The Book of Governors: The Historia Monastica of Thomas of Marga AD 840 9781463208882

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The Book of Governors: The Historia Monastica of Thomas of Marga AD 840
 9781463208882

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THE BOOK OF GOVERNORS BY

THOMAS, BISHOP OF MARGÀ

THE BOOK OF GOVERNORS"THE HISTORIA MONASTICA OF THOMAS BISHOP OF MARGÄ A. D. 840 EDITED FROM SYRIAC MANUSCRIPTS IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM AND OTHER LIBRARIES BY

E. A. WALLIS BUDGE, LITT. D., F. S. A., FORMERLY SCHOLAR OF CHRIST'S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE, AND TYRWHITT SCHOLAR, ACTING ASSISTANT-KEEPER IN THE DEPARTMENT OF EGYPTIAN AND ASSYRIAN ANTIQUITIES, BRITISH MUSEUM.

VOL. II.

THE ENGLISH TRANSLATION.

A

M GORGIAS PRESS 2003

First Gorgias Press Edition, 2003. The special contents of this edition are copyright €> 2003 by Gorgias Press LLC. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States of America by Gorgias Press LLC, New Jersey. This edition is a facsimile reprint of the original edition published by Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd., London, 1893.

ISBN 1-59333-009-X (Volume 1) ISBN 1-59333-010-3 (Volume 2)

GORGIAS PRESS

46 Orris Ave., Piscataway, NJ 08854 USA www.gorgiaspress.com

Printed and bound simultaneously in the United States of America and Great Britain.

CONTENTS PAC-.E

THE BOOK OF GOVERNORS: LIST OF CHAPTERS

3

BOOK

1

17—116

BOOK



1 6

II

117—285

BOOK I I I

286—344

METRICAL HOMILY ON MARAN-'AMMEH

34S—375

BOOK I V

376—466

BOOK

V

467—568

BOOK V I

569—685

LIST OF BIBLE PASSAGES QUOTED

686—689

ENGLISH INDEX

690—732

T H E BOOK OF GOVERNORS OR, TIIE EXCELLENT HISTORIES AND STORIES CONCERNING T H E 1IOLY MEN AND MONKS WHO LIVED, GENERATION AFTER GENERATION, IN TIIE IIOLY MONASTERY OK BETH C

ÂBIIÊ,

WHICH

WERE

COMPOSED

BY

TIIE

PIOUS MAR THOMAS, BISHOP OF MARGA.

4

THOMAS OF MARGÁ, THE BOOK OF GOVERNORS.

THE CHAPTERS

OR S E C T I O N S O F T H E F I R S T

HOOK.

I. The Apology of the Author to him who asked him to set clown1 [these] Histories in writing. II. The reason why the Histories [were written]. III. The Introduction to the History. IV. Of Mar Abhraham the head of the convent in Mount fzla. V. Of Mar Dadh-Isho. VI. [p. 4] Of our Rabban Mar Yakobh (Jacob) of Beth 'Abhe. VII. Of the blessed Mar Babhai, the Great. VIII. Of the corrupt men who sprang up in that holy monastery. IX. Of the holy Rabban Mar Kliya. X . Of the things which the blessed Mar Kliya did at break of day. XI. Of the things which Mar Babhai and all the fathers did. XII. Of the unlawful accusation with which the holy Mar Jacob of Beth r Ablie was accused, and of the judgment, remote from justice, with which he was judged. XIII. Of the things which took place in that monastery after the departure of Mar Jacob. the histories of the most famous of the monks of Beth 'Abhe. In B.

0.,

ii, pp. 4 9 0 — 4 9 7 ,

No. XIII, Assemani g a v e a list of

the heads of the chapters, and in B.

0.,

iii. 1, pp. 4 6 4 — 5 0 1

he gave a tolerably full analysis of this work, with a few extracts. A

full description of the plan and scope of his

asiica' 1

'Ilistoria Mon-

is given in the introduction to the present work.

Here ¡labA&s on p. 1 5 (text).

jb&o = jkota'bzip in the heading as given

LIST OF CHAL'TliRS.

