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Severus of al-Ashmunein, An unpublished fragment of the "Book of the Councils" from Cairo Coptic Museum Ms. Theol. 196, ff.268v-270v (2008)

Georg Graf in his "Geschichte der arabischen christlichen Literatur" refers to 'Cairo 111': "Severus ibn al-Muqaffa‘ of al-Ashmûnain (10th century) in his polemical "Book of the Councils" (= S)  2...[2] In Cairo 111 (1544 AD), ff. 268v-270v. This portion was not included in the printed edition in Patrologia Orientalis III, 2." (Graf vol. 1. p-483-6) Graf nr 111 is found in the Coptic Museum. Its shelf number there is Theol. 196. It is also described in Simaika's catalogue under nr. 53. In the film collection at BYU, it is found in Roll A15-4. Here is an English translation of ff.268v-270v.

[Translated by Youhanna Youssef]

...Do not hold it because it would be unfair to him. In case his words are correct, grant him words and mysteries,[1] so if he keeps that so it would be considered as a supplication. The Just testified in his favour and also said: "The sun will be eclipsed [2] for six to nine hours[3]; though it was not at the regular time of eclipse but for the sake of the afflicted (man). He will be falsely accused, sought after to be executed by his people. And his people will reward his good deeds with evil. The houses of gods and their altars will fall down. The "sultan" (the prince) of the afflicted men[4] will cry out to them and to all the creation: "My son, at that time, the dead (people) will be raised and the wonders will be performed by the afflicted because by his power will tread on earth and will conduct the creation."

Hermes said also from that time till the shining of light of the afflicted to Egypt will be (equal to) fifty of old sheikh Kiwan’s cycles. So from the time that Hermes said that to the coming of Christ will be 1,500 years.

Anasolus said: "O my son; the great king is pious[5] without sin. You are the great Lord of men, who manages[6] everything under your sight.[7] You are the powerful, immaculate, almighty, king[8] of (all) dead and living[9]."

He said also: "These powers are three divine names in one by his power and his might. The only God, who is unseen by anybody. Power that nobody is able to contend or to realise its nature. And through these powers everything came to be."

And Arkus said: "One divinity in three names, by which everything came to be."

And Arfush said: "Unique is the unseen[10] light, who at all times liberates the thought, and the word born from Him is perfect in everything and by him everything was made."

And Plato (Aflatun) said: "(first) the old reason [fol. 268v] which is the grace above[11] every reason. Second the action that creates everything, and third reason is the soul[12] which gives life[13] to all living."

Ares said: "He is God the Word. When the perfect was born [in every birth, who is working in the nations, the father][14] descended and dwelt in nature. And through nature the water turned to wine."

And Plato (Aflaton) said also: "One is the highest God in the highest, through His own imperceptible Word, a maiden conceived. He passed through her womb like the iron axe goes through the fire. He saves the world by presenting (himself) a sacrifice to His father. The name of the maiden is the Virgin."

Plato said in the book of the mysteries: "The highest of the high will appear on the earth and will raise the dead. His divine wonders will be realised and he will return to his fearful throne and they will not be able to see him again till the great day judgement."

Junius (Yunius) the wise said: "He is the almighty, the great, sitting above the heavens, surrounded by the heat of light, whose kingdom has no end. He will appear on earth and will raise the dead, heal the sick and will demonstrate the divine wonders; then will return to his throne in the highest; for he is in the highest heaven. And the Persians, when he appears on earth, (Faris) will offer their sacrifices to Him, for he is the king of kings, lord of Lords and his kingdom has no end.

And Plato said: "The trinity is one sublime unique God. His unchangeable word in a maiden virgin[15] conceived without intercourse, like a fire in the world. [He will come, will hunt to all and offer sacrifice][16]. To for him will be this house, I mean the body."

And Nifius the wise said: "The (  )[17] thrown in the fire which is the divinity. He is the everlasting life and unchangeable light. He will be seen on earth while He is in Heaven. He commands in heaven and earth, and in him (folio 269r) there is life to all who take refuge."

