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 Theodōrou epiklen Aboukara tōn Karōn episkopou gegonotos, hoti pente echthrous echomen ex hōn hēmas ho Sotēr elytrosato. Kata peusin kai apokrisin

(396 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
By Theodore called Abū Qurrah, Bishop of the Ḥarrānians, That we have five enemies from whom the Savior freed us. By way of question and answer (opusculum 1) Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Greek Description This treatise sets out in some detail Abū Qurra's views on soteriology. He explains, first, how human beings fell into various types of slavery and how they are unable to free themselves through repentance. He then recounts how the death of Christ effected their salvation, by 'assuming the curse and condemnation that was owed by us'. Significance Abū Q…

 Tou autou dialexis apodeiknyousa hoti ho Patēr aei gennai ho de Hyios aei gennatai

(532 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
By the same, A dialogue demonstrating that the Father begets eternally, while the Son is begotten eternally (opusculum 26) Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Greek Description This dialogue defends the thesis that the Son was begotten by the Father and that this act of begetting is not to be understood as having taken place within the realm of time. The method of argumentation is entirely philosophical. Significance The participants in this dialogue are a representative of Orthodoxy and an anonymous heretic, whose identity is not spec…

Leontius of Damascus

(250 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Biography A native of Damascus, Leontius became a monk at the monastery of Mār Sabas toward the end of the 8th century. His spiritual turmoil brought him to Stephen, another monk at the monastery, and through Stephen's teachings and prayers, Leontius received freedom from certain disturbing thoughts. In time, Stephen accepted Leontius as a disciple. Over the course of the next four years, Leontius lived with Stephen, wandered the deserts with him, recorded his teachings, and collected stories about him. Shortly aft…

 Untitled

(1,150 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Life of John of Edessa Unknown author Date: Perhaps c. 900 Original Language: Arabic Description The Life of John of Edessa recounts the saintly bishop’s debate and thaumaturgic contest with a certain Phineas the Jew, in the presence of the Caliph Hārūn al-Rashīd (r. 786-809). The text opens with a description of the wicked Jew Phineas, a courtier of the caliph, and how he had turned the caliph against the Christians. When John learns of this, after praying before the image of Christ in Edessa (mandylion), he trave…

 Unknown; a scribal note in the MS reads:Hādhihi mujādala bayna l-Naṣārā wa-l-Yahūd, wa-dhālika kāna rajul Naṣrānī wa-Yahūdī kānā bi-Ḥimṣ, wa kānū yatajādalūna fīmā baynahum

(1,103 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
This is a disputation between the Christians and the Jews – that is to say, there was a certain Christian and a certain Jew [who] were in Homs and were disputing with one another, The disputation of Abū Iṣḥāq and a Jew, in the presence of the Muslim notable Junāda ibn Marwān of Homs The Disputation of Abū Isḥāq and a Jew Date: Unknown, possibly 9th or 10th century Original Language: Arabic Description The account of the disputation between Abū Iṣḥāq and his unnamed Jewish interlocutor is a relatively short text, some 13 folios in the unique manuscript in which it has…

 Hetera erōtēsis

(164 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Another question (opusculum 38) Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Unknown Original Language: Greek Description Again, a short dialogue between a Christian and a Muslim. The author argues that the fact that John the Baptist baptized Christ does not mean that John is greater than Christ. Significance See the comments on p. 488. Manuscripts MS Venice, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, Gr. 521 (316), between fols 168r and 170v (13th c.) MS Wolfenbüttel, Herzog-August-Bibliothek - Gud. Gr. 102, fol. 34r (14th c.) MS Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek - Gr. 66, fol. 62r (16th c.) MS Vat - Ottob. Gr.…

 Maymar yuḥaqqiqu li-l-insān ḥurriyya thābita min Allāh fī khalīqatihi wa-anna ḥurriyyat al-insān lā yadkhulu ʿalayhā l-qahr min wajh min al-wujūh battatan

(561 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Treatise confirming that human beings have an innate freedom from God in his creation (of them) and that absolutely no compulsion in any manner constrains the freedom of human beings Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Arabic Description This treatise investigates the nature of human free will. Theodore seeks to show the error both of those who deny that human beings were created with free will (Muslims) and of those who claim that they have lost their ability to choose freely (Manicheans). He then turns t…

 Biyūs wa-tadbīr abūnā l-qiddīs al-ṭāhir al-muhadhdhab Mār(y) Istāfanus al-sayyāḥ al-fāḍil alladhī kāna fī sīq Abūnā Mār(y) Sābā

