Abd Allah ibn al-Fadl

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Abdallah ibn al-Fadl al-Antaki (Arabic: عبد الله بن الفضل بن عبد الله المطران الانطاكي) was an Arab Orthodox translator and theologian active in Antioch during the middle of the eleventh century, during a period of renewed Byzantine rule over the city. He was responsible for a large number of patristic translations, as well as original theological and philosophical works.

Life and work[edit]

Little is known of his life, apart from what can be gleaned from manuscripts of his texts. He was a deacon and the grandson of a bishop also called Abdallah.[1] He received an excellent education in both Arabic and Greek, having studied Arabic grammar with the famous poet Abul ʿAla Al-Maʿarri and patristic texts with an unidentified teacher called Symeon.[1] Several of his works and translations were commissioned by notables from Antioch and neighbouring cities in Muslim territory. He translated the Loci communes, a Greek florilegium and wrote many works addressing theological and philosophical issues.[1]

Ibn al-Fadl's most influential work was the translation of Psalms and of Gospel and Epistle readings into Arabic which remained in use in a variety of Arabic speaking Christian communities until the modern era.[1] His psalms were used in the first printed Arabic book, the Kitab salat al-sawai.[2]

Intellectually, he can be seen as the meeting point of the Hellenism of the Byzantine empire and that of the Arabic world.[1]


  1. The Book of Benefit (Kitab al-Manfa‘a)
  2. Discourse on the Holy Trinity (Kalam fi l-lahut)
  3. Book of the Joy of the Believer (Kitab Bahjat al-Mu'min)
  4. Exposition of the Orthodox Faith (Sharh al-Amana al-Mustaqima wa-Ibanat Ghalat al-Ya'aqiba wa-l-Nastur 'Ala Sabil al-Ijaz)
  5. Questions and Responses on the Trinity and the Incarnation (Masa'il wa-Ajwiba hawla al-Tathlith wa-l-Ittihad)


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  1. ^ a b c d e Noble, Samuel; Treiger, Alexander (15 March 2014). The Orthodox Church in the Arab World, 700–1700: An Anthology of Sources. Cornell University Press. pp. 171–174. ISBN 978-1-5017-5130-1. Retrieved 18 January 2024.
  2. ^ M. Krek (1979). "The Enigma of the First Arabic Book Printed from Movable Type". Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 38 (3): 203–212. doi:10.1086/372742.

Further reading[edit]

  • Treiger, Alexander. "ʿAbdallāh ibn al-Faḍl al-Anṭākī." In Christian-Muslim Relations: A Bibliographical History, vol. 3, ed. David Thomas, Barbara Roggema, and Alex Mallett, 89–113. Leiden: Brill, 2011. Academia.edu
  • Roberts, Alexandre M. Reason and Revelation in Byzantine Antioch: The Christian Translation Program of Abdallah ibn al-Fadl. Oakland: University of California Press, 2020. ISBN 9780520343498