Abu’l Barakat’s catalogue of patristic books is underway!

This evening I received the first chunk of the English translation that I commissioned of the 13th century list of Christian books by the Arabic Christian writer Abu’l Barakat.  It’s all Greek fathers so far, starting with Clement of Rome and winding down to Cyril of Alexandria. 

The lists are fascinating, and cry out for cross-referencing against Quasten’s Patrology and Graf’s Geschichte der christlichen arabischen Literatur, which I think we will do.  This will help everyone work out what exists in Arabic and so is potentially worth investigating for the tradition of the text.

Wonderful news!

Ibn al-Tayyib, Commentary on the whole bible

I’ve had an email this morning asking me if I know of an English translation of a commentary on the four gospels by “ibn al-Tayyib”.  My first reaction is the same as yours — “who?”!

A look in Georg Graf’s Geschichte der christlichen arabischen Literatur vol. 2, p. 160f reveals a Nestorian writer of that name.  Graf gives his name as `Abdullah ibn a-t-Taiyib, but I suspect it is the same man.  He lived and worked in Baghdad in the 11th century, as a physician, monk and priest.  In his day, he was an important man, known to the ruler of the city.  He wrote an introduction to Porphyry’s Isagogue, and did stuff with the works of Hippocrates and Galen.  He died in October 1043, and was buried in the church of Darta.  Sic transit gloria mundi – a great man, whose life is now just a few lines in an obscure handbook.

But he also wrote a commentary on the entire bible.  Graf describes this as the most extensive commentary on scripture in Arabic Christian literature.  It is extant in two manuscripts, Vatican arab. 37 (1291 AD) and Vatican arab. 36 (13/14th century).  A few more manuscripts contain parts of the work.  Graf lists no editions and no translations into any language of this monster text.

Graf wrote 50 years ago, so it is possible that work has been done since.  I’ve posted a note in the NASCAS forum asking if anyone knows of any.  It’s nice to peer into some neglected corners of scholarship like this. 

And I must remember to ask my correspondant how he knows of such a person and his work, and why he wants to know!

UPDATE: Sergey Minov writes to tell us that we’re probably out of luck.  It’s unpublished and untranslated.  But apparently it’s really interesting!

As far as I know no original texts or translations of al-Tayyib’s exegetical works has been published so far. It is a real pity, because, for example, it would contribute to our knowledge of Antiochene exegetical tradition. Thus, there are numerous (?) extracts from Theodore of Mopsuestia and its other representatives in his commentaries.

Here is what I’ve got on modern research on him:

