Arabic Christian literature is little known. There is no English-language handbook, and even the “big histories”, the works in which Arabic-speaking Christians recount their own history, are mostly not translated into English; or, indeed, sometimes even edited.
Eutychius – also known as Sa`īd al-Bitrik -, Melkite Patriarch of Alexandria between 877-940 AD, wrote one of the five histories; and indeed was one of the first Christians to adopt Arabic, the language of the conquerors. This is commonly known by its 17th c. Latin title, the Annals. A partial German translation exists – of value to that tiny part of the world who speak German – and a full Italian translation by Bartolomeo Pirone. The latter was published in Cairo in 1987 by the Franciscan Centre, thereby ensuring that few copies were distributed. My own copy came over the internet from the Franciscan bookshop in Jerusalem and is, to the best of my knowledge, the only copy in England.
I thought that it might be useful to give the table of contents here. Note what was known in the 10th century, as passed down by (mainly ecclesiastical) writers.
Note that Pirone has decided to give proper names as transliterated from the Arabic, except in exceptional cases, so I have done likewise.
Part I – From the Creation to Heraclius
Cap. I. The Creation of Adam and Eve – Cain, Abel and their sisters – The descendants of Shīt and those of Cain – Noah, his descendants, and the Flood – Noah leaves the Ark – The calling of Malshīsādāq – The commencement of the spread of the cult of images – The confusion of tongues in Bābil and the division of territories among the peoples of the earth – The origin of magic – Abraham came out from Harran and went to live in Kan’ān – More on Malshīsādāq – Ishmael and Isaac – Jacob and his sons – Joseph in Egypt (p.33)
Ch. II. The Israelites become slaves of the Egyptians – The killing of every newborn Jew – Moses is forced to leave Egypt and goes to Midian – Pharaoh allows the children of Israel to leave – Moses on Mount Sinai – Death of Moses, Aaron and Maryam – Joshua becomes leader of the people – Joshua’s battles and alliances with nations and cities – Partition of the conquered territories among the children of Israel (p.63)
Chap. III. Israel gives itself to the worship of idols – Judges appear – The prophetess Deborah – Judge Gideon – Abimelech rules the nation three years – Israel returns to the worship of the idols Baalim, Ashtarot and Bael – Yefte, judge of Israel – Samson frees the people from the slavery of foreign tribes – Samson gives himself to Delilah, is taken, blinded, killed. (p.73)
Chap. IV The priest Ali governs the people – The Prophet Samuel in the Temple in Shīlūn – The Ark and the misadventures of foreign tribes – Samuel governs the people of Israel – The people demand a king – Saul is made king over the children of Israel – Samuel anoints the young David King – David fights, by order of Saul, against foreign tribes – Death of Saul and his sons Gloriata, Abbiadati and Malhīsh (p.83)
Chap. V David, king of Israel, faces various types of opposition and civil unrest – The ark in the house of Abinadab – David wars against the enemies of Israel – Solomon succeeds David – Hiram, king of Tyre, and the origin of purple – Measurements of the Temple built by Solomon – Two women ask for the judgment of Solomon – the Queen of Sheba in Jerusalem – Kingdom of Jeroboam and Rehoboam – the kings of Judah and Israel – Akhab and the prophet Elijah – Akhab and Yosafat. (p.91)
Chap. VI King Ocozia and the prophet Elijah – Reign of Yoram, son of Akhab – Yoram fights against the king of Damascus – Prophecies of Elisha – Ocozia and his mother Athaliah reigned over Judah – Elisha sent to anoint king Yehu – Yehu becomes King of Israel – Yoash reigns over Judah – Akhaz returns to worship of idols – Yoash king of Israel – was followed by the kings of Judah: Amaziah, Azariah, Yotam, Akhaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amori, Josiah, Yoakhaz, Yoakim, Yahunakim – Sennacherib invades Judah – the pharaoh Necho fights against the king of Mosul (p.111)
