Aḥob Qaṭraya (late 6th cent.?) [Ch. of E.]

Exegete from Beth Qaṭraye mentioned by ʿAbdishoʿ bar Brikha. According to Assemani he lived around 990. Cowley suggests identifying this Aḥob with Ayyub, ‘the interpreter of Seleucia’, who lived at the end of the 6th cent. His main argument is that Ishoʿdad of Merv (9th  cent.) has quoted Aḥob. In all likelihood Christianity had already disappeared from the Beth Qaṭraye region by the beginning of the 10th  cent.; therefore, it would indeed seem wise not to date him much later than other important scholars from Beth Qaṭraye such as Isḥaq of Nineveh, Dadishoʿ, and Gabriel Qaṭraya. Assuming that Cowley is right, Aḥob was born in Qaṭar and must have migrated to Seleucia. The Chronicle of Siirt states that he was considered for election as cath. in 581, when Ishoʿyahb was chosen.

ʿAbdishoʿ bar Brikha’s ‘Catalogue’ credits Aḥob with an ‘Elucidation of the whole New (Testament), of the Pentateuch and all the Prophets, in addition to (or: except for) an elucidation of the Beth Mawtbe (i.e., Josh., Judges, 1–2 Sam., 1–2 Kings, Ruth, and wisdom books)’. These works have not been handed down to us: the New Testament commentary Baumstark suggested to attribute to Aḥob is lost (ms. Siirt 27). We do have quotations in later authors, however.

The Genesis part of the Anonymous Commentary on the Pentateuch (9th/10th cent.) contains two references to Aḥob, according to some of the manuscripts. Especially important are the quotations in the Commentary on Psalms ascribed to Denḥa (9th  cent.?), partly in the margins and partly in the text itself. Some of these present the exegesis of Theodore of Mopsuestia. The parallels between Aḥob and Ishoʿdad of Merv can be explained by assuming that Ishoʿdad used Aḥob, but not the other way round. Aḥob was an important source for Ishoʿdad’s alternative readings of the biblical text, especially the readings attributed to ‘the Hebrew’. The 19th-cent. mss. (ms. Mingana Syr. 58 and ms. Cambridge Or. 1318, among others) containing the Denḥa commentary also include a Book on the Cause of the Psalms of Mar Aḥob Qaṭraya. Mingana and Vosté’s attribution to him of yet another treatise, a classification of the Psalms, is probably incorrect, however.

Fragments of Aḥob were also quoted by Ibn al-Ṭayyib (d. 1043) in his biblical commentaries in Arabic, whence they found their way to Ethiopia, where they were first translated into Ethiopic and later received a place in the Amharic Andemta commentary tradition. Further references to Aḥob can be found in Bar Bahlul’s Lexicon and in Isḥaq Shbadnaya’s prose commentary on his own Poem on the Divine Government of the World from the Creation to the Consummation (15th cent.).

    Primary Sources

    • B. Vandenhoff, Exegesis Psalmorum, imprimis messianicorum, apud Syros Nestorianos (1899), 3–9 (Syr.), 17–20 (LT). (Cause of the Psalms)

    Secondary Sources

    • S. P.  Brock, ‘Syriac writers from Beth Qaṭraye’, ARAM 11–12 (1999–2000), 92–3.
    • J.-B.  Chabot, ‘Éclaircissements sur quelques points de la littérature syriaque’, JA 10.8 (1906), 273–4. (for the spelling of the name)
    • R. W.  Cowley, ‘Scholia of Aḥob of Qaṭar on St John’s Gospel and the Pauline Epistles’, LM 93 (1980), 329–43.
    • R. B.  ter Haar Romeny, ‘The Hebrew and the Greek as alternatives to the Syriac Version’, in Biblical Hebrew, Biblical texts: Essays in memory of Michael P. Weitzman, ed. A. Rapoport-Albert and G. Greenberg (JSOT Supplement Series 333; 2001), 449–52. (incl. further references)


How to Cite This Entry

Bas ter Haar Romeny, “Aḥob Qaṭraya,” 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/Ahob-Qatraya.

Footnote Style Citation with Date:

Bas ter Haar Romeny, “Aḥob Qaṭraya,” 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/Ahob-Qatraya.

Bibliography Entry Citation:

ter Haar Romeny, Bas. “Aḥob Qaṭraya.” 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/Ahob-Qatraya.

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