ABU AL-MAJD IBN YU’ANNIS (?-before 1357)
A Priest, theologian. Abu al-Majd ibn Yu’annis was a priest of Minyat Bani Khasib (present-day Minya) in Middle Egypt. The dates—and even the century—of his activity are not known, although the oldest dated manuscript of his work (from 1357) provides a terminus ad quem (a final limiting point in time). At the request of one Bishop Ghubriyal of Qus, he wrote a Commentary on the Creed that, in response to Jewish objections to Christian use of a nonbiblical text, provides Old Testament testimonia for every clause in the symbol of Nicaea (the Nicene Creed).
Abu al-Majd also on occasion quotes from the Qur’an and from the Greek sages, which perhaps indicates that he had wider apologetic and catechetical goals for the work. As Samir has pointed out (“Abu al-Majd,” 21), Abu al-Majd’s concentration on the Old Testament neatly complements other Copto-Arabic commentaries on the Creed: that of Sawirus ibn al-Muqaffa‘, written against the background of Christological controversy with the Melchites and Nestorians, and that of Abu al-Barakat ibn Kabar in the second chapter of his encyclopedia, The Lamp of the Darkness, which consists largely of quotations from the New Testament.