One of the pleasures of cataloging manuscripts is learning about authors and texts that are relatively little known. One such Syriac author is Athanasios (Abū Ġalib) of Ǧayḥān (Ceyhan). Two fifteenth-century manuscripts, CFMM 417 and 418, which I have recently cataloged, each contain different texts attributed to him. Barsoum surveys his life and work briefly in Scattered Pearls (pp. 441-442), and prior to that Vosté wrote an article on him; more recently Vööbus and Carmen Fotescu Tauwinkl have further reported on him. (See the bibliography below; I have not seen all of these resources.) According to Barsoum, he died in 1177 at over 80 years old. As far as I know, none of his work has been published.
The place name associated with this author is the Turkish Ceyhan. The Syriac spelling of the place in the Gazetteer has gyḥʾn, but in both of these manuscripts it is gyḥn. The former is probably an imitation of the Arabic-script spelling, while the form without ālap in the manuscripts still indicates ā in the second syllable by means of an assumed zqāpā.
Now for the CFMM texts.
CFMM 417, pp. 465-466
An untitled monastic selection. These two pages make up the whole of this short text. As you can see, it follows something from Isaac of Nineveh, and it precedes Ps.-Evagrius, On the Perfect and the Just (CPG 2465 = Hom. 14 of the Liber Graduum). The manuscript is dated March, 1785 AG (= 1474 CE).
CFMM, p. 465
CFMM 417, p. 466
CFMM 418, ff. 235v-243v
Excerpts “from his teaching”. Here are the first and last pages of the text. This longer text follows Isaac of Nineveh’s Letter on how Satan Takes Pains to Remove the Diligent from Silence (ff. 223v-235v, Eggartā ʿal hāy d-aykannā metparras Sāṭānā la-mbaṭṭālu la-ḥpiṭē men šelyā) and precedes some Profitable Sayings attributed to Isaac. This manuscript — written by more than one scribe, but at about the same time, it seems — is dated on f. 277v with the year 1482, but the 14- is to be read 17-, so we have 1782 AG (= 1470/1 CE; cf. Vööbus, Handschriftliche Überlieferung der Mēmrē-Dichtung des Jaʿqōb von Serūg, III 97).
CFMM 418, f. 235v
CFMM 418, f. 243v
Tauwinkl, Carmen Fotescu, “Abū Ghālib, an Unknown West Syrian Spiritual Author of the XIIth Century”, Parole de l’Orient 36 (2010): 277-284.
Tauwinkl, Carmen Fotescu, “A Spiritual Author in 12th Century Upper Mesopotamia: Abū Ghālib and his Treatise on Monastic Life”, Pages 75-93 in The Syriac Renaissance. Edited by Teule, Herman G.B. and Tauwinkl, Carmen Fotescu and ter Haar Romeny, Robert Bas and van Ginkel, Jan. Eastern Christian Studies 9. Leuven / Paris / Walpole, MA: Peeters, 2010.
Vööbus, Arthur, History of Asceticism in the Syrian Orient: A Contribution to the History of Culture in the Near East, III, CSCO 500, Subs. 81. Louvain: Secrétariat du CorpusSCO, 1988, pp. 407-410.
Vööbus, Arthur, “Important Discoveries for the History of Syrian Mysticism: New Manuscript Sources for Athanasius Abû Ghalîb”, Journal of Near Eastern Studies 35:4 (1976): 269-270.
Vosté, Jacques Marie, “Athanasios Aboughaleb, évêque de Gihân en Cilicie, écrivain ascétique du XIIe siècle”, Revue de l’Orient chrétien III, 6  (1927-1928): 432-438. Available here.
While cataloging the 15th-century manuscript CFMM 152 (on which see also here), I was struck by the long rubric of this mēmrā attributed to Ephrem.
CFMM 152, p. 156
(Students of Syriac may note the construct state before a preposition in ʿāmray b-ṭurē [Nöldeke, Gramm., § 206], as well as in the common epithet lbiš l-alāhā [Brockelmann, Lexicon Syriacum, 2d ed., 358a].)
