A monk, most probably of the Melchite monastery on Mount Sinai, known solely from an incomplete manuscript of 360 folios transcribed probably in the thirteenth century (Sinai Arabic 245). It contains Byzantine liturgical texts in Arabic.
As his name implies, Athanasi came from Cairo. He may have been the copyist of the manuscript. In any case, a note on folio 360b records that he translated the text from Greek into Arabic, which indicates he had a good knowledge of these two languages.
Two questions are unresolved: whether Athanasi was the first translator of the text into Arabic, and whether there is more than one medieval Arabic translation. The answer will involve a comparison of the various collections containing liturgical texts. As far as the Sinai Arabic manuscripts are concerned, there are nine of these, apart from Sinai Arabic 245. Comparison with the only twelfth- century manuscript will be particularly important, as it could give information concerning the period in which the translator lived.
- Atiya, A. S., and J. N. Youssef. Catalogue Raisonné of the Mount Sinai Arabic Manuscripts (in Arabic). Alexandria, 1970.
- Clugnet, L. Dictionnaire grec-français des noms liturgiques en usage dans l’église grecque. Paris, 1895.
KHALIL SAMIR, S. J.