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 Maymar yuḥaqqiqu annahu lā yulzamu l-Naṣārā an yaqūlū thalātha āliha idh yaqūlūna l-Āb ilāh wa-l-Ibn ilāh wa-Rūḥ al-Qudus (ilāh) wa-anna l-Āb wa-l-Ibn wa-Rūḥ al-Qudus ilāh wa-law kāna kull wāḥid minhum tāmm ʿalā ḥidatihi

(396 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
‘Treatise confirming that Christians do not necessarily speak of three gods when they say that the Father is God and the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God, and that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one God, even though each of them is fully God by himself Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Arabic Description This treatise begins with a series of reflections on the motives that lead people to accept or reject a religion and argues against those who would accept a religion that caters to their desires or is characterize…

 Erōtēsis Arabōn pros Christianon

(403 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
A question of the Arabs to a Christian (opusculum 8) Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Greek Description In this short dialogue, Abū Qurra endeavors to explain how Christ and the Holy Spirit can be God without there being more than one God. In arguing that there is a distinction between hypostases and nature, he draws an analogy with the Qurʾān, which exists in multiple copies without there being more than one Qurʾān. Significance The arguments here are also found in Abū Qurra’s Arabic works. In particular, one may compare the treatise des…

 Maymar fī wujūd al-Khāliq wa-l-dīn al-qawīm

(1,011 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Treatise on the existence of the Creator and the true religion Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Arabic Description Since Cheikho's edition of 1912, this work is generally referred to under the title given above. In the al-Shīr MS from which that edition was made, however, the work is untitled. In the Shuwayr MS, the work is entitled, Fī ḥaqīqat wujūd Allāh wa-annahu muthallath al-aqānīm wa-ḥaqīqat al-dīn al-masīḥī wa-anna lā dīn fī l-ʿālam ghayrahu qaṭṭ, 'On the truth of the existence of God and that he a Trinity of hypostases and on the …

 Maymar ʿalā sabīl maʿrifat Allāh wa-taḥqīq al-Ibn al-azalī

(345 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Treatise on the way of knowing God and the confirmation of the eternal Son Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Arabic Description This treatise begins with a discussion of the various methods whereby God can be known by the human mind, with special attention being given to the knowledge of God through his effects and through what resembles or does not resemble him. Theodore then seeks to show that human reason can discover that God has a Son, one of his own essence and equal to him in every regard. Significance This is a rather generic defense of the Christi…

Ibrāhīm ibn Yūḥannā al-Anṭākī

(292 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Biography Ibrāhīm Ibn Yuḥannā al-Anṭākī was born in the middle of the 10th century. He may have been a native of Antioch; he was certainly already present there as a child. He was fluent in both Greek and Arabic. His must have been an influential family, as both he and his father were designated as protospatharioi (an imperial title of great dignity). Ibrāhīm is best remembered for his many labors as a translator of Greek patristic works into Arabic. He was also the author of a number of hagiographical works, on saints living in and around Antioch in the second half of the 10th century. These wor…

 Untitled

(176 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Prayer for al-Maʾmūn Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Arabic Description This rather curious piece is a short prayer, in rhymed prose, for the Caliph al-Maʾmūn, asking God to grant him wisdom and protection. Significance If this work is actually by Theodore, one wonders if it might not originally have been the preface or conclusion to a larger work, now lost. Manuscripts MS Sinai - Ar. 447, fols 181v-182v (13th c.) Editions & Translations M. Swanson, 'The Christian al-Maʾmūn tradition', in D. Thomas (ed.), Christians at the heart of Islamic rule. C…

 Sīrat al-qiddīs al-fāḍil al-nāsik Tīmāthayūs

(1,036 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
The Life of the holy and virtuous ascetic, Timothy, Life of Timothy of Kākhushtā Unknown author Date: 9th or 10th c. Original Language: Arabic Description The Life of Timothy is set in the last decades of the 8th century and the early decades of the 9th, in the little-known villages located between Antioch and Aleppo. Timothy was a native of the otherwise unknown village of Kākhushtā. His parents having died while he was still an infant, he was raised by his brothers and sisters. When he was seven years old, a beating at t…

