Yawsep II (1667–1713) [Chald.]

Ṣliba d-beth Maʿrūf was born in Telkepe, where he was ordained a deacon at the age of fifteen. In 1689, he moved to Diyarbakır (Amid), where he became the disciple of Patr. Yawsep I, who ordained him a priest and later Metropolitan of Diyarbakır. In 1696, he succeeded Yawsep I as the next Chaldean Catholic patr. of ‘Babylon of the Chaldeans’ under the name of Yawsep  II. In Diyarbakır, he attended one of the local Muslim schools, where he studied Arabic, philosophy, and some theology. Besides his activities as bp. and patr. , he copied mss. and wrote a number of theological, liturgical, and poetical works in Syriac, Sureth, and Arabic. He entertained close relations with the Latin missionaries, who had made Diyarbakır one of the important centers of their missionary activities. This explains the many European influences on his theological thinking. On the other hand, he also had a thorough knowledge of the Syriac literary tradition, which is, however, less reflected in his theological writings. Yawsep II can be considered as one of the Chald. theologians who substantially contributed to the partial Latinization of his community in the fields of liturgy, spirituality, and dogma.

His most important works are: 1. ‘The Joy of the Just and the Medicine of the Sinners’ (rwāzā d-kene w-sammā d-ḥaṭṭāye), originally in Arabic, translated by himself into Syriac. This work is based on the ideas of the Spanish Jesuit Eusebio Nieremberg y Ottín, who enjoyed great popularity among Latin missionaries; 2. The ‘Enlightening Lamp’ (lampedā nuhrānā), also translated from Arabic into Syriac, a compendium of the Roman Catholic ‘Ecumenical’ Councils till Ferrara-Florence (1439); 3. A ‘Book of Logic’ (ktābā d-logiqi aw d-mallilutā), originally in Arabic and translated by Yawsep into Syriac; 4. The extremely popular in Chaldean circles ‘Book of the Magnet’, a devotional-moral handbook, the Syriac text of which goes back to Arabic sources, which were basically translations of Latin devotional works; 5. The equally popular ‘Polished Mirror’ (maḥziṭā mriqtā), in both Arabic and Syriac, a dogmatic work against the ‘Jacobites’ and the ‘Nestorians’, as appears from the Arabic title. It is essentially a defense of the Catholic dogma and the primacy of the Pope, again based on Latin sources.

Yawsep also composed a number of liturgical works, a penqitā and a gazzā, in which he introduced some Latin feasts and commemorations (dukrāne) of saints, as well as an Explanation of the ecclesiastical services (puššāq tešmšātā ʿedtānāyātā). In the spiritual field, he wrote a memrā on spiritual exile, aksnāyutā, added some verses to Bar ʿEbroyo’s memrā ‘On Perfection’ (his famous memrā zawgānāyā), and composed a commentary on the latter’s memrā ‘On Divine Wisdom’. Finally, he is the author of a great number of poetical compositions of different genres ( dorekyātā , turgāme, madrāše), both in Syriac and Sureth. As patr. of a Uniate Church he had an elaborate correspondence with Rome, which is partly preserved, e.g., a Roman Catholic profession of faith, sent to the Pope (in Arabic).


  • Macuch, Geschichte, 42–44.
  • H.  Teule, ‘Joseph II, Patriarch of the Chaldeans (1696–1713/4), and the Book of the Magnet. First Soundings’, in Studies on the Christian Arabic Heritage in honour of Father Prof. Dr. Samir Khalil Samir S.I., ed. R. Ebied and H. Teule (ECS 5, 2004), 221–41.

How to Cite This Entry

Herman G. B. Teule , “Yawsep II,” in Yawsep II, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay, https://gedsh.bethmardutho.org/Yawsep-II.

Footnote Style Citation with Date:

Herman G. B. Teule , “Yawsep II,” in Yawsep II, 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/Yawsep-II.

Bibliography Entry Citation:

Teule, Herman G. B. “Yawsep II.” In Yawsep II. 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/Yawsep-II.

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

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