Life of Mary (West Syriac)

Other titles: none

Standard abbreviation: Life Mary

Clavis numbers: CANT 95

Category: Infancy Gospels, Family of Jesus

Related literature: History of the Virgin (East Syriac), Protevangelium of James, Infancy Gospel of Thomas, Dormition of the Virgin, Vision of Theophilus

Citing this resource (using Chicago Manual of Style): Burke, Tony. “Life of Mary (West Syriac).” e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha. Accessed DAY MONTH YEAR. http://www.nasscal.com/e-clavis-christian-apocrypha/life-of-mary-west-syriac/.

Posted October 2016.

1. SUMMARY

The West Syrian Life of Mary is a compilation of four texts divided into six books: 1. On her parents and her annunciation by an angel, 2. The birth of our Lord in the flesh, 3. The flight and vision revealed to Theophilus, 4. The childhood and education of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5. The story of the decease of the Theotokos Mary, 6. The departure of the Theotokos Mary from this world, and an epilogue entitled The departure of the Theotokos Mary to the life in Paradise. Books one and two are derived from the Protevangelium of James (book 1=Prot. Jas. 1-16; book 2=Prot. Jas. 17-26), book three details the activities of the Holy Family in Egypt as communicated in the Vision of Theophilus, book four is the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, and books five and six comprise the Six Books Dormition of Mary (book 5=6 Bks. Dorm. books 1-3; book 6 and the epilogue=6 Bks. Dorm. 4-6).

Named historical figures and characters: see the entries for the individual texts of the compilation.

Geographical locations: see the entries for the individual texts of the compilation.

2. RESOURCES

3. BIBLIOGRAPHY

3.1 Manuscripts and Editions

3.1.1 Syriac

Burke’s edition of Life Mary’s book four (Infancy Gospel of Thomas) is based on three groups of manuscripts:

3.1.1.1 Group a

ma-bulletA  Cambridge, Cambridge University Library, Add. 2001 (1481)

ma-bulletA1  Diyarbakir, Meryem Ana Syriac Orthodox Church, 130; 7/12 (15th cent.)

ma-bulletB  Mardin, Church of the Forty Martyrs, 263 (Dolabani 115) (17th/18th cent.?)

ma-bulletC  Edgbaston, University of Birmingham, Mingana Syr. 560 (1491)

ma-bulletD  Mardin, Church of the Forty Martyrs, 265 (16th/17th cent.?)

ma-bulletE  Vatican, Biblioteca apostolica, Syr. 537 (16th cent.)

ma-bulletCambridge Mass., Harvard Houghton Library, Syr. 129 (formerly SMH 128, access 4063) (ca. 17th cent.)

ma-bulletG  Charfet, Syrian-Catholic Patriarchate, Fonds Rahmani 42 (1495)

Additional ‘group a’ manuscripts:

ma-bulletDiyarbakir, Meryem Ana Syriac Orthodox Church, 130; 7/12 (15th cent.)

Mardin, Chaldean Cathedral, 5 (16th cent.)

3.1.1.2 Group b

ma-bulletH  Edgbaston, University of Birmingham, Mingana Syr. 5 (1479)

ma-bulletI  Cambridge Mass., Harvard Houghton Library, Syr. 82 (formerly SMH 73, access 4010) (17th-18th cent.)

ma-bulletJ  Cambridge Mass., Harvard Houghton Library, Syr. 35 (formerly SMH 23, access 3961) (16th-17th cent.)

ma-bulletK  Mardin, Deir al-Zafaran, 393 (20th cent.)

ma-bulletL  Mardin, Church of the Forty Martyrs, 281 (olim 114) (1474/1475)

ma-bulletO  Edