Letters of James of Edessa

When I was looking last week at the letter on the genealogy of the Virgin Mary, by the 7th century Syriac scholar-bishop James of Edessa, I noticed that the Revue de l’orient chretien contained texts and translations of several other letters by James.  The list of contents here indicates that Nau edited several:

The last but one item caught my eye.  I know that the first three are all from a single 10th century manuscript in the British Library, ms. Additional 12172.  But if Nau is assigning numbers like “letter 12” and “letter 13”, then we must ask whether there are unpublished letters in the collection, in the same manuscript.  For that lot only makes ten letters in total.

Hunting around I find that those two were published but not translated earlier:

  • W. Wright (ed.), Two Epistles of Mar Jacob, Bishop of Edessa (lettres 12 et 13), texte syriaque, Journal of Sacred Literature and Biblical Record, janv. 1867.

There is also another letter for which I hunted in vain many years ago:

  • G. Phillips (éd.), A Letter by Mar Jacob, Bishop of Edessa, on Syriac Orthography, texte syriaque et traduction anglaise, Williams and Norgate, Londres, 1867.  Online here.

I wonder what a look at Wright’s catalogue would show?

UPDATE: Well, you have to download all three volumes.  At the back of vol. 3 is a cross-reference index of manuscript numbers and entries.  12172 is ‘dccvii’, (p.1223 of the PDF of vol. 3) which is in vol. 2, pdf page 592.  And … there are more letters of James of Edessa there.



4 thoughts on “Letters of James of Edessa

  1. I need to do a commentary on one of Jacob of Edessa’s texts. I need an english translation of one of his famous texts and I am not finding any. Can you help me locate an online translation so that I can do my commentary on it?
    It shouldn’t be long.
    thank you,
    Rana Harbi from lebanon

  2. Most of James does not exist in English, I am sorry to say. So I think you will have to translate it first yourself. You could enquire in the Yahoo groups HUGOYE list, where the Syriacists hang out?

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