Barlaam and Josaphat
A hagiographic tale of Indian (Buddhist) origin which was subsequently christianized (Bodisatva becomes Josaphat). Although the Greek text ( CPG 8120) is traditionally ascribed to John of Damascus, it is now considered to have been translated by Euthymius the Athonite (d. 1028) from Georgian, which in turn derived from an Ismaili form of the story (FT by D. Gimaret, 1971). Although the story has been translated into many different languages, it appears that no Syriac version ever existed; nevertheless, it has two separate links with Syriac: chapter 27, a discourse by the ascetic Nachor, for the most part reuses the Apology of Aristides, whose Greek original is otherwise almost entirely lost, but which survives in Syriac (and Armenian) translation; and secondly, two parables from the tale did find their way into Syriac, one of which was incorporated by Bar ʿEbroyo into his ‘Amusing stories’ (10, no. 382).
- T. Bräm, ‘Barlaam et Josaphat’, in Dictionnaire des philosophes antiques, vol. 2 (1994), 63–83.
- A. van Lantschoot, ‘Deux paraboles syriaques (Roman de Barlaam et Joasaph)’, LM 79 (1966), 133–54.
- R. Volk, Die Schriften des Johannes von Damaskos, vol. VI/2. Historia animae utilis de Barlaam et Ioasaph (spuria) (PTS 60, 2006).
How to Cite This Entry
Footnote Style Citation with Date:
Sebastian P. Brock, “Barlaam and Josaphat,” 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/Barlaam-and-Josaphat.
Bibliography Entry Citation:
Brock, Sebastian P. “Barlaam and Josaphat.” 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/Barlaam-and-Josaphat.
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