Here with English glosses are the nouns in this rubric where monks may dwell. They can all be rocky areas, and there might be some semantic ambiguity and overlap with some of them.
- ṭurā mountain
- gdānpā ledge, crag
- šnāntā rock, crag, peak
- ṣeryā crack, fissure
- pqaʿtā crack (also valley)
- ḥlēlā crack
Brock’s list of incipits tells us that this mēmrā, possibly a genuine work of Ephrem, has been published by Beck in Sermones IV (CSCO 334-335 / Scr. Syr. 148-149, 1973), pp. 16-28. (Published earlier by Zingerle and Rahmani; there are two English translations, neither available to me at the moment.) The rubric in Beck’s ed. differs slightly from the one in this manuscript.
For comparison, here is another mēmrā attributed to Ephrem from a later manuscript, CFMM 157, p. 104. (see Beck, Sermones IV, pp. 1-16, for a published edition of the mēmrā).
CFMM 157, p. 104
This one has some of the same words, but the related addition terms are:
- mʿartā cave (pl. without fem. marker; see Nöldeke, Gramm., § 81)
- šqipā cliff
- pe/aʿrā cave
And so I leave you with these related Syriac terms, in case you wish to write a Syriac poem with events in rocky locales!
Hagiography makes excellent reading material for language learners: the stories are entertaining (the more outlandish the better), sentence structures are usually simple, vocabulary is common in the main, and in many cases one can read the story in more than one language or version. Hagiography is meaningful, of course, for other reasons, too. Some readers find spiritual value and encouragement in the stories. Those with a critical focus may explore the historicity or lack thereof in certain stories, and whether or not even a single event can be deemed to have taken place, the fact that the story was told, heard, and written down in any case says something about the tellers, hearers, writers, and readers of these tales. In the story below, that of Saint Vardeni, about whom I know nothing more than what is in this synaxarial commemoration, there is such material ripe for discussion by those interested in gender, authority, religious violence (in this case, self-violence), and more. As a textual basis for such discussion, here is the text, with vocabulary and grammar notes especially suited toward Armenian language learners. As far as I know, no English translation of this story has appeared, so I also offer a rough draft of a translation, both for Armenian language learners and for those less interested in Armenian but interested in this story for some reason or another. (The text, notes, and translation are available in a more aesthetically pleasing format in PDF here: vardeni_armen_synax.)
The story and the saint’s behavior probably have in view “If thy right eye offend thee…” (Mt 5:29-30), and further “whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea” (Mk 9:42 with parallels). Although the details differ greatly, other self-blinding stories come to mind. In hagiography, there is that of Simon the Tanner; outside hagiography, and much more famously, there is that of Oedipus.
Χο. ὦ δεινὰ δράσας, πῶς ἔτλης τοιαῦτα σὰς
ὄψεις μαρᾶναι; τίς σ᾽ ἐπῆρε δαιμόνων;
Οι. Ἀπόλλων τάδ᾽ ἦν, Ἀπόλλων, φίλοι,
ὁ κακὰ κακὰ τελῶν ἐμὰ τάδ᾽ ἐμὰ πάθεα.
ἔπαισε δ᾽ αὐτόχειρ νιν οὔ-
τις, ἀλλ᾽ ἐγὼ τλάμων.
τί γὰρ ἔδει μ᾽ ὁρᾶν,
ὅτῳ γ᾽ ὁρῶντι μηδὲν ἦν ἰδεῖν γλυκύ;
Soph. Oed.Tyr. 1327-1335
The commemoration of Vardeni (Armenian text and FT) is available in PO 21 395-396.
