ABU ISHAQ IBN FADLALLAH
A tenth-century Coptic author and one of the first to write in Arabic. Abu Ishaq left two works, composed in the year A.M. 641/A.D. 924-925. This is earlier than the work of SAWIRUS IBN AL-MUQAFFA‘, Coptic bishop of al-Ashmunayn, who is generally considered the first Coptic author to write in Arabic.
The two works of Abu Ishaq were contained in a single manuscript, which belonged to Armaniyus Habashi Shatta al- Birmawi around 1930. The present whereabouts of the manuscript is not known. Paul Sbath describes it (al-Fihris, nos. 2518 and 2519) as follows: (1) discourse on the Gospel verse: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall never pass away” (Mk. 13:31); this treatise was composed in Cairo in 924-925; (2) treatise to announce what will happen at the end of time.
As can be seen from these descriptions, Abu Ishaq was especially interested in questions concerning the end of the world and perhaps in the apocalyptic literature generally in vogue among the Copts at that time.
This author should be distinguished from his namesake Taj al-Riyasah Abu Ishaq ibn Fadlallah, who translated the Didascalia of the Apostles from Coptic into Arabic in 1295.
- Sbath, P. Al-Fihris (Catalogue de manuscrits arabes), Vol. 3, Supplement, p. 9. Cairo, 1940.
KHALIL SAMIR, S. J.