ISAAC OF ANTIOCH: The name of a writer (perhaps of several writers) of the early Syrian Church. Jacob of Edessa (cf. W. Wright, Catalogue of the Syriac Manuscripts in the British Museum, ii. 603-604, London, 1871) distinguishes three of the name, two whom he calls orthodox and a third whom he styles a Chalcedonian heretic. The first was a disciple of Ephraem, and went to Rome in the time of Arcadius; on his return he was kept for some time in prison in Constantinople, and later became presbyter of Amida. The second, presbyter of Edessa, went to Antioch in the time of the Emperor Zeno and the patriarch Peter the Fuller (see MONOPHYSITES, §§ 4 sqq.), and preached against the Nestorians, taking his text from a parrot which he had heard screech the trisagion with the addition "crucified for us." The third, also from Edessa, was orthodox in the time of Bishop Paul (512 sqq.), but Nestorian under Asclepius (522 sqq.). Gennadius knows of two writers of the name. The second (De vir. ill., lxvi.), presbyter of Antioch, lived to an advanced age and wrote much, including an elegy on the fall of Antioch (459); he died under Leo and Majorian (between 459 and 461). Zacharias Rhetor (ed. K. Ahrens and G. Krüger, Leipsic, 1889, p. *20) mentions "Isaac, the teacher of Syria," with Dada in the time of Arcadius and Theodosius. Dionysius of Telmahre knows of poems by Isaac on the capture of Rome by the Goths (410) and the secular games of 404. Johannes bar Shushan (d. 1073), who collected the writings of Isaac, calls him a disciple of Ephraem's disciple, Zenobius. There is an edition of his works (incomplete) by G. Bickell (2 vols., Giessen, 1873-77); thirty-seven productions out of about two hundred are given, including a poem of not less than 2,136 lines on the parrot and the trisagion, and another of 1,928 lines on repentance. A volume of Isaac's homilies has been published by P. Bedjan (Paris, 1903).
BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. S. Assemani, Bibliotheca orientalis, i. 207-304, Rome, 1719; P. Zingerle, in TQ, lii (1870), 92-114; G. Cardahi, Liber thesauri de arte poetica Syrorum, pp. 21-25, Rome, 1875; W. Wright, Short Hist. of Syriac Literature, pp. 51-54, London, 1894; R. Duval, Littérature syriaque, pp. 340-341, Paris, 1900; DCB, iii. 295-296.
ISAAC OF NINEVEH: Bishop of Nineveh in the seventh century. He was made bishop by the patriarch George (660-680), in succession to Moses, but retired after five months, and died, almost blind from much study, in the monastery of Rabban Shabor. One of his works exists in Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic, and also in a Greek translation by two monks, Patricius and Abraham, of the monastery of Mar Saba, southeast of Jerusalem, and published by Nicephorus (Leipsic, 1770; in MPG, lxxxvi. 799-888). A Latin translation under the title Isaac Syrus, liber de contemptu mundi in fifty-three chapters is in the Bibliotheca magna (Cologne, 1618, VI., ii. 688; Gallandi, Bibliotheca, xii. 3). Another work entitled "Letter to the Holy Father Simon in the Wonderful Mountain" is published in Greek in Mai's Nova Bibliotheca, vol. viii., part 3 (Rome, 1871), pp. 156-188; it is interesting for its information about Malpat of Edessa, the originator of the Messalians, and the knowledge it shows of apocalyptic literature.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: The earlier literature, viz., J. S. Assemani, Bibliotheca orientalis, i. 44, Rome, 1719; W. Wright, Short Hist. of Syriac Literature, London, 1894; and J. B. Chabot, De S. Isaaci Ninivitae vita, scriptis et doctrina, Paris, 1892, is to be corrected by Jésusdenah, évêgue de Bacrah, le livre de la chasteté, ed. J. B. Chabot, Rome 1896, cf. J. B. Chabot in Revue sémitique, 1896, p. 254. Consult also: DCB, iii. 291-292; W. Wright, Catalogue of Syriac MSS., ii. 569-581, London, 1870-72.
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