5

XIV. Of the dispersion of the holy fathers into all countries, which although it might be thought to have been wrought by means of human passion, was, nevertheless, the Will and act of God. XV. Of Rabban Bar Hadh-bhe-shabba, and of the monastery which he built. XVI. Of those men who were driven forth [from the Great Monastery] \ where they went [and dwelt] \ and how they pleased God. XVII. Of the coming to them of the holy Abba Yawnan (Jonah) the ascetic, from the Great Monastery. XVIII. Of Shelemon (Solomon) bar-Garaph, the solitary, from the Monastery of Bar-Tura, and of the histories which he wrote. XIX. Of the blessed Marihabh, and of the virgin nun and recluse. X X . Of Mar Jacob of Beth c Abhe. XXI. Of the coming of Mar Jacob from the desert to the Great Monastery. XXII. [p. 5] Of his departure from thence to the monastery and laura 2 of Beth 'Abhe. XXIII. Of king Khesro (Chosroes), the son ofllormizd. XXIV. Of the honourable Bastohmagh, the father of the holy Mar lshoc-yahbh [the Catholicus]. X X V . OfGrighor (Gregory) ofTellBesme, and of the office of Catholicus which he received. XXVI. Of the cessation of the Church after the departure of Mar Sabhr-lsho the Catholicus. 1 2

Supplied from p. 39 (text).

{Si, k^js ¿iviL. rendered by Assemani 'collis Beth-Abe', but more correctly 'monastery of Beth-Abe' by Hoffmann {AusrJigc, p. 1 7 1 ) and Payne Smith ( T h c s c o l . 2920).

6

THOMAS OF MARGA, THE BOOK OF GOVERNORS.

XXVII. Of Mar Babhai the Great, and of the ecclesiastical visitation which he undertook. XXVIII. The apology of the author to him who would ask a question.1 X X I X . Of the coming of Mar Babhai to the monastery of Beth c Abhe, and of the wonder which was wrought before him in the temple. X X X . Of those tried men who became disciples of 2 R&bban Jacob in this monastery. X X X I . Of Abb* Yohannan (John), the Elder. XXXII. Of Rabban Yawseph (Joseph) of Beth Koka, and of Abraham his brother. XXXIII. Of Rabban Sargis (Sergius) who was surnamed "Destroyer of the Mighty". X X X I V . Of Sahdona, and of the works which he composed. X X X V . Of the murder of King Khusrau. [P. 6]

THE CHAPTERS OF THE SECOND BOOK.

I. The Beginning of the Book. II. Of Rabban Jacob of [Nuhadhra, the head of] Beth Rabban Isho'-yahbh. III. Of Rabban Aphni-Maran. IV. Of the departure of Mar lsho-yahbh the Catholicus, of Gedhala, and of the Bishops who were with him to Beth-Rhomaye. V. Of the casket of the bones of the Apostles which Mar Isho-yahbh brought with him from Antioch, and placed in this monastery. VI. Of how Sahdona foolishly turned aside from the orthodox faith. 1

Vat. reads ¿J*?.

2

Read ^ o i ^ .

LIST OF CIIAL'TERS.

7

VII. Of Mar Isho'-yahbh the Catholicus, and of how he wished to establish a school in this monastery. VIII. Of Rabban Kam-Isho and [of how] he elected to oppose Mar lshoc-yahbh. IX. Of the departure of Rabban Kam-ishoc and the brethren who were with him, from [this] monastery to Herpa, a village of Saphsapha. X. Of the vision which Mar Isho'-yahbh saw on the night in which the brethren took Rabban [Jacob] and departed. XI. Of Rabban 1 A n a n - l s h o , the teacher and ascetic, and compiler of the "Book of Paradise". XII. Of the blessed Mar Ghiwargis (George) the Catholicus. XIII. Of the humility and meekness of George the Catholicus, and of George the Metropolitan of the city of Nesibhin (Nisibis). XIV. [p. 7] Of another George, the Metropolitan of Perath-dhe-Maishan, who was also angry and wished to lift up the heel against Mar Catholicus. XV. Of the compilation of the "Book of Paradise". XVI. Of the death of the holy Mar George the Catholicus. XVII. Of Rabban Sabhr-lsho, who was surnamed Rostam. XVIII. Of Rabban Ghabhril (Gabriel), the head of' the monastery, who was surnamed Tawerta (the Cow). XIX. Of Rabban Mar Abraham 1 the head of the monastery of Rabban Zekha Isho. X X . Of the other heads who lived in this monastery. XXI. Of Abba Shemon (Simon) who was surnamed Sanota, (the Beardless). 1

For poixji read ¡»ojiiai.

