Sources for the Study of the School of Nisibis

Sources for the Study of the School of Nisibis

3.33 (3 ratings by Goodreads)
Translated with commentary by 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 2 business days
When will my order arrive?


The Aramaic-speaking Christian community of late antique and early Islamic period Mesopotamia developed a school culture that persisted for several centuries. Not unlike the Rabbinic academies, the East-Syrian schools were innovative as centres of learning where study was formally institutionalized, in contrast to the informal study circles of the past. This school culture played an important role in the early translation of Greek philosophical texts into Arabic in the 'Abbasid period. The most influential and prominent of these schools was the School of Nisibis, and this volume provides an annotated translation of the major sources for the School. A polemical document composed by Simeon of Bet Arsham, a theological enemy of the School, describes the foundation of the School as a significant step in the supposed spread of 'Nestorianism' throughout the Sasanian Empire. The more extensive East-Syrian Cause of the Foundation of the Schools offers a history of learning from God's creation of the world to the time of the text's composition at the School of Nisibis in the late sixth century CE, recasting patriarchal, Israelite, 'pagan' and Christian history as a long series of schools. The last two chapters of the Ecclesiastical History describe the lives of the two most important head exegetes at the School. These sources have never been translated into English and this is the first time that any of them has received close historical, linguistic and thematic analysis.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 15.24mm | 294.84g
  • Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1846311616
  • 9781846311611
  • 670,842

Table of contents

The School of Nisibis
Identifying Barhdbeshbba
On the Manuscripts, Translation, Notes and Terms
The Transliteration of the Syriac Alphabet in this Volume
Simeon of Bet Arsham, 'Letter' on the 'Nestorianization' of Persia
Translation and Notes
Barhadbeshabba, Ecclesiastical History
Translation and Notes
Chapter Thirty One: 'The Life of Narsai'
Chapter Thirty Two: 'The Life of Abraham of Bet Rabban'
Barhadbeshabba, The Cause of the Foundation of the Schools
Translation and Notes
Mingana Fragment of the Cause
Translation and Notes
Portion of the Memra on the Holy Fathers by Rabban Surin
Translation and Notes
Appendix I: On the Manuscript Tradition of the Cause of the Foundation of the Schools
Appendix 11: The Tree of Porphyry in the Cause of the Foundation of the Schools
Appendix Ill: The Literary Dependence of the Cause of the Foundation of the Schools on the Ecclesiastical History
Brief Glossary of Selected Terms
Index of Biblical References
Index of Proper Names
Subject Index
show more

About Adam H. Becker

Adam H. Becker is Assistant Professor of Classics and Religious Studies at New York University and the author of Fear of God and the Beginning of Wisdom: The School of Nisibis and the Development of Scholastic Culture in Late Antique Mesopotamia (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006).
show more

Rating details

3 ratings
3.33 out of 5 stars
5 33% (1)
4 0% (0)
3 33% (1)
2 33% (1)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X