Յայսմ աւուր տօն է աղախնոյն Աստուծոյ Վարդենայ։
տօն, -ից feast, celebration | աղախին, -խնոյ, -նաց maidservant, female slave
Աղախինն Քրիստոսի եւ կոյս կրօնաւորն Վարդենի՝ նստելով ի յարկս իւր լռութեամբ եւ մեծաւ ճգնութեամբ հոգայր զհոգի իւր պահօք եւ աղօթիւք եւ տքնութեամբ։
կոյս, կուսից virgin | կրօնաւոր monk, cenobite | նստելով inf.instr նստիմ, նստայ, նիստ to sit down, lodge, reside, dwell | յարկ, -աց home, house, shelter (also roof, ceiling, story) | լռութիւն silence, tranquility | ճգնութիւն austerity, asceticism, penitence, mortification | հոգայր impf 3sg հոգամ, -ացայ/-ացի to take care of, preserve, mind | պահք, -հոց fast(ing) | աղօթ, -թից prayer | տքնութիւն wakefulness, vigilance, watch
Նա եւ ի ձեռագործէն իւրմէ բազում ողորմութիւն առնէր առ կարօտեալս։
ողորմութիւն charity, alms, mercy | առնէր impf 3sg առնեմ, արարի to do | կարօտեալ poor, needy
Այլ որ ի սկզբանէ թշնամի է արդարութեան հակառակն սատանայ ոչ ժուժեաց ընդ այնպիսի աստուածահաճոյ վարս, յարոյց ի վերայ նորա փորձութիւն, եւ ընկէց յերիտասարդ մի դիւական տռփութեան փափաք եւ սիրէր զանարատ կոյսն Վարդենի։
թշնամի, -մւոյ, -մեաց enemy, foe | արդարութիւն justice, equity, uprightness | հակառակ, -աց adversary, hostile, opponent | ժուժեաց aor 3sg ժուժեմ, -եցի to tolerate | աստուածահաճոյ god-pleasing | վարք, -րուց life, conduct, behavior | յարոյց aor 3sg յարուցանեմ, -ուցի to raise up (caus./factit. of յառնեմ յարեայ to rise, get up; on such verbs see Meillet, Altarm. Elementarbuch, § 109) | փորձութիւն temptation | ընկէց (= ընկեաց) aor 3sg ընկենում, -եցի to throw, cast, put | երիտասարդ, -աց young man | դիւական diabolic, demonic (< դեւ, դիւաց demon, devil, spirit; cf. Geo დევი, Syr daywā; all from Iranian, cf. MP dēw demon, devil; NB also dēwānag demonic) | տռփութիւն lust, burning desire | փափաք, -անք desire, wish, longing | սիրէր impf 3sg սիրեմ, -եցի to love | անարատ immaculate, innocent, pure
Եւ յորժամ ելանէր ի տանէն զի երթիցէ յեկեղեցին՝ ի ճանապարհին յոյժ նեղէր զնա եւ խօսէր ընդ նմա բանս փափաքանաց.
ելանէր impf 3sg ելանեմ, ելի to go out, go forth | տանէ abl.sg տուն, տանց house | երթիցէ aor subj 3sg երթամ, չոգայ to go (this verb is suppletive only in the aor ind, not subj; see Meillet, § 177b) | ճանապարհ, -աց way, road, street | յոյժ very, much, considerably | նեղէր impf 3sg նեղեմ, -եցի to press, trouble, annoy, harass | խօսէր impf 3sg խօսիմ, -եցայ to speak, talk | փափաքան of desire, of longing (< փափաք, see above)
եւ յղէր պատգամաւորս բազում խոստմամբ, այսպէս առնէր ի բազում աւուրս։
յղէր impf 3sg յղեմ, -եցի to send, dispatch | պատգամաւոր messenger | խոստումն promise, offer, declaration | այսպէս thus, so, in this manner | աւր, աւուրց day
Եւ ի միում աւուր երանելի կոյսն առաքեաց զաղախինն իւր եւ կոչեաց զերիտասարդն ի տուն իւր. եւ նա խնդայր եւ երթայր ուրախութեամբ, կարծէր եթէ հասցէ ցանկութեանն իւրում։
միում dat/loc.sg մի one | աւուր gen/dat/loc.sg աւր day | երանելի blessed | առաքեաց aor 3sg առաքեմ, -եցի to send, dispatch | կոչեաց aor 3sg կոչեմ, -եցի to call, invite | խնդայր impf 3sg խնդամ, -ացի to rejoice | երթայր impf 3sg երթամ, չոգայ to go | ուրախութիւն rejoicing, joy, pleasure | կարծէր impf 3sg կարծեմ, -եցի to believe, think | հասցէ aor subj 3sg հասանեմ, հասի to reach, arrive | ցանկութիւն desire, pleasure, lust
Եւ յորժամ եկն Վարդենի նստեալ էր յոստայնն իւր եւ գործէր, եւ ասէ ցայրն.
