Gabriel bar Bokhtishoʿ Jibrāʾīl, Jibrīl (d. 827/8) [Ch. of E.]

Physician. Gabriel was a member of the Bokhtishoʿ (Arabic Bakhtishūʿ) family, which produced a number of famous physicians first in Gondeshapur (Beth Lapaṭ) and then in Baghdad (see D. Sourdel, in EI 2, vol. 1, 1298; L. Richter-Bernburg, in EIr , vol.4 [1990], 333–6). Gabriel himself was the personal physician of Caliph Hārūn al-Rashīd and later also of al-Amīn and al-Maʾmūn. He is said to have composed (in Arabic) a number of works in the field of medicine, little of which survives (a list is provided in F. Sezgin, Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums[1967–2007], vol. 3, 226–7). For his research, Gabriel commissioned Arabic translations of Greek authors, especially Galen, from Iyob of Edessa (d. ca. 835?) and Ḥunayn b. Isḥāq (d. 873) (see G. Bergsträsser, Ḥunain Ibn Isḥāq. Über die syrischen und arabischen Galen-Übersetzungen [1925], passim [see the index on p. 44]).

Gabriel appears several times in the letters of Cath. Timotheos I (d. 823). Letter 47, for instance, mentions Gabriel’s involvement with Timotheos in procuring copies of the Syro-Hexapla (ed. O. Braun, ‘Ein Brief des Katholikos Timotheos I über biblische Studien des 9. Jahrhunderts’, OC 1 [1901], 299–313; ET in S. P. Brock, A brief outline of Syriac literature [2nd ed. 2009], 240–5), while Letter 21 refers to Gabriel’s intercession with the Caliph on behalf of Timotheos (O. Braun, Timothei patriarchae I epistolae [CSCO 74–5; 1914–15], 133.12–5 [Syr.], 89.22–4 [LT]). Notwithstanding the seemingly amicable relationship between these two men, it is reported that Timotheos condemned Gabriel for his philandering, but that Gabriel eventually repented (see H. Gismondi, Maris, Amri et Slibae. De patriarchis nestorianorum commentaria [1896–99], vol. 1, 74 [Maris textus arabicus], vol. 1, 65 [Maris versio latina]).

Gabriel is cited a number of times in the Lexicon of Ḥasan bar Bahlul (see R. Duval, Lexicon Syriacum auctore Hassano bar Bahlule [3 vols.; 1888–1901, repr. 1970], xvi-xvii). He is also mentioned in the ‘Catalogue’ of ʿAbdishoʿ (Assemani, BibOr, vol. 3, 257–8) where he is grouped together with Ḥasan bar Bahlul, Ishoʿ bar ʿAli, and a certain ‘Maruzaya’ (probably either Ishoʿ of Merv or Zekarya of Merv, assuming that they are two distinct individuals). This passage is, however, ambiguous as to whether Gabriel was the author of a Lexicon (so Assemani and Baumstark) or was only one of the principal sources of the Lexicon of Bar Bahlul (so Duval).


  • Baumstark, Literatur , 227.
  • W. Gesenius, De Bar Alio et Bar Bahlulo, lexicographis Syro-Arabicis ineditis, commentatio litteraria philologica, vol. 1 (1834), 7–8.
  • Duval, La littérature syriaque, 271–2 and 297.
  • Graf, GCAL, vol. 2, 110.
  • H.  Putman, L’Eglise et l’Islam sous Timothée I (780–823) (1975), 35, 98–101, passim.
  • M. Ullmann, Die Medizin im Islam (1970), 109.
  • Wright, Short history of Syriac literature, 214–5.

| Gabriel bar Bokhtishoʿ |


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