  • Baarda, T., To the Roots of the Syriac Diatessaron Tradition (TA 25:1-3), Novum Testamentum 26 (1986), 1-25.
  • Cacouros, M., La division des biens dans le compendium d’étique par Abû Qurra et Ibn al-Tayyib et ses rapports avec la Grande Morale et le Florilège de Stobée, in: A. Hasnawi, A. Elamrani-Jamal and M. Aouad (eds.), Perspectives arabes et médiévales sur la tradition scientifique et philosophique grecque. Actes du colloque de la SIHSPAI (Société international d’histoire des sciences et de la philosophie arabes et islamiques), Paris, 31 mars – 3 avril 1993 (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 79; Leuven: Peeters / Institut du Monde Arabe: Paris, 1997), 289-314.
  • Caspar, R., Charfi, A., De Epalza, M., Khoury, A.T., Khoury, P., and Samir, S.K., Bibliographie du dialogue islamo-chrétien, Islamochristiana 1 (1975), 125-181; 2 (1976), 187-249; 3 (1977), 257-286.
  • Chahwan, A., Le commentaire de Psaumes 33-60 d’Ibn at-Tayib reflet de l’exegese syriaque orientale (Th.D. dissertation; Pontificia Università Gregoriana, 1997).
  • Faultless, J., The Two Recensions of the Prologue to John in Ibn al-Tayyib’s Commentary on the Gospels, in: D.R. Thomas (ed.), Christians at the Heart of Islamic Rule: Church Life and Scholarship in ‘Abbasid Iraq (The History of Christian-Muslim Relations 1; Leiden / Boston: Brill, 2003), 177-198.
  • Féghali, P., Ibn At-Tayib et son commentaire sur la Genèse, Parole de l’Orient 16 (1990-91), 149-162.
  • Hill, J.H. (tr.), The Earliest Life of Christ Ever Compiled from the Four Gospels, Being the Diatessaron of Tatian (circ. A.D. 160) Literally Translated from the Arabic Version and containing the Four Gospels woven into One Story (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1903).
  • Hoenerbach, W., and Spies, O. (eds.), Ibn at-Taiyib. Fiqh an-Nasrânîya, Das Recht der Christenheit. 4 vols (CSCO 161-162, 167-168, Arab. 16-19; Louvain: L. Durbecq, 1956-1957).
  • Kaufhold, H., Die Rechtssammlung des Gabriel von Basra und ihr Verhältnis zu den anderen juristischen Sammelwerken der Nestorianer (Münchener Universitätsschriften – Juristische Fakultät, Abhandlungen zur rechtswissenschaftlichen Grundlagenforschung 21; Berlin: J. Schweitzer, 1976).
  • Köbert, R., Ibn at-Taiyib’s Erklärung von Psalm 44, Biblica 43 (1962), 338-348.
  • Langermann, Y.T., Abu al-Faraj ibn al-Tayyib on Spirit and Soul, Le Muséon 122:1-2 (2009), 149-158.
  • Macomber, W.F., Newly Discovered Fragments of the Gospel Commentaries of Theodore of Mopsuestia, Le Muséon 81 (1968), 441-447.
  • Rosenthal, F., The Symbolism of the Tabula Cebetis according to Abû l-Faraj Ibn at-Tayyib, in: Recherches d’islamologie. Recueil d’articles offert à Georges C. Anawati et Louis Gardet par leurs collègues et amis (Bibliothèque philosophique de Louvain 26; Louvain: Peeters, 1977), 273-283.
  • Samir, S.K., Nécessité de la science: texte de ‘Abdallâh Ibn at-Tayyib (m. 1043), Parole de l’Orient 3 (1972), 241-259.
  • ———. Nécessité de l’exégèse scientifique. Texte de ‘Abdallâh Ibn at-Tayyib, Parole de l’Orient 5 (1974), 243-279.
  • ———. Le repentir et la pénitence chez ‘Abdallâh Ibn at-Tayyib (début du XIe siècle), in: Péché et Réconciliation hier et aujoud’hui (Patrimoine Syriaque, Actes du Colloque IV; Antélias, Liban: Centre d’Études et de Recherches Orientales, 1997), 176-204.
  • ———. Rôle des chrétiens dans la nahda abbasside en Irak et en Syrie (750-1050), Mélanges de l’Université Saint-Joseph 58 (2005), 541-572.
  • ———. La place d’Ibn-at-Tayyib dans la pensée arabe, Journal of Eastern Christian Studies 58:3-4 (2006), 177-193.
  • Sepmeijer, F., Ibn al-Tayyib’s Commentary on Matthew 1-9:32-34, Parole de l’Orient 25 (2000), 557-564.
  • Stern, S.M., Ibn al-Tayyib’s Commentary on the Isagoge, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 19:3 (1957), 419-425.
  • Troupeau, G., Le Traité sur l’Unité et la Trinité de ‘Abd Allah Ibn al-Tayyib, Parole de l’Orient 2 (1971), 71-89.
  • ———. Le rôle des syriaques dans la transmission et l’exploitation du patrimoine philosophique et scientifique grec, Arabica 38:1 (1991), 1-10.
  • Zonta, M., Ibn al-Tayyib Zoologist and Hunayn ibn Ishaq’s Revision of Aristotle’s De Animalibus – New Evidence from the Hebrew Tradition, ARAM 3 (1991 [1993]), 235-247.

There was one final bibliographic item which wasn’t in Roman letters and wouldn’t paste!

UPDATE 2: I’ve written back to my correspondant, telling him this and suggesting he commission a translation and transcription.  At 10c per word of Arabic, it would probably only cost $2-3,000.  That’s nothing for an institution.  I’ve also suggested that, if he does, he put it online as public domain!

If only I had more money!  There is so much I could do.  In the mean time I rely on sales of my CD to help fund it all.

