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 those of the Catholics and the Church of the East. Unlike his other major work, Kitāb al-ṯe’ōlōġiyyā (Book of theology), which was written in Syriac and later translated into Garshuni, this work was written in Garshuni (Arabic words in Syriac script). The copy shown here was completed in August 1724 by a scribe named Zakarya.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

ܟܬܐܒ ܣܠܐܚ ܐܠܕܝܢ ܘܬܪܣ ܐܠܝܩܝܢ

Type of Item

Physical Description

135 pages ; 21.5 x 16 centimeters

Last updated: September 29, 2014