 Hetera erōtēsis

(160 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Another question (opusculum 37) Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Unknown Original Language: Greek Description Again, a short dialogue between a Christian and a Muslim. Two questions are treated: that Mary did not die, and that God did not create anything after the first seven days of creation. 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, fols 33v-34r (14th c.) MS Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek - Gr. 66, fols 61v-62r (16th c.) MS V…

 Erōtēsis Agarēnou pros ton auton

(399 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
A Hagarene’s question to the same (opusculum 9) Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Greek Description This short text answers a Muslim who asks Abū Qurra whether Christ willed to be crucified, suggesting that had he willed it the Jews are to be praised for having crucified him. Abū Qurra argues against this person via an analogy, citing as his example the Muslims who are killed while waging jihād against the Christians of Byzantium. Significance See the comments at 2.11.6. Manuscripts MS Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek – Phil. Gr. 314, f…

 Untitled

(211 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Truth of the orthodox faith Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Greek Description This work seeks to defend the truth of the Orthodox faith against the impiety of the Muslims. The argument is largely philosophical. The main topics treated include: that God has a Son; that God is a Trinity of persons; that God's nature cannot be comprehended; the philosophical and scriptural understandings of the name 'Son'; the Muslim claim that Jesus is the Word and Spirit of God; that God is known both from reason and revelation. Significance Only a single copy of this w…

 Suʾila Abū Qurra Anbā Thādhurus usquf Ḥarrān ʿan al-Masīḥ bi-hawāhi ṣuliba am bi-ghayr hawāhi

(338 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Abba Theodore Abū Qurra, the Bishop of Ḥarrān, was asked about Christ, whether he was crucified willingly or not Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Arabic Description This short text is an answer to a Muslim who questions Theodore as to whether Christ willed to be crucified, suggesting that had he so willed, then the Jews are to be praised for having crucified him. Theodore argues against this person via an analogy, citing as his example the Muslims who are killed while waging jihād against the Christians of Byzantium. Significance This fragment is of unkn…

Theodore Abū Qurra

(3,883 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Biography Beyond the few items listed below, little is known about the events of Theodore Abū Qurra’s life. He seems to have been a native of Edessa, and was born toward the middle of the 8th century. A Melkite, he was one of the earliest Christians known to have written in Arabic. While it has been suggested that as a young man he was a monk at the Palestinian monastery of Mār Saba, the evidence for this is both slight and dubious (Lamoreaux, ‘The biography’). At an unknown date, he was ordained as the bishop of Ḥarrān, an impor…

 Maymar fī taḥqīq nāmūs Mūsā l-muqaddas wa-l-anbiyāʾ alladhīna tanabbaʾū ʿalā al-Masīḥ wa-l-Injīl al-ṭāhir alladhī naqalahu ilā l-umam talāmīdh al-Masīḥ al-mawlūd min Maryam al-ʿadhrāʾ wa-taḥqīq al-urthūdhuksiyya llatī yansubuhā l-nās ilā l-Khalkīdūniyya wa-ibṭāl kull milla tattakhidhu l-Naṣrāniyya siwā hādhī l-milla

(908 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Treatise on the confirmation of the holy law of Moses and the prophets who prophesied about Christ and the holy Gospel which was transmitted to the nations by the disciples of Christ, born of the pure Mary, and on the confirmation of the orthodoxy that people attribute to Chalcedonianism and the refutation of every religious community that lays claim to Christianity other than this community Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Arabic Description This work consists of two independent treatises. The first is a refutation of the Jews. In it Th…

 Ērōtēthē Aboukaras par’ apistou

(426 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Abū Qurra was questioned by an unbeliever (opusculum 17) Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Greek Description This short but fascinating dialogue seeks to explain how those who died before Christ can be saved. In particular, it tries to understand how they were able to receive their requisite baptism. Abū Qurra argues that the water that issued from Christ's side at the time of the crucifixion was dissolved into the elements and thus functioned as a baptism for the dead, who had also …

 Hetera erōtēsis

(153 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Another question (opusculum 36) Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Unknown Original Language: Greek Description This short work is a dialogue between a Christian and a Muslim. It seeks to establish that God has a Word and that this Word is eternal. 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. 33r-v (14th c.) MS Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek - Gr. 66, fol. 61r-v (16th c.) MS Vat - Ottob. Gr. 382, fols 89v-90r (17th c.) Editions & T…

 Al-radd ʿalā lladhīna yaqūlūna inna l-Naṣārā yuʾminū bi-ilāh ḍaʿīf idh yaqūlūna inna al-Masīḥ ilāh wa-innahu luṭima wa-ḍuriba wa-ṣuliba wa-māta wa-qāma

(245 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
The Refutation of those who say that Christians believe in a weak God, in that they say that Christ is God and that he was slapped, struck, crucified, died and rose (again) Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Arabic Description This treatise seeks to answer the objection described in its title. Theodore argues that God is possessed of four attributes, justice, goodness, might, and wisdom; that it is because of these four attributes that he allowed his Son to suffer death on the cross; and that only thus could human beings be freed from slavery to the devil. Signifi…

 Erōtēsis apistou pros ton auton genomenē

(495 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
An unbeliever’s question to the same (opusculum 16) Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Greek Description Abū Qurra argues in this short treatise that Christ was able both to be hypostatically united to his flesh and to be present in all things, providentially providing for them and governing them. Significance Abū Qurra’s opponent is never specified. However, it is very likely a question of a Muslim, as a similar argument can be found in part six of Abū Qurra’s Against the outsiders (see above, pp. 470-71). Manuscripts MS Vienna, Österreichische Nationa…

 Tou autou Theodōrou episkopou Karōn, peri tēs palēs tou Christou meta diabolon

(475 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
By the same Theodore, the Bishop of the Ḥarrānians, On the contending of Christ with the devil (opusculum 7) Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Greek Description This treatise is concerned with three topics. Abū Qurra argues, first, that human salvation could not have been accomplished if either God himself had died on the cross or a man alone had died on the cross. Rather, God in the flesh had to die. Second, he argues that God the Word governs and moves his own mind, senses, and faculties. Th…

 Min qawl Thāwudūrus usquf Ḥarrān al-mukannā bi-Abī Qurra ṭaʿana ʿalā l-barrāniyyīn

(595 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Some statements of Theodore the Bishop of Ḥarrān, known as Abū Qurra, against the outsiders Theodore Abū Qurra Date: Late 8th or early 9th c. Original Language: Arabic Description This work consists of eight small texts against Islam. The first is a dialogue. It takes takes place while Theodore and some other Christians were visiting the Holy Sepulcher. Theodore is approached by some Muslims who ask him whether Christ willed to be crucified. What follows is very nearly identical to Theodore’s About Christ whether he was crucified willingly or not (see above, p. 468). The second records a…

 Ek tōn pros tous Sarakēnous antirrhēseōn tou episkopou Theodōrou Charran, to epiklen Aboukara, dia phonēs Ioannou Diakonou

(926 words)

Author(s): Lamoreaux, John C.
Refutations of the Saracens by Bishop Theodore of Ḥarrān, called Abū Qurra, as reported by John the Deacon Theodore Abū Qurra Date: 9th c.? (compiled possibly during the lifetime of Abū Qurra) Original Language: Greek Description This work opens with a short preface from the hand of a certain John the Deacon, who records that in his writings Abū Qurra 'worthily held up to public scorn the impious religion of the Agarenes' and further claims himself often to have been present when Abū Qurra debated with Muslims. He states that assa…
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