IBN KATIB QAYSAR (c. 1260)
According to G. Graf, a thirteenth-century Coptic philologist and scriptural commentator. He came from a respected and influential family. Al-MU’TAMAN ABU ISHAQ IBN AL-‘ASSAL, who had connections with all the learned people of his time, rated him highly because of his extraordinary knowledge and judged his book on Coptic grammar outstanding. This work was the basis for his being appreciated as a philologist, but his importance as a writer is rather as a commentator on the scriptures.
Among his works, Graf lists a grammar with the title Al- Tabsirah (Source of Insight), a reworking of the grammar of Yuhanna, bishop of Samannud. There is an edition with a Latin translation by Athanasius Kircher (Lingua aegyptiaca restituta, Rome, 1648). One tradition makes Ibn Katib Qaysar the author of the Commentary on the Apocalypse; another ascribes it to al- MU’TAMAN ABU ISHAQ IBN AL-‘ASSAL. The commentary itself does not have a unified order of the books commented on nor does it attempt a conceptual synopsis of their content and meaning.
Instead, it mostly strings together comments on particular words, expressions, and sentences, and interprets these according to their direct association. The meanings of the words are taken into account when the allegorical and prophetic character of the text does not allow any other (Shata, 1939). An anonymous, comprehensive commentary on the Pauline works, on the Catholic epistles (Peter, James, Jude, and 2 Peter), and on Acts of the Apostles is also ascribed to Ibn Katib Qaysar.
- Habashi Shata al-Birmawi. Tafsir Ru’yat al-Qiddis Yuhanna al- Lahuti li ibn Katib Qaysar. Cairo, 1939.