Ladder of Divine Ascent


This 18th-century manuscript contains an Arabic translation of The Ladder of Divine Ascent, a famous work by Yūhannā Ra’īs Dayr Tūr Sīnā (John, abbot of the monastery at Mount Sinai), generally known in the West as Saint John Climacus (circa 579–649). This treatise on the ascetic life was popular in both the original Greek and in Arabic and Latin translations. A number of Arabic manuscripts contain the work, and an Arabic epitome exists as well. The title in Arabic translates as The Ladder of Higher Virtues that Characterize and Classify the Exalted and Sublime Ascents, and the work is divided into 30 steps, with virtues to be sought and vices to be avoided. John was a Christian monk at Saint Catherine’s Monastery, located at the foot of Mount Sinai, in present-day Egypt, who was known for his prayerful and ascetic life. Climacus is a Latin transliteration of the Greek term klimakos, which means “of the ladder.”

Last updated: March 30, 2012