եկն aor 3sg գամ, եկի to come | ոստայն, -ից texture, web, weft (weaving) | գործէր impf 3sg գործեմ, -եցի to work, make, do, fashion | ասէ pres 3sg ասեմ, ասացի to say
Բարի եկիր տէր եղբայր. ընդէ՞ր նեղես զիս եւ չտաս թոյլ երթալ յեկեղեցին ի տանէս իմէ։
եկիր aor 2sg գամ, եկի to come | ընդէ՞ր why? | նեղես pres 2sg նեղեմ, -եցի to press, trouble, annoy, harass | չտաս neg չ- + տաս pres 2sg տամ, ետու to give grant | թոյլ տամ to give leave, permit
Ասէ զնա այրն. Յոյժ ցանկամ քեզ, եւ յորժամ հայիմ ի քեզ՝ ցանկութիւնն որպէս հուր բորբոքի ի սիրտս։
ցանկամ, -ացայ to desire, long for, covet | հայիմ, -եցայ to see, look upon | բորբոք heat, fervor | սիրտ, սրտից heart
Ասէ կոյսն. Եւ զի՞նչ բարի տեսանես յիս՝ զի այնչափ սիրես զիս։
տեսանես pres 2sg տեսանեմ, տեսի to see | այնչապ so much | սիրես pres 2sg սիրեմ, -եցի to love
Եւ ասէ այրն. Աչք քո գայթակղեցուցանեն զիս եւ բորբոքիմ ցանկալ քեզ։
աչք, աչաց eyes (pl. tantum) | գայթակղեցուցանեն pres 3pl գայթակղեցուցանեմ, -ուցի to trip, cause to stumble (caus./factit. of գայթագղիմ/գայթակղիմ to stumble) | բորբոքիմ pres pass 1sg բորբոքեմ, -եցի to kindle, heat, burn
Եւ յորժամ լուաւ Վարդենի եթէ աչքն խաբեն զերիտասարդն, մինչդեռ ի ձեռին ունէր զբարաբն ոստայնին՝ եհար զաչսն իւր եւ կուրացոյց զերկոսեանն, եւ հեղան իբրեւ զջուր երկու բիբք աչացն, եւ անկաւ ի վերայ երեսացն։
լուաւ aor 3sg լսեմ, լուայ to hear | խաբեն pres 3pl խաբեմ, -եցի to cheat, deceive, ensnare, mislead | մինչդեռ when, while | ունէր impf 3sg ունիմ, կալայ to have, hold | բարաբ shuttle | եհար aor 3sg հարկանեմ, հարի to beat, strike (also հարում, հարի) | կուրացոյց aor 3sg կուրացուցանեմ, կուրացուցի to blind (caus./factit. of կուրանամ, -ացի to b/c blind) | երկոսեան acc of երկոքեան both (cf. Meillet, § 81) | հեղան aor m/p 3pl հեղում, հեղի to pour | բիբ, բբի, բբաց pupil (cf. Syr bābtā) | անկաւ aor 3sg անկանիմ, անկայ to fall | երես, -ի, երեսք, երեսաց face
Եւ տեսեալ երիտասարդին զոր արար երանելի կոյսն վասն իւր՝ զահի հարաւ եւ զղջացաւ ի միտս իւր, հրաժարեաց եւ գնաց առ անապատաւոր ծերսն եւ եղեւ ընտիր կրօնաւոր հաճոյ Քրիստոսի։
տեսեալ ptcp տեսանեմ, տեսի to see | արար aor 3sg առնեմ, արարի to do | ահ, ահից fear, terror | հարաւ aor m/p 3sg հարկանեմ, հարի to beat, strike (also հարում, հարի) | զղջացաւ aor m/p 3sg զղջամ, -ացի to repent | միտ, մտի, զմտաւ, միտք, մտաց, մտօք mind, intellect, understanding | հրաժարեաց aor 3sg հրաժարեմ, -եցի to renounce, abstain, desist | գնաց aor 3sg գնամ, գնացի to go | անապատաւոր solitary, hermit, anchorite (< անապատ, -ից/-աց desert) | ծեր, -ոց old, aged, elder | եղեւ aor 3sg եղանիմ to become | ընտիր, ընտրոց/ընտրից worthy, fine, good | հաճոյ, ից aggreable, pleasant; grateful
Իսկ երանելի կոյսն Վարդենի՝ խաւարեալ աչօք՝ այնչափ խիստ կրօնաւորութեամբ հաճոյ եղեւ Աստուծոյ մինչ զի զմահ նորա հրեշտակ Աստուծոյ ազդեաց հարցն յանապատի, զոր երթեալ թաղեցին ի տապանի սաղմոսիւք եւ օրհնութեամբ։