(1,344 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
The Life and conduct of our holy father, the pure and upright Mār Stephen, the virtuous anchorite who dwelt in the lavra of our father Mār Sabas Leontius of Damascus Date: Between 800 and 807 Original Language: Greek Description The original Greek title of this work has been lost. The title given above is found in the Arabic version. Stephen of Mār Sabas was born in the year 724 and died on 31 March 794. He spent the greater part of his life practising asceticism in and around the monastery of Mār Sabas, to the southeast of Jerusalem. An account of his …

 Kitāb al-radd

(202 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
The Refutation Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Arabic Description This treatise consists of a collection of biblical texts designed to refute (i) those who say that Christ is the Word of God, but that he is created and something other than the Creator, (ii) those who say that the Spirit is created, (iii) those who say that Christ cannot be God in that he experienced suffering and death, and (iv) those who say that Christ did not ascend into heaven and take his seat on the throne. Most of the citations are taken from the book of Psalms and from the Minor Prophets. Sig…

 Maymar qālahu Anbā Thāwudhūrūs usquf Ḥarrān al-muqaddas wa-huwa Abū Qurra yuthbitu fīhi anna l-sujūd li-ṣūrat al-Masīḥ ilāhinā lladhī tajassada min Rūḥ al-Qudus wa-min Maryam al-adhrāʾ al-muṭahhara wa-ṣuwar qiddīsīhi wājib ʿalā kull Naṣrānī wa-anna kull man ʿaṭṭala min al-Naṣārā l-sujūd li-hādhihi l-ṣuwar innamā taʿṭīluhu jahl bi-mā fī yadayhi min sharaf al-Naṣrāniyya wa-annahu yalzamuhu in waqafa ʿalā dhālika taʿṭīl akthar sarāʾir al-Naṣrāniyya allatī bi-l-īmān al-muhadhdhab kāna qubūl al-Naṣārā iyyāhā min al-sillīḥiyyīn al-muqaddasīn

(1,168 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
A treatise imparted by the holy Abba Theodore, Bishop of Ḥarrān, that is, Abū Qurra, in which he establishes that prostration to the image of Christ our God (who took flesh from the Holy Spirit and from the pure virgin Mary) and to the images of the saints is incumbent on every Christian; and that every Christian who neglects the veneration of these images does so solely because of ignorance of the nobility of the Christianity that he has received; and that, if he takes this stand, he must (also…

 Dialogos Theodōrou tou gegonotos episkopou Karōn, to epiklen Aboukara, genomenos pros ton tou dromou Emeses aitesamenon apodexin apodothēnai auto apo logismou hoti esti Theos

(554 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
A Dialogue between Theodore, Bishop of Ḥarrān, called Abū Qurra, and the master of the post of Emesa, who asked him to prove through reason alone that God exists (opusculum 3) Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Greek Description A number of topics are treated in this dialogue between Abū Qurra and an unbeliever. It opens with arguments designed to prove that there is a God. These arguments mostly turn on the impossibility of an infinite regress. It next argues that this God must have a co-eternal Son, in t…

 Unknown

(622 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Questions on the Son of God Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Arabic Description The original title of this work has been lost. Its three extant selections are entitled: (i) Maymar fī annahu lā yughfaru (sic) li-aḥad khaṭīʾatuhu illā bi-awjāʿ al-Masīḥ allatī ḥallat bihi fī shaʾn al-nās wa-anna man lā yuʾminu bi-hādhihi l-awjāʿ wa-yuqarribuhā li-l-Āb ʿan dhunūbihi fa-lā maghfirata li-dhunūbihi abadan, 'Treatise on the fact that no one's sins are forgiven except through the pains that Christ experienced for the sake of human be…

David of Damascus

(281 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Biography David was a 9th-century Melkite metropolitan of Damascus. In the year 884, a controversy between him and his patriarch occasioned an exchange of letters, some written by him, others written in his defense. Taken as a whole, these letters show David to have been a figure of some standing in the church, able not only to resist the will of his patriarch, but also to summon the assistance of a variety of powerful allies, including the patriarchs of Jerusalem and Alexandria and the most powerfu…