8

THOMAS OF MARC, A, TIITi 1500K

OF

GOVKRNORS.

XXII. Of the going down of Simon to George the Catholicus, and of the barrenness which he made to flower in the city of Hadhatta. XXIII. Of Mar John of Dailom. XXIV. Of the famine which took place in their days in this country, and of the departure of John and his master to Nirebha of Beth-Gazza. XXV. Of how Rabban John was taken captive by the barbarians. XXVI. Of Rabban Joseph, the head of the monastery of Beth cAbhe. XXVII. Of Selibha Zekha, the Catholicus, and of his coming to this monastery. XXVIII. Of the departure of Rabban Joseph to the monastery of Rabban Bar-Idta. XXIX. Of Ayas of Shaibna who wished to slay Rabban Joseph, and of the flight of Rabban from1 before him. X X X . Of Rabban Mar John the Metropolitan Bishop of Hedhayabh (Adiabene). XXXI. Of Mar Dindowai Bishop of Maalltha. XXXII. Of Mar Isho-Zekha, Armdyci, Bishop of Selakh (or Salakh). XXXIII. [p. 8] Of Gabriel the Metropolitan Bishop of Karkha-dhe-Beth-Selakh, who was called Rakoda (the Dancer), and of the discourse which he made. XXXIV. Of the blessed Mar Aha, head of this monastery of Beth-Abhe, and Metropolitan of Arbela. XXXV. Of the election of the holy Mar Aha to the headship of this monastery. 1

Vat. reads

9

LIST OF CHAPTERS.

XXXVI. Of the election of Mar Aha to be Metropolitan of Hedhayabh (Adiabene). XXXVII. Of Rabban Mar isho-yahbh, the head of the monastery. XXXVIII. Of the miracle which the blessed Mar Aha wrought. XXXIX. Of the revelation and indication of that 1 which should happen to Mar Aha, and of how2 he should end his days, and where he should be buried. XL. Of Abba Hananya who ate vegetables, and pastured with animals, and who lived in this monastery in the time of the holy Mar Aha. XLI. Of Mar Maran-zekha, Bishop of Hadhatta, and of the Bishop who pastured camels, whom he found. XLII. Of Mir Sargis (Sergius) Bishop of Henaitha. XLIII. Of Hoghir the believing nobleman, and of the monastery which he built. XLIV. Of the departure of the blessed Mar Aha from [this] temporary life. THE CHAPTERS OF THE THIRD BOOK.

The Apology of the author to the believing and honourable Hasan. I. Of the blessed Rabban Babhai, the much enlightened teacher. II. Of the schools which Rabban Babhai founded, and their names. III. Of the books which Rabban Babhai wrote, and of the end of his life. 1

Read „¿rs.

2

Vat. reads jia^ijo.

b

IO

THOMAS OF MARGA, THE BOOK OF

GOVERNORS.

I. [p. 9] The history of Már Maran-'ammeh the Metropolitan Bishop of Sélákh. The Apology of the author. II. Of the origin of Már Máran-ammeh, [and of how and by whom he was instructed in divine things.] III. Of the Episcopate of the land of Sélákh which Már Máran-ammeh received, and of the miracles which took place there by his hands. IV. In which is set forth how Már Máran-'ammeh was consecrated Metropolitan Bishop of Arbela, 1 and of the first wonder which he wrought in the country. V. Of those provinces belonging to the episcopal thrones of the diocese which Már Máran-ammeh took over to the dominion of the throne of Hédhayabh (Adiabene), and of those which he gave in their place. VI. Of the revelation which Már Máran-ammeh received in a vision of the angel of the Lord, to destroy with his hands the seed that worked evil, and the corrupt children who were in the country of Margá. VII. Of how the blessed man left his episcopal home and fled, and of the angelic agency which prevented his flight. VIII. Of the departure of the blessed Már Máranc ammeh to the country of Margá, and of the signs and wonders which took place by his hands. IX. Of the drought and famine which took place in the days of the holy Már Máran-ammeh, and of the sign which he shewed by his rod. 1

The heading of the chapter on p. 1 5 3 (text) has &oaa>ii

LIST OF CHAPTERS.

