Titus of Bostra, “Contra Manichaeos”

Titus of Bostra wrote a long work in 4 books against the Manichaeans.  Large parts of the Greek exist, but a complete Syriac version was found in British Library Ms. 12150, brought from Deir al-Suryani (St. Mary Deipara) in the Nitrian desert in Egypt by Archdeacon Henry Tattam in 1842.  This manuscript was written in 411 AD, and also contains various works otherwise lost by Eusebius of Caesarea.

By chance while searching on Google Books, I came across a study of Titus’ work.  I learned from this that an unpublished French translation of books 1 and 2 existed (I have written to the translator and asked for a copy) and a century-old unpublished German translation of book 4 and part of book 3.  I wish that the work were online in English, or at least an English version of the existing translations. 

Returning to the Nitrian desert finds, I also stumbled across a statement that after these were brought to the UK, the Assistant Keeper of Manuscripts, William Cureton, reserved all the most interesting finds for himself (!).  This forced scholars to work on other parts of the vast collection of texts, with good results.  It is depressing to think that those who control the national collection, now as then, treat it as if it exists mainly for the benefit of its staff and not the nation; special rates for reproductions, refusal of any photography except by themselves, limited access, etc.  Nor is the BL alone in this, I would guess.

7 thoughts on “Titus of Bostra, “Contra Manichaeos””

  1. Dear M Pearse,

    Have you got an answer concerning these two unpublished translations ? If so, I am interested. Could you please keep me informed ? Thank you

    With my best greetings,

    J.-L. Simonet

  2. Dear M. Pearse,

    I am currently working on a french translation of the greek text, working with P.H.Poirer (who is also translating the syriac version of the same text) et Th. Schmidt. This edition and translation will be published in 2013 (or end of 2012) in the Corpus Christianorum collection (Brepols).


    Agathe Roman.

  3. I am very pleased to announce the publication of the first critical edition of the Greek and Syriac versions of the Against the Manichaeans of Titus of Bostra, along with the excerpts from the Sacra Parallela of John of Damas:
    ROMAN, A., POIRIER, P.-H., CRÉGHEUR, É., DECLERCK, J., Titi Bostrensis Contra Manichaeos libri IV, (Corpus Christianorum, Series Graeca, 82), Turnhout, Brepols Publishers, 2013.
    A synoptic translation of both versions will follow in 2014 in the series “Corpus Christianorum in Translation”

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