Bedjan, Paul (1838–1920) [Chald.]
Missionary and scholar. Paul Bedjan was born and raised in Khosrowa, northwest Iran, in a Chald. family with strong ties to the Lazarist mission (St. Vincent de Paul) whose missionaries had established themselves in that town in 1840. Bedjan received his primary education at their seminary and in 1856 traveled to Paris to enter the order and continue his education. In 1861 he returned to Iran where he worked as a missionary until 1880, when he left again for Europe, living in Paris, Ans-les-Lièges, Seraing (Belgium), and Köln Nippes (Germany), never to return to Iran. Several times Iranian clergy and lay people attempted to make Bedjan bp. of Khosrowa, but due to opposition from the Chald. patriarchate in Mosul, partly the result of the discussions that surrounded Bedjan’s edition of the Chaldean Breviary, as well as to Bedjan’s preference for Europe, this never materialized. Despite his estrangement from the Chald. hierarchy and his latinizing tendencies, Bedjan succeeded in the prime object of his stay in Europe: to provide books for the Chald. community in Iran, among other things to counteract the influence of the publications of the Protestant press in Urmia. He published thirty-two classical Syriac works and wrote eight books in the vernacular language of Urmia, as it had developed in the first half of the 19th cent. These include a translation of the ‘Imitation of Christ’ of Thomas à Kempis (1885), a retelling of the Bible (Histoire Sainte, 1888), devotional texts on Mary (Mois de Marie, 1904) and a shortened version of the Saints’ Lives (Vies des Saints, 1912). It was through his classical Syriac editions, among which the seven-volume collection of Saints’ Lives, the History of Mar Yahbalaha, and works of Bar ʿEbroyo, Toma of Marga, Isḥaq of Nineveh, and Yaʿqub of Serugh, that his name became known also to western scholars, with some of whom he co-operated. All of his books were published by Otto Harrassowitz in Leipzig and/or in Paris and shipped in thousands to the Middle East.
See Fig. 24.
- J. M. Vosté, ‘Paul Bedjan, le lazariste persan. Notes bio-bibliographiques’, OCP 11 (1945), 45–102.
- N. Simono, Paul Bedjan (1838–1920) (Tehran, 1984). (in Neo-Aramaic and Persian)
- H. Murre-van den Berg, ‘Paul Bedjan, missionary for life (1838–1920)’, in Homilies of Mar Jacob of Sarug [Homiliae Selectae Mar-Jacobi Sarugensis], vol. 6 (repr. 2006), 339–69.
How to Cite This Entry
Footnote Style Citation with Date:
Heleen L. Murre-van den Berg, “Bedjan, Paul,” 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/Bedjan-Paul.
Bibliography Entry Citation:
Murre-van den Berg, Heleen L. “Bedjan, Paul.” 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/Bedjan-Paul.
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