X. Of the sickncss which smote the holy man, and of his departure from this life of time to that of eternity. XI. A discourse upon Már Máran-'ammeh. [P. 10] THE CHAPTERS OF THE FOURTH BOOK.

I. The Introduction to the Book. II. Of the blessed Rabban íshó'-yahbh, the head of the monastery, whence he came, of what parents he was born, and of how he was brought up. III. Of Már Timothy, Bishop of Béth Béghásh, and of the prophecy which was made concerning him by one of the old men who lived in this monastery. IV. Of how Timothy artfully contrived to obtain possession of the Patriarchate, after the manner of Jacob who by craft obtained the blessings of Isaac his father. V. Of Rostám Bishop of Hénáithá. VI. Of the going up of our Mar Ishóc-yahbh to Hédhayabh (Adiabene). VII. Of the swift judgment which overtook Rostám, and of how those who were with him were put to shame and disgraced. VIII. Of the repentance of the people of Adiabene, and of the humble entreaty which they offered to Mar Ishoc- yahbh to enter into his episcopal seat. IX. Of how Már Ishcf-yahbh was moved to pull down the clay temple which had been built by Ishcfyahbh the Catholicus, and to build another of lime in its stead, and of how the monks who lived in his days counselled him not to do so on account of the difficulty of the work.

12

THOMAS OF MARGA, THE BOOK OF

GOVERNORS.

X. Of how God, the Lord of all, stirred up men to put forth their hands against this great work. XI. Of the Satanic vision which Abba isho'-dadh, one of the old men of this congregation saw, and of the money which he found. XII. [p. n ] Of another treasure which Christ our Lord gave him. XIII. Of the miracle which our Lord wrought by the hands of Mar Isho-yahbh. XIV. Of the finish and completion of the temple, and of the death of Isho'-yahbh. XV. The history of Rabban Kury&kos (Cyriacus) of Gebhilta, the head 1 of the monastery of Beth 'Abhe, and Bishop of the city of Baladh. XVI. Of the origin of the blessed Cyriacus, and of his coming to this monastery of Beth 'Abhc. XVII. Of the call of Abba Cyriacus to the headship of the monastery. XVIII.-Of the first miracle which Christ wrought by his hands. XIX. Of how that man came to this monastery, and of how he rewarded it with a noble recompense as was meet, and of the rest of his signs. XX. Of the revelations which that holy man received when he was with the whole congregation in the refectory. XXI. Of the coming in of f Amran bar-Muhammad to this country of Marga, and of how having seized many villages and slain their owners, he also wished to kill the holy [Cyriacus] and to inherit this monastery. 1

Read

,1- (?) *

LIST OK CHAPTERS.

13

XXII. Of how after these things c Amran sent five men to slay Rabban Cyriacus, and of the terrible vision which appeared to them. XXIII. Of another revelation which he received of how he needs must be made a Bishop. XXIV. Of the coming of the inhabitants of Baladh (Baladhaye) to this monastery for the blessed man. XXV. [p. 12] Of the miracle which the blessed Mar Cyriacus wrought in Baladh, and of the end of his life. THE CHAPTERS OF THE FIFTH BOOK.

I. The Beginning of the Book. II. Of the origin of the blessed Shubhhal' Isho\ and of his coming to this monastery. III. Of the punishment which this monastery justly received for the persecution of the holy Shubhhal' ishoc. IV. Of the consecration1 of the blessed man Shubhhal' Isho, Metropolitan of Gilan and Dailom. V. Of the murder of Shubhhal' Isho\ and of the glorious testimony of his coronation. VI. Of Mar Yahbh-Allaha and of Kardagh his brother. VII. Of the selection of the holy men who were sent to those countries. VIII. Of Mar Elijah, Bishop of Mokan, and of the countries of the Barbarians. IX. Of the sublime kinds of prayer with which he enriched his soul. 1

Literally, "Of the laying on of hands which he received".

14

THOMAS OF MARGA, T I 1 E BOOK OF GOVERNORS.

