Sinai Greek 36

Sinai Greek 36 is a Psalter written in parallel Greek and Arabic in the ninth century. The Greek is written in an inclined majuscule with no separation between the words. The Arabic is written in kufic script. The title of each psalm is written in vermilion in both languages. Beneath is the text of Psalm 39,

Ὑπομένων ὑπέμεινα τὸν Κύριον, καὶ προσέσχε μοι καὶ εἰσήκουσε τῆς δεήσεώς μου.

With patience I waited patiently for the Lord, and he was attentive unto me and hearkened to my supplication.

‘In the Christian Arabic manuscripts preserved in the monastery of Saint Catherine in Sinai we can listen to a Christianity of the Middle East that resolutely combined engagement with the Islamic present and loyalty to its own past. They show that Christianity found its own voice in the Arabic language, so as to contribute to the exuberant new Arabic culture.’

Peter Brown, ‘The Great Transition’, The New York Review of Books, May 10, 2012.

4 comments to Sinai Greek 36

  • maria

    This is very interesting!
    Thanks a lot father Justin !

  • Seraphim

    Yes, a very informative posting. I like the bilingual use in the psalms, and the comment on the influence on Islamic culture. Again and again, many thanks!

  • Richard Saloom

    Dear Father Justin,
    Where did this work originate from? Do similarly dated works exist from say Aramaic /Coptic/Farsi related languages with Arabic?
    Thank you Father,
    Richard Saloom

    • Father Justin

      All of this is very much a work-in-progress. Scholars are now studying the Arabic manuscripts of the Scriptures with an eye for variant readings and streams of text, building up textual resources that have long been available for the Greek and other languages. The availability of quality digital images has been a great help in this, as scholars are able to look at entire collections, and make comparisons to manuscripts in other locations. I’ve been posting photographs of landscapes and services for a long time. I hope these notes about the Sinai manuscripts will be a welcome change of pace.

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