He said also: "He will descend, manifest himself and the Lord will shine on earth. The inhabitants of Persia will come and glorify him by offering presents. (He is) ... [18]. The sublime and wonderful God will be manifested on earth, being higher than the speech and superior to the mind. He will endure forever, without end."

Augustus the wise, in the science of astronomy, said: "There is a young Hebrew man, called Christ. He is eternal (of the eternity), by nature; he will appear openly, holding the authority of Lordship. He will raise the dead, purify the lepers, loosen the tongues of dumb."

Aristotle (Aristo) the wise, in his book known as the highest sciences, said: "You do not see the true God without (looking) through his veil (Hijab) that obscures his light from your sights in order that you may not lift up your eyes from his seeing.[19] By his appearance, they will recognise the majesty of his authority and by this (appearance) you will know that he is the king of kings and lord of Lords."

He said also in his message to Alexander: "Diligently seek the water of life. You would not find the water of life except by one man who will appear in the world wearing cloth of the world.[20] If you find him, you will get from him the water of life and he will feed you, from the eternal tree of life. Through his hands, the water of eternal life will flow."

He in his book called the book of treasures said: "The treasure of life belongs to the Lord (Adonay) God who will appear in the world and those who are in the tombs will hear his voice and raise up."

Nikius (or Niphius) the wise said: "Honour be to you, O threefold blessed, who are God being alive through his death. He will destroy death being risen after three days."

Plato (Aflatun) said: "My father sent me, entrusted for the truth. They are not aware of what they say; that are the priests. They reject his words. The sent prophets of old, who were informed by God in truth (folio 269v) about the manifestation of Lord Christ, to whom is glory, incarnated in the world, and performing miracles and accepting life-giving sufferings for our sake; the believers."

Among those (prophecies) Moses the prophet, may the peace be upon him,[21] said: "A star will come forth out of Jacob and son of Man in Israel and will reign on Adam and no end will be to his kingdom." (Numbers 24:17?) He said also: "God will raise up unto you a Prophet from the midst of you, of your brethren like me. All soul would listen to him will perish from its people."(Deuteronomy 18:15) He said also: ‘You will see your lives suspended and you would not believe"

Jacob said in his blessing to Judah, his son: " The kingdom nor the leadership shall not depart from Judah from his feet, a prophet descendants until come to whom is the kingdom. (Genesis 49:10) and upon Him all peoples will rely and all nations will hope.

And Ezekiel the prophet said: "The Lord appeared to me in the midst of Zion, veiled with a veil of human flesh like me"

He said also: "I saw a gate facing eastwards and it was shut, sealed with a marvellous seal and nobody enter by it except the lord of Hosts who entered in and came out and the gates was not opened and seal was not changed (Ez.44:1-2 cf. also the Coptic Psalmodia, Lobsh of Wednesday, first two stanzas).

Isaiah the prophet said: "Behold the Virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel which means God with us" (Is 7:14)

Zakariah the prophet said: "They will know that I am the Lord their God when I appear among the people and talk manifestly to them. (XXX)

Isaiah the Prophet said: "It might that I come to you in your dress and cloth and bind the broken –heated (second part Is 61:1).

He said also: When the Lord comes, in those days, the blinds shall see, the dumb shall speak, the lame shall stand up, the lame shall walk and the lepers shall be cleansed, the dead are raised up and the poor preached (Is: 29:18, 35:4-6, 42:7, Mt 11:5).

He said also: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, the government shall be upon his shoulder and his name shall be called king [fol. 270r] of the great counsel, the mighty God, the prince of peace and the everlasting Father." (Is 9:6)

He said also: "The will be wonder of wonders in Israel from the Lord of angels, who is dwelling in Zion.

He said also: "God will manifestly appear as saviour, he will reject the impiety from Jacob and the transgression from Israel."

