Loʿozar of Beth Qandasa (8th cent.?) [Syr. Orth.]

Monk on the Holy Mountain of Edessa, scholar, author of a commentary on the Pauline Epistles. The commentary is fragmentarily preserved in ms. Brit. Libr. Add. 14,683 (one of the mss. presented to Dayr al-Suryān by the Coptic patr. of Syr. descent Afrahām b. Zurʿa around 980). The commentary was divided into four parts and portions are preserved only for part 3 (Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians) and part 4 (Hebrews). A note written by one of Loʿozar’s disciples, Giwargis of Beth Naqe, gives information about his teacher, who is said to have been a scholar in the investigation of dogma (buḥono d-dogma). The commentary, which is said to have been based on the work of John Chrysostom, is provided with critical signs (dots and crosses) to assist with the interpretation. Inserted between the two parts is a chronological and historical section, which reaches until the accession of Caliph al-Mahdī (774) (E. W. Brooks in CSCO 5–6, 337– 341 [Syr.], 265–75 [LT]). This section seems to provide a date for the composition of the work, if one assumes that it belonged to the original work. The scribe of the ms., Ḥarith bar Sisin, of Sanbaṭ (probably in Egypt) and of Ḥarran, is also responsible for ms. Brit. Libr. Add. 14,682, a commentary on the Gospels of John and Mark, which was put together (mkannaš) by Ḥarith on the basis of many sources, Christian and pagan (quoted are: John Chrysostom, Yaʿqub of Serugh, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Ephrem, Cyril of Alexandria, extracts from a collection of ‘Prophecies of pagan philosophers’). The question then arises whether Ḥarith, the copyist of the commentary of ms. Add. 14,683, really was the redactor of the commentary of ms. Add. 14,682 (which then would be the redactor’s autograph). Or did he only copy the latter, as he did the former? Wright is inclined to see Ḥarith as the copyist of both commentaries and to attribute both works to Loʿozar (already in his Catalogue, and more explicitly in his Short history). Baumstark, however, refrains from accepting Loʿozar’s authorship of the Gospel commentary for lack of evidence. Barsoum agrees with Baumstark and regards Ḥarith as the redactor of the Gospel Commentary, whom he takes to be a Melkite on the basis of a passage in al-Masʿūdī (in Murūj al-dhahab). To Loʿozar’s authorship of the commentary on the Pauline Epistles, one scholion can be added; it deals with the order of the Seraphs according to Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite and it is explicitly attributed to him (preserved in ms. Brit. Libr. Add. 18,295, f. 149v; see also Barsoum, 366).

Additional information about Loʿozar’s disciples or his school may be gathered from ms. Damascus, Syr. Orth. Patr. 12/23 (previously Jerusalem, St. Mark’s Monastery 123), which contains works by Pseudo-Dionysius and which was written by Yaʿqub bar Yonathan ‘in the school of (…) Rabban Mor (…) of Beth Qandasa’ ca. 890. The date of this ms. led Kaufhold to question Loʿozar’s traditional date (which is based solely on the chronological section inserted into his work) and to suggest that Loʿozar worked a few decades later than has generally been assumed (the alternative would be that Yaʿqub bar Yonathan was not Loʿozar’s immediate disciple).


  • Barsoum, Scattered pearls, 365–67.
  • Baumstark, Literatur, 271.
  • S. P. Brock, ‘A Syriac collection of prophecies of the pagan philosophers’, OLP 14 (1983), 203-246. (with a list of Loʿozar’s quotations on p. 213)
  • H.  Kaufhold, ‘Zur Bedeutung Jerusalems für die Syrisch-Orthodoxe Kirche’, in L’idea di Gerusalemme nella spiritualità cristiana del Medioevo (Pontificio Comitato di scienze storiche. Atti e documenti 12; 2003), 140–2.
  • J. C.  McCullough, ‘Early Syriac commentaries on the New Testament (Part One)’, Theological Review 5.1 (1982), 21–22.
  • Wright, Short history of Syriac literature, 162–3.
  • Wright, Catalogue … British Museum, vol. 2, 610a–612b (ms. Add. 14,683) and 608b–610a (ms. Add. 14,682); vol. 3, 1184b (scholion attributed to Loʿozar).

| Loʿozar of Beth Qandasa |


Front Matter A (73) B (53) C (26) D (36) E (27) F (5) G (30) H (22) I (31) J (15) K (11) L (12) M (56) N (19) O (3) P (28) Q (11) R (8) S (71) T (39) U (1) V (5) W (3) X (1) Y (41) Z (4) Back Matter
URI   TEI/XML   Purchase  

Resources related to 9 other topics in this article.

Show Other Resources