Theodotos of Amid (d. 698) [Syr. Orth.]

Holy man and bp. His Syr. name is written with final ālaph, which has led modern scholars to read ‘Theodota’ or ‘Theodote’. Theodotos was from the village of ʿĀnāt on the mountain of Beth Igalaye in the region of Amid. From a young age, he was inclined towards the study of the Scriptures and asceticism and eventually went to the Monastery of Zuqnin to take up the monastic habit. At Zuqnin, he met a monk (later to become a bp.) named Severos, who agreed to be his spiritual father. Theodotos moved to Severos’s Monastery of Qenneshre and remained there until the death of Patr. Theodoros in 666/7. From Qenneshre, Theodotos made a pilgrimage to Mt. Sinai and Jerusalem and next sailed to Egypt, spending five years there and only leaving to escape being made bp. Back in the region of Amid, he continued to work miracles and his ascetic feats made him famous. Fleeing another attempt to elevate him to the episcopacy, Theodotos spent his next five years in the region of Claudia. He was eventually consecrated bp. of Amid by Patr. Yulyanos II (687–707/8). In his old age, Theodotos left Amid and founded his own monastery near the monastery of Mar Abay at Qeleth. There he would die on 15 Aug. 698.

The Syriac Life of Theodotos was written down in Samosata by a priest named Shemʿun based on information learned from Theodotos’s disciple, Yawsep. Likely composed in the early 8th cent., Arabs appear a number of times in the text and it provides a window into this earliest period of Christian-Muslim interactions in the Middle East (see Islam, Syriac contacts with).

The Life of Theodotos is preserved in two mss.: Damascus 12/18 (late 12th cent.) and Mardin 275/8, a copy of the Damascus ms. made by Dolabani. The Life was translated into Arabic (Garshuni) in 1733/4 and exists in ms. St. Mark’s Jerusalem 199. At some point after this translation was made, the Syriac text was damaged and consequently, the Garshuni must be used to reconstruct lost passages. A Syriac and Garshuni edition is in preparation by A. Palmer and J. Tannous.

Sources

  • Fiey, Saints syriaques, 188–9.
  • Hoyland, Seeing Islam, 156–60.
  • Palmer, Monk and mason, 88–91.
  • Palmer, ‘The Garshūnī version of the Life of Theodotos of Amida’, ParOr 16 (1990–1), 253–59.
  • Palmer, ‘Āmīd in the seventh-century Syriac Life of Theodūṭē’, in The Encounter of Eastern Christianity with Early Islam, ed. E. Grypeou et al. (2006), 111–38.
  • Palmer, ‘Symeon of Samosata’, in Christian-Muslim relations, ed. Thomas and Roggema, 186–9.
  • A. Vööbus, ‘Découverte de la biographie de Théodote d’Amid par Šemʿōn de Samosate’, LM 89 (1976), 39–42.


How to Cite This Entry

Jack B. Tannous, “Theodotos of Amid,” 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/Theodotos-of-Amid.

Footnote Style Citation with Date:

Jack B. Tannous, “Theodotos of Amid,” 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/Theodotos-of-Amid.

Bibliography Entry Citation:

Tannous, Jack B. “Theodotos of Amid.” 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/Theodotos-of-Amid.

A TEI-XML record with complete metadata is available at https://gedsh.bethmardutho.org/Theodotos-of-Amid/tei.

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