He said also: "said to the daughter of Zion that my son will raise up and will be elevated and he will be wonderful, he will make dumb the lips of the kings and teach them what they do not know and to whom the arm of the Lord was announced.

He said also: "I shall send my boy, my beloved, to whom I was delighted, I will put my spirit on him, so that he will teach the nations of the judgment. He will not argue. Nor cry out and nobody in the streets will hear his voice. A bruised reed, he shall not break, and the smoking flax he shall not quench, he shall bring forth the judgement[22] unto the victory and upon his name the nations will trust. (42:1-3 Mt 12:19)

He said also: Many will make covenant to you, binding their waist, praying to you, prostrating to you for God is on You. You are truly God.

He said also: "Strengthen you, weak hands and confirm the feeble knees, the fearful heart shall comfort and would not fear for the Lord the reward will come with judgement and save you. Then He will open the eyes of the blinds, the ears of the deaf shall hear, the lame man shall jump like a deer, the tongues of the dumb shall utter. The water shall water in the wilderness, which was thirsty like the water of the sea. (Is 35:3-5)

Jeremiah the prophet said: "God will descend on earth and will walk with people"

Job the just said: " I know that God will appear on the earth, by the end of the time and will walk on the sea as if it was the earth.

Nahum the prophet said: "The Lord will come wearing like my cloth, he will destroy the arrogant and will walk on the sea and will satisfy from bread in the deserts and will (folio 270v) bring forth from his vine twelve branches from the sons of Israel and all the nations will worship him for he is God who wrote on the tablets of Moses the prophet.

He said also: " I shall come and dwell in you said the Lord the almighty."

Zephaniah the prophet said: Comfort you, o Zion, let your hands no be slack for the Lord our God, the mighty, will come in the midst of you and save you (Zephaniah 3:16-17.)

Joel the prophet said: " I saw a virgin from the house of Jacob from the descendant of David becoming a throne to the Lord. I asked the Cherub and said: "Who is this?" He said to me: "This is the chosen throne from the nature of Adam in order to deliver the nations and the sign of my vision is that my hand was burnt from the hand of the angel."

Hosea the prophet said: "God will descend feet from heaven to the earth, he will enter to Egypt and destroy the temples of idols. He will send his disciples. He is God who created me and taught me. Do not reject him, o son of Israel in order that he will not cease your kingdom and your sacrifices and will take the prophecy from you and give it to the circumstanced with his oil and he will make another nation out of you."

He said also: The Lord will truly come and appear on earth."

Isaiah the prophet said: "The word hits [23] and cuts and the Lord will make it to pass[24]

He said also: There will not be an establish root and will raise from him will be the head of the nations will hope him."

Elisha the prophet said: "The Lord will come from heaven and will walk in the markets, he will command the righteousness and to him will listen all the nations."

Micah the prophet said: "The Word of the Lord will appear in Jerusalem and from Zion will come out the Law [25]"

He said also: " But you Bethlehem you are not the least among the kingdom of Judah from out of you will come a notable who will pastor my people Israel  (Micah 5:2 Theotokia of Thursday 5)

He said also: "I will make my son God for nations and a king for them…

[1] Meaning unclear in Arabic depending on the previous context.

[2] The Arabic adds: "and the eclipse will be".

[3] Other possibility "from the sixth to the ninth hour".

[4] Meaning unclear.

[5] The Arabic here is not clear, it could be also read "was exiled".

[6] Lit you see, or watch.

[7] lit under your light.

[8] lit. holding on.

[9] lit non-dead.

[10] lit. "intangible".

[11] reading uncertain.

[12] the word is not clear in the Ms.

[13] lit adds "which is the life all".

[14] Meaning unclear due to the bad condition of the manuscript.

[15] Text adds "overshadows".

[16] Meaning unclear.

[17] Perhaps "axe".

[18] I cannot read it.

[19] perhaps meaning "in order to protect your eyes from the brightness of his sight"?

