Pawlos of Tella (first half of 7th cent.) [Syr. Orth.]

Bp. and translator. During the Persian invasion of Syria in the first decades of the 7th cent., Pawlos found refuge in Egypt. In the Enaton Monastery, near Alexandria, a team of scholars from Syria embarked on a major translation project. This included Tumo of Ḥarqel, whose name is connected with the Ḥarqlean version of the NT, and Pawlos of Tella who was responsible for the (probably first full) Syriac translation of the Septuagint (‘Syro-Hexapla’). According to the subscriptions of the Syro-Hexapla, the work was carried out between 613 and 617 (for these dates, see W. Baars, New Syro-Hexaplaric Texts [1968], 1).

The possibility cannot be ruled out that Pawlos came to Egypt much earlier, but the evidence is rather thin. According to Honigmann, Pawlos was in the company of Tumo of Ḥarqel ‘and other bishops’ who in 599 were expelled from their sees during the persecution of Dometianus, the nephew of Emperor Maurice. Even though the name of Pawlos is not mentioned in the sources (e.g., Michael Rabo X.25 = vol. 4, 391; FT 381), a bp. of Tella is mentioned among those who returned after the persecution (ibid., vol. 4, 390; FT 380). If this anonymous bp. indeed would be Pawlos, he must have traveled back to Egypt a few years later for the second time.

In addition to the Syro-Hexapla, Pawlos is mentioned as the translator of a baptismal order attributed to Severus of Antioch, which is preserved in mss. Brit. Libr. Add. 14,495 (f. 68v; Wright, Catalogue, vol. I, 228) and 14,499 (f. 65r; Catalogue, vol. I, 229b–30a). An original Syriac sedro composed by Pawlos exists in ms. Paris, Bibl. Nat. Syr. 75 (f. 134v; Zotenberg, Catalogues, 47a). The Syriac translation of the pericope John 7:50–8:12 (absent from the Peshitta and Ḥarqlean), which is sometimes attributed to Pawlos of Tella, probably does not belong to him, but to Pawla of Edessa. Pawlos’s translation work, just as Tumo’s, is characterized by an attempt to imitate the morphology, syntax, and word order of the Greek original (in general, see Greek, Syriac translations from).


  • Barsoum, Scattered pearls , 313–5.
  • Baumstark, Literatur, 186–8 and 351 (note).
  • E.  Honigmann, ‘Two metropolitans, relatives of the Emperor Maurice: Dometianus of Melitene (about 580 – January 12, 602) and Athenogenes of Petra’, in his Patristic Studies (SeT 173; 1953), 217–25, esp. 222–3.
  • T. S.  Rørdam, ‘De regulis grammaticis, quas secutus est Paulus Tellensis in Veteri Testamento ex Graeco Syriace vertendo’, included in his Libri Judicum et Ruth secundum versionem Syriaco-Hexaplarem (1859).
  • A.  Vööbus, The Pentateuch in the version of the Syro-Hexapla (CSCO 369; 1975), 7–10.

How to Cite This Entry

Lucas Van Rompay , “Pawlos of Tella,” in Pawlos of Tella, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay,

Footnote Style Citation with Date:

Lucas Van Rompay , “Pawlos of Tella,” in Pawlos of Tella, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay (Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018),

Bibliography Entry Citation:

Van Rompay, Lucas. “Pawlos of Tella.” In Pawlos of Tella. 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.

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