խաւարեալ ptcp (here w/ pass sense) խաւարեմ, -եցի to blind | խիստ, խստից/խստաց hard, severe, strict, austere | կրօնաւորութիւն monastic life, religion, piety | մահ, -ուց death | հրեշտակ, -աց angel (cf. Man.Parth frēštag, MP frēstak [NP firišta]: apostle, messenger, angel) | ազդեաց aor 3sg ազդեմ, -եցի to announce; influence | հարց gen/dat/abl pl հայր father | թաղեցին aor 3pl թաղեմ, -եցի to bury | տապան, -աց large box, coffin, tomb (also Noah’s ark) | օրհնութիւն blessing, benediction, hymn, eulogy
Եւ բազում սքանչելիք եղեն յաւուր հանգստեան նորա։
սքանչելի admirable, wonderful, astonishing, miraculous | եղեն aor 3pl եղանիմ to become | հանգիստ, հանգստեան repose
On this day is the feast of God’s maidservant Vardeni.
The maidservant of Christ and the virgin nun Vardeni, by means of dwelling at her home in silence and great asceticism was preserving her soul with fasting, prayer, and wakefulness. From her handiwork she also performed much charity for the poor. But the one who was a foe from the beginning, Satan, hostile to uprightness, did not tolerate such a god-pleasing life: he raised up a temptation against her and put a demonic longing desire into a young man, and he was in love with Vardeni, the pure virgin. And when she would leave her house to go to church, he would harass her a lot on the road and express his desire to her. So he kept sending many messengers with a promise; this he did over several days. One day the blessed virgin dispatched her maidservant and invited the young man to her house, and he was very happy and started out in delight, thinking that he would fulfill his lust. When he had come, Vardeni was seated at work at her weaving, and she said to the man, “Welcome, sir, brother! Why do you harass me and not permit me to go from my home to church?” The man said to her, “I long for you deeply, and when I look upon you, this longing is like a fire burning in my heart!” The virgin said, “And what good thing do you see in me that you love me so much?” The man said, “Your eyes make me stumble, and longing for you is kindled in me.” When Vardeni heard that her eyes had ensnared the young man, she was holding at the time in her hand the shuttle for her weaving: she struck her eyes and blinded them both. The two pupils of her eyes flowed like water, and she fell on her face. The young man, when he saw what the blessed virgin had done because of him, was struck with terror and repented in his mind: he renounced [the world] and went to the old men of the desert and became a worthy monk, pleasing to Christ. As for the blessed virgin Vardeni, with blinded eyes, she became pleasing to God with piety so severe that the angel of God announced her death to the fathers in the desert: they buried her in a tomb [or coffin] with psalms and a benediction, and many astonishing things happened on the day of her repose.
