Bar ʿEdta, Rabban (d. 611 or 621) [Ch. of E.]

Disciple of Abraham of Kashkar; monastic leader. Bar ʿEdta is credited with the foundation of an important monastery, probably in 561 (or 571). The location of this monastery, which traditionally was assumed to be to the north of the village of Tarjilla, ca. 6 km. east/northeast of Karamlish (near Mosul), was questioned by Fiey, who argued instead for a location in the district of Marga, near the river Khāzir. This monastery is said to have had as many as 400 monks. Bar ʿEdta’s life is known primarily through a metrical composition by Abraham Zabaya (from the region near the river Zab), who wrote at the request of the metropolitan Bp. ʿAbdishoʿ (who might have been ʿAbdishoʿ bar Bahrīz, even though it cannot be ruled out that we are dealing with an 11th-cent. namesake). Abraham mentions as his main source a prose narrative by Bar ʿEdta’s disciple Yoḥannan the Persian. Bar ʿEdta also features prominently in Ishoʿdnaḥ’s ‘Book of chastity’ and is discussed both in Toma of Marga’s ‘Book of governors’ and in the Chronicle of Siirt. Among Bar ʿEdta’s many disciples was Rabban Hormizd. Bar ʿEdta thus played an important role in the transmission of E.-Syr. monastic ideals.


  • E. A. W.  Budge, The histories of Rabban Hôrmîzd the Persian and Rabban Bar-ʿIdtâ (2 vols; 1902, repr. 1976), vol. I, 113–202 (Abraham’s text; Syr.); vol. II.1, 161–304 (Abraham’s text; ET).
  • Fiey, Assyrie chrétienne, vol. 1, 269–83.
  • Fiey, Saints syriaques, 46–7.
  • F. Jullien, Le monachisme en Perse. La réforme d’Abraham le Grand, père des moines de l’Orient (CSCO 622; 2008), 37–38, 192–195 and passim.
  • A.  Scher, ‘Analyse de l’histoire de Rabban Bar ʿEdta, moine nestorien du VIe siècle’, ROC 11 (1906), 403–23; 12 (1907), 9–13.

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