UPDATE 3: I was looking at that bibliography above, and noticed the reference to Hamlyn Hill’s 1903 translation of the Diatessaron from Arabic.   This has to be online, so I went and looked at it.  It turns out that ibn al-Tayyib translated the Diatessaron into Arabic!  His name appears in the colophon:

THE Gospel is concluded, which Tatian compiled out of the four Gospels of the four holy apostles the blessed evangelists, on whom be peace, and which he named Diatessaron, that is, That which is composed of four. The excellent and learned presbyter, Abu-l-Faraj Abdullah Ibn-at-Tayyib, with whom may God be pleased, translated it from Syriac into Arabic, from a copy written by the hand of Gubasi ibn Alt Al-mutayyib, a disciple of Hunain ibn Ishak, on both of whom may God have mercy. Amen.

Hill adds:

Akerblad pointed out that MS. XIV. was evidently a translation from Syriac, as the Arabic of it was full of Syriac idioms. The Borgian MS., on the other hand, is expressly stated, in a notice prefixed to the text, and also in another notice at the conclusion of it, to have been translated from Syriac into Arabic by Abu-1-Faraj Abdullah Ibn-at-Tib. Ciasca, in his Preface, has collected several allusions to this Abdulla Ben-attib, as he is called, from which it appears that he was a celebrated Nestorian monk, born in Assyria, and was the author of several books. He died A.D. 1043, so that  we may conclude that he translated the Diatessaron from Syriac into Arabic early in the eleventh century. The use of the Arabic language was made compulsory in Syria : it is not surprising, therefore, that the two MSS., which now survive, of a Syriac work once used by the Syrian Churches, should both be in Arabic.

[CIASCA, . . Tatiani Evangeliorum Harmoniae,  Arabice, etc., Rome, 1888. ]

UPDATE 3.  Of course I suppose one reason why someone would come to me about this man is that I commissioned and placed online here a translation of one of his works…  I had completely forgotten, I admit; only a google search revealed it.  Ahem.

A book Arabic logic: Ibn al-Tayyib on Porphyry’s “Eisagoge” by Kwame Gyeke (1979) seems to be readily available from online booksellers.  244 pages, and in English.  I wish it was online freely!

It looks as if ibn al-Tayyib commented on Aristotle’s Organon as well.  He was also interested in zoology and botany, according to the snippets I have found.  It is a pity that the articles above are inaccessible to me!

From this link I get this:

Ibn al-Tayyib (Arabic Christian scholar, Baghdad, d. 1043): “The curse of Noah affected the posterity of Canaan who were killed by Joshua son of Nun. At the moment of the curse, Canaan’s body became black and the blackness spread out among them.”

This is referenced:

Joannes C. J. Sanders, Commentaire sur la Genèse, Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium 274-275, Scriptores Arabici 24-25 (Louvain, 1967), 1:56 (text), 2:52-55 (translation).

I wonder if this is a translation of part of the commentary on Genesis?  It certainly looks like it!  The proper title is “Commentaire sur la Genèse / Ibn aṭ-Ṭaiyib”.  A German version of his commentary on the Categories of Aristotle also seems to exist.  A version of Proclus’ commentary on the Pythagorean Golden Verses does exist in English, translated by J. Linley (1984).

UPDATE: Some more bibliography from Aaron M. Butts in NASCAS, which I had overlooked:

“The following bibliography can be added to that provided by Sergey:

  • T. Baarda, ‘The Author of the Arabic Diatessaron’, in
    Miscellanea Neotestamentica, ed. T. Baarda, A. F. J. Klijn, W.C. van Unnik, vol. 1 (1978), 61-103. (reprinted in T. Baarda, Early Transmission of Words of Jesus [1983], 207-249)
  • C. Ferrari, Die Kategorienkommentar von Abu l-Farag ‘Abdallah ibn at-Tayyib. Text und Untersuchungen (2006).
  • K. Gyekye, Ibn al-Tayyib’sCommentary on Porphyry’s Eisagoge. Arabic text edited with introduction and a glossary of Greek-Arabic logical terms (1975).
  • idem, Arabic Logic. Ibn al-Tayyib’s Commentary on Porphyry’s Eisagoge (1979).
  • M. Kellermann, Ein pseudoaristotelischer Traktat über die Tugend (Ph.D. diss., Friedrich-Alexander-Universität; 1965).
  • ‘Ali Husayn al-Jabiri et al., al-Sharh al-kabir li-maqulat Aristu (2002).
  • Y. Manquriyus, Tafsir al-mashriqi (1908-10).
  • Y. Manquriyus and H. Jirjis, al-Rawd al-nadir fi tafsir al-mazamir (1902).
  • J. C. J. Sanders, Commentaire sur la Genèse (CSCO 274-275; 1967).
  • J. C. J. Sanders, Inleiding op het Genesiskommentaar van de Nestoriaan Ibn at-Taiyib (1963).
  • P. P. Sbath, Vingt traités philosophiques et apologétiques d’auteurs arabes chrétiens du IXe au XIXe siècles (1929), 179-180.
  • G. Troupeau, ‘Le traité sur l’union de ‘Abd Allāh Ibn at-Tayyib’, ParOr 8 (1977-8), 141-150.
  • idem, ‘Le traité sur les hypostases et la substance de ‘Abd Allah Ibn al-Tayyib’, Orientalia Hispanica, ed. J. M. Barral (1974), 640-644.
  • H. Z. Ülken, Ibn Sina Risâleleri (1953), vol. 1, 57-65.
  • J. Vernet, ‘Ibn al-Tayyib’, EI2, vol. 3, 955.