For this installment we have a simple text that is part of a larger fascinating narrative in the Life of David Garejeli (of Gareja). David Garejeli (დავით გარეჯელი) was one of the fabled Thirteen Syrian Fathers (Tarkhnišvili, Geschichte, pp. 410-412) who are credited with establishing monastic communities and ascetic practice in Georgia in the sixth century. (Cf. the similar story of Nine Syrian Fathers in Ethiopia in the late fifth or early sixth-century. For details see Antonella Brita’s article in Encyclopaedia Aethiopica 3: 1188-1191.) For a visual realization of the dragon (ვეშაპი) mentioned in these lines, see the image at the end of the post, although one wonders if this δράκων should really have legs. (See here for another Georgian sentence in this series with a ვეშაპი.)
ხოლო ქუემო კერძო პარეხისა მის, რომელსა შინა იყოფებოდეს წმიდანი იგი, იყო სხუაჲ პარეხი, რომელსა შინა იყოფებოდა ვეშაპი დიდი და საზარელი, რომელსა ესხნეს თუალნი სისხლის ფერნი და რქაჲ იყო შუბლსა და ფაჩარი ფრიად ქედსა მისსა.
OldGeoHag 1 231.25-28, available at TITUS (cf. Lang, Lives and Legends of the Georgian Saints [avail. here], p. 85)
- ქუემო (to) underneath
- კერძო to, toward
- პარეხი cleft, break, fissure (also step); here used for a hole in a larger rocky area where David and his companions are dwelling
- ი-ყოფ-ებ-ოდ-ეს impf pass 3pl ყოფა here, to take up residence, stay (cf. Rayfield et al. 773b)
- სხუაჲ another, second
- ი-ყოფ-ებ-ოდ-ა cf. იყოფებოდეს above, here 3sg
- ვეშაპი δράκων (cf. Arm. վիշապ, etc.; see H. Ačaṙian, Arm. Etym. Dict., IV 341-342, and E. Benveniste, “L’origine du višap arménien,” Revue des Études Arméniennes 7 : 7-91)
- საზარელი abominable, terrible, detestable, hideous
- თუალი eye
- სისხლი blood
- ფერი color, kind
- რქაჲ horn
- შუბლი brow
- ფაჩარი hair, mane (the generic word for hair is თმაჲ, e.g. Jn 11:2 Ad წარჰჴოცნა ფერჴნი თმითა მისითა “wiped his feet with her hair”; in mod. Georgian, ფაჩარი is specifically pubic hair [Rayfield et al., 1278b], but cf. ფაჩუნიერი hairy)
- ქედი neck
18th-cent. (?) miniature. Source.
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.
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 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
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
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.
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]
In some Christian traditions, today is the commemoration of Jerome, so I thought of a Syriac text connected with Jerome that I cataloged some time ago. In CFMM 261, pp. 3-13, there is Jerome’s Life of Paul the Hermit, the Latin text of which is in PL 23, cols., 17-30 (ET here). See BHO 909-916 for Coptic, Armenian, Syriac, and Gǝʕǝz versions. The Syriac text* has been published in Bedjan’s Acta martyrum et sanctorum 5: 561-572 (here at archive.org), and the text also appears in The Book of Paradise (ed. Budge, vol. 2, pp. 242-251; online here). The beginning of the CFMM text is missing, but the identification of the work is sure, not least thanks to the end of the work (see below). I have not closely compared the printed editions with this witness from CFMM, but, unsurprisingly, even a quick look reveals some differences. Only considering the end of the work we see that CFMM 261 has six lines that are absent from the texts of Bedjan and Budge.
*Bedjan’s edition of this text is based on these two manuscripts: Paris syr. 317 (Chabot, “Notice sur les manuscrits syriaques de la Bibliothèque nationale acquis depuis 1874, JA IX, 8 (1896): 264-265; Nau, “Notices des manuscripts syriaques, éthiopiens et mandéens, entrés à la Bibliothèque nationale de Paris depuis l’édition des catalogues,” ROC 16 (1911): 287) and BL add. 12173 (Wright, Cat., pp. 1070-1072).
