Theodore Bar Konai

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Theodore Bar Konai (Syriac: ܬܐܕܘܪܘܣ ܒܪ ܟܘܢܝ) was a distinguished exegete and apologist of the Church of the East, who seems to have flourished at the end of the eighth century. His most famous work was a book of Scholia on the Old and New Testaments.

Life and works[edit]

Theodore Bar Konai appears to have lived during the reign of the East Syrian patriarch Timothy I (780–823), though some scholars have placed him a century later. Assemani identified him with a bishop named Theodore, the nephew of the patriarch Yohannan IV (900–5), who was appointed to the diocese of Lashom in Beth Garmaï in 893, and his dating was followed by Wright.[1] Chabot and Baum and Winkler, however, both place him at the end of the eighth century.[2]

Theodore was the author of a book of Scholia ("Ketba Deskolion") on both the Old and New Testaments (edited between 1908 and 1912 by the celebrated Chaldean scholar Addai Scher), believed to have been written c.792. The Scholia offer an apologetic presentation, similar to a catechism, of East Syrian Christianity, and contain a valuable overview of heretical doctrines and non-Christian religions such as Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism and Islam, with which Theodore sharply disagreed.[3]

Theodore was also the author of an ecclesiastical history, a treatise against the Monophysites, a treatise against the Arians, a colloquy between a pagan and a Christian, and a treatise on heresies.[4] His Church History contains some interesting details of the lives of the Nestorian patriarchs.[5]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Assemani, BO, ii. 440 and iii. 1, 198, Wright, Syriac Literature, 222
  2. ^ Chabot, Syriac Language and Literature; Baum and Winkler, Church of the East, 63
  3. ^ Baum and Winkler, Church of the East, 63
  4. ^ Chabot, Syriac Language and Literature
  5. ^ Baum and Winkler, Church of the East, 63

References[edit]

  • Assemani, J. S., Bibliotheca Orientalis Clementino-Vaticana (4 vols, Rome, 1719–28)
  • Chabot, J. B., 'Syriac Language and Literature', Catholic Encyclopedia (New York, 1912)
  • Baum, W., and Winkler, D., The Church of the East: A Concise History (London and New York, 2003)
  • Wright, W., A Short History of Syriac Literature (London, 1894)

External Links[edit]

Liber scholiorum/Ketba Deskolion, edited by Addai Scher, full text online