Bar Hebraeus, Chronicon Ecclesiasticum – English translation published

David Wilmshurst writes to tell me that a really important book has finally come out – the first English translation of Bar Hebraeus, Chronicon Ecclesiasticum, is now available from Gorgias Press as The Ecclesiastical Chronicle, ISBN 978-1-4632-0535-5.  It’s a mighty 590 pages long, but sadly it costs $140 although various discounts are readily available.

Bar Hebraeus Front Cover-wilmshurt-2016The work consists of a history of the Syriac world, given as a series of short biographies of people and their works, down to his own time, the 13th century, when the Mongol invasions means that the Syriac world ceased to exist as a literary culture.  What Bar Hebraeus tells us about many of those figures is all that we know, in many cases.  Consequently any work on Syriac of any sort will tend to quote or reference it.

Yet it has never existed in English.  In fact I see that on the About page for this blog, a translation of it is mentioned as something that I would like to see.  So well done David for doing it!

Anybody with any interest in Syriac studies will want a copy.  There is a 40 page introduction, and then the work itself in two sections, as Bar Hebraeus gave it – first all the west Syriac writers, including himself (!); and then the east Syriac writers of the Church of the East.

Well done, Dr. W.  It is a mighty service to have this important work accessible.  I hope that Gorgias make a nice amount on money on it.

4 thoughts on “Bar Hebraeus, Chronicon Ecclesiasticum – English translation published

  1. Thanks for posting this information.
    Is this the same text as:

    Budge, E.A.W. (1932). (Trans.) The Chronography of Gregory Abu’l Faraj, The Son of Aaron, The Hebrew Physician Commonly Known as Bar Hebraeus Being the First Part of His Political History of the World. London: Oxford University Press.

    or is it a different work?

    This Budge book is another book that is for all intents an purposes unobtainable except either by those with a huge discretionary book budget, or those have been anointed by academia and have access to a university’s closed stack collection.

  2. Different work! The Budge is the Chronicon Syriacum. But … isn’t the Budge online? You can download a PDF? Google the title – I think it’s at Archive.org, and probably at BYU. Because as you say, it’s otherwise unobtainable.

  3. archive.org has the Chronicon Ecclesiatical (in 3 vols,translated in 1872 by Thomas J. Lamy). Of the Chronography (translated by Ernest A. Wallis Budge, 1932) you can find an old German translation too :”Des Gregiorus Abulfaradsch kurze Gescichte der Dynastien” von Georg Lorenz Bauer, digitized by the BSB Munich (2 vols.) His Grammar (“Buch der Strahlen”) is exstanding in the bsb too.
    Best wishes Dr. Jürgen Schmidt

  4. Thank you! Funny – I can’t find a PDF of the Chronography. Must be around tho.

    The “Book of the dynasties” is a different work. Bar Hebraeus did the Chronicum Syriacum / Chronography in Syriac. But he prepared a version of the same text in Arabic, which is different in various ways, and this Arabic text was published with Latin translation as the “Book of the dynasties”.

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