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10.4.8 Arabic Translations

(2,565 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Part of 10 Psalms - 10.4 Secondary TranslationsSome scholars have claimed that pre-Islamic translations of Arabic texts of the Bible (especially the Gospels and the Psalms) were available to Christian Arabs, and that these Arabic versions were subsequently borrowed, copied, and transmitted by the monks of St. Sabas and St. Catherine in Palestine. However, these early Arabic translations were made in Palestine by Palestinian Christian translators from the eighth century c.e. onwards. In the eighth and ninth centuries c.e., bilingual Psalters (Greek-Arabic) were used by the…
Date: 2020-03-17

 Kitāb Hurūshiyūsh

(272 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
The book of Orosius Ibn Albar al-Qūṭī Date: Before 950 Original Language: Arabic Description A comparison of the Arabic Kitāb Hurūshiyūsh with Orosius’ Historiae adversus paganos, a universal history from the creation up to the 5th century, shows that the Arabic version was not a mere translation, but a revision of the Latin text. It was made by the Christian Ḥafṣ ibn Albar al-Qūṭī and the Muslim Qāsim ibn Aṣbagh (d. 951). Significance The cooperation between a Christian and Muslim in this translation is striking, and anticipates instances in later centuries. The wor…

 Kitāb al-Iʿlām bi-mā fī dīn al-Naṣārā min al-fasād wa-l-awhām wa-iẓhār maḥāsin dīn al-Islām wa-ithbāt nubuwwat nabiyyinā Muḥammad

(463 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
'Information about the corruptions and delusions of the religion of the Christians and the presentation of the merits of the religion of Islam and the affirmation of the prophethood of our prophet Muḥammad' Al-Imām al-Qurṭubī Date: Before 1258 Original Language: Arabic Description This work can be divided into two parts. The first preserves two treatises written by Andalusī Christians: Tathlīth al-waḥdāniyya (‘Trinitizing the oneness [of God]’) (q.v.) and Muṣḥaf al-ʿālam al-kāʾin (‘The Book of the world that is’). The second part contains a refutation of these two…

Rabīʿ ibn Zayd

(453 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Recemundo, Recemund Date of Birth: Unknown; early 10th century Place of Birth: Cordova Date of Death: Late 10th century or early 11th century Place of Death: Unknown Biography Rabīʿ ibn Zayd, whose baptismal name was Recemund (Recemundo), was a leader of the Christian communities in al-Andalus. He was a Christian official at the Cordovan court under the Caliph ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III (r. 912-61), and in 955-56 he was chosen to lead an embassy to the Emperor Otto I ( Hūtū) in Germany. This was in response to a mission sent by Otto to Cordova, led by John of Gorze (q.v.). He also…

Ibn Zurʿa

(428 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Abū ʿAlī ʿĪsā ibn Isḥāq ibn Zurʿa ibn Marqus ibn Zurʿa ibn Yūḥannā Date of Birth: 943 Place of Birth: Baghdad Date of Death: 1008 Place of Death: Baghdad Biography The Jacobite Ibn Zurʿa was one of the best-known students of the celebrated Christian Arab writer Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī (q.v.), with whom he studied physics, mathematics, philosophy and literature. He was a merchant who traded with the Byzantines and suffered the jealousy of Syrian merchants, but he was also an expert on philosophy and logic, and a distinguished translat…

A chronicle fragment

(53 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Unknown author Date of Birth: Unknown; 10th or 11th century Place of Birth: Unknown Date of Death: Unknown; 10th or 11th century Place of Death: Unknown Biography - Primary Sources of Information - Secondary Sources of Information - Works on Christian-Muslim Relations A chronicle fragment Juan Pedro Monferrer Sala

 Risāla fī l-Khāliq

(190 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Treatise on the Creator Elias of Nisibis Date: Before 1046 Original Language: Arabic Description This tract focuses on God as a substance ( jawhar) who subsists in himself ( qāʾim bi-nafsihi). In response to the Muslim accusation that Christians are ‘associators’ ( mushrikūn), Elias explains that the meaning of the statement that God is three hypostases ( thalāthat aqānīm) is that He is subsistent in himself, living by Life and articulating by a Word ( nāṭiq bi-nuṭq). The three hypostases are not simply divine accidents, but three actualities, Essence, Life and Word. Significance Elias …

