`Abdisho` bar Brika

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'Abdisho' bar Brika (also known as Abdhiso bar Berikha, and in Latin as Ebed Jesu) was an East Syriac/Nestorian writer who was born around 1250 and died in 1318. He was bishop of Sinjar(Shiggar) and Bet 'Arbaye in 1285 (so BO i.539), and later, before 1291 (so BO i.538; iii.1,327, col.2) Metropolitan of Soba (=Nisibis) and Armenia. He died in 1318.

He wrote in both Arabic and Syriac, and was one of the last Syriac writers.


Ebed Jesu has left us a list of his own works at the end of his Catalogus Librorum (BO iii.1,325ff).

  • The Metrical catalogue of Syriac Writers. Composed in 1298, this gives a list of Syriac writers and what they wrote, and is of very great use, particularly for lost works by these authors. Ebed Jesu also translated the work into Arabic himself in 1312, as we learn from 'Amr ibn Matta in the Majdal where large portions are quoted (BO. iii.1.360 n.4; see Cod. Vat. 65, 307, and Cod. Vat. Arab. 110 -- so Mai. Script. Vett. Nova Coll., iv -- cf. BO., iii.1, 598). The work is arranged in chronological order. Mss include: Cod. Vat. Syr. 175-6, 456; RAS. Add. 76; Berlin Sachau 4,132; Cambridge, coll. of the SPCK. The author lists his own works, which indicates that some of them have not reached us, including:
  • a Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
  • a work on the Life of Christ on Earth
  • a work against all the Heresies
  • the book of the mysteries of the Greek philosphers
  • the twelve discourses comprising all the sciences
  • the ecclesiastical decisions and canons
  • an Arabic work entitled Shah-marwarid (the King-pearl).
  • The Nomocanon, or collection of canons of synods, arranged by subject. A Latin translation exists of this work. A printed version of the Syriac text is currently available.
  • Ordo Iudiciorum Ecclesiasticorum: a set of rules of ecclesiastical judgements, designed as a handbook for use in church courts. A Latin translation exists of this work.
  • Marganitha, or Pearl. It is subtitled "The Truth of the Faith." It is a short but influential summary of East Syriac theology, and was written in 1298. It is in five sections and treats of God, the creation, the Christian dispensation, the sacraments of the church, and the things that prefigure the world to come. An English translation of this work exists.
  • The Paradise of Eden. This is a collection of 50 poems. It was first circulated in 1291, but the author later, in 1316, added a commentary to it because the poems contained a large number of rare or obscure words.


(Details of the Syriac text?)

  • Assemani, Bibl. Orient. Bibliotheca Orientalis, III. 1, p. 62.
  • Angelo Mai, Scriptorum Veterum Nova Collectio 10:1 (1838), p.1-331. Syriac text and Latin translation of the Nomocanon and the Catalogus.
  • J-M. Vosté (1883-1943), Ordo iudiciorum ecclesiasticorum ... a Mar Abdiso metropolita Nisibis et Armeniae latine interpretatus. Series: Codificazione canonica orientale. Fonti, ser.2. fasc. 15-16; Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis:Rome (1940). Contents: 2. Ordo iudiciorum ecclesiasticorum. Collectus, dispositus, ordinatus et compositus a Mar Abdiso. Latine interpretatus est, notis illustravit Iacobus M. Vosté, O.P. Latin translation of the Ordo Iudiciorum Ecclesiasticorum. There is a copy in Cambridge University Library.
  • G.P.Badger, The Nestorians and their rituals (1852) vol. 2. Pp.361-379 contains an English translation of the Metrical Catalogue of Syriac Writers; Pp.380-422 contains a translation of Marganitha.


This entry composed from details give in Brock's A brief outline and Wright's A short history.