 Maymar fī taḥqīq al-Injīl wa-anna kullamā lā yuḥaqqiquhu l-Injīl fa-huwa bāṭil

(251 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Treatise on the confirmation of the Gospel and that everything that the Gospel does not confirm is false Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Arabic Description The works opens with a discussion of the reasons that lead people to accept religions that are false. It next argues that Christianity was not accepted for any of these reasons, but because of miracles. Significance That Theodore's primary opponents in this treatise are Muslims is suggested by the rather playful qurʾānic allusions (ed. Bacha, p. 74) Manuscripts MS Sinai – New Finds, parchment, …

 Maymar yuḥaqqiqu anna dīn Allāh alladhī yaʾkhudhu Allāh bihi l-ʿibād yawm al-qiyāma wa-lā yaqbalu minhum dīnan ghayrahu wa-huwa l-dīn alladhī kharajat bihi l-ḥawāriyyūn ilā aqṭār al-arḍ wa-jamīʿ umam al-dunyā wa-huwa rusul al-Masīḥ rabbinā

(332 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Treatise confirming that the religion of God, whereby God judges [His] servants on the day of the resurrection, without accepting from them a religion other than it, is the religion that the apostles (that is, the messengers of Christ our Lord) brought to [all] the regions of the earth and to all the nations of the world Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Arabic Description This short treatise, which is lacking at its end, summarizes Theodore's views on the characteristics of the true religion. He argues that one can consider that …

 Hetera erōtēsis tou autou

(293 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Another question, by the same (opusculum 35) Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Unknown Original Language: Greek Description This work, a dialogue between a Christian and a Muslim, is concerned first with the origins of evil and the defense of human free will. The author seeks to show the error of the Muslims when they claim that God is the source of both good and evil. The author then turns to the Muslim claim that Jesus is the Word and Spirit of God, and seeks to show that as such the Son is eternal. Significance This work has traditionally been assigned to Abū Qurra, though none of the known M…

 No title, though the scribe introduces the corpus of letters as follows:Nuskhat al-shakwā alladhī ishtakāhu anbā Dāwīd maṭrabulīṭ Dimashq ilā anbā Mīkhāyil [Mīkhāʾīl] baṭriyark al-Iskandariyya wa-ilā anbā Iliyyā baṭriyark Bayt al-Maqdas min fiʿl anbā Simiyūn baṭriyark Anṭākiyya, wa-mā ḥakamā bihi fī dhālika wa-athbatā khuṭūṭahumā fīhi

(1,078 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
A copy of the complaint that Abba David, the metropolitan of Damascus, presented to Abba Michael, the patriarch of Alexandria, and Abba Elias, the patriarch of Jerusalem, concerning the action of Abba Symeon, the patriarch of Antioch, as well as what the two of them ruled on the matter and that to which they affixed their signatures David of Damascus Date: 884 Original Language: Arabic Description This letter is the first of a series exchanged between David, Melkite metropolitan of Damascus, Elias, the patriarch of Jerusalem, and Michael, the patriarch of Alex…

Unknown author

(205 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
The Life of Timothy of Kākhushtā Date of Birth: 9th or 10th c. Place of Birth: Perhaps Syria Date of Death: 9th or 10th c. Place of Death: Perhaps Syria Biography Little is known about the authors of various recensions of the Life of Timothy of Kākhushtā. The earliest version seems to have been written by someone attached to the monastery of the saint, following his death in the early decades of the 9th century (Lamoreaux and Cairala, Life of Timothy, p. 27). Later versions, in Arabic, Greek, and Georgian, were written in Antioch after Timothy’s remains had been translated …

The Disputation of Abū Isḥāq and a Jew

(186 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Unknown author Date of Birth: Unknown; possibly late 9th century Place of Birth: Possibly Syria, Homs in particular Date of Death: Unknown; possibly 9th or 10th century Place of Death: Possibly Syria, Homs in particular Biography The author of this text cannot be identified. Given the geographical focus of his work, he may have been a Syrian, or perhaps from the city of Homs itself. He was likely a Melkite, as the Melkites alone have preserved his work. As argued below, he may have been writing after about 800, the possible floruit of one of the characters mentioned in the disputation…

 Al-radd ʿalā lladhīna yaqūlūna inna kalimat Allāh makhlūqa

(187 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
The Refutation of those who say that the Word of God is created Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Arabic Description Taking as its starting point the qurʾānic acknowledgment of Christ as the Word of God, this text seeks to explain how this Word was begotten without the physical accouterments of birth and why it is necessary that this Word be eternal like God himself. Significance Theodore's opponents in this text are unnamed. In that they acknowledge Christ to be the Word of God, however, it is clear that they are Muslims. The text…
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