X. Of the election of Mar Elijah to the Bishopric of Mokan. XI. Of the entrance of the pious Mar Elijah into Mokan, of his preaching therein, of his return to this monastery, and of the end of his life. XII. The history of the holy man Mar Narsai, Bishop of Shenna. XIII. [p. 1 3 ] Of the origin of Mar Narsai, and of his coming to this monastery. XIV. Of the election of the holy Mar Narsai to be Bishop of Kardaliabhadh, which is Shenna. XV. Of the spiritual contemplation and intellectual pleasure1 in the three [kinds of] spiritual speculations, on the corporeal, on the incorporeal, and on the Holy Trinity, in which the holy man Mar Narsai was trained and instructed. XVI. Of the things which were wrought by the holy Mar Narsai, some by spiritual vision, and some by the working of miracles, and of the end of his life. XVII. Of Abba Joseph. T H E CHAPTERS OF T H E SIXTH BOOK.

First, The History of Rabban Kuperyanos(Cyprianus). I. The cause of the History. II. Of the origin of Rabban Cyprian, of his training in the school, and of his journey to Jerusalem. III. Of his leaving the wilderness and going to the island of Yawan (Greece). IV. Of the coming of Rabban Cyprianus to this country [of Marga], and of how he revealed and made himself known in this place. 2

Reading ¿¿¿o=o, as on page 304 (text), 1. 12.

LIST OF CHAPTERS.

15

V. Of the building of this monastery by the hands of the blessed [Cyprian]. VI. Of the wonders which Saint Cyprian wrought.1 VII. [p. 14] Of the end of the course of the blessed man, and of his exhortation to his children in the hour of his death. T H E H I S T O R Y OF R A B B A N G A B R I E L .

VIII. The Apology. IX. Of the origin of Rabban Gabhriel (Gabriel), and of Pawlos (Paul) his brother. X. Of the instruction of Paul and Gabriel in the convent of Rabban Cyprian. XI. Of the departure of Rabban Gabriel to lead the life of an anchorite in the country of Kardo, and of how he came back again to this country. XII. Of the blessed Mar Yohannan (John), and of the congregation in the holy monastery of Nerabh Barzai. XIII. Of the coming of Rabban Gabriel to the monastery of Nerabh Barzai, of the headship [of the monastery] which he received, and of the death of Rabban Paul his brother. XIV. Of the headship of the Monastery of Mar Cyprian which Rabban Gabriel received, and of his care for everything which had been established. XV. Of the ascetics and holy men who were found in various places in the days of Rabban Gabriel. 1

Vat., Which Christ wrought by the hands of the holy man.

16

THOMAS OK MARGA, THE BOOK OF GOVERNORS.

XVI. Of the revelations concerning future things which the holy man Mar Gabriel received from God. XVII. Of the wonders and mighty deeds which were wrought by the hands of Rabban Gabriel. XVIII. Of the lamentable death of Rabban Gabriel, and of his departure to the world of joy.

Here end Histories.

the

headings

and

contents

of

the

[P.

15]

B O O K I. C H A P T E R I.

THE AUTIIORpS APOLOGY] 1 TO IIIM WHO ASKED HIM TO SET [THE HISTORIES] DOWN IN

WRITING. 2

I11 accordance with the causes which summoned us to converse with each other from time to time, and the histories of the holy men, praises of whom were stirred up in us, and the glorious stories and rehearsings of whose histories I was shewing forth before thee, O our brother cAbhd-ish6\ thy mind was filled with truth, and thy tongue with the praise of the power Who made them victorious, and Who moved His saints. And thy wisdom oifered to me earnest supplications, and helpful persuasions and directions, to set down [my] stories of holy men in writing, in order that their unwritten histories might neither be forgotten nor sink into oblivion. And [thou didst ask] me to give to thee written accounts of them as a rich inheritance, and as an excellent loan, that thy holiness might meditate upon them, and that thy divine understanding might be sanctified thereby. And although for some years past this wish hath never been absent from thee, and thou wast diligently urging me to do [this], sometimes with the living voice, and 1 2

Literally 'the writing*.

Here ;isoikvu = jia^aia ¿Loaa jai».

This apology has been published from the Vatican MS. with a Latin translation by Assemani B. 0., iii. 1, pp. 464— 466.

