Archive for the ‘Jerusalem’ Tag

The Jerusalem manuscript of Antony of Tagrit’s Rhetoric   3 comments

This is just a short note on a manuscript I cataloged this morning. It’s not a new find, but rather a confirmation of the existence and the whereabouts of a significant copy of Antony of Tagrit’s Rhetoric. In the introduction to his edition of the fifth book of the Rhetoric (CSCO 480), John Watt, who has written extensively on the topic of rhetoric in Syriac (see the bibliography below), mentions a manuscript of the work known to have been at Saint Mark’s Monastery in Jerusalem (cf. Baumstark in OC 3 (1913): 132 [no. 32*]), and not a late copy: he gives 14th/15th/16th century, but he had apparently not seen the manuscript. He says of it that its location “since 1949 is also unknown” (p. xi).

Thanks to HMML’s digitization of the collection at Saint Mark’s, the manuscript’s whereabouts can be confirmed, and images of this important copy are now easily accessible. As for the date, Baumstark suggests 15th or 16th century, and the data reported by Watt also includes the previous century. To me, 16th century seems too late an estimate; I would tentatively settle on the 15th. The manuscript contains most of the text of Antony’s Rhetoric, although the first two folios are later replacements, and the end of the fifth book is missing. Here are a few samples:

SMMJ 230, pp. 255-256, end of book 2 and beg. of book 3 (and end of quire 13, beg. of quire 14)

SMMJ 230, pp. 255-256, end of book 2 and beg. of book 3 (and end of quire 13, beg. of quire 14)

SMMJ 230, pp. 289-290, from book 4

SMMJ 230, pp. 289-290, from book 4

SMMJ 230, pp. 383-384, from book 5

SMMJ 230, pp. 383-384, from book 5, and with ink noticeably more faded

Bibliography (from The Compr. Bib. on Syriac Christianity)

Breydy, Michel, ”Précisions historiques autour des œuvres d’Antoine de Tagrit et des manuscrits de St. Marc de Jérusalem”, Pages 15-52 in Erkenntnisse und Meinungen II. Edited by Wiessner, Gernot. Göttinger Orientforschungen, I. Reihe: Syriaca 17. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1978.

Corcella, Aldo, ”Due citazioni dalle Etiopiche di Eliodoro nella Retorica di Antonio di Tagrīt”, Orientalia Christiana Periodica 74:2 (2008): 389-416.

Duval, Rubens, ”Notice sur la Rhétorique d’Antoine de Tagrit”, Pages 479-486 in Orientalische Studien: Theodor Nöldeke zum siebzigsten Geburtstag (2. März 1906) gewidmet von Freunden und Schülern. Edited by Bezold, Carl. Gieszen: Alfred Töpelmann, 1906.

Eliyo Sewan d-Beth Qermaz,, ed. The Book of the Rhetoric by Anthony Rhitor of Tagrit. Stockholm: Forfatteres Bokmaskin, 2000.

Eskenasy, Pauline Ellen, ”Antony of Tagrit’s Rhetoric Book One: Introduction, Partial Translation, and Commentary”. Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1991.

Köbert, Raimund, ”Bemerkungen zu den syrischen Zitaten aus Homer und Platon im 5. Buch der Rhetorik des Anton von Tagrit und zum syrischen Peri askeseos angeblich von Plutarch”, Orientalia 40 (1971): 438-447.

Raguse, Hartmut, ”Syrische Homerzitate in der Rhetorik des Anton von Tagrit”, Pages 162-175 in Paul de Lagarde und die syrische Kirchengeschichte. Göttingen: Göttinger Arbeitskreis für syrische Kirchengeschichte, 1968.

Rahmani, Ignatius Ephraem, ed. Studia Syriaca, seu collectio documentorum hactenus ineditorum ex codicibus Syriacis. Monte Libano: Typis Patriarchalibus in Seminario Scharfensi, 1904-1909.

Rücker, Adolf, ”Das fünfte Buch der Rhetorik des Anton von Tagrit”, Oriens Christianus 31 (1934): 13-22.

Seven d-Beth Qermez, E., ed. Antony Rhitor of Tagrit. The Book of Rhetoric. Södertälje: Författares Bokmaskin, 2000.

