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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'.…

 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 an…

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 …

 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…

 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 to the p…

 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 life was written within a few years of his death by Leontius of Damascus (

 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…

 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, …

 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 experienc…

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 su…

 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.…

 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 Alexandria. Other letters were written by the two patriarchs to Symeon, their colleague in Antioch. Yet another letter (a petition of commendation and support for David) is addressed to the same by the Christian notables of Antioch. All of these letters concern the recent behavior of Symeon, the patriarch of Antioch. They constitute, in …

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…
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