CFMM 261 (olim Dayr al-Zaʿfarān 116; cf. Dolabani, Dayr al-Zaʿfarān catalog, pt. II, pp. 86-88) has an original part, along with some later additions on pp. 441-464. The original colophon (see below, with translation), coming at the end of quire 22, pp. 439-440, is incomplete and lacks a name and date, while the date of the later part (1757/8) is on p. 464. The original part is perhaps of the 16th century. A careful comparison is necessary, but the contents of CFMM 261 and the list of stories in the colophon are very close to the original contents of BL add. 14732 (Wright, Cat., pp. 1141-1146). As the scribe says in the colophon, he found his exemplar for this manuscript among the Syriac books of Dayr al-Suryān, which ceased to have a major Syriac presence in the early seventeenth century (L. Van Rompay in GEDSH 386-387).
Here are the last two pages of Jerome’s Life of Paul the Hermit in the CFMM manuscript.
CFMM 261, pp. 12-13
And now the colophon, which will be of interest to readers well beyond those concerned especially with Jerome, together with an English translation.
CFMM 261, p. 439
Ended, completed, lined, and concluded are these confused and mixed up lines, altered [for the worse] in every way, inasmuch as I am not a scribe, but for lack of scribes, for necessity, I was compelled to corrupt these pages, because I was sojourning [or in exile] in the d[esert] of Scetis, in our monastery of the Syrians, and when I went up the large tower that is in the holy monastery and saw the Syriac books that were in it, countless and numberless in their quantity, I saw a large book that had stories of all the holy fathers, as for my consolation. So I took it to my cell and was greatly consoled by it. I read the stories, but not all of them, and according to the power that the Lord gave us — me and my spiritual father, the monk and priest Šams al-Dīn — we left the city of Egypt [meṣrēn] and brought with us a few pages [qallil waraqē], and as we read these stories of holy people, at the beginning of the book was written the story of our lady, the Theotokos, Mary, and after that, the story of Paul, the story of Antony, chief of monks,
CFMM 261, p. 440
and all the perfect fathers, one after another according to their times, leaders of monasteries, cells, and deserts. I selected a few of the stories, according to my ability and according to the demand of my spiritual father, and these are the stories that I copied:
- first, Paul, [the fi]rst and the firstborn of solitaries, ascetics, and mourners,
- Paul the simple, the disciple of Anba Antony,
- Paul the bishop,
- John the priest,
- the holy, blessed and exalted martyr Anba Moses the Ethiopian, monk and master among ascetics,
- the holy, god-clothed master among ascetics, Anba Paul, concerning his labors and exhaustion,
- the holy, god-clothed, and blessed Anba John Kama [ⲕⲁⲙⲉ],
- the holy Mary of Egypt [igupṭāyā meṣrāytā],
- on the life of the blessed Evagrius,
- the holy John, bishop of Tella,
- the holy Šāhdōst, catholicos, together with those who were with him,
- the blessed Ephrem the teacher and pride of the Syrians,
- the holy and blessed Symeon, who was called a fool [Salos] on account of Christ,
- John, his spiritual brother,
- the martyrdom of the holy Cyprian and Justina, his holy daughter
Here is one resource specifically on Jerome and Syriac, with two more general excellent studies:
Adam Kamesar, Greek Scholarship and The Hebrew Bible: A Study of the Quaestiones Hebraicae in Genesim, Oxford Classical Monographs (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993).
Daniel King, “Vir Quadrilinguis? Syriac in Jerome and Jerome in Syriac,” in Andrew Cain and Josef M. Lössl, eds., Jerome of Stridon: His Life, Writings, and Legacy (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009), pp. 209-223.
Stefan Rebenich, Jerome, The Early Church Fathers (London: Routledge, 2002).