John bar Zo`bi

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John bar Zo`bi was an East Syriac writer of the late 12th or early 13th century. He studied under Shem‘on of Shanqlabad, and belonged to the monastery of Beth Qoqa in Adiabene, and was one of the most learned East Syriac writers of his time. His fame as a scholar was such that he attracted pupils also from the Syrian Orthodox Church, among them Jacob bar Shakko.

John bar Zo'bi wrote an important but unpublished grammar.

He wrote metrical homilies, partly in seven syllable, partly in twelve-syllable verse, on the chief points of the Nestorian faith. One of these is mentioned by Assemani, Bibliotheca Orientalis, iii. 1, 309, note 1; and has been translated by G.P.Badger in The Nestorians and their rituals.

Very few of his works have been edited. These include:

  • A verse commentary on baptism and the eucharist
  • Various works on grammar and philosophy, in both prose and verse


  • J. Isaac, Le baptême et le levain sacré par Johannan bar Zo‘bi, in: Bayn al-Nahrayn 16 (61-2) (1988), 108-31. [photographic edition, with Arabic translation].
  • FT alone: A. Khoraiche, "L'explication de tous les Mystères divins" de Yohannan bar Zo‘bi selon le ms Borg. sir. 90, in: Euntes Docete 19 (1966), 386-426
  • ET alone: T. Mannooramparampil, John ba Zo‘bi. Explanation of the Divine Mysteries. OIRSI 157, Kottayam; 1992.


1. Sebastian Brock, A brief outline of Syriac Literature (1997), p. 73.

2. WikiSyriaca article