Sprengling, Martin, ”Antonius Rhetor on Versification, with an Introduction and Two Appendices”, American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures 32:3 (1916): 145-216.

Strothmann, Werner, ”Die Schrift des Anton von Tagrit über die Rhetorik”, Pages 199-216 in Paul de Lagarde und die syrische Kirchengeschichte. Göttingen: Göttinger Arbeitskreis für syrische Kirchengeschichte, 1968.

Watt, John W., ”Antony of Tagrit as a Student of Syriac Poetry”, Le Muséon 98:3-4 (1985): 261-279.

Watt, John W., ed. The Fifth Book of the Rhetoric of Antony of Tagrit. CSCO 480-481, Syr. 203-204. Leuven: Peeters, 1986.

Watt, John W., ”Antony of Tagrit on Rhetorical Figures”, Pages 317-325 in IV Symposium Syriacum, 1984: Literary Genres in Syriac Literature (Groningen – Oosterhesselen 10-12 September). Edited by Drijvers, Han J.W. and Lavenant, René and Molenberg, Corrie and Reinink, Gerrit J.. Orientalia Christiana Analecta 229. Roma: Pontificium Institutum Studiorum Orientalium, 1987.

Watt, John W., ”Syriac Panegyric in Theory and Practice: Antony of Tagrit and Eli of Qartamin”, Le Muséon 102:3-4 (1989): 271-298.

Watt, John W., ”Grammar, Rhetoric and the Enkyklios Paideia in Syriac”, Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 143:1 (1993): 45-71.

Watt, John W., ”The Syriac Reception of Platonic and Aristotelian Rhetoric”, ARAM 5 (1993): 579-601.

Watt, John W., ”Syriac Rhetorical Theory and the Syriac Tradition of Aristotle’s Rhetoric”, Pages 243-260 in Peripatetic Rhetoric after Aristotle. Edited by Fortenbaugh, William W. and Mirhady, D.C.. Rutgers University Studies in Classical Humanities 4. New Brunswick: 1994.

Watt, John W., ”The Philosopher-King in the “Rhetoric” of Antony of Tagrit”, Pages 245-258 in VI Symposium Syriacum, 1992: University of Cambridge, Faculty of Divinity, 30 August – 2 September 1992. Edited by Lavenant, René. Orientalia Christiana Analecta 247. Roma: Pontificio Istituto Orientale, 1994.

Watt, John W., ”Eastward and Westward Transmission of Classical Rhetoric”, Pages 63-75 in Centres of Learning: Learning and Location in Pre-Modern Europe and the Near East. Edited by Drijvers, Jan Willem and MacDonald, Alaisdair A.. Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History 61. Leiden / New York / Köln: Brill, 1995.

Watt, John W., ”From Themistius to al-Farabi: Platonic Political Philosophy and Aristotle’s Rhetoric in the East”, Rhetorica 13:1 (1995): 17-41.

Watt, John W., ”From Synesius to al-Farabi: Philosophy, Religion, and Rhetoric in the Christian Orient”, Pages 265-277 in Symposium Syriacum VII: Uppsala University, Department of Asian and African Languages, 11–14 August 1996. Edited by Lavenant, René. Orientalia Christiana Analecta 256. Roma: Pontificio Istituto Orientale, 1998.

Watt, John W., ”The Recovery of an Old Text: Scribes, Scholars, Collectors and the Rhetoric of Antony of Tagrit”, The Harp 16 (2003): 285-295.

Watt, John W., ”Guarding the Syriac Language in an Arabic Environment: Antony of Tagrit on the Use of Grammar in Rhetoric”, Pages 133-150 in Syriac Polemics: Studies in Honour of Gerrit Jan Reinink. Edited by van Bekkum, Wout Jac. and Drijvers, Jan Willem and Klugkist, Alex C.. Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 170. Leuven: Peeters, 2007.

Watt, John W., ”Literary and Philosophical Rhetoric in Syriac”, Pages 141-154 in Literary and Philosophical Rhetoric in the Greek, Roman, Syriac and Arabic Worlds. Edited by Woerther, Frédérique. Europaea Memoria I.66. Hildesheim: Olms-Weidmann, 2009.

