278. The Deacon Sarkis ibn Ghurayr (d. 1669)

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The Deacon Sarkis ibn Ghurayr
(d. 1669)

Deacon Sarkis is son of the bishop Yuhanna, son of Abbud, son of Ghurayr al-Zirbabi. He was born at Damascus and under his father he studied the fundamentals of the Syriac language and its literatures. He was ordained a deacon. What attests to his proficiency in the Syriac language and its literatures is his venture, before 1661, to translate Bar Hebraeus’s Lamp of the Sanctuaries into Arabic. His translation is partly good, partly of medium quality and partly poor because of his inadequate knowledge of the Arabic language. This translation is extant in several manuscripts, the oldest of which are the two manuscripts at Paris623 and Zafaran.624 Deacon Ghurayr died about 1669, a young man. His father, the Bishop of Damascus (1668-1684) composed a metrical discourse in the heptasyllabic meter criticizing a group who turned against Orthodoxy.625 But this discourse is in some ways poor. Deacon Ghurayr also wrote useful polemic letters in Arabic626 and made some poor translations.