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Omitted from the Second Edition (see pp. 105–6 of Introduction)
Appendix B: Part I, Selection from the Book of Grace; Part II, Epistle to Abba Symeon of Caesarea
Appendix D: Mar John the Solitary: Epistle on Stillness
Epilogue: A Brief Historical and Theological Introduction of the Church of Persia to the End of the Seventh Century
Bedjan’s Syriac Text
Scanned by Brigham Young University & The Catholic University of America
Wensinck’s English Translation
The 1923 translation made from Bedjan’s Syriac.
PDF (it omits Wensinck’s Introduction)
DVD of Vatican Syriac Manuscripts
This includes Vatican Syriac 124 which we consulted for our translation, and Vatican 125, which we never saw, and many other MSS. N.B. A translation of the Syriac is not included.
Dr. Brian Colless’s dissertation on John Saba or Dalyatha, the author of what are Homilies 15, 16, 17, and 31 in our edition. This dissertation includes the Syriac text of his homilies that was used to revise our translation of them from the Greek text.
Click here then click at left on the icon of one large page connected to two smaller pages, or the smaller version of the same icon at “Object.”
Chabot’s Synodicon Orientale
Mentioned in the Introduction, p. 52, n. 2; p. 54, n. 7; p. 57, n. 18, this gives the Syriac text of the Synod of Dayrin in northeastern Arabia that brought thither George, Catholicos of Persia, who ordained St. Isaac Bishop of Nineveh, with a French translation of it and a biography of Catholicos George in French. PDF
Chabot’s De S. Isaac Ninivitae
Mentioned frequently in the Introduction, this is Chabot’s 1892 work, written in Latin, about St. Isaac’s life and writings. PDF
Chabot’s Le Livre de la Chasteté
On p. 53 of the Introduction we mention one of the few sources of a life of St. Isaac, found in a work entitled The Book of Chastity, comprising short histories of famous monks of the Persian Church, by the ninth-century East Syrian author Isho‘denah.
Chabot’s edition of this work, providing both the original Syriac text and his French translation of it, is available here.
Sebastian Brock’s From Qatar to Tokyo
An outline of the history of the text of The Ascetical Homilies: About St. Isaac, the earliest known MSS of translations of his homilies into Greek and other languages, and how writings by a Saint from Qatar have been made known as far away as Tokyo.
Bibliographical information: From Qatar to Tokyo, by way of Mar Saba: the Translations of Isaac of Beth Qatraye (Isaac the Syrian), Aram Periodical, Vol. 11–12 (1999–2000)
Sebastian Brock’s Syriac into Greek at Mar Saba
Subtitle: The Translation of St. Isaac the Syrian, in The Sabaite Heritage in the Orthodox Church from the Fifth Century to the Present. Presents fascinating information about the relations between the Greek Orthodox Church and the Church of the East, explains some of the complications with the MSS, and discusses the history of the translation of The Ascetical Homilies into Greek and other languages.
Available here among other places. Dr. Brock’s article is pp. 201–8.
Thomas of Marga’s Book of Governors
Mentioned in the Introduction, p. 52, n. 3; p. 57, n. 18, this includes a history of the Monastery of Beth Abe, where St. Isaac was ordained Bishop.
Volume I is the Syriac text with Budge’s lengthy and valuable Introduction (in English) and Volume II is the English translation of the Syriac text.
Pages 179–97 of Vol. II include a life of Catholicos George and how Anan-Isho, commissioned by him, made the Syriac collection of The Paradise of the Holy Fathers which was also translated by Budge (see below).
Budge’s Paradise of the Holy Fathers
This collection of sayings of the Holy Fathers of the Egyptian Desert is recommended reading for all. It was commissioned by George, the Catholicos who ordained St. Isaac Bishop, and formed part of the Saint’s spiritual reading.
In the second edition of The Ascetical Homilies the references to this are for the edition printed by Chatto & Windus in two volumes in 1907, which is available in reprint.
For the first edition the references were made to the earlier edition of Budge’s work printed in 1904, which includes the Syriac text with the English translation. Only 500 copies were printed, but now it is also available as PDFs:
Homilies of St. Macarius the Great
Spiritual reading of the highest caliber, recommended for all.
On p. 109 of the Introduction we discuss the Epistle of St. Macarius included in Appendix B, and refer the reader to A.J. Mason’s 1921 translation of his homilies, which is available here. His introduction ably defends St. Macarius’s authorship of the homilies.
Thomas Haywood, identified on the title page simply as “A Presbyter of the Church of England,” translated these homilies of St. Macarus in 1721, in a language that is more colorful than Mason’s, though often rougher on the modern reader. He begins his Introduction with a remarkable defense of the doctrine of the deification of man. It was the scriptural references placed in the margins that inspired us to do the same for our second edition of the Ascetical Homilies. PDF
Br. Sabino Chialà’s Work on St. Isaac
Full title: Dall’ascesi eremitica alla misericordia infinita, Ricerche su Isacco di Ninive e la sua fortuna, by Sabino Chialà, L.S. Olschki (Florence, 2002). This is by far the most comprehensive, or rather exhaustive work on St. Isaac done to date, recapitulating the scholarly work on St. Isaac already done, and greatly adding to it, especially with information about the editions of his Homilies in Western Europe. It is in Italian; unfortunately we know of no English translation of it in preparation.
Dr. Sebastià Janeras’s Works on St. Isaac
The article upon which we most depended in our Introduction for the popularity of the Ascetical Homilies in Spain and Portugal was Dr. Janeras’s La diffusion d’Isaac de Ninive dans la Péninsule Ibérique, in Eastern Crossroads, ed. Juan Pedro Monferrer-Sala, Gorgias Press, 2007, pp. 247–74. It is in French; unfortunately we know of no English translation of it in preparation.
An article by Dr. Janeras in Catalan covering much of the same ground is available here.
He has written two further articles on St. Isaac, both in Catalan:
1. How a passage of the Latin translation of the Greek translation of the Homilies was misunderstood and progressively transformed into a quite different meaning. PDF.
Wright’s Short History of Syriac Literature
The work mentioned in the last page of the Introduction is available here.
The Ascetical Homilies in The Brothers Karamazov
A discussion of Dostoevsky’s references to St. Isaac’s Ascetical Homilies in The Brothers Karamazov has been posted here.
Sebastian Brock’s Introduction to Syriac Studies
An excellent and very comprehensive introduction to the history and literature of Syriac and the many sources for learning and studying it. Here
Payne Smith’s Compendious Syriac Dictionary
The standard Syriac-English Dictionary, originally published by Oxford University Press but now in the public domain. It is what we use in translating Syriac, and was shown here and here. PDF
Eisenbraun’s hard cover facsimile reprint.