28 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 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.
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 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.
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
Liturgy
This late-16th-century manuscript is what is called in Arabic a Qundāq (from the Greek word kontakion), that is, a liturgical book. The text is partly in Arabic, partly in Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic once spoken in many of the lands of the Fertile Crescent. The manuscript is extensively rubricated, but the black ink has bled in many places. Of special interest here is that the Syriac script in this codex is of the variety known as Melkite, which is rather more angular than the more commonly seen Serto script ...
Liturgy of John Chrysostom
This 18th-century manuscript contains the Liturgy of John Chrysostom, one of the early church fathers and archbishop of Constantinople, who lived circa 347–407. Directions for the priest and deacon are in Arabic, while what is read aloud is given in parallel columns of Greek and Syriac. The Syriac script is of the variety known as Melkite, which is rather more angular than the more commonly seen Serto script. The decorative title page has ornate writing in black, red, blue, and gold ink. Throughout the manuscript, the black ink has ...
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 ...
Book of the Holy Gospel of Our Lord and God Jesus Christ
The first printing of the Syriac New Testament appeared thanks to the patronage of Ferdinand I, to whom a long preface is dedicated to begin the book. Johann Albrecht Widmanstetter (1506-1557) and Moses of Mardin, on whose handwriting the Syriac type for the book was based, were the forces behind the work. This Syriac type was produced by Kaspar Kraft under the direction of the French Orientalist Guillaume Postel (1510-1581). This edition of the New Testament has James, 1 Peter, and 1 John, but not the other General Epistles or ...