The editorial of SARA 1 offers an inclusive picture of the global field of Syriac studies in the past decades, and argues that the establishment of this new journal builds bridges and encourages the religious dialogue of Byzantine culture, which Eastern European countries have inherited, along with the Oriental and Syriac churches. It highlights the purpose of the journal to promote the most recent scholarship on Syriac legacy in interaction with other Eastern Christian literary traditions, Judaism and Islam.

Author: Sebastian P. Brock

One of the finest pieces of early Syriac hagiographical writing is the narrative concerning the late fourth-century solitary Abraham of Qidun (near Edessa), in which one can read a dramatical section concerning Abraham’s niece, Mary, who abandoned the ascetic life and ended up as a prostitute. The narrative caught the imagination of later generations, and Mary was provided with a couple of verse laments, bewailing her fall from her former ascetic life. Curiously, the two different laments share the same first verse. Parts of these laments survive in certain manuscripts of the Fenqitho, or festal hymnary, at various points during Lent, although usually in incomplete forms. Fortunately, however, the two poems, each with an alphabetic acrostic, do survive complete in a few manuscripts, and it is these that are edited and translated here.

Keywords: Abraham of Qidun, Mary, fall, lament, soghitha

Author: Lucas Van Rompay 

In this paper, the author offers fresh insights into the new discovery of Princeton, Garrett Syriac Manuscript 7, that allow to revisit the edition of Theodore’s Commentary on Psalms (1982), putting the scholars on much firmer grounds in studying Theodore of Mopsuestia and his context, respectively the Syriac audience of that time.

Keywords: Theodore of Mopsuestia, Commentary on Psalms, Princeton Garrett Syriac Manuscript 7

Author: Robert A. Kitchen  


The paper makes a comprehensive view of Commentary on the Paradise of the Fathers by Dadisho‘ Qatraya, a late-7th century Church of the East spiritual writer, in a large context of this literary genre of Late Antiquity, touching also upon the nature of the questions, with different examples of erotapokriseis and their social provenance. 

Keywords: Church of the East, Dadisho‘ Qatraya, Commentary on the Paradise, erotapokriseis 

Author: Iskandar Bcheiry 


Among the seven sacraments in the Syriac tradition, the Holy Myron is one of them. Myron or Chrism in Greek χρίσμα, meaning “ointment” is a consecrated oil used to confirm the baptized person and to bless churches, altars, and other rites. In the West Syriac tradition there are several homilies dedicated to the subject of Myron. The paper offers an edition, translation and commentary of an unpublished homily on Myron preserved in a Syriac homiliary manuscript found in Trinity College Dublin which is shelf marked TCD MS 1511 of the ninth or tenth century. 

Keywords: Holy Myron, Anonymous Homily, Trinity College Dublin MS 1511, 

Author: Dmitrij Bumazhnov  


The article gives some glimpses in what we today know about the history of Christianity in Seleucia-Ctesiphon from the second century AD to the transfer of the Nestorian Patriarchal residence from Seleucia-Ctesiphon to Baghdad. Regarding primary sources and scholarly attention, the period until the transfer to Baghdad shortly after 780 provides a much less detailed picture than the time afterward when the number of relevant witnesses – Christian, Muslim, and others – increases explosively. Since no attempt to write a history of the Christians in Seleucia-Ctesiphon in the Pre-Baghdadian time has been made until today, the form of a concise historical outline still seems preferable.

Keywords: Seleucia-Ctesiphon, Christians, Sasanian Empire, persecutions, hierarchy, confessional identity 

Author: Martin Heimgartner 


This paper attempt to make a clear and comprehensive picture of Aristotelian Logic used by Timothy the First in his Disputations. Timothy was an outstanding figure of the Church of the East. As patriarch of the East Syriac Christians within the Muslim ‘Abbāsid Empire in Baghdad he represents the Church, that in those days covered the largest area of any Christian churches, ranging from the Eastern Mediterranean coast as far as Tibet and China, while crossing Kurdistan, Iraq, Iran, and Central Asia alongside the Silk Roads, and in southward direction up to Southern India. He was the first patriarch to transfer his residence to the newly founded capital of Bagdad, where we find him in intense contact with the caliph. 

Keywords: Timothy, Aristotelian, Islam, disputation, caliph al-Mahdī, syllogistic technique

Author: Pablo Argárate


This paper analyses Liber Graduum and its potential connection with the history of reception and interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount, proving the centrality of scriptures in the life of Christian communities. This centrality of scriptures shapes the community, and highlights perfection, an ideal that requires a dynamism that goes beyond any limitation, in a tremendous asceticism of imitatio Christi and imitatio Patris.

Keywords: Liber Graduum, Sermon on the Mount, perfection, biblical realm, eisegesis

Author: Dominique Sirgy


This study theorizes the topic of mystical encounter with the divine, based on the writings of an Islamic mystic, Abu-l- Qāsim al-Junayd (d. 910/298). First, the paper will assess the influence of Neoplatonism on Junayd by comparing his doctrine of tawḥīd to notions of mystical ascendance in the Theology of Aristotle – an Arabic translation of a part of Plotinus’ Enneads, and falsely attributed to Aristotle, that has been singled out as a source for Junayd’s mysticism. While there are resonances between their ideas, the present study suggests that the Theology of Aristotle bears less in common with Junayd’s thought than articulations of mystical proximity to God transmitted in the Syriac mystical literature. The paper will also discuss the potential influence of Evagrius’ works on Junayd’s thought, as evidence of interaction between Christian and Islamic mysticism, and a source for the transfer of Origenian thought into the Arabic, Islamic tradition.

Keywords: al-Junayd, tawḥīd, Theology of Aristotle, Evagrius, mystical union

Author: Cătălin-Ştefan Popa


This paper focuses on a polemical treatise by Dionysius Bar Salībī, one of the most prolific West Syriac medieval authors. Firstly will be offered a brief introduction about the life of the West Syriac author, and secondly will evaluate the author’s perception of Greeks, Franks and other denominational aspects contained in the Treatise against Rabban Isho‘, a medieval polemical composition, which succeeded the Treatise against the “Nestorians” in the compositions of Dionysius Bar Salībī.

Keywords: Dionysius Bar Salībī, Rabban Isho‘, Greeks, Franks, Chalcedonians