Watt, John W., Rhetoric and Philosophy from Greek into Syriac. Variorum Collected Studies 960. Farnham, England: Ashgate, 2010.

Saint Mark’s, Jerusalem, 180 (Book of Steps, Asceticon of Abba Isaiah)   2 comments

SMMJ 180 is a seventh- or eight-century manuscript containing the Book of Steps (Liber Graduum) and parts of the Asceticon of Abba Isaiah. The script is a beautiful, clear Estrangela, and the text is written in two columns with around thirty-nine lines. The manuscript is foliated with Syriac letters (numbered folios begin only at f. 10), but the book has been rebound in great disarray. According to a note dated 1881 on 102r, the book was repaired by Grigorios Ǧirǧis Muṭrān of Jerusalem in 1881. In the course of cataloging the manuscript, it became clear that, given the manuscript’s age and its significance as a textual witness, a detailed listing of its contents might be of some value.

SMMJ 180, ff. 62v-63r. The end of the Book of Steps and the beginning of the Asceticon, with some damage at the top.

SMMJ 180, ff. 62v-63r. The end of the Book of Steps and the beginning of the Asceticon, with some damage at the top.

In his edition of the Liber Graduum (LG), Kmosko discusses the manuscript (his Codex R) on pp. viii-ix, ccxciv-cccvi, the latter section being an appendix with a collation. Significantly, Draguet does not make use, it seems, of the Jerusalem manuscript in his edition of the Asceticon. For both of these monuments of Syriac literature, the Jerusalem manuscript deserves to be studied more closely, and thanks to these high quality images now easily available, those with a close interest in either or both of those texts may do so with little trouble.

Before turning to the contents of the codex, here are a few remarks on the paleography. The script is very straightforward Esṭrangela, with sharp angles as in the bēt and ṭēt. General observations include:
•    semkat not attached to the following letter
•    the right leg of the ālap has a little serif, seen both when the previous letter is attached and when it is not
•    the waw is not closed
•    the mim is not closed
•    the final nun, when not attached to the previous letter, is at an angle noticeably more horizontal than when it is attached

When there is a little space at line-end, the final letter has an extender to reach the edge. There are no explicit vowel marks, but there is a host of punctuation marks and diacritical points, with examples in almost every line.

Dotted pointers indicate quotations from scripture. These signs are well known from other early Syriac manuscripts.

SMMJ 180, f. 20r, showing the indication of a biblical citation.

SMMJ 180, f. 20r, showing dotted pointers to indicate a biblical citation.

In addition, the scribe uses a sign that looks very much like the Alexandrian critical sign, the obelus, here in the form known as the lemniscus (cf. Swete, Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek, 69-72, and Field, Origenis hexaplorum quae supersunt, I: liii-lx). For example, 26va, line 7:

SMMJ 180, f. 26v

SMMJ 180, f. 26v

Similarly, on 42v, there is a marginal correction of āzēl to zādēq (Kmosko there has āzēl, col. 776.22). This sign, too, is found in other manuscripts, not only Syriac, but also Garšūnī (e.g. SMMJ 174, p. 262), to anchor a marginal reading to a part of the main text.

Another kind of correction is that for transpositions. On 15r, for example, the words b-demʿē and wa-b-ḥaylā are each marked with a group of three dots to indicate that they should be transposed. That is, we should read mā da-gʿa b-ḥaylā wa-b-demʿē saggiʾātā. (Even without the dots, the grammar points in this direction, due to agreement between demʿē and saggiʾātā.) The same indication of transposition occurs elsewhere, as on 46ra, 49vb, 53vb, 54vb, 58rb, 61vb.

SMMJ 180, f. 15r

SMMJ 180, f. 15r

For LG, the sections are not divided more minutely than individual memra; here is an example of a section divider between memre:

SMMJ 180, f. 37v, end of memra 24,. beg. of memra 25.

SMMJ 180, f. 37v, end of memra 24,. beg. of memra 25.

On 43v is a marginal note to indicate the topic (not common in this manuscript): “On the soul’s being called spirit.”

