Benjamin of Edessa (first half of the 9th cent.) [Syr. Orth.]

Metropolitan bp. of Edessa, professor of dogma, commentator on the homilies of Gregory of Nazianzus and on the works of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite. Prior to his consecration as bp., Benjamin was monk in the Monastery of Mor Yaʿqub (most likely in Kaysum). Later in his life he was found teaching at the monasteries of Eusebona (833/4) and Tell ʿAda (836/7, when in his capacity of Rabban d-dogma, ‘professor of dogma’, he was there for a period of retreat: kawšo d-tawtobutho). Benjamin’s work is known to us in the commentaries written down by his disciples, who mention him in their colophons. One of them was Daniel (see ms. Brit. Libr. Add. 14,725; Wright, Catalogue … British Museum, vol. 2, 442). An anonymous commentary on the first volume of Gregory is said to have been written ‘according to the tradition’ (mašlmonutho) of Mar Benjamin (ms. Brit. Libr. Add. 17,197; Wright, Catalogue … British Museum, vol. 2, 441a).

While the W.-Syr. information on Benjamin seems to be limited to his work on Gregory of Nazianzus (with the exception of a quotation by Dionysios bar Ṣalibi, mentioned by Barsoum), Bar Bahlul knows a certain Benjamin, dayroyo or iḥidoyo, to whom on two occasions he specifically attributes a commentary on Dionysius (ed. Duval, 475.9–10 and 1383.6–7). In all likelihood we are dealing with the same person. (This Benjamin is clearly to be distinguished from the allegedly 4th-cent. monk of that name; see Fiey, Saints syriaques, 56.)

A letter of ‘Benjamin, bp. of Edessa, concerning reasons (ʿellotho) for the Eucharist and baptism’, is preserved in ms. Brit. Libr. Add. 14,538, f. 38v (Wright, vol.  2, 1004b). It is unedited.


  • Barsoum, Scattered pearls , 382–3.
  • Baumstark, Literatur, 276–7.
  • A.  de Halleux, ‘Les commentaires syriaques des Discours de Grégoire de Nazianze. Un premier sondage’, LM 98 (1985), 103–47.
  • A.  de Halleux, ‘Rabban Benjamin d’Édesse et la date du ms. B. L. Or., 8731’, in SymSyr IV, 445–51.

| Benjamin of Edessa |


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