In the thirteenth-century, a debate transpired over the course of several days between a monk named Jurjī and several Muslims jurists in the city of Aleppo. This debate represents a careful and sophisticated example of a literary genre that had been developing among the Christians living under Islamic rule since the seventh century. The immense popularity of this work is demonstrated by the sheer volume of surviving manuscripts, which number around hundred. This volume provides a critical edition and translation of the text.
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-4394-4 Publication Status: In Print Publication Date: Feb 28,2022 Interior Color: Black Trim Size: 6 x 9 Page Count: 358 Language: English ISBN: 978-1-4632-4394-4 Price: $65.00 Your price: $45.50
In 1216, a group of monks from the monastery of Mār Simᶜān reportedly visited Aleppo to discuss matters concerning their monastery with the governor. During this visit, a venerable member of the monastic community named Jurjī began discussing monastic life with the emir, the governor’s younger brother. Soon, several Muslim jurists joined the gathering. The emir asked them to engage in a religious debate with Jurjī.
In the debate, the jurists question the monk about Christian doctrines and practices. While Jurjī answers their questions, he criticizes Islamic teachings, claims, and figures. He also compares the messages and personalities of Christ and Muḥammad, defends the sacraments of Christianity, and examines the laws and scriptures of the Sabaeans, Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
This religious dispute survived in dozens of manuscripts. It is a wonderful example of a Christian-Arabic genre that describes medieval Christian-Muslim encounters in the caliphal court. Although these debates may have taken place, the surviving texts which describe them should not be viewed as literal recreations of the encounters. Rather, the texts seem to represent experiences and challenges faced by Christians living under Muslim rule. This genre has been popular among Christians for centuries, and the current text appears to be one of its latest developments. In order to create the most accurate representation of Jurjī’s work, this present study scrutinized over a dozen manuscripts, including the oldest extant ones. With this edition and translation, we hope to bring more scholarly attention to this fascinating genre and fantastic debate.