18

THOMAS OF MARGÄ, THE BOOK OF

GOVERNORS.

sometimes by many-lined epistles which thou wast sending to me to the place where I was, in times past I did not yield 1 to this thy entreaty. But at one time I took refuge in the inexperience of my speech, and at another [in the excuse] that there was no necessity 2 for these histories [to be written], inasmuch as the Catholic Church aboundeth in histories of holy men, even as gardens are filled to overflowing with all kinds of fruits,—for what are these 3 feeble repetitions of mine in comparison with [other] books which speak of holy men?—Yet thy desire was not diminished, nor thy ardour quenched, for by the intercession of others with thy praiseworthy self,4 thou didst specially [p. 16] and promptly come 3 to the monastery in which I lived, together with the sage and philosopher, the wise, and enlightened, and excellent Rabban Paul, [who] very willingly 6 joined with thee on his own behalf in this exhortation. Thou hast softened the clay of my understanding with the gentle water of thy persuasion, and therefore since I attribute all this thy earnestness to the Divine Will I accept thy love's command with all willingness. And behold, by the help of our Lord, I will make ready to satisfy this thy desire with all the joyful care of which thy honour is worthy, and I will expand my speech to praise and glorify the ascetics and holy men 1

Read

2

for

i W e should read here ¿¡Sais -.^Sm

juoo.

4

Reading, with Vat. ^ « - Y - . .

5

Literally " y e did come". A s s e m a n i has

sed intercessores

quaesivisti, tuque ipse vir laudatissime unacum illus ad monasterium, ubi degebam, utrique comparati meditatique venistis, m a x i m e vero doctissimus

Paulus.

6

s^jio¿so, a rare word.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER II.

THE PROLOGUE.

19

who have lived in thy holy Monastery of Bêth'Âbhê; for to write down the things concerning them thou hast persuaded 1 me enough. And although I shall turn aside from [the writings] of others, yet wherever it is necessary, I shall add the record and narrative of others, in order to piece together and to harmonize the histories,—which in this respect require methodical arrangement, and consecutiveness2 of completing portions,—and also such repetitions as shew forth the style and manner of the lives of the holy men concerning whom thy holiness hath persuaded me to speak. Pray then, with love, and readiness of mind, and good will, and charity, that our Lord, in His grace, may grant a completion to the praise of His Godhead!

CHAPTER II. TIIE CAUSE OF THE HISTORIES.

When I directed 3 my thoughts to travel along the difficult path of the strict way of life of holy men, and to bring to light the things concerning them with my mouth, and my tongue, [p. 17] and my right hand, by the hand of Christ, and by my beloved brethren, and also by His living word which saith, "All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive",4 and, "All things are possible to him that believeth",5 I was commanded to make Christ my leader and director. 1

for uJ&AfcdI. ^Noioai is glossed in A by 3 ft^aNfor N^iiv. 5 Sit. Mark ix. 23. 2

4

2ba£> 'consecutive order*. St. Matthew xxi. 22.

20

THOMAS OF MARGA, TIIE BOOK OF GOVERNORS.

A n d since His treasury is open to faith, "Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, ancl it shall be opened unto you," 1 I will become a stranger unto all doubt, and I will believe that His graciousness will not repulse me, and that He will not shut the door of His gift in my face, and that H e will shew forth in my ignorance a free and full gift beyond my m e r i t 2 — even 3 as in times past His all-sufficient power made manifest speech in the she-ass of the soothsayer, 4 out of the course of her nature, 5 —and that through me H e will display the glory of His saints, in the one case by His working, in the other by the praise of His majesty, for the glorification of excellent men is the glorification of God W h o made them victorious. For without Him they are nothing, and are even like unto the tools 6 of a craft without the craftsman, and without Him they are incapable 7 of anything, and are like unto the clay which 8 can neither contend with him that mouldeth it, nor can of its own self choose 9 that it may be fashioned according to its own will. 2 St. Matthew vii. 7. for «muos. •3 Hoffmann prefers the reading o^ikii,?. i /. e., Balaam, ¡oila, (Numbers xxii. 28), the son of Beor, who is describèd as a "Priest of idols" ¿ïaNâi ;&ooa from Harran in Mesopotamia. See Duval, Lex. Syr. anctore Bar Bahlulc, col. 401, and Payne Smith, Thesaurus, col. 540. Zoroaster was called the "second Balaam" because he prophesied concerning the stars; see Budge, Book of the Bee, p. 82. s Literally 'above her nature'. 6 We must read striking out B reads, "the 1

instruments of the craft of the craftsman". 7 001 - ^eofeji.2 oSs. 9

¿ai^o for ¿ai^o.