Due to the disorderly arrangement of the manuscript, the path for anyone who is continuously reading the text almost looks like a choose-your-own-adventure book. To cover the surviving parts of the codex, beginning with LG and then moving to the Asceticon, one would read the folios in this order (X indicates a missing folio or folios; there are three such places): 93-100, 83, 101, 90, 84-89, 91, X, 92, 80, 79, X, 82, 81, X, 76, 75, 71-74, 70, 69, 68, 77, 11-18, 78, 19-62, 67, 63-66.

Hopefully the folio-by-folio list of the contents below will be of use to those at work on the Book of Steps or Isaiah’s Asceticon. I give by folio the corresponding parts of the text according to the editions of Kmosko for LG and Draguet for the Asceticon. For the former, in every place I have included memra and section number, and for many places identification down to the column and line number; for the latter, I have given logos and section number, along with page and line number.


Draguet, René. Les cinq recensions de l’Ascéticon syriaque d’Abba Isaïe. CSCO 289 / Scr. Syr. 120. Louvain, 1968.

Kessel, Grigory. “A Previously Unknown Reattributed Fragment from Memra 16 of the Book of Steps,” in Kristian S. Heal and Robert A. Kitchen, eds., Breaking the Mind: New Studies in the Syriac “Book of Steps (CUA Press, 2014), 53-71, esp. 54-60. Available here. [The volume has a picture from SMMJ 180 on the cover.]

Kmosko, Michael. Liber Graduum. Patrologia Syriaca 3. Paris, 1926.

