains a Garshuni (Arabic language in Syriac script) copy of his Mirror of the Souls (Mir’āt al-Nufūs), a work on contemplative prayer. Other copies of this work are (or were) known to exist elsewhere in Lebanon and Syria. Unlike the rest of the volume, the colophon of this manuscript is in Arabic, not Syriac, letters; the title ...
Introduction to the Definition of Logic and its Composition
This 18th-century manuscript in Garshuni (Arabic written in Syriac letters) contains two works and part of another. The manuscript is without foliation, but before what would now be folio 11v, some folios are missing, so that the first work, part of a Christian polemical text, is cut short and a new work begins: Isagoge, or Introduction to Logic (Al-muqaddima fī ta’rīf al-manṭiq wa-ajzā’ihi). A Porphyrian tree diagram is on folio 29v and there are several other diagrams as well (for example, 53v, 56r–57v). According to the colophon ...
The Book of Natures
Joseph Simon Assemani (1687–1768), known for his catalogs of Oriental manuscripts at the Vatican and his encyclopedic work on Syriac (and Christian Arabic) literature, Bibliotheca Orientalis, is, in the words of the great German Orientalist Georg Graf, “for all time the pride of the Maronite nation.” This volume contains, in Garshuni (Arabic language written in Syriac letters), a manuscript of Assemani’s philosophical work entitled The Book of Natures (Kitāb al-Ṭabī‘īyāt), divided into 30 sections (maqālāt). The work is numbered as pages (not folios), but only the odd ...
The Book of Delight at the Discussion of the Night Journey and Ascension of the Prophet Muhammad
This 16th-century manuscript contains an early copy of the mystical work by Najm Al-Dīn Muhammad ibn Ahmad Al-Ghayṭī (died 1573) entitled Kitāb al-ibtihāj bil-kalām ‘alà al-Isrā’ wal-Mi‘rāj (The book of delight at the discussion of the night journey and ascension of the Prophet Muhammad). Islam teaches that in the Isrā’ (the night journey), Muhammad traveled from Mecca to Jerusalem on the mythological beast Burāq, and that on that same night occurred the Mi‘rāj, Muhammad’s ascension to the heavens. The author of the work was a religious scholar ...
Explication of the Letter of Ibn Zaydūn
This codex is a copy of a commentary on a letter by Abū al-Walīd Aḥmad Ibn Zaydūn al-Makhzūmī (1003—70), better known as Ibn Zaydūn, a nobleman and poet who was active in Spain at the time of the fall of the Umayyad Caliphate in 1031. Ibn Zaydūn was caught up in the political turmoil of the day and embroiled in many conflicts and rivalries. The commentary deals with a letter by Ibn Zaydūn concerning his feud with a minister named Ibn ‘Abdūs, which stemmed from the rivalry of ...
Commentary to ‘Abd Al-Ghanī Al-Nābulusī's Kifāyat al-ghulām
This late 19th-century manuscript, dated AH 1294 (AD 1877), contains a commentary on Kifāyat al-ghulām (The youth’s sufficiency), one of the many works of ‘Abd al-Ghanī ibn Ismā‘īl al-Nābulusī (1641–1731). ‘Abd Al-Ghanī was a Syrian mystic, theologian, poet, and traveler, and his writings in both poetry and prose reflect his many interests and activities. He spent seven years studying the writings of the Sufi mystics on their spiritual experiences. He also journeyed extensively throughout the Islamic world, to Istanbul, Lebanon, Jerusalem, Palestine, Egypt, Arabia, and Tripoli. The ...
The Unique Explanation of the Secrets
This manuscript contains a work in Garshuni (Arabic language written in Syriac script) on the sacraments. At the beginning of the manuscript, the work is called The Unique Explanation of the Secrets (i.e., the sacraments), but in the colophon the book is called The Treasure House of the Secrets. The manuscript was copied by Stephen (Isṭifānūs), a monk of the St. Antony Monastery. The colophon mentions the date of completing the manuscript as the 11th day of Tammuz (July), 1740. The work has numerous marginal annotations, also in Garshuni.
The Science of Theology: Book Three
This manuscript contains an Arabic translation of a theological work in Latin by Jean-Claude (de la Poype) de Vertrieu (1655–1732), Bishop of Poitiers, France. Much of the work is in question and answer format, and the part included here discusses, among a number of topics, questions of law and custom, love, true worship, and doubt. The text was copied in the 19th century by a scribe named George, who resided in Dayr al-Qamar (the Monastery of the Moon) in south-central Lebanon.
Sermons
This work is part of a collection of sermons by the Jesuit "monk" Būlus (Paul) al-Sanīrī (died 1691), as he is called here. It is in a carefully written script and thoroughly rubricated. In addition to the regular use of rubrication for section title, quotations from the Bible are also given in red, with the exact verse references also indicated in red in the margin. Initial and final pages of the volume have some minor water damage. The manuscript once belonged to the Monastery of Saints Cyprian and Justina at ...
Daily Office
This liturgical manuscript is the daily office (Šḥimto) of the Maronites, partly in Syriac, but with some of the prayers in Garshuni (Arabic in Syriac letters). Each page has the text blocked off in red ink. At the end of the manuscript, the ink has bled through in several places, and within the text, several folios have missing pieces (for example, folio 144v). The Maronite Church is an Eastern Catholic Church in communion with the Holy See in Rome. Centered in Lebanon, the church takes its name from Saint Marun ...
Syriac Grammar
This manuscript, which has worm damage and is missing folios at the end, is a grammar of Syriac written in Garshuni (Arabic in Syriac letters). There is a table of contents, after which the text is written in two columns. The red ink has faded somewhat and is not as clear as the black ink. The section titles are given in both Syriac and Arabic. Syriac is an eastern dialect of Aramaic, which was spoken by Christians in the lands between the Roman Empire and the Arabian Sea from the ...
Syriac Grammar
This work is a grammar of Syriac written in Garshuni (Arabic in Syriac letters). The Syriac words and expressions are partially vocalized, and the section titles are in both Arabic and Syriac. In the colophon, the work is called a musawwada (draft) and there are numerous corrections and annotations to the text. It is also stated that the copy was completed on the 18th of Ab, meaning August, 1867. It was first created at the Monastery of Saints Cyprian and Justina at Deir Kfīfāne in Lebanon; later it belonged to ...
Grammatical Investigations
This clearly written manuscript, dated 1857, is a work on grammatical questions by Gabriel Germanus, or Jirmānūs, Farḥāt (circa 1670–1732), metropolitan of Aleppo and founder of the Lebanese Maronite Order. Maronite synod documents of the 16th century reflect a poor standard of Arabic and are often interspersed with Syriac words. Metropolitan Farḥāt was a writer of correct and elegant Arabic and a forerunner of the Maronite initiative in the 19th century Arabic revival. The work was written in 1705 and then printed in 1836 at the American Protestant press ...
Spiritual Considerations on the Life of Saint Antony the Great
This manuscript is an Arabic translation of a work on the life of Saint Antony, the early Egyptian ascetic, originally written in Latin by a Jesuit priest. The work was translated by a Maronite priest named Alexander “for the benefit of those who seek perfection in the Christian religion.” It is made up of nine “considerations” or “contemplations” (ta’ammulat) on the saint’s life. The text was copied at the Mar Qubriyanus Kfifan monastery in Lebanon. Saint Antony the Great (circa 251—356) was a prominent leader among the ...