[20] in the margin.

[21] Islamic formulation for the prophets.

[22] In the margin.

[23] meaning uncertain.

[24] meaning uncertain.

[25] or the year or the tongues.

فلا يمنعها بيته فانك تظلمه فان يكون كلامه حقا امنحه بالكلام والاشتراك

فان حفظ ذلك كان دعاء فقد شهد له الحق وقال ايضا تنكسف

الشمس ويكون الكسوف من سته ساعات من النهار الى تسعة ساعات

وليس هو وقت كسوف بل من اجل المحزون انه يفتري عليه عليه ويطلب

ويهلك من شعبه ويجازيه شعبه على صنيعه بهم الخير بالشر ويقع

بيوت الالهه وهياكلهم ويصيح سلطان المحزون عليه وعلي جميع الخلق

يا ابني للموتي في هذا الوقت يعيشون والعجايب تظهر من المحزون لانه

بقوته يمشي على الارض ويباشر المخلوقين وقال ايضا هرمس ان

من هذا الحين الى دخول النور المحزون الى مصر يكون في خمسين دورة

للشيخ كيوان العتيق يكون لهذا القول ايضا من هرمس المتكلم

الى مجي المسيح الف وخمسايه سنة وقال سولس يا ابني الملك

العظيم تقيا بلا دنس انت عظيم رب الانام الذي كل شئ من بعد

ضياك تنظره انت الذي ليس فيك دني القوي القادر على كل

 شئ ملك المايتين وغير المايتين وقال ايضا هذه القوات ثلاثة

اسماء الاهيه واحد من قوته وجبروته الوحيد الاله الذي لا ينظره احد

وقوة ما يستطيع يلقاها ولا ينظرها بطبعا ومن هذه القوات

كل شئ وقال ارخس قلاقة اسماء في لاهوت واحد بها

كان كل شئ وقال ارقس واحد هو فقط الضو الغير محسوس

وهو في كل فت الذي يحرز الفكران والكلمة المولودة منه

كاملة في كل شئ وصانعة كل شئ وقال افلاطون العلة القديمة




التي هي النعمة التحتة  على كل علة ثانية العقل الذي خلق كل شئ العلة

الثالثة النفس الصانعة الحياة التي هي كل حي ويقال ارس

هو الاله الكلمة ان ولد الكامل في كل مولد الصانع في الامم الوالد نزل

وسكن بالطبع وبالطبع امر الماء يحل تاويله ان صار خمرا وقال افلاطون

ايضا واجد هو الاله العلي في العلا الذي بكلمته الغير محسوسة جارية

حبلت بها وهذا مثل الفوس الحديد المتردية بالنار ويسلك في

احشايها ويدخر العالم ويقربه لابيه قربانا اي اسم الجارية العدرا

وقال افلاطون في كتاب الاسرار ان العلى الاعلا يظهر في الارض

ويقيم الموتا وتظهر اياته الربانية ويرجع الى عرشه المرهوب ولا

يعودوا يروه الى يوم الحكم العظيم وقال يونيون الحكيم هو القديم

العظيم الجالس فوق السموات المتردي بلهيب النور الذي لا يفنا

ملكه يظهر على الارض ويقيم الموتا ويشفي المرضي ويظهر الايات الربانية

ويرجع الى عرشه [العلوي] لانه في السموات العلا وعند ظهوره في الارض

ياتون اهل فارس ويقدمون قرابينهم اليه لانه ملك الملوك ورب

الارباب وملكه لا يفنى وقال افلاطون الثالوث الاله واحد عال

وحده الذي كلمته لا تتغير في جارية عذرى ظلته من غير جماع

تحبل وشبيه النار في العالم يحضر ولكل يصيد لابيه يقرب قربانا

وله يكون هذا البيت اعتي الجسد وقال نيفوس الحكيم الفار الذي