Folio-by-folio contents of SMMJ 180

[11r-11v] LG 19.39-20.3 (col. 521.17-532.11)
[12r-12v] LG 20.3-20.6
[13r-13v] LG 20.6-20.8
[14r-14v] LG 20.8-20.10
[15r-15v] LG 20.10-20.13 (col. 556.12-564.17)
[16r-16v] LG 20.13-20.15
[17r-17v] LG 20.15-20.17
[18r-18v] LG 20.17-21.2 (col. 580.15-589.7) THEN GO TO [78r]
[19r-19v] LG 21.4- 21.7 (col. 596.23-604.6)
[20r-20v] LG 21.7-21.9 (col. 604.6-609.19)
[21r-21v] LG 21.9-21.11 (col. 609.20-617.8)
[22r-22v] LG 21.11-21.16 (col. 617.9-624.26)
[23r-23v] LG 21.16-21.20 (col. 624.26-632.7)
[24r-24v] LG 21.20-22.3 (col. 632.7-640.3)
[25r-25v] LG 22.3-22.6 (col. 640.3-645.18)
[26r-26v] LG 22.6-22.8 (col. 645.18-653.9)
[27r-27v] LG 22.8-22.11 (col. 653.8-660.24)
[28r-28v] LG 22.11-22.14 (col. 660.24-668.19)
[29r-29v] LG 22.14-22.17 (col. 668.19-676.5)
[30r-30v] LG 22.17-22.20 (col. 676.5-681.19)
[31r-31v] LG 22.20-22.25 (col. 681.19-689.12)
[32r-32v] LG 22.25-23.3 (col. 689.12-697.11)
[33r-33v] LG 23.3-23.8 (col. 697.11-704.24)
[34r-34v] LG 23.8-23.11 (col. 704.24-712.13)
[35r-35v] LG 23.11-24.2 (col. 712.13-720.6)
[36r-36v] LG 24.2-24.7 (col. 720.6-728.8)
[37r-37v] LG 24.7-25.2 (col. 720.6-736.14)
[38r-38v] LG 25.2-25.5 (col. 736.14-741.25)
[39r-39v] LG 25.5-25.8 (col. 741.25-749.22)
[40r-40v] LG 25.8-26.2 (col. 749.22- 760.23)
[41r-41v] LG 26.2-27.2 (col. 760.23-769.12)
[42r-42v] LG 27.2-27.5 (col. 769.12-777.3)
[43r-43v] LG 27.5-28.1 (col. 777.3-788.4)
[44r-44v] LG 28.1-28.6 (col. 788.4-793.24)
[45r-45v] LG 28.6-28.11 (col. 793.24-801.25)
[46r-46v] LG 28.11-29.1 (col. 801.25-812.17)
[47r-47v] LG 29.1-29.3 (col. 812.17-820.14)
[48r-48v] LG 29.3-29.6 (col. 820.14-828.15)
[49r-49v] LG 29.6-29.9 (col. 828.15-836.9)
[50r-50v] LG 29.9-29.12 (col. 836.9-844.3)
[51r-51v] LG 29.12-29.16 (col. 844.4-849.25)
[52r-52v] LG 29.16-30.1 (col. 849.25-860.6)
[53r-53v] LG 30.1-30.3 (col. 860.6-868.11)
[54r-54v] LG 30.3-30.5 (col. 868.11-876.8)
[55r-55v] LG 30.5-30.8 (col. 876.9-881.27)
[56r-56v] LG 30.8-30.12 (col. 881.27-889.16)
[57r-57v] LG 30.12-30.14 (col. 889.16-897.8)
[58r-58v] LG 30.14-30.18 (col. 897.8-905.7)
[59r-59v] LG 30.18-30.21 (col. 905.7-913.5)
[60r-60v] LG 30.21-30.25 (col. 913.6-921.18)
[61r-61v] LG 30.25-30.29 (col. 921.18-929.15)
[62r-62v] LG 30.29 (col. 929.15-932.16); Asct., Logos 1 (Draguet, p.2-3.1) THEN GO TO [67r]
[63r-63v] Asct., Logos 1.4a-2.2 (Draguet, pp. 6.4-10.5)
[64r-64v] Asct., Logos 2.2-3.1 (Draguet, pp. 10.6-14.2)
[65r-65v] Asct., Logos 3.1-3.4 (Draguet, pp. 14.2-18.4)
[66r-66v] Asct., Logos 3.4-5.18 (Draguet, pp. 18.4-26.8/16)
[67r-67v] Asct., Logos 1 (Draguet p. 3.1-p. 6.4) THEN GO TO [63r]
[68r-69r] LG 19.31-19.36 THEN GO TO [77r]
[69r-69v] LG 19.25-19.31 THEN GO TO [68r]
[70r-70v] LG 19.22-19.25 THEN GO TO [69r]
[71r-71v] LG 19.4-19.7
[72r-72v] LG 19.7-19.11
[73r-73v] LG 19.11-19.19
[74r-74v] LG 19.19-19.22 THEN GO TO [70r]
[75r-75v] LG 19.1-19.4 THEN GO TO [71r]
[76r-76v] LG 18.4-19.1 THEN GO TO [75r]
[77r-77v] LG 19.36-19.39 THEN GO TO [11r]
[78r-78v] LG 21.2-21.4 (col. 589.7-596.23) THEN GO TO [19r]
[79r-79v] LG 15.12-15.15 (col 365.4-372.26) THEN GO TO ? (folio missing)
[80r-80v] LG 15.9-15.12 (col. 357.11-365.4) THEN GO TO [79r]
[81r-81v] LG 17.1-17.4 THEN GO TO ? (folio missing)
[82r-82v] LG 16.9-17.1 THEN GO TO [81r]
[83r-83v] LG 10.2-10.5 THEN GO TO [101r]
[84r-84v] LG 11.3-12.1
[85r-85v] LG 12.1-12.4
[86r-86v] LG 12.4-12.7
[87r-87v] LG 12.7-13.3
[88r-88v] LG 13.3-13.8
[89r-89v] LG 13.8-14.3 THEN GO TO [91r]
[90r-90v] LG 10.9-11.3 THEN GO TO [84r]
[91r-91v] LG 14.3-15.3 (col. 332.1-341.9) THEN GO TO ? (folio missing)
[92r-92v] LG 15.6-15.9 (col. 349.16-357.11) THEN GO TO [80r]
[93r-93v] LG 7.18-7.21 (i.e. the end of memra 7)
[94r-94v] LG 8.1-8.5
[95r-95v] LG 8.5-9.2
[96r-96v] LG 9.2-9.6
[97r-97v] LG 9.6-9.9
[98r-98v] LG 9.9-9.13
[99r-99v] LG 9.13-9.19 (col. 233.2-241.7)
[100r-100v] LG 9.19-10.2 (col. 241.7-252.2) THEN GO TO [83r]
[101r-101v] LG 10.5-10.9 THEN GO TO [90r]

