Two Jerusalem manuscripts of Bar ˤEbrāyā’s philosophical œuvre   Leave a comment

HMML’s partnership with Saint Mark’s Monastery, Jerusalem, to digitize their manuscript collection has yielded high-quality digital images of close to 300 manuscripts. A hard drive of the latest files arrived here last week and they have been uploaded to the server. The collection was cataloged in the early numbers of Oriens Christianus by G. Graf, A. Baumstark, and Ad. Rücker, and in the late 1980s thirty-one manuscripts from this collection were microfilmed by BYU and cataloged by William Macomber; scans of these microfilms have been graciously made available at the CPART site. Until the collection is again examined closely, it will not be certain how much the Saint Mark’s collection has changed from these earlier efforts at scrutiny and description, i.e. which manuscripts have been lost, and which have been gained.

SMMJ 232, f. 148v

As is relatively well known thanks to the work of the earlier German scholars and of BYU and Macomber, the Saint Mark’s collection has several notable manuscripts. I hope that I will be able to adequately highlight some of these in the future here, but today I share with you a bit of information (and images) of two manuscripts of Bar ˤEbrāyā’s philosophical work, each copy containing his Tēgrat Tēgrātā (The Treatise of Treatises), Ktābā da-Swād Sofia (The Conversation of Wisdom), and Ktābā d-Bābātā (The Pupils [of the Eye]). The manuscripts are numbered 231 and 232, with 232 being the older and dated 1878 AG (= 1566/7 CE) on f. 196r, but dated to the month of Āb (August) in 1885 AG (1574) on f. 148v; see the image to the right. The scribe of this is Tomā bar Murād bar Giwargis of Klibin, near Mardin, and “my teacher and our teacher Tomā” is named in the colophon on f. 197r, that part copied earlier is the work of another scribe. Completion dates this divergent for parts of one manuscript are not hard to fathom when we realize that they were apparently first not of the same manuscript. Near the beginning of The Book of the Pupils, ff. 163-172 are marked as the second quire (the first not explicitly marked), while the first text in the whole manuscript, The Treatise of Treatises, takes up sixteen quires, which are marked, itself. It seems that up to f. 152 was originally separate from the rest of the book, and the two parts were later joined together. The later manuscript is dated on f. 308r to Tāmuz (July) 9, 1882, and it was most probably copied from no. 232. It, too, begins with The Treatise of Treatises, which was copied (up to f. 139) in the way of some other works of Bar ˤEbrāyā’s, with Syriac and Arabic (Garšūnī) having been copied side-by-side, but here there is no full Arabic version of The Treatise, only select words and sentences. Some — probably most or all, but I have not studied the copies closely — of these translated bits also appear in the sixteenth-century manuscript, but they do not there have such a broad space; they are merely written in the margins. Images of corresponding parts near the beginning of the work are below, with the comments explaining in Arabic what “Peripatetic” means.

SMMJ 232, f. 2r

SMMJ 231, f. 9v

Note

Abundant bibliographic and manuscript information on all three of these works by Bar ˤEbrāyā will be found in H. Takahashi, Barhebraeus: A Bio-Bibliography (Piscataway, 2005), 254-265, to which I would make the following additions based on my work in the Church of the Forty Martyrs collection:

  • The Conversation of Wisdom
  1. CFMM 548, dated 1891, has Syriac and Garšūnī versions of the work.
  • The Book of the Pupils
  1. CFMM 546, dated 1879 and copied in Edessa.
  2. CFMM 547, dated 1923 and also copied in Edessa.
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