ʿAbdishoʿ bar Bahrīz (fl. first quarter of 9th cent.) [Ch. of E]

Logician, theologian, legal scholar, translator, and metropolitan, first of Ḥarran, and later of Mosul and Ḥazza. The name ‘Bahrīz’ reveals his Persian descent. Ḥabīb was probably his given name and ʿAbdishoʿ his ecclesiastical name. Most of our information about ʿAbdishoʿ derives from Muslim sources, most importantly from Ibn al-Nadīm, who mentions that he translated many works of logic and philosophy, and that he wrote commentaries on classical works for the Abbasid Caliph al-Maʾmūn (d. 833), and made summaries of Aristotle’s ‘Categories’ and ‘On Interpretation’. Ibn al-Nadīm also makes reference to his works in defense of ‘Nestorian’ Christology, among which is a response to two works by a Syr. Orth., in which ʿAbdishoʿ refuted the Syr. Orth. and Melk. belief in the ‘oneness of hypostasis’ (in Christ), and hence showed that ‘his wisdom was close to the wisdom of Islam’. In an anonymous report of a brief Christological discussion between ‘ʿAbdishoʿ, the Nestorian Muṭrān, Abū Qurra, the Melkite Bishop, and Abū Rāʾiṭa, the Jacobite’ before a Muslim vizier (ed. with ET by Toenies Keating), the name of the ‘Nestorian’ has been taken by most modern scholars as a reference to Cath. Ishoʿ bar Nun (823–28), but it is more likely that this name points to ʿAbdishoʿ bar Bahrīz, who was also a contemporary of these interlocutors. ʿAbdishoʿ’s apologetic work entitled Maqāla fī al-tawḥīd wa-al-tathlīth, ‘Treatise on the Unity and Trinity (of God)’ possibly still survives in mss. in Syria that have remained inaccessible so far (see Swanson). Of two works that have been published, one is in Syriac and one in Arabic. The former is his legal handbook on marriage and inheritance law (ed. Selb), the latter a treatise on logic based on Aristotle’s ‘Categories’ and Porphyry’s ‘Isagoge’ (ed. Dānishpazhūh). This work on logic, Kitāb ḥudūd al-manṭiq, was commissioned by Caliph al-Maʾmūn. ʿAbdishoʿ’s connection with the Abbasid elite is further evidenced by the fact that he translated Nicomachus’s ‘Introduction to Arithmetic’ from Syriac into Arabic, for the Abbasid general Ṭāhir b. al-Ḥusayn (see Freudenthal and Lévy). He also translated works for his friend Gabriel bar Bokhtishoʿ, presumably in the field of medicine.

    Primary Sources

    • M.  T.  Dānishpazhūh, al-Manṭiq li-Ibn al-Muqaffaʿ. Ḥudūd al-manṭiq li-Ibn Bihrīz (1978; repr. 2002).
    • W.  Selb, ʿAbdīšōʿ bar Bahrīz. Ordnung der Ehe und der Erbschaften sowie Entscheidung von Rechtsfällen (1970).
    • S.  Toenies Keating, Defending the ‘People of Truth’ in the Early Islamic period. The Christian apologies of Abū Rāʾiṭah (2006), 352–7.

    Secondary Sources

    • J.-M.  Fiey, ‘Ibn Bahrīz et son portrait’, ParOr 16 (1990–91), 133–7.
    • G.  Freudenthal and T.  Lévy, ‘De Gérase à Bagdad. Ibn Bahrīz, al-Kindī et leur recension arabe de l’Introduction Arithmétique de Nicomaque, d’après la version hébraïque de Qalonymos ben Qalonymos d’Arles’, in De Zénon d’Elée à Poincaré. Recueil d’études en hommage à Roshdi Rashed, ed. R. Morelon and A. Hasnawi (2004), 479–544.
    • M.  N.  Swanson, ‘ʿAbdīshūʿ ibn Bahrīz’, in Christian-Muslim relations, ed. Thomas and Roggema, 550–2.
    • G.  Troupeau, ‘ʿAbdīšūʿ Ibn Bahrīz et son livre sur les définitions de la logique ( Kitāb Ḥudūd al-manṭiq)’, in Les voies de la science grecque. Études sur la transmission des textes de l’Antiquité au dix-neuvième siècle, ed. D. Jacquart (1997), 135–45 (repr. in G. Troupeau, Études sur la grammaire et la lexicographie arabes [2002], 23–33).


How to Cite This Entry

Barbara H. Roggema, “ʿAbdishoʿ bar Bahrīz,” in Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay, https://gedsh.bethmardutho.org/Abdisho-bar-Bahriz.

Footnote Style Citation with Date:

Barbara H. Roggema, “ʿAbdishoʿ bar Bahrīz,” in Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay (Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018), https://gedsh.bethmardutho.org/Abdisho-bar-Bahriz.

Bibliography Entry Citation:

Roggema, Barbara H. “ʿAbdishoʿ bar Bahrīz.” In Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition. Edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay. Digital edition prepared by David Michelson, Ute Possekel, and Daniel L. Schwartz. Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018. https://gedsh.bethmardutho.org/Abdisho-bar-Bahriz.

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