The tradition about the origin of Saint Mark’s Monastery from a 19th-century colophon   Leave a comment

In the colophon to SMMJ 187, ff. 388v-389r — this part of the manuscript was originally earlier in this codex, but it has been partly split up and rebound — the scribe has recorded a little about the tradition of Saint Mark’s Monastery. (The ms is № 21* in the catalog of Baumstark et al.) Students of Arabic and/or Garšūnī might appreciate it as a reading exercise, and for others, a tentative English translation is given below.

SMMJ 187, ff. 388v-389r

SMMJ 187, ff. 388v-389r

I first give a transcription of the Garšūnī text itself, followed by a transliteration into Arabic letters. In the former, where some of the marks of non-standard literary Arabic will be noted, I have strictly followed the manuscript, but in the latter I have added a few diacritics. (The Garšūnī text is complete, but for the Arabic and the ET I stopped with the tradition of the monastery and have left off the common colophon part.)

Garšūnī text

ܩܕ ܟܬܒ ܦܝ ܣܢܗ̈ ܒܩܟܚ ܝܘܢܐܢܝܗ ܦܝ ܕܝܪ ܐܠܩܕܝܣ ܐܠܒܫܝܪ ܡܐܪ ܡܪܩܘܣ ܐܠܐܢܔܝܠܝܗ ܘܟܐܢ ܩܕܝܡܐ ܒܝܬܗ. ܘܦܝ ܗܕܐ ܐܠܕܝܪ ܟܐܢ ܡܓܡܥ ܠܐܪܣܠ ܟܘܦ ܡܢ ܐܠܝܗܘܕ ܘܐܟܝܪܐ ܒܥܕ ܐܠܨܠܒܘܬ ܐܬܬ ܣܬܢܐ ܡܪܝܡ ܐܠܥܕܪܝ ܘܣܟܢܬ ܦܝܗ ܘܒܥܕܗ ܒܛܪܣ ܐܠܪܣܘܠ ܪܣܡܗ ܟܢܝܣܗ̈ ܥܠܝ ܐܣܡ ܐܠܥܕܪܝ ܐܘܠ ܒܕܐܝܗ ܟܢܐܝܣ ܦܝ ܩܕܣ ܐܠܫܪܝܦ ܘܠܐܓܠ ܕܠܟ


ܝܩܘܠܘܐ ܒܝܬ ܡܐܪ ܡܪܩܘܣ ܐܠܐܢܔܝܠܝ ܟܢܝܣܗ̈ ܣܬܢܐ ܡܪܝܡ ܐܠܥܕܪܝ ܥܠܝܗܐ ܐܫܪܦ ܐܠܣܠܐܡ ܘܐܠܩܘܠ ܐܢܗܐ ܐܥܬܡܕܬ ܦܝ ܔܪܢ ܐܠܡܘܛܘܥ ܦܝ ܐܠܟܢܝܣܗ ܘܗܕܗ ܗܝ ܡܥܡܘܕܝܬܗܐ ܘܐܠܝ ܐܠܐܢ ܝܩܘܠܘܢ ܐܠܛܘܐܝܦ ܐܢܗܐ ܡܥܡܘܕܝܗ̈ ܐܠܥܕܪܝ ܒܪܟܗ̈ ܨܠܐܬܗ ܘܨܠܐܗ̈ ܔܡܝܥ ܐܠܪܣܠ ܘܐܠܡܒܫܪܝܢ ܘܐܠܩܕܝܣܝܢ ܬܟܘܢ ܡܥ ܐܠܟܐܬܒ ܐܠܟ̣ܐܛܝ ܐܠܚܩܝܪ ܐܠܕܠܝܠ ܦܝ ܚܝܐܬܗ ܘܡܡܐܬܗ ܘܪܘܚܐܢܝܗ ܐܠܓܡܝܥ ܬܪܐܦܩܗ ܦܝ ܐܢܬܩܐܠܗ ܡܢ ܗܕܐ ܐܠܥܐܠܡ ܐܡܝܢ ܘܐܡܝܢ ܘܢܣܐܠ ܟܠ ܐܒܐ ܘܐܟܐ ܡܥ ܡܢ ܝܩܪܐ ܦܝ ܗܕܗ ܐܠܚܪܘܦ ܐܠܕܡܝܡܗ ܝܬܪܚܡ ܥܠܝ ܐܠܟܐܬܒ ܐܠܟ̣ܐܛܝ ܘܟܠܡܢ ܝܬܚܪܡ ܝܓܕ ܐܠܪܚܡܗ ܒܨܠܘܐܬ ܣܬܢܐ ܡܪܝܡ ܐܠܥܕܪܝ ܘܐܠܩܕܝܣܝܢ ܐܡܝܢ ܐܡܝܢ