 Revelatio S. Methodii de temporibus nouissimis

(852 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Revelation of St Methodius on the present timesThe Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius Unknown author Date: End of 7th c. or early 8th c. Original Language: Latin Description The preface of one of the four manuscripts used by Sackur for his edition (MS BNF ‒ Lat. 13348; this is of dubious authenticity) states that this translation was made from Greek into Latin by Peter the monk at the request of his brothers in the monastery. Some linguistic features of the text of this manuscript suggest that he may have been a Syrian or Greek (Sackur, Sibyllinische texte , pp. 56, 59). Like the Syriac and Greek…

Ibn ʿAtīq

(240 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Abū ʿAlī l-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAtīq ibn al-Ḥusayn ibn Rashīq al-Taghlibī Date of Birth: 1154 Place of Birth: Murcia Date of Death: 1235 Place of Death: Cairo Biography A native of Murcia, Ibn ʿAtīq was a renowned Andalusī scholar. As a boy he lived in Ceuta in northern Morocco, and then he went to Alexandria to study. He remained in Egypt, and taught there. Some reports state that he spent his last days in Granada and others that he died in Egypt. Similarly, some say that he died in 1235 and others in 1281, though the latter seems unlikely in view of the date of his birth. Ibn ʿAtīq wrote on a range of subj…

Ibn Barrajān

(317 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Abū l-Ḥakam ʿAbd al-Salām ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Muḥammad al-Lakhmī l-Ishbīlī Date of Birth: Between 1058 and 1078 Place of Birth: Unknown; possibly Seville Date of Death: 1141 Place of Death: Marrakesh Biography Ibn Barrajān lived in Seville for most of his life. He studied Arabic language and literature, Qurʾan exegesis, arithmetic, geometry and other disciplines of the time. He was known as an ascetic ( zāhid), and was a famous Sufi, being known as Shaykh al-ṣūfiyya. Ibn Barrajān is known for five books. Apart from his best-known work, Sharḥ asmāʾ Allāh al-ḥusnā, he also wrote an un…

Ibn Saʿīd al-Maghribī

(374 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī ibn Mūsā ibn Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Saʿīd Date of Birth: 1213 Place of Birth: Near Granada Date of Death: 1286 Place of Death: Tunis Biography Born near Granada, Ibn Saʿīd lived in Seville as a boy, and there he began his education. He left al-Andalus in 1241 for the ḥajj with his father, but the latter died in Alexandria in 1242, and Ibn Saʿīd then remained in Egypt for seven years, finally performing the ḥajj in 1249. He later travelled to Iraq and Syria, made a second pilgrimage, and worked in Tunis for the emir al-Mustanṣir. He died in Tunis in 1286 at the age of 73. Ibn Saʿīd…


(111 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Qissīs min al-Qūṭ Date of Birth: 12th century Place of Birth: Unknown; possibly Toledo Date of Death: 12th century Place of Death: Unknown Biography We have no information about this Christian author, except for a few details in the work associated with him. These indicate that he was from Toledo and a priest, and with the epithet al-Qūṭī he must have been of Visigothic descent. Primary Sources of Information Maqāmiʿ al-ṣulbān, ed. ʿA.-M. al-Sharfī, Tunis, 1975, pp. 30-39 Secondary Sources of Information T.E. Burman, Religious polemic and the intellectual history of the Mozarab…

 Risālat al-Qūṭī

(201 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
The letter of al-Qūṭī Al-Qūṭī Date: Mid-1140s Original Language: Latin Description The letter of al-Qūṭī survives in the form of quotations in the refutation made by al-Khazrajī (q.v.), who was presumably the translator of the original Latin into Arabic. It contains a brief refutation of Islam, the main topics of which include Christian salvation history, the divine Sonship of Jesus and the Incarnation, together with Islam as untruth, the errors of the Qurʾan, disagreements between the Bible and the Qurʾan, and the accusation of taḥrīf. Significance The most valuable feature of t…


(343 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Abū Jaʽfar Aḥmad ibn Naṣr al-Dāwudī al-Asadī Date of Birth: Unknown; mid-10th century Place of Birth: Ifrīqiya Date of Death: 1011-12 Place of Death: Tilimsān Biography Al-Dāwudī was a Mālikī jurist born in the north of Ifrīqiya. He travelled to Tripoli in Libya, where he started to write his commentary on Mālik’s Al-muwaṭṭaʾ, and later moved to Tilimsān, where he was the faqīh of the city. (Qaddūrī, pp. 169-70, shows that his shuhra is not al-Rawādī, but al-Dāwudī. The mistaken reading is given by Steinschneider and Brockelmann, and copied by Epalza and Devillard. Pace Steinschneider, …

