Saturday, July 18, 2009

Agapius of Manbij's World History

Roger Pearse, a very active amateur of patristics, has just put online his translation of Alexander Vasiliev's 1915 French translation of Agapius (Mahbub) of Manbij (Hieropolis, Mabbug)'s world history, the Kitab al-'Unwan. This important work had not been previously available in English despite the French and Arabic editions having been prepared almost a century ago. Roger has been quite interested lately in encouraging, often with his own money, translations of otherwise unavailable patristic works, especially from Arabic and Syriac. He then releases everything into the public domain.

Agapius was the Orthodox bishop of Manbij in what is today northern Syria in the 10th century and is the earliest Christian historian to write in Arabic. His history is particularly notable because it preserves otherwise unknown fragments from the 2nd century Christian writer Pappias of Hieropolis as well as some philologically important citations of Josephus.

You can find the text on Roger's patristics website here.

8 comments:

Roger Pearse said...

I appreciate your kind words, and the link. I think we could all benefit if more Arabic Christian literature was online in English. After all, the number of people who know English to some extent is very great, and this literature deserves to be read.

Of course it would be good if more of this literature was online in the original Arabic as well. I sometimes wish I could find people to just type in Arabic. Wouldn't it be nice to Agapius in Arabic, in electronic form? I have no idea where to look, or what it would cost, tho.

I was also delighted to discover your blog. What a good idea!

Samn! said...

Hi Roger-- we know each other actually... I did the work on Abu Majdalus for you.... but yeah, as I find more things in the original Arabic (most of what's on here is my own translations from Arabic and French) I always link back to what is online... typing up these things in Arabic... that's maybe the second stage of a project like this.......

--SN

Roger Pearse said...

Heh. It can't be that small a world! Good to meet you anyway. I must find the Arabic of al-Majdalus and put it online (purely an omission due to being too busy).

There ought to be Arabic people who could help with transcription. No matter.

mark stokoe said...

I I apologize if I have in anyway offended or misrepresented Fr. Bitar, or your translation. I certainly did not intend to make it seem "he wrote the commentary for them"; the citation from the Ochlophobist failed to append, and I did not notice it, given the rush of recent events. Now that I know my error, I have tried to make amends as best as possible. Please know many appreciate your work - for as you say, it is one of the few times in recent memory an Arab Christian voice has been heard in all the hubbub, and we have you to thank for it. I sincerely hope you will let us all know when that voice speaks again, as above.

With thanks and great appreciation for your work,

- Mark Stokoe
OCANews.org

Roger Pearse said...

Not sure I understand the last comment!

Samn! said...

Roger, the comment is related to a long story related to an issue unrelated to this thread.


Mark,

I kind of figured that in all the craziness of the past week there wasn't any malicious intent on your part. That said, I am very concerned that things I translate are attributed not because I want credit but because I want readers to know to not take anything I do as being official versions-- they're made according to my own (faulty) idea of what would be edifying and done to the best of my non-native knowledge of Arabic. I really appreciate your taking the time that I know is very limited at the moment to go back and link to the original Arabic source!

--SN

Roger Pearse said...

By the way, I finally DID remember to put the Arabic of al-Majdalus online. I kept remembering and forgetting -- we're all busy I suppose. But when I came to look at it again, I felt a bit embarassed; you did a marvellous job on the Arabic, and it really should have gone online at once. Deep apologies!

Samn! said...

No worries, Roger.... I appreciate you remembering it...