Yusab

YUSAB

The fifteenth-century bishop of Akhmim. It is not certain if a Yusab, bishop of Akhmim, ever existed in the fifteenth century, as no lists of Coptic bishops from this century exist.

However, in 1938 P. Sbath mentioned four works attributed to a certain Yusab, bishop of Akhmim, in various manuscripts, stating he was a “Coptic author of the fifteenth century” although he gave no basis for this assertion.

In 1944, J. Muyser (p. 156) attributed these treatises to YUSAB, the thirteenth-century bishop, although he, too, gave no basis for his statement. In 1947, independently of Muyser, Graf made the same attribution; however, four years later he corrected what he had written and attributed these works to the eighteenth-century YUSAB, bishop of Jirja and Akhmim; again, he gave no basis for his choice.

One of these works is contained in a manuscript belonging to the qummus Armaniyus Habashi of Cairo, who is said to have copied it in 1507. This would rule out the eighteenth-century bishop, who is, furthermore, always described in the manuscripts as “bishop of Dirja [sic] and Akhmim.” As for the attribution to the thirteenth-century bishop, it is possible but entirely unfounded.

The following hypothesis may be advanced: the first work, the only one attested in the manuscript copied in 1507, may be attributed to Yusab of the fifteenth century (or the thirteenth-century Yusab), whereas the three others could well have been written by the eighteenth-century Yusab.

The titles of the four works are: (1) Apology for the Christian Religion (manuscripts of the qummus ‘Abd al-Masih Salib al- Baramusi al-Masu‘di, and of the qummus Armaniyus Habashi); (2) Treatise on the Trinity (manuscript belonging to ‘Abd al-Masih Salib); (3) Treatise on the Incarnation of the Word of God; and (4) Controversy with a Muslim (three undated manuscripts belonging to Copts of Cairo, namely the two qummus mentioned above and Jirjis ‘Abd al-Masih).

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Muyser, J. “Contribution a l’étude des listes épiscopales de l’église copte.” Bulletin de la Société d’archéologie copte 10 (1944):115-76.
  • Sbath, P. Al-Fihris (Catalogue de manuscrits arabes), Vols. 1, 3. Cairo, 1938, 1940.

KHALIL SAMIR, S.J.

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