It should be noted that Sanders has provided an edition (with FT) of Ibn al-Tayyib’s commentary on Genesis.”

John Lamoreaux was “currently transcribing the Arabic of the CSCO edition” (of Sanders version of Genesis).

Please also refer to the comments for extensive additional bibliography.

Serious excitement – copies of British Library Arabic manuscripts for less than $1?

In the NASCAS forum a poster mentioned:

Speaking of manuscripts, friends, I wanted to let you know that the Bibliothica Alexandrina has the WHOLE Arabic collection of manuscripts held at the British Library. One can obtain a digital copy for only 5 (yes five) Egyptian Pounds, i.e., 90 US cents!

Now this is very, very exciting news.  And I have an idea how this might be so.  I believe some Arab princeling paid for all the Arabic mss in UK libraries to be photographed for microfiche.  But I have never known where to access this material.  Perhaps this is the source of this.

I’ve enquired of the poster how I can get these.  I have written before that there is a manuscript of the 13th century Arabic Christian historian al-Makin (BL or.  7564) which I want.  Indeed I even ordered a microfilm copy from the BL; who sent me, at a huge price, just the second half!

If the report is true, this is very good news.  It might apply to other libraries than the BL, such as the Bodleian.  Today I also heard that the Bodleian tried to screw a scholar from Leiden who wanted a photocopy of a dissertation, and demanded 150 GBP (around $220) for a photocopy.  This hateful monopoly must be overthrown; no scholarship can happen while access to the primary texts is subject to blackmail of this kind.

Let us hope and pray this is so, and that a torrent of copies is about to be unleashed on the scholarly world!

Why miracles are less important than reason – an 11th century Nestorian comments

Abu al-Faraj ibn al-Tayyib was an Iraqi Nestorian, philosopher, physician, monk and priest in the first half of the 11th century. He was a voluminous writer, who left behind him massive biblical commentaries on the Psalms and Gospels.

In his collection of Arabic Christian treatises, Paul Sbath prints a short work on miracles and philosophy, which seems well worth looking at, even today.  Here it is:

On Knowledge and Miracles
By Abū al-Faraj ʿAbdallāh ibn al-Ṭayyib, secretary of the Catholicos and philosopher

In the religion of the Christians, rational proof is nobler than miracles because rational proof is proof by which the intellect comes to grasp the truth of the claim of those who have miracles, his own investigation, the investigation of his circumstances and the circumstances of those who are making the claim, and the state of the matter with regard to the claim. Rational proof is for the elites and the philosophers and the scholars who are not led except by it, while miracles are for the masses whose breasts are not delighted by certain knowledge and who only believe what they behold by the senses. So it is clear that rational proof is evidence which convinces through knowledge and is for the elites and that miracles are evidence which convince through the senses and they are for the masses. Scriptural evidence that knowledge is nobler than miracles is from when Paul, the chosen and heavenly apostle says, “God appointed in His Church the apostles first, and after then the prophets, and after them the scholars, and after them those who work miracles, and after them those who heal the sick, and after them those who possess languages (1 Corinthians 12:28).” From this evidence it becomes known that knowledge is nobler than miracles. Then he says, “The elders who order the affairs of the Church well deserve multiple recompense, especially those who toil with knowledge (1 Timothy 5:17).”

So rational proof is rational evidence and miracles are sensible evidence. If the intellect is nobler than sensation, then rational proof is nobler than miracles.

