12 results in English
Gospel Lectionary
This very clearly written Syriac manuscript is a 16th-century Purāš qeryānē d-ṭeṭrā ewangelyon (Gospel lectionary—a book containing the portions of scripture, the lessons, to be read at divine service on particular days). The pages are divided into two columns with 22 lines of text in each. The ink, black for letters and red for titles and diacritical points, has faded very little, so that the writing is in most cases quite crisp. As is common in carefully written west Syriac manuscripts, the main text is in a ...
Synaxarion
This 18th-century manuscript, dated 1733 in the colophon, is called an Al-Sinkisār (Synaxarion), meaning a collection of brief biographies of the saints, mostly used in the Orthodox Church. The account of the life of a saint is read as a lesson when that saint’s day is celebrated in church. Each day of the year is marked in this synaxarion with red ink, and then follows a brief narrative for the particular saint or saints celebrated that day. The text is Garshuni (Arabic written in Syriac script). Garshuni Arabic is ...
Gospel Commentary
This 20th-century manuscript is one of many copies of the Pušāqā d-ewangelyon qaddišā (Gospel commentary) of Dionysius Bar Salibi (died 1171). Born in Melitene in an area that was sometimes under Turkish control, Bar Salibi became an Assyrian metropolitan bishop. The work is notable for containing named citations of previous Syriac authors. Bar Salibi was very highly regarded and his writing included poems, prayers, a treatise against heresy, and Syriac translations of Aristotle's works. Many of Bar Salibi’s works, including his biblical commentaries, survive with a remarkable manuscript ...
Lives of the Saints
This Garshuni (Arabic written in Syriac letters) manuscript of Qisas al-qiddīsīn (Lives of the saints) dates from 1692–93 and was written by a scribe named Murad bin 'Abd Al-Masih. It is a collection of biographical accounts of the saints’ lives and homilies. The authors of these various biographies are, for the most part, anonymous. The text is mostly in two columns, but there are some pages with only one. A number of marginal notes in Garshuni and Arabic script accompany the text. Garshuni came into use when Arabic became ...
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 ...
Life of Barsawma
This undated manuscript of Ktāba d-ḥayyāw(y) d-qaddišā mār(y) Barṣawmā (Life of Barsawma) contains a narrative of the miraculous life of Barsawma (died about 492). The manuscript is in Syriac, but this text also is known in Ge'ez, the classical language of Ethiopia. Barsawma is said to have performed about 100 miracles, detailed here, and he was involved in the Christological controversies of the fifth century. A famous monastery near Melitene in present-day Turkey is named after him. The folios of the manuscript are unnumbered, but ...
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 ...
Life of Mary
This 16th-century manuscript contains a relatively well preserved copy of Ktāba d-taš’itāh d-qaddištā yāldat alāhā Maryam (Life of Mary) in Syriac, an eastern dialect of Aramaic. The work (in six volumes) was written by Theophilos, the Greek patriarch of Alexandria in 385–412, and copied in 1567–68 by a scribe named Slibona. At the end of this work comes a metrical homily by Jacob of Serugh (died 521) on the death of Mary, the last half of which is missing in this copy. Some corrections and vowel signs ...
Poems (Carmina)
This manuscript, which probably dates from the 16th century, contains Mušḥātā (Poems) by Gregory Bar ‘Ebraya (also seen as Bar Hebraeus, 1226–86), a Syriac Orthodox bishop and a 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, and humorous stories. Bar Hebraeus was renowned for his justice, integrity, great learning, and principled leadership. A few recent pages (mostly blank) have been ...
The Book of the Interpreter
This 16th-century manuscript is an old copy of the classified Syriac–Garshuni glossary by  Elias of Nisibis (975–1046). Elias was an eastern Syriac scholar and monk, who was later a bishop and from 1008–46 metropolitan of Nisibis in northern Mesopotamia (present-day Nusaybin in southeastern Turkey). He was an important figure in Syriac and Christian Arabic literature and an early grammarian. In addition to this glossary, his literary output included a bilingual (Syriac–Arabic) chronicle, liturgical poetry, and letters. This work is prefaced by Eliya's address to the ...