مقل النار الذي هو لاهوت وحياة  لا تنقضي وضو لا يتغير

ينظر في الارض وهو في السماء ويامر في الماء وفي الارض وفيه


حياة لكلمن يلجا اليه وقال ايضا ظاهر يشرق على الارض

وياتون اهل فارس ومعهم العطايا ويقربونها له تمجيدا بد  [الاله عظيم

وعجيب يظهر في الارض وهو ارفع من الكلمة واعلا من العقل والى الانقضاء

ولايزول وقال اوغسطس الحكيم في علم التنجيم ان شاب عبراني يدعى

المسيح هو ذاته ازلي الازلي يظهر علانية وبيده سلطان الربوبية

فيقيم الموتا ويطهر البرص ويطلق الالسنة الخرص وقال ارسطو

الحكيم في كتابه المعروف بالعلوم العلوية انكم لا تشاهدوا الاله

الحقيقي الا بحجابه الذي به يخفي نوره عن ابصاركم ليلا تشخص

عيونكم من نظره فاذا ظهر استدلوا على عظمتة سلطانه وبهذا

تعلموا انه ملك الملوك ورب الارباب وقال في رسالته الى

الاسكندر جد في طلب ماء الحياة وانك ما تجد ما الحياة الا

في رجل واحد يظهر في العالم لابس لباس [العالم] فاذا وجدته ظفرت

عنده بماء الجياة ويغذيك من شجرة الحياة الابدية بطعامه

ومن يديه يجري ماء الحياة الابدية وقال في كتابه المسمى كتاب

الكنوز ان كنز الجياة عند ادوناي الاله الذي يظهر في المسكونة

ويسمع صوته الذين في القبور ويقومون وقال نيقوس الحكيم

فخرا لك  ايها المثلث الغبطة الذي الاله ممتد وهو ميت يفني

الموت اذ اقام ثلثة أيام بيانا وقال افلاطون لا والدي ارسلني

امين الحق ما يدرون ما يقولون يعني الكهنة وينكرون كلامه

الذي تقدن وقالت الانبيا المرسلين الذين انباهم الله بالحق



على ظهور السيد المسيح له المجد متجسد في العالم وعمله بالايات

وقبوله الالام المييه لها نحن المومنين من ذلك ما قاله

موسى النبي عليه السلام سيطلع كوكب في يعقوب وابن بشر

في اسراييل ويملك على ادم ولا يكون لملكه امقضا وقال ايضا

ان الله يقيم لكم نبيا من اخوتكم مثلي وكل نفس  ما تسمع له تهلك

من شعبها وقال ايضا ستنظرون حياتكم معلقا ور تومنون

وقال يعقوب في بركته على يهوذا ولده لا يزال الملك والرياسة

في يهوذا واقدام نبي مبشرا من صلبه حتي ياتي الذي له الملك عليه

تتوكل الشعوت وله ترجوا الامم وقال حزقيال النبي ان الرب

ظهر لي في وسط صهيون محتجب بحجاب لحم انسانمثلي وقال ايضا

رايت بابا في المشرق مغلق نختوما بخاتم عجيب لم يدخله غير رب القوات

دخل فيه وخرج ولم ينفتح الباب ولم يتغير الخاتم وقال اشعيا النبي

هوذا العذرى تحبل وتلد ابنا ويدعى اسمه عمانويل الذي تاويله

الله معنا وقال زكريا النبي سيعلمون اني انا الرب الاههم اذ ظهرت

بين الناس وكلمتهم باعلان وقال اشعيا النبي لابد ان اتيك في زيك

ولباسك البس واجبر منكسري القلوب وقال ابضا يا بني

اسراييل اذ جاء الرب في ملك الايام العميان يبصرون والخرس

ينطقون والمقعدين ينهضون والعرج يمشون والبرص يطهرون

والموتا يقومون والمساكين يبشرون وقال ايضا ولد ولد لنا