8

Read

Hoffmann prefers the reading

BOOK I.

CHAPTER

II.

TIIE

PROLOGUE.

21

Now, I am commanded1 by the holy brethren of the holy Monastery of Beth 'Abhe, 2 in which I have ministered for many years, that of the written and unwritten histories, and excellent stories of the holy men who have lived therein, and have been victorious, I should spin a thread of the stories concerning them, formed of the matters omitted by the compilers of written and unwritten histories, and of a small selection of stories which I have heard from approved and venerable men, with whom I have become acquainted there, and that I should set forth in writing, with much brevity, such accounts as I should find scattered here and [p. iS] there in the narratives of others, and in the ecclesiastical histories of ancient authors. And since in the stories which are my own I do not repeat untrue things, I shew forth the trustworthiness' of theirs. And behold I will go into the gardens of 1 An extract from this chapter (p. 17. I. 15—p. 16 1. 2) has been printed with a Latin translation in B. 0., iii. 1. 466. col. 2. 2 The famous Monastery of Beth 'Abhe was situated near the town of Beth 'Abhe (probably the Bithaba of Ptolemy vi. 1) under Mount Niphates, (B. O., ii, p. 420, note 2) to the south of ITerpa in Saphsapha, on a mountain, not far from the right bank of the Great Zab; it was founded by Bar-Hadh-be-shabba, and was afterwards greatly enlarged and became famous under Jacob of Beth c Abhe (Z>\ 0., iii. 2, pp. 730 and 876). It was one of the monasteries exempted from the jurisdiction of the bishop by Isho-yahbh of Gcdhala as»» ¡aj^oida acj* ¿»ox*

U b (B. 0-, ii, p. 420 note 2) or ^ U b (Hoffmann, Ausziige, p. 226, note 1798). Beth 'Abhe means "the house in the forest"; in I Kings vii. 2 and Isaiah xxii. 8 it is the rendering of 1}T JT3 and "ly'nVP?. 5 Read ¿^'¿i.

22

THOMAS OF MARGA, THE BOOK OF

GOVERNORS.

their victorious deeds as into a field, and, as it were, I will glean and gather up together the choice and well-filled ears of corn, and I will pile up into one sheaf the heap of their bundles, that from thence they may go into the threshing-floors of hearing, and be ground in the mill of discernment, and be kneaded in the kneading-trough of belief, and be baked in the oven of love, and laid as a glorious offering upon the altar of the mind1 of the Holy of Holies. For it is said, "The mincl which journeyeth to and fro in its state of nature is able to perceive, and to see, and to believe the glorious things of glorious men, and the accounts of the contests of mighty warriors, at the same time adding to its knowledge belief", even as spake he that saith, "and to belief also, confidence; and to confidence, excellence; and to excellence, righteousness; and to righteousness also, holiness; and to holiness also, constancy; and to constancy, hope; and to hope, stability; and to stability, strength; and to strength, love;2 which is the crown of the completion of the excellent things, in which standeth our profession, and upon which is laid the foundation of our doctrine." And all things which have been, and which are, and which shall be, inasmuch a we have not been spectators 3 of them, we 1 2

Read jioo??

"In the law is bound up faith, and in faith is true love established". Wright, Aphraatcs, p. ^ 11. 12. 13. "A man should first build his building upon the rock, which is Christ, on the rock faith should be laid, and upon faith should the whole building rise up." Wright, Aphraates, p. 11. 15, 16. * "To speak briefly, every thing is of the Spirit, and the whole world of spiritual things is seen and perceived by faith. For if we do not take faith in our souls, we shall be

BOOK I.

CHAPTER

II.

TIIE PROLOGUE.

