Michael Badoqa (6th–7th cent.)

Syriac author and exegete; bādoqā (‘scholar’) and mallpānā (‘teacher’) at the School of Nisibis during Ḥenana’s tenure as its head (572–610). During the time of growing opposition to Ḥenana, Michael, along with many other scholars, left the School. Little is known about his life and his works. Among the writings attributed to him, the following are deemed authentic:

1. A drāšā (‘dispute’) of Christological content, partly preserved, in which Michael, employing a pithy and syllogistic style, condemns the term theotokos and attacks Cyrillians, Severians, and Julianists (ed. Abramowski and Goodman).

2. A ‘Book of Questions’ (Ktābā d-šuʾʾāle), of which an excerpt is preserved in Shlemon of Baṣra’s ‘Book of the Bee’. In this fragment Michael argues against the idea that the world will pass away before the resurrection of the dead. It has generally been assumed that this ‘Book of Questions’ is identical with the ‘Questions on the Text of Scripture’ in three volumes, the only work that ʿAbdishoʿ bar Brikha attributes to Michael. If this identification is correct, it is in all likelihood this book that was known to later exegetes, who quote a number of passages under Michael’s name (esp. the author of the Diyarbakır Commentary, Ishoʿdad of Merv, and the author of the Gannat Bussāme).

3. A different ‘Book of Questions’, from which only one question, on the theme of ‘Man as microcosm’, is still extant (unpublished; see Reinink 2007). It appears that this second ‘Book of Questions’ should not be identified with the previous one, since it specifically focuses on ‘the refutation of heresies and cults’ (Reinink 2007, 2008).

In addition, a ‘Book of Definitions’ (ed. Furlani) is attributed to Michael, but its spuriousness has been proven (see now Abramowski 1999). A text ‘On Dreams’, which has been transmitted as a separate work of Michael’s, turns out to be taken from this ‘Book of Definitions’, and therefore should no longer be regarded as his. Finally, an aetiological writing (ʿelltā) on the ‘Commemoration of the Blessed Lady Mary, the Bearer of Christ’ (unpublished), assigned in the mss. to ‘one of the brethren badoqe of the School of Nisibis’, has sometimes been considered Michael’s (already by Isḥaq Qardaḥe Shbadnaya). This attribution cannot, however, be substantiated (see Vööbus, Reinink 2008).

    Primary Sources

    • L.  Abramowski and A. E.  Goodman, A Nestorian collection of Christological texts. Cambridge University Library ms. Oriental 1319 (2 vols.; 1972), vol. I, 105–13 (Syr.); vol. II, 61–5 (ET).
    • E. A. W.  Budge, The Book of the Bee (1886), 154–5.
    • G.  Furlani, ‘“Il libro delle definizioni e divisioni” di Michele l’interprete’, Atti della Reale Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Serie 6, 2 (1926), 5–194.

    Secondary Sources

    • L.  Abramowski, ‘Zu den Schriften des Michael Malpana / Badoqa’, in After Bardaisan, ed. Reinink and Klugkist, 1–10.
    • Assemani, BibOr, vol. 3, 147.
    • Baumstark, Literatur,129.
    • E. G.  Clarke, The Selected Questions of Ishō Bar Nūn on the Pentateuch: Edited and translated from Ms Cambridge Add. 2017, with a study of the relationship of Ishōʿdādh of Merv, Theodore Bar Kōnī and Ishō Bar Nūn on Genesis (Studia post-Biblica 5; 1962), 10–11.
    • Ortiz de Urbina, Patrologia Syriaca, 134–35.
    • G. J.  Reinink, ‘Man as Microcosm: A Syriac didactic poem and its prose background’, in Calliope’s Classroom. Studies in Didactic Poetry from Antiquity to the Renaissance, ed. A. Harder and A. A.  MacDonald (2007), 123–52.
    • G. J.  Reinink, ‘The Cause of the commemoration of Mary: Author, date, and Christology’, in Malphono w-Rabo d-Malphone, ed. G.  Kiraz, 517–34.
    • L.  Van Rompay, Le commentaire sur Genèse-Exode 9,32 du manuscrit (olim) Diyarbakır 22 (CSCO 484; 1986), xxvi–xxvii.
    • Vööbus, History of the School of Nisibis, 278–79.


How to Cite This Entry

Emanuel A. Fiano, “Michael Badoqa,” 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/Michael-Badoqa.

Footnote Style Citation with Date:

Emanuel A. Fiano, “Michael Badoqa,” 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/Michael-Badoqa.

Bibliography Entry Citation:

Fiano, Emanuel A. “Michael Badoqa.” 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/Michael-Badoqa.

A TEI-XML record with complete metadata is available at https://gedsh.bethmardutho.org/Michael-Badoqa/tei.

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