AL DURR AL-THAMIN (the Pearl of Great Value)
The title of two works. The first is ascribed to MURQUS IBN QANBAR, and the second to SAWIRUS IBN AL-MUQAFFA‘.
Graf (1947, pp. 331-32) says that it is likely that this commentary with this name on the Pentateuch (covering the first three books) is the work of Murqus ibn Qanbar. It exists in parts in a number of manuscripts including an American Bible Society edition. The work includes the biblical texts with their explanations for Genesis divided into lessons for evening services for all working days of the forty days of Lent (that is, without Saturdays and Sundays). The Exodus commentary has a few lessons of the total nineteen for holy days, while the Leviticus commentary, with thirteen lessons, relates none to holy days. The whole is largely instruction on the origin, necessity, and form of the confession of sins and their penance.
Sawirus ibn al-Muqaffa‘ is suggested as the probable author of the next ordered series of dogmatic articles subtitled “Exposition of Faith in Religion.” Graf (1947, pp. 313-15) says that by its content it sets forth a Monophysite theology and Christology based on texts from the Bible and patristic literature. Articles of faith are given a basis and explained in the fifteen chapters; the subject matter is the trinitarian dogma, the hypostatic union in Christ during his life from His birth to His ascension, and the Holy Spirit. Graf goes on to say that the sources are Coptic texts, some not trustworthy, collected by the author for his own purposes and translated into Arabic. ATHANASIUS I (326-373) and CYRIL I of Alexandria (412-444) appear frequently, and the latest authority referred to is the patriarch BENJAMIN (622-661).