Chap. VII Nebuchadnezzar and the three young men in the furnace – Daniel interprets and explains the king’s dream – Prophets in Babylon – Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of Egypt, then he dies – Reign of his successors – Daniel explains to King Belshazzar the meaning of the three words on the wall – the reign of Darius and the appearance of the Persians – Daniel and the idols of Babil – Daniel in the den – Sequence of Persian kings – Ezra rebuilds the Temple – War between Darius and Alexander the Great: exchange of Letters – Death of Darius and campaigns of Alexander – Death of Alexander and panegyrics of the sages of the time, before the body of the hero, humbled by death – Dismemberment of the empire: the Ptolemies – Simeon the Just receives the grace of seeing the Messiah (p.127)
Chap. VIII Caesar and Augustus rule Rome – Death of Cleopatra – Herod terrorizes Jerusalem and the region – Augustus orders a census in the territories of the Empire – The Birth of Christ – The Magi looking for Jesus – Jesus is baptized by John – Death of John and death of Christ – Joseph of Arimathea places the body in a tomb – the Resurrection and Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ (p.147)
Chap. IX Reign of Tiberius and Herod Agrippa – Arcadius first Patriarch of Antioch – Death of Agrippa – The apostle Mark in Alexandria: founding of the Patriarchate of Alexandria – Nero, the persecutor of Christians – Luke writes the Gospel and the Acts – The Crucifixion of Peter head down – Vespasian, Titus and the destruction of Jerusalem – in Rome Titus, Domitian, Nerva, Trajan, and Hadrian succeed one another – Hadrian destroys Jerusalem and builds a new city called Aelia – Successions of popes, patriarchs and emperors – question of the calculation of Easter, when it should be celebrated (p.157)
Chap. X Under the rule of Ardashir the Persians reappear – In Rome Pertinax, Julian, Severus follow one another: new persecutions against Christians – Sequence of kings of Persia: rule of Sapor – Maximinus Caesar persecutes the Christians – The persecution of Decius – Legend of the Seven Sleepers – Sequence of Persian kings and Roman emperors (p.173)
Chap. XI Reign and persecution of Diocletian – Arian heresy arises – Phenomenon of the Tetrarchy – persecution suffered by Christians at the hands of Maximian and Galen – Constantine becomes emperor and took over the command of his father Constantius – Galerius contracts a nasty disease – Sapor secretly visits the Roman lands – Constantine‘s vision of the Cross – the Martyrs of Sebastia – Schism caused in the church by Arius and Meletius – the Council of 318 – Helena in the Holy Land: the discovery of the Cross – Constantine gives instructions to rebuild the churches of Jerusalem – Synod of Tyre and consecration of the church of Jerusalem – Constantine persecutes the Jews (p.187)
Chap. XII Murder of Constantine – Apparition of the Cross on the Mount of Olives – Cyril of Jerusalem interprets the meaning – Dissemination of the doctrine of Arius – Heresy of Macedonius – Reign of Julian the Apostate: persecution of Christians and attempt to re-establish the worship of gods – the monastic movement in Egypt and Palestine – Reigns of Valentinian and Valens – Cycle of Theophilus and Theodosius (p.209)
Chap. XIII Reign of Theodosius the Great – Still more Arianism – Council of 150 on the teaching of Macedonius, Apollinaris and of Sabellius – Of the Manichaeans: their habits and customs – Theophilus, former friend of Theodosius, became patriarch of Alexandria – Arsenius, tutor of Arcadius and Honorius, emperors, one of the East , the other in the West – Still more on Arsenius – Disagreement between John Chrysostom and Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria – The Queen Eudoxia – Epiphanius and John Chrysostom – Third ecumenical Council – Nestorius and his heresy (p.223)
Chap. XIV Refutation of Nestorius and Nestorianism by Sa`id ibn Batrīq – Against Nestorius, Eutyches, Dioscorus, Severus, Jacob Baradaeus and their followers – On the various types of union – The person, two natures, two wills of Christ (p.239)
Chap. XV End of Yazdagard and reign of Bahram Gor – Heresy of Eutyches – The Synod of 8 November 448 against Eutyches – The robber-synod of Ephesus: August 449 – Eudoxia, wife of Theodosius – Marcian reigns in Constantinople – the Council of Chalcedon in 451 against the heretic Eutyches and Dioscorus – Repercussions within the realm (p.259)
Chap. XVI Reign of Firuz over the Persians – The coming to the throne of Leo the Great – Rioting in Alexandria: the murder of the patriarch Proterius – Basilicus usurps the throne – Succession of Patriarchs in the various locations – The figure of Patriarch Elias I – Firuz at war with the king of Hephthalites – Death of Firuz and the kingdom of Qabād – Anastasius, king of the Byzantines, abandons the doctrine of the Melkites and embraces that of the Jacobites – Opposition of the monks of Laurium, supported by Elias and guided by their superiors Theodosius, Chariton, Saba – the heresy of Severus and the support given to it by the king Anastasius – the monks of Palestine against the king – Eutychius refutes the doctrine of the Jacobites – A famine at Jerusalem – Justin becomes emperor of Constantinople (p.269)
Chap. XVII Justinian vanquishes the Jacobite heresy using Apollinaris and monitors the Samaritans of Nablus. – St. Saba at the court of Constantinople – Construction of the Basilica of the Nativity of the monastery of Sinai, and the houses for the keepers of the monastery – The heresy of Origen and the synod of Constantinople II on May 5 553 – Mazdak preaches in Persia and implements the equal distribution of property – The coming to the throne of Anūshirwān – Anastasius, Patriarch of Antioch – Doctrine of Maron – The robber of the city of Ifrīqiyah – War between the Persians and Khaqan – Kisra Abarwīz, king of Persia – Kisra marries the daughter of Maurice and becomes a Christian – Phocas Emperor of Constantinople – the Persians invade Palestine and Egypt – John the Almoner – The Jews of Tyre plot to annihilate the Christians – Heraclius becomes Emperor of Constantinople (p.291)
Part II – From Heraclius to ar-Rādī (p.317)
Cap. XVIII Heraclius break the siege of Constantinople, Heraclius and kisra – Heraclius to Jerusalem – Heraclius and Maronites – Death of Muhammad – the Caliphate of Abū Bakr — Caliphate of ‘Umar — Caliphate of ‘Uthman — Caliphate of ‘Alī— Caliphate of Mu‘āwiya — Caliphate of Yazīd b. Mu‘āwiya — Caliphate of Marwān b. al-Hakam — Caliphate of ‘Abd al’Malik b. Marwān — Caliphate of al-Walīd b. ‘Abd al-Malik — Caliphate of Sulaymān b. ‘Abdal-Malik — Caliphate of ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Azīz — Caliphate of Yazīd b. ‘Abd al-Malik — Caliphate of Hishām b. ‘Abd al-Malik — Caliphate of al-Walīd b. Yazīd — Caliphate of Yazīd b. al-Walīd — Caliphate of Marwān b. Muhammad al-Gā‘dī (p.319)
Cap. XIX The Abbasid Caliphs. Caliphate of Abū l-Abbās as-Saffāh — Caliphate of Ga‘far al-Mansūr — Caliphate of al-Mahdī — Caliphate of Mūsa al-Hādī — Caliphate of Hārūn ar-Rashīd — Caliphate of Muhammad al-Amīn —Caliphate of al-Ma’mūn — Caliphate of al-Mu‘tasim — Caliphate of al-Wāthiq — Caliphate of al-Mutawakkil — Caliphate of al-Muntasir bi’llāh — Caliphate of al-Musta‘īn — Caliphate of al-Mu‘tazz — Caliphate of al-Muhtadī — Caliphate of al-Mu‘tamid e nascita di Sa‘īd Ibn Batrīq — Caliphate of al-Mu‘tadid — Caliphate of al-Muktafī — Caliphate of al-Muqtadir — Caliphate of al-Qāhir: Sa‘īd Ibn Batrīq is made Patriarch of Alexandria — Caliphate of ar-Rādī (p.391)
It might be interesting to translate some of this material.