JACOB (JAMES) OF EDESSA (Lat. Jacobus Edessenus or Orrhoenus; Syr. Urhaya; Arab. al-Rahawi): The most important of all Syriac writers with the exception of Bar Hebrĉus (see ABULFARAJ); b. at Indaba, near Antioch, c. 633; d. June 5, 708. The Syriac and Arabic names are derived from the older name for Edessa. He began his studies in a monastery near Kinnesrin and finished them in Alexandria. In 684 or 687 he became bishop of Edessa, but retired after four years; he was too severe for his clergy and burned the canons before the house of the patriarch as useless because not kept. For eleven years he lived as teacher of the monks in the monastery of Eusebona, and then for nine years in that of Telleda. On the death of Habib, his successor as bishop of Edessa, he was recalled, but died four months later while transporting his library to the city. Jacob belonged to the monophysitic branch of the Syrian Church, but is highly esteemed also by the Maronites. He was a "man of three tongues," a theologian, historian, philosopher, and grammarian?in many respects the Jerome of the Syrians. His numerous writings (see BIBLIOGRAPHY) are not yet all published.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: The works of Jacob, not all published, include one of the earliest of Syriac grammars, the extant fragments ed. W. Wright, London, 1871, and A. Merx in Historia artis grammaticae apud Syros, Leipsic, 1871; grammatical tracts, ed. J. P. Martin, London, 1869, and G. Phillips, 2 parts, Edinburgh, 1869-70; Scholia on the Old and the New Testaments, ed. Phillips, London, 1864; an exegetical work on the Hexaemeron, ed. with transl., A. Hjelt, Helsingfors, 1892. On his transl. of the Categories and Analytics of Aristotle S. Schüler has a dissertation, Erlangen, 1897; on his correspondence, Journal of Sacred Literature, new series, x (1867), 430; ZDMG, xxiv (1870), 261, xxxii (1878), 465, 735; on the chronological canon, E. W. Brooks, in ZDMG, liii (1899), 261, 534, 550; on his translation of the Bible, Ugolini in Oriens Christianus, ii. 2; on his ecclesiastical canons, the Germ. transl. of C. Kayser, Leipsic, 1886. The Carmen de fide contra Nestoriuma is not his, nor the legend on the sons of Rechab. A. L. Frothingham, The Existence of America Known early in the Christian Era, in the American Journal of Archaeology, iv. 1888, interprets a passage in the Hexaemeron. Consult: J. S. Assemani, Bibliotheca orientalis, i. 468-494, Rome, 1719; W. Wright, Catalogue of Syriac MSS., London, 1870-72; DCB, iii. 332-335 (quite full).
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