Transliterated into Arabic letters

قد كتب في سنة ٢١٢٨ يونانية في دير القديس البشير مار مرقوس الانجيليه (!) وكان قديمًا بيته. وفي هذا الدير كان مجمع الرسل خوفًا من اليهود واخيرًا بعد الصلبوت أتَتْ ستنا مريم العذراء وسكنَتْ فيه وبعده بطرس الرسول رسمه كنيسة على اسم العذراء اول بداية كنائس في قدس الشريف ولاجل ذلك


يقولوا بيت مار مرقوس الانجيلي كنيسة ستنا مريم العذراء عليها اشرف السلام والقول انّها اعتمدت في جُرْن الموضوع في الكنيسة وهذه هي معموديتها وإلى الآن يقولون الطوائف انّها معمودية العذراء

English translation

[This] was written in the year 2128 AG [=1809/10 CE] at the Monastery of Saint Mark the Evangelist. It was formerly his house. There was a gathering of apostles there in fear of the Jews, and later, after the crucifixion, our Lady the Virgin came and lived in it. After that, the apostle Peter consecrated it as a church in the name of the Virgin at the beginning of the churches in Jerusalem, and because of this they say, “the House of Saint Mark the Evangelist, the Church of our Lady Mary the Virgin,” on whom be the most exalted peace! It is said that she was baptized in the font there in the church, and this is her baptismal font. Even now the different denominations say that it is the baptismal font of the Virgin. …

For further information on the monastery, one can start with the entry on it in GEDSH, 269-270, by G.A. Kiraz.

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 24   Leave a comment

Below is a simple sentence from the work known as The Capture of Jerusalem by the Persians in 614, by Antiochos Strategos (bibliography here). The Georgian version was first published by N. Marr in 1909 based on two manuscripts (Jer. 33 and A-70), but another copy (Bodl. Geo. 1) was discovered thereafter, and so the text was again edited and translated (into Latin) by Gérard Garitte as CSCO 202-203, and the Arabic version (two recensions) later appeared with a translation by the same scholar’s pen as CSCO 340-341, 347-348. Before Garitte’s work, excerpts of the Georgian text were translated into English and German by Conybeare and Graf, respectively.

Here is today’s sentence (§ 5.15), with Garitte’s LT:

ვაჲ ბოროტისმოქმედთა და რომელნი მახლობელ მათა იყვნენ.

Vae malefactoribus et iis qui propinqui illis erunt!

The Georgian sentence offers no difficulties, the vocabulary and the syntax both being very simple (but note the difference in case between ბოროტისმოქმედთა and რომელნი). The only words that may not be as readily known to beginners are:

  • ბოროტისმოქმედი evil-doer (< ბოროტი and მოქმედება)
  • მახლობელი someone close, friend, relative

In English, we might loosely say, “Damn evil-doers and their ilk!”

This short example may be worth memorizing: you never know when you’ll need to say, “Damn the malefactors &c.” in Old Georgian!

Select Bibliography

Conybeare, F.C. “Antiochus Strategos’ Account of the Sack of Jerusalem in A.D. 614.” English Historical Review 25 (1910): 506-13. [Text here.]

Graf, Georg. ”Die Einnahme Jerusalem durch die Perser 614 nach dem Bericht eines Augenzeuger.” Das Heilige Land 67 (1923): 19-29.

