Syriac literature in the 20th century

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Literary activity in Syriac revived greatly in the late 19th century. Notable figures include:

  • T'omo Audo, Chaldaean metropolitan of Urmia (East Syriac/Nestorian; 1853-1917) who compiled a very valuable Syriac-Syriac dictionary (1896, reprinted 1985) among other things.
  • The Syrian Catholic Patriarch Rahmani (West Syriac/Catholic; 1848-1929)
  • The Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Ephrem Barsaum (West Syriac/Monophysite; 1887-1957)
  • Metropolitan Philoxenus Yuhanon Dolabani (West Syriac/Monophysite; 1885-1969) who translated two works from Arabic into Syriac: Barsaum's important History of Syriac literature and Paulos Behnam's drama Theodora.

In the 20th century some secular works have also been composed. Na'um Fa'yeq (West Syriac/Monophysite; 1868-1930) was one of the first to do this. He founded the periodical Start of the East in 1908.

Various secular western works have also been translated into Syriac:

  • Bernardin de Saint Pierre, Paul et Virginie, a romantic novel, was translated by Paulos Gabriel (West Syriac/Monophysite; d. 1971) and Ghatta Maqdasi Elyas (West Syriac/Monophysite) and published in 1955 under the title Myatruto (=Virtue).
  • Racine's play Athalie was translated by Abrohom Isu (Baghdad, 1978).
  • Machiavelli, The Prince was translated by Gabriel Afram (Sweden, 1995).

There is still a considerable amount of writing in Classical Syriac, in both prose and verse, both in the Middle East and among Syriac-speaking communities around the world.

These notes from Brock's Brief Outline.