23

must accept the saying concerning them in faith, for without it no single one of the things which are related, without seeing could we accept. Now those who only in a small degree have themselves laboured in the virtues of holy men, and have participated in the smallest degree in the great joy which is bestowed upon prosperous toilers in the ascetic life and upon discreet penitents, [p. 19] possess from within a firm conviction concerning these things which is not an external matter produced by misery and rumour, inasmuch as experience has taught them that these things which are stated are true. Let the reader, then, perceive clearly, and let the listener understand, that the things concerning holy men which my narrative recounts are not vain imaginations of my own, for I have collected the materials for them from the things which have been said concerning them in the living speech, and from the written statements which I have found concerning them in the histories and traditions of others. And I shall finish the contest which I have undertaken at the wish of my brethren, and shall add according to the inclination of my opinión, those things which are accepted by discreet

a b l e t o understand

nothing that is not visible, while for the

things which are visible faith is u n n e c e s s a r y , the e y e seeth t h e m . "

-pxaA^i

for t h e sight of

v i s a r d i rtfftvnt&iQo.i v ^ K t o

r & ^ J u s a (&\sq 1

.GOT

Philoxenus

A d d . 12,163, fol. I2er, col. 1).

ri'AxcU-Sa.ora

iai

c&>ai.i ^iwr^

^Ui^-i*)!

on F a i t h (Brit. Mus.

MS.

24

THOMAS OF MARGA, TIIE BOOK OF GOVERNORS.

and prudent men, provided that they are not prejudicial to the truth in any particular, not the wonderful signs and miracles, and mighty deeds which these holy men have wrought, but to speak as [each] occasion shall require, and to add a word concerning each, one after another, on the things which have been wrought by them, 1 and to arrange all these things, one after another, in one consecutive order, a matter which belongeth to the care of writers, and which the order of historical works requireth. I shall2 not confound story with story, or history with history, in such a manner that the mind of the reader will become confused by the mixture of matters, but I shall, with much brevity, set down each narrative by, and to itself, that from 3 here universal history may arise,4 and I shall add story after story, in the form of chapters [each having] a distinct number. I shall begin my history with Mar Abraham the Great, the father of the fathers of the holy men whom I have made ready my words to praise, as the cause of the effects and as the origin of the orders of ascetics which have sprung up after him, even as the blessed Abraham is considered to be the father of all nations,5 and Israel the father of the Israelites, 6 and Aaron the father of the priests.7 And I ask our Lord, through the prayers of Mar Abraham and of the children of his holiness, [p. 20] and I beg ' W e should read, with B C 2

Lines 1 3 — 2 2 (text, p. 19) have been printed with a Latin

translation b y Assemani, B . O., iii. 1, p. 466. col. 2. 3

R e a d ¿»o; £>.

4

Assemani 'ut inde historiam uniyersalem habeas'.

5

Genesis xvii. 5.

7

E x o d u s xxviii.

0

1.

Genesis xlvi. 8.

BOOK I.

CHAPTER III.

TIIE INTRODUCTION.

and entreat Him to give me of His spirit, even as [He gave] of the spirit of Moses to the elders of Israel,1 that I may hear and relate glorious things of Him; that I may speak of the glorious things of Him in His saints; that the hearing of the listeners may be sanctified by the speech of my mouth; that His holy name may be glorified by my polluted tongue; and that by author and scribe, reader and listener, confessor and believer, may be woven the rope of glorious things for His holy name for ever and ever.

CHAPTER

III.

THE INTRODUCTION TO THE HISTORY.

In the everlasting knowledge of the wise Creator, the elect are set apart, and the predestined are written down for the kingdom of heaven. And the types of the Divine2 government which were written by the hand of Mbses, testify that they indicated aforetime the things which should happen and should be given at the end, for the confirmation of the fore-knowledge of the election of holiness3. For every matter of Christ our Lord was plainly brought about thereby, and inasmuch as it was given from heaven, it was inscribed on a rock in the face of heaven, for there, on mount Sinai, being overshadowed by a cloud for forty days, Moses wrote down the histories of the worlds which had been, and the commandments which had been given 1

Numbers xi. 17, 2 5 — 2 9 .

3 Hoffmann would read ¿¿.aó?

2

Hoffmann would read "prophecy of the holy

man (Moses)". d

26

THOMAS OF MARGÀ, THE BOOK OF

GOVERNORS.

to the seed of Abraham.1 And there, by the glory with which his face was clothed,2 was it indicated that virginity and holiness3 should spread abroad in later times and be exalted. And that thou mayest know that such is the case, follow after the footsteps of the life and conversation of Christ, and thou shalt find that He expounded [p. 21] and taught "this plainly to His Apostles in taking them up to Mount Tabhor (Tabor), where He was changed to glory (i.