Joseph Hazzaya

From Encyclopedia of Syriac Literature
Revision as of 19:42, 25 May 2011 by Roger Pearse (talk | contribs) (Created page with "'''Joseph Hazzaya''', also known as '''Joseph the Seer''', belonged to the East Syriac church. He flourished in the 8th century AD.<ref>Sebastian Brock, ''A brief outline of Syr...")
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigationJump to search

Joseph Hazzaya, also known as Joseph the Seer, belonged to the East Syriac church. He flourished in the 8th century AD.[1]


His parents were Zoroastrians. At the age of seven he was taken captive in a raid, and sold as a slave, first to an Arab in Sinjar, and then to a Christian in the Qardu area. There, he was impressed by the life of the monks at the monastery of john of Kamul, and sought baptism. He was then liberated by his owner, and became a monk in Beth Nuhadra. After a period living as a solitary, he was made Superior of the monastery of Mar Bassima in the Qardu region for a while, and then again became a solitary. After this, he was again made Superior of a monastery, this time that of Rabban Bokjtisho`.

His brother also converted to Christianity with the name `Abdisho`.


Many of Joseph's writings were transmitted under his brother's name. In his Catalogue of Syriac Writers, 'Abdisho bar Brika lists many works by Joseph, but only a few have survived, and only the following have been published.

  • Letter on the Three Degrees of the Spiritual Life, ET, FT. This work survives in a longer and a shorter form, and has often been attributed to Philoxenus of Mabbug in the manuscripts. But it cannot possibly belong to him, and Joseph seems the most likely author.
  • Various shorter texts on different topics of the spiritual life. ET


  • Letter on Three Degrees: G. Olinder (1950). French translation by R. Graffin, PO 45 (1992)
  • Selections: A. Mingana, Early Christian Mystics (1934)


  1. Sebastian Brock, A brief outline of Syriac literature, Moran Etho 9, (1997), p. 61 and p. 136.