Sources for the Study of the School of Nisibis

Translated with commentary by Adam H. Becker

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ISBN: 9781846311611

Publication: October 1, 2008

Series: Translated Texts for Historians 50

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The Aramaic-speaking Christian community of late antique and early Islamic period Mesopotamia developed a school culture that persisted for several centuries. Not unlike the Rabbinic academies, the East-Syrian schools were innovative as centres of learning where study was formally institutionalized, in contrast to the informal study circles of the past. This school culture played an important role in the early translation of Greek philosophical texts into Arabic in the ‘Abbasid period. The most influential and prominent of these schools was the School of Nisibis, and this volume provides an annotated translation of the major sources for the School. A polemical document composed by Simeon of Bet Arsham, a theological enemy of the School, describes the foundation of the School as a significant step in the supposed spread of ‘Nestorianism’ throughout the Sasanian Empire. The more extensive East-Syrian Cause of the Foundation of the Schools offers a history of learning from God’s creation of the world to the time of the text’s composition at the School of Nisibis in the late sixth century CE, recasting patriarchal, Israelite, ‘pagan’ and Christian history as a long series of schools. The last two chapters of the Ecclesiastical History describe the lives of the two most important head exegetes at the School. These sources have never been translated into English and this is the first time that any of them has received close historical, linguistic and thematic analysis.

Acknowledgements Abbreviations Introduction The School of Nisibis Identifying Barhdbeshbba On the Manuscripts, Translation, Notes and Terms The Transliteration of the Syriac Alphabet in this Volume Texts Simeon of Bet Arsham, 'Letter' on the 'Nestorianization' of Persia Introduction Translation and Notes Barhadbeshabba, Ecclesiastical History Introduction Translation and Notes Chapter Thirty One: 'The Life of Narsai' Chapter Thirty Two: 'The Life of Abraham of Bet Rabban' Barhadbeshabba, The Cause of the Foundation of the Schools Introduction Translation and Notes Mingana Fragment of the Cause Translation and Notes Portion of the Memra on the Holy Fathers by Rabban Surin Translation and Notes Appendix I: On the Manuscript Tradition of the Cause of the Foundation of the Schools Appendix 11: The Tree of Porphyry in the Cause of the Foundation of the Schools Appendix Ill: The Literary Dependence of the Cause of the Foundation of the Schools on the Ecclesiastical History Brief Glossary of Selected Terms Maps Bibliography Index of Biblical References Index of Proper Names Subject Index

Format: Paperback

Size: 234 x 156 mm

224 Pages

Copyright: © 2008

ISBN: 9781846311611

Publication: October 1, 2008

Series: Translated Texts for Historians 50

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