وابنا اعطيناه الذي سلطانه على منكبيه ويدعى اسمه ملك

المشورة العظما الاه مسلما قادر رييس السلامة واب الدهر الاتي

وقال ايضا انه يكون عجيب الاعاجيب في اسراييل من رب

الملايكة الذي هو ساكن في صهيون وقال ايضا ان الله يظهر جهرا

ومخلضا فيرد الكفر عن يعقوب والاثم عن اسراييل وقال ايضا قل

لابنه صهيون ان ابني يقوم ويرتفع ويكون عجبا ويخرس السنة الملوك

ويوريهم ما لم يعرفوه وذراع الرب لم اعلن وقال ايضا هوذا انا

مرسا فتاي حبيبي الذب به سررت اضع روحي عليه يخبر الامم

بالحكم لا يماري ولا يصيح ولا يسمع احد صوته في الشوارع قصبة

مرضوضة لا يكسر وسراج يطفطف لا يطفي حتى يخرج بالغلبة وعلى

اسمه تتوكل الامم وقال ايضا كثيرون يتعبدون لك مربوكين الاوساط

ويصلون نحوك ويسجدون لك لان الله حال فيك وانت الاله

بالحقيقة وقال ايضا يقوى اتيها الايدي المرتعشة والركب المرتعدة

والصغيري القلوب يتعزوا ولا يخافوا فان الرب المجازي بالحكم ياتي

ويتجيك حينيذ يفتح عيني العميان والاذان الصم تسمع ويقفز الاعرج

مثل الايل وتنطلق السن الخرس ويروي الماء في البراري التي

لم تزل عطشا كمثل مل البحر وقال ارميا انبي ان الله سينزل على

الارض ويمشي بين الناس وقال ايوب الصديق انا اعلم ان اله

له سيظهر على الارض في اخر الزمان ويمشي على البحر كاليبس

وقال ناحوم النبي ان الرب ياتي [بصورتي] ولباسه كلباسي فيهلك المتجبرين

ويمشي على البحر ويشبع من الخبز البراري ويخرج




من كرمته اثني عشر قضيب من بني اسراييل وتسجد له كل الامم وهو الله

الكاتب هذه الالواح لموسى النبي وقال ايضا هوذا اجي واسكن فيك

قال الرب ضابط الكل وقال صفونيا النبي تعزى يا صهيون

ولا تسترخي يديك فان الرب الهنا القوي ياتي وتحل فيك وينجيك

وقال يوييل النبي رايت عذرى من بيت يعقوب ونسل داود قد

جعلت كرسيا الرب فسالت الكاروبي وقلت له من هذه فقال

لي هذه كرسي المختار من طبيعة ادم لتخلص الامم وعلامه رؤياي ان

كفي احترق من قبضة الملاك وقال عوزيا النبي ان الله ينزل من

السماء قدميه الى الارض ويدخل الى مصر ويهدم برابي الاوثان

ويرسل تلاميذه وهو الله الذي بناني وعلمني فلا تكفروا به يا بني اسراييل

فيبطل ملككم وقرابينكم وياخذ النبوة منكم ويعطيها للمختونين

بدهنه ويجعل له امة غيركم وقال ايضا ياتي الرب حقا ويظهر

على الارض وقال اشعيا النبي كلمة صرت وقطعت وسيمضيها

الرب وقال ايضا انه سيكون اصل ثابت والذي يقوم منه

 رايسا للشعوب واياه ترجوا الامم وقال اليشع اللنبي

ان الرب ياتي من السماء ويمشي في الاسواق ويوصي الامم بالبر ويسمع

له جميع الامم وقال ميخا النبي كلمة الرب تظهره بيروشليم

ومن صهيون تخرج السنة وقال ايضا وانت يا بيت لحم

لست بصغيرة في ملوك بهوذا لان منك يخرج مقدما يرعي

شعبي اسراييل وقال ايضا اجعل ابني الاها للامم وملكا عليهم

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Early Church Fathers - Additional Texts