‘ABD AL-MASIH AL-ISRA’ILI (late 10th c.)
An Apologist. According to the title of his Book of Induction (Kitab al-istidlal), ‘Abd al-Masih was a Jew of al-Raqqah who was led to Christianity by the famous Christian physician Mansur ibn Sahlan (d. ca. 1004), who flourished under the early Fatimid caliphs. A precis (by Samir Khalil, “‘Abd al-Masih”) of ‘Abd al-Masih’s unpublished book suggests that it is a compendium of arguments for the truth of the Christian faith (in particular, the doctrines of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Crucifixion of Christ), much of it gathered from earlier Arabic Christian literature from outside Egypt.
The arguments range from the standard “proofs” for the true religion through prophecies and miracles to sophisticated apologetic exploitation of notions found in the (relatively recent) Arabic translations of Greek philosophical and mathematical works. As ‘Abd al-Masih becomes better known, he will undoubtedly gain in stature as a pioneer of Arabic Christian apologetic literature in Egypt.