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 vice versa. In part of the work, the section titles are given in rubricated Arabic script rather than in Syriac. The colophon on folio 71r is in (fully vocalized) Syriac, not Arabic, and gives the date of the manuscript, 1830. At the end of the manuscript, ṣaḥḥa (finis) is written twice in Garshuni, twice in Arabic. The book is intended as a guide for the soul on the proper path toward God. No title is given until near the end (folio 80r): The Stairway of Virtues. Specifically, these virtues are: 1. Faith, 2. Hope in the Living God, and 3. Love of God and Neighbor. On folio 80r, four church fathers—Augustine, John Chrysostom, Basil the Great, and Theophylact—are cited.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

كتاب درج االفضائل

Additional Subjects

Type of Item

Physical Description

93 folios, 21.7 x 16.2 centimeters

Last updated: November 12, 2014