Moiseeva Sof'ia

The Reception of the Classical Ancient Tradition of Consolatio in Medieval Arabic Christian Literature

Moiseeva Sof'ia (2017) "The Reception of the Classical Ancient Tradition of Consolatio in Medieval Arabic Christian Literature ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia III : Filologiia, 2017, vol. 51, pp. 66-79 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturIII201751.66-79


This paper deals with three texts written in the genre of “consolation”, or consolatio, by the medieval Christian Arab authors Elias al-Jawhari, Severus ibn al-Muqaff a, and Elias bar Shinaya of Nisibis. The goal of this study is to reveal their connection to works of the Arab tradition, including the treatise by the Muslim Arab philosopher al-Kindi. This treatise serves as a link connecting the works of al-Jawhari, ibn al- Muqaff a and bar Shinaya with the Ancient Greek consolatio. The analysis off ered in the paper leads to the conclusion that Christian Arab writers adopted the literary form of the epistolary treatise, but modifi ed its content. All of the three authors theologise the content of consolatio, but choose diff erent strategies. Elias bar Shinaya brings the problem to a generalised ethical level considering it in the context of virtues and vices and organising the material mainly as a collection of sayings and short stories. Elias al-Jawhari and Severus ibn al-Muqaff a try to combine the argumentation typical for ancient consolations with arguments based on texts known to the Christian reader, fi rst and foremost Biblical. Furthermore, Elias al-Jawhari mostly employs themes from the Old Testament that could also be relevant for Muslim readers, whereas Severus ibn al-Muqaff a actively synthesises Classical and Christian material. The latter allows us to suggest the development of a theoretic treatise in the genre of consolatio, containing Christian content for the fi rst time. This paper also puts forward the idea that this phenomenon may be related to the powerful impetus gained by Arab writers during the so-called Abbasid Renaissance.


consolatio, philosophy, grief, sorrow, affl iction, Classical Antiquity, Arabic Christian literature, Elias al-Jawhari, Elias bar Shinaya of Nisibis, Severus ibn al-Muqaff a, Abu Yusuf Yaqub ibn Ishaq al-Kindi


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Moiseeva Sof'ia