Textbook on Arabic Grammar and Usage


This manuscript is a guide for Christian students of the Arabic language. It was written by Jirmanus Farhat (circa 1670–1732), a prominent Maronite clergyman, and copied after his death for use as a school text. The Lebanese Maronite Church was and remains united with the Roman Catholic Church. However, there was tension in the church, at some times more acute than others, over matters of “Vaticanization” of language and form of worship. Farhat took a leading part in these debates, and helped to advance the use of better Arabic alongside Syriac for ecclesiastical and personal use. He was a writer of correct and elegant Arabic and a forerunner of the Maronite initiative in the 19th century Arabic revival. The manuscript is more an elementary text than a sophisticated grammar. It is crisply written and contains plentiful examples, often culled from the Bible, which make it a handy guide for teachers and students. It is arranged according to the Arabic alphabet, each letter representing a “talking point” for teachers. Parts of speech, interjections, exclamations, and interrogatives are explained with the proper vowels required for each. These are most often demonstrated by example rather than by grammatical rule. Farhat was elevated to metropolitan bishop of the wealthy diocese of Aleppo, but not before he and his secular patrons among Maronite families survived an attempt to excommunicate him. The manuscript was “copied and corrected, to the extent possible,” by Lawandirus Salim, after which it passed through the hands of several owners whose names appear on the first and last pages.

Date Created


Title in Original Language

هذا فصل معقود في معاني عوامل الاعراب للمرحوم المطران جرمانوس

Type of Item

Physical Description

79 leaves, bound : paper ; 15.8 x 10.2 centimeters


  1. Van Leeuwen, Richard, Notables and Clergy in Mount Lebanon: The Khāzin Shekhs and the Maronite Church (1736−1840). (Leiden: Brill, 1994).

Last updated: April 28, 2015