Peeters, Paul. ”De Codice hiberico Biliothecae Bodleianae Oxoniensis.” Analecta Bollandiana 31 (1912): 301-318.

________. ”Un nouveau manuscrit arabe du récit de la prise de Jérusalem par les Perses en 614.” Analecta Bollandiana 38 (1920): 137-147.

________.”La prise de Jérusalem par les Perses.” Mélanges de l’Université Saint Joseph 9 (1923-24): 1-42.

An 18th-cent. trip to Jerusalem, and a colophon, in East Syriac Garšūnī by ʕabd-al-aḥad of ʕayn tannūr   Leave a comment

The cataloging of the CCM collection (about which see the end of this post) continues to reveal interesting items. Hardly all of the manuscripts currently in the collection were known to Scher, and Macomber only gives very bare mention of the contents of those he saw. There is a lot of East Syriac Garšūnī, which may be of interest to students of Arabic and graphemics, and as for the texts themselves, I hope to share some of my findings here. For today, I mention from CCM 12 a short narrative of a trip to Jerusalem from the the village of ʕayn tannūr (?) beginning in 1707 (in East Syriac Garšūnī); the trip was made by a certain ʕabd-al-aḥad the Priest and Mūsá b. Ibrāhīm the Deacon, and the narrative was written by the former (Rawāḥunā li-l-quds al-šarīf, anā l-ḥaqīr qissīs ʕabdalaḥad wa-šammās mūsá ibn brāhīm [sic]). There are other texts in the codex, and this ʕabd-al-aḥad was the scribe. We thus have the (or at least an) autograph of that work. Here is a colophon, complete with stock colophonic elements and language, at the end of one text (141r), which was apparently penned before the aforementioned journey to Jerusalem:

CCM 12, f. 141r

CCM 12, f. 141r

The finishing of it [the book] occurred on Tuesday, on the 22nd of the blessed month of Ayyār [May], in the year 1705 AD, and this was by the pen of the most wretched of God’s servants, and the most depraved of them, ʕabd-al-aḥad, in name a priest. He has demanded pardon and forgiveness from every brother who is an understanding reader!

A Gǝʿǝz manuscript at Saint Mark’s, Jerusalem   1 comment

As I’ve mentioned before, HMML has recently received the last of the images for the manuscript collection of Saint Mark’s Monastery in Jerusalem. The collection consists almost exclusively of Syriac and Arabic/Garšūnī manuscripts, but while surveying the whole of it I came across a late copy of the Gospels in Gǝʿǝz. Here is the colophon:

SMMJ 281, f. 181r

Mentioned in the colophon are then recently departed Emperor Menelik II, who reigned 1889-1913, his oldest daughter Zawditu, empress 1916-1930, and Haile Śǝlāse (Selassie), who was ras (the position just beneath the emperor or empress) at the time of the copy. Also named are Malʾaka Salām Walda Masqal, the ṣaḥafe tǝʾǝzāz (royal secretary), and Abbā Matewos. The seal in the left column is that of Saint Mark’s, and the one on the right is that of Walda Masqal, which can also be seen, for example in EMML 3094 (Walda Masqal is named a number of times in other EMML manuscripts, too); it has the motto, “He who has an ear to ear, let him hear” (cf. e.g. Rev 2:7, and with some variation from the wording here several places in the Gospels). In the Garšūnī note at the bottom of this page, it says that the copy was presented (to Saint Mark’s, presumably) from Empress Zawditu in 1916 by Gabra Śǝlāse “the minister (wazīr) of Ethiopia”. (It is notable that whoever penned this note used the etymological Arabic spelling with /θ/ to spell the name Śǝlāse, rather than a phonetic spelling.)

The manuscript is not particularly significant for its content or age, and, while colophons often supply us with otherwise unknown prosopographic details, that’s not the case here. It is, however, at least of mild interest because of the presence of a Garšūnī note in a Gǝʿǝz manuscript, for what that note says, and because of this copy’s peculiar place in an otherwise Syriac and Arabic collection.

If any other unusual settings of manuscripts within particular collections come to mind, feel free to point them out in the comments.

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


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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