 Kitāb al-fiṣal fī l-milal wa-l-ahwāʾ wa-l-niḥal

(805 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Judgement regarding the confessions, inclinations and sects Ibn Ḥazm Date: Unknown; before 1064 Original Language: Arabic Description Ibn Ḥazm’s Kitāb al-fiṣal is a work of Islamic theology, and has a structure that bears some resemblance to systematic theological works from about the same time, such as al-Bāqillānī’s Kitāb al-tamhīd (q.v.) and ʿAbd al-Jabbār’s Mughnī (q.v.). It also shares the same characteristic of refuting views held both outside and within Islam that oppose the particular theological points it makes. Where it differs from thes…

 Risāla fī waḥdāniyyat al-Khāliq wa-tathlīth aqānīmihi

(270 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Epistle on the oneness of the Creator and threeness of his hypostases Elias of Nisibis Date: Between 13 September and 12 October 1029 Original Language: Arabic Description This work, which Elias composed in Mosul in response to a request from a judge, has an introduction and two chapters. In the introduction Elias establishes God’s oneness as substance ( kiyān wāḥid) and threeness as hypostases ( thalāthat aqānīm). In the first chapter he goes on to justify the three hypostases by arguing that God subsists in himself ( qāʾim bi-nafsihi), and is wise ( ḥakīm) and living ( ḥayy), while in the…

Elias of Nisibis

(565 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Iliyyā ibn Shīnā, Bar Shīnāyā Date of Birth: 11 February 975 Place of Birth: Al-Sinn, Shennā (Syriac) Date of Death: 18 July 1046 Place of Death: Mayyāfāriqīn Biography The Nestorian Elias of Nisibis is undoubtedly the most significant eastern Christian writer of the 11th century. His reputation spread throughout the Islamic world for his expertise in medicine, mathematics, philosophy and philology, for his deep knowledge of Christian and Muslim theology, and for his participation in a series of sessions ( majālis) with the Muslim vizier Abū l-Qāsim al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī al-Ma…

Abū Marwān ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Ḥabīb ibn Sulaymān ibn Hārūn/Marwān ibn Julhuma ibn ʿAbbās ibn Mirdās al-Sulamī

(518 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Ibn Ḥabīb Date of Birth: c. 790 Place of Birth: A village near Granada Date of Death: 852-53 Place of Death: Cordova Biography ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Ḥabīb was born in kūrat Ilbīra, a small village near Granada, where he may have started his studies. He was a druggist ( ʿaṭṭār) like his father, and he had a brother whom he defended against a charge of blasphemy before the judge of Ilbīra. He fathered two sons and a daughter. At some point Ibn Ḥabīb moved to Cordova, where he studied ḥadīth and fiqh with three scholars. When he was 33, he spent three years studying in the Middl…

 Maqāla ʿan al-tāthlīth

(287 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Treatise on the Trinity Ibn Zurʿa Date: 979 Original Language: Arabic Description This brief treatise on the key Christian doctrine of the Trinity was composed by Ibn Zurʿa according to Yaḥyā ibn ʿAdī’s model of the three Persons as ‘intellect’-‘intelligent’-‘intelligible’, ʿaql-ʿāqil-maʿqūl. Significance The work attests to the continuing debates between Christians and Muslims in the 10th century, and to the need for Christians to find means of explaining their doctrine in ways that Muslim interlocutors would find comprehensible and compelling. His…


(249 words)

Author(s): Monferrer Sala, Juan Pedro
Abū Jaʿfar Aḥmad ibn ʿAbd al-Ṣamad ibn Abī ʿUbayda (ʿAbīda) al-Khazrajī al-Ṣāʿidī al-Anṣārī al-Qurṭubī Date of Birth: 1125-26 Place of Birth: Possibly Cordova Date of Death: 1187 Place of Death: Fes Biography As his nisba al-Qurṭubī indicates, al-Khazrajī appears to have been born in Cordova. He died in Fes, after living in Granada and Bijāya. He received a complete education in the Islamic sciences, especially Prophetic traditions, and he studied with the most learned scholars of his day. In his turn, he taught many students, who transmitted traditions from him. Among the scant deta…
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