Miracles are found in a specific place and at a specific time and among a specific people. If that place and that time and that people cease, then the miracle ceases with them. Rational proof is found in all places and at all times and among all peoples. So, knowledge and rational proof are nobler than miracles.

Thus Christ our Lord worked miracles for the common people and the masses and set forth evidence and rational proof for the excellent philosophers who are not led by miracles and make no use of them. Glory to God forever.

Some entries from the annals of Euthyius of Alexandria

[ 273 ] In the 11th year of the reign of Heraclius died the Prophet (Mohammad), so-called, on Monday, when two nights of the month of Rabi` I. had passed, in the eleventh year of the Higra. He was buried in the house where he had died. This was the house of `Aisha. His illness lasted13 days. He died at the age of 63 and left no children, with the exception of Fatima, who died 40 days after him; it is also said: after 70 days.

[ 274 ] In the 11th year of the reign of Heraclius, (H)Onorios became Patriarch in Rome. He lasted 18 years and died.

[ 275 ] When Kesra (A)Brawez came into his city and saw, what murder and devastation Heraclius had wrought, he was attacked by great sorrow; but he did not change his cruel behaviour in any way. His days (government) became ever heavier for the people, and these were with their patience at and end (and said): He is a messenger of misfortune! In his time the Persians were killed and their countries devastated. They put him aside, after 38 years, and placed in his place his son Qabad, who called himself Sirawayh. He was the son of Mariam, the daughter of Maurice, the king of the Romans. He preferred justice and showed it to those who had suffered injury until then. He killed 18 of the children of his father, who had set themselves against him because of his mother. All his remaining relatives fled. Then he said: I will abolish the tax, so that all the people may experience my justice and my benevolence. Some time thereafter cholera attacked the inhabitants of his realm and the majority died. (Qabab) also died and his father Kesra with him. His rule lasted 8 months.

(From Eutychius / Sa`id ibn Bitriq, ca. 940 AD.  The numbers are the years of the era of Diocletian)

More on Eutychius

I’ve now worked out why the Italian translation is so much longer than the critical edition and translation.  It seems that Louis Cheikho published the text in 1906, and the Italian translation was made from that.  At any rate, it doesn’t mention the 1985 CSCO 471-2 edition.  The editor of this new text, Michael Breydy, introduces it thus:

In the course of the last thousand years there has often been a temptation to attribute to Eutychios of Alexandria – also known as Sa`id ibn Batriq – various works, including a World Chronicle adorned with all sorts of titles: The Annals, The String of Pearls (= Nazm al-Jawhar), Collected Stories (= at-Tarikh al-Magmu`), etc.

Ibn Batriq was a doctor, who lived from 877 to 940 AD in Egypt and was one of the arabic speaking Melkites.

Of the many works attributed to him, the World Chronicle is the only one that can be attributed to him with certainty, albeit with certain qualifications. This world history has been published in the bilingual edition of Selden-Pocock (London, 1642; Oxford, 1654-59) in a form containing many interpolations, material which may not come from the pen of Ibn Batriq. The other anachronisms and historical errors that occur all too often in this world chronicle may, therefore, be attributed only with great reservations to that author.

Until now it was impossible to distinguish Ibn Batriq’s own mistakes from those of the interpolators because we lacked any criteria and touchstone for verifying the authenticity and age of suspicious passages.

With the recognition of the manuscript Sinaiticus Arabicus 582, containing a chronicle previously considered anonymous, I have managed to find a copy of this world history, which is regarded as the starting point of all the other copies.

The Sinaiticus Arab. 582 has, in fact all the characteristics of an autograph by Ibn Batriq and gives us the most important criterion by which we can define the real passages of Ibn Batriq, to delimit precisely later added interpolations, and thus to distinguish from his own mistakes or merits those of subsequent copyists and interpolators.

The current issue [of CSCO] – although also missing the beginning and the end – give us back the bulk of the world chronicle by Ibn Batriq, which he wrote in his own time, or rather copied from older sources.

I give hereafter a summary of his biography with the description of the various manuscripts of his world history that I have taken into account in this edition.

A detailed study of the problems and corrections, which had resulted from the fact, I have carried out in a special volume of “subsidia”.

It looks as if the very popularity of Eutychius’ text led to it being augmented with extra material, to bring it up to date, make it more useful, etc.  No doubt those who added this material merely intended to do for their own use.  Quite possibly the concept of interpolation would have struck them as curious, and their actions undertaken in a spirit more like those today who scribble a note in the margin of a torn-out newspaper article.

Eutychius mentions his own birthday in his chronicle – 877 AD. His chronicle was continued by Yahya ibn Sa’id al-Antaki, in his “Kitab ul-Dayul”, who says that Eutychius died on 11th May 940.

With his elevation to the patriarchate of Alexandria arose a great controversy in the Melkite Church. The chronicle of his successor, Yahya ibn Sa`eed reported that his fellow physicians in his home town of Fustat and the faithful of other Melkite dioceses had rejected him, wanted him to removed from office, and that this attitude continued until his death. It is therefore assumed that his elevation was viewed as illegal because he was raised directly from the laity as patriarch, though he had previously working with everything other than with clerical tasks.

In his Annals he refers to himself in a comment as a “Mutatabbib”, not as a qualified physician, but as a “practitioner”.

 He shows no sign of using Greek sources; but references to Syriac and indeed Syriac words are everywhere.  His base in Fustat and various details in the Chronicle suggest that he may have owed his elevation to the patriarchate to his Moslem contacts.

All the manuscripts other than the Sinai ms. go back to a copy reworked by Yahya ibn Sa`id in Antioch in 1014.  This was at that time in the Byzantine empire, and the text was augmented with a large amount of historical material from other sources.

The appearance of the edition of Pocock around 1655 set an end to the manipulations in the annals work of Ibn Batriq. The rare manuscript, which is found after this date, repeats the typical text version of Aleppo, which had Selden/Pocock published with smaller word variants. In the older handwriting this conformity is absent, and important and considerable excerpts are missing here and there, whose research in the manuscript concerned can lead to a rather exact dating of the questionable interpolation.

Deviations in my copies of the Annals of Eutychius (ca. 900)

I’ve started to look at the second big Arabic Christian history, the Annals of Eutychius, or Sa`id ibn Bitriq as he was known to taxi-drivers.  I have the CSCO edition and translation here, and also an Italian translation. 

The thing is, the Italian translation is a lot bigger than the German one.  For the section that starts with the 11th year of Heraclius, the German runs out after a dozen or two pages.  Most of it is concerned with the early days of Islam; then there is a sudden jump without explanation and two pages on events a century later.  By contrast the Italian has section after section on the period in between.  Which is right?

Only one way to find out; hunt through the verbose introductions.  Hate that.

Sbath project – sample of Hunain gets the raspberry

An unexpected problem; the sample of a translation of Hunain ibn Ishaq has got the raspberry from the person I sent it to for checking.  “Make sure the person you use has a solid training in classical Arabic”, I am admonished.  Actually I think the translator has.  Have sent the comments to the translator, and am awaiting the explosion!

Meanwhile I have offered a commission for treatises 15-19 (a grand total of 12 pages!) to an old and trusted translator.  But with the new term coming up, now may not be the best time.

I’ve really enjoyed being on holiday this summer.  How rarely can one take more than a week or two off at this time, as I have been able to do?  Back to work on Tuesday.  A little unenthusiastic, as is usual after a holiday. Also there is no air-conditioning in its offices, except for the offices of the directors. Still, it will be good to get back in the routine.

Hunain ibn Ishaq translation now underway

I’ve found a translator and commissioned a translation of the work of Hunain ibn Ishaq, the 10th century Christian translator of scientific works who worked for the Abbassid caliphs, plus a commentary on it by a Coptic author.  The two make up 20 pages in Paul Sbath’s Vingt traites, although for the Hunain work there is a critical text by Samir Khalil Samir which we’ll use instead.  It’s about valid and invalid ways to prove your religion is true.  The result will be public domain and posted on the web so we can all access it.

From my diary

To Cambridge, to obtain a photocopy of Sbath’s Vingt traites.  The copiers double as scanners, and I tried to scan rather than photocopy but they defeated me.  Various puzzled-looking people were trying to work out how to charge their cards for the photocopier.  So I now have a pile of photocopies, and a PDF of Sbath.

Item 20 in the collection looks interesting: “20.  Of the way in which the truth of religion should be understood, by Hunain ibn Ishaq, Nestorian physician and philosopher, died 873.  Followed by the explication of this treatise by Yohanna ben Mina, a coptic writer of the 12th century.”  I might try commissioning a translation of that.  It’s 20 pages,  I think.