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 numbers are written. This copy of the book was made by a monk named Yuwāṣaf (Joasaph, 1690–1737) of the village of Baskinta in Lebanon, attached to the Monastery of Saints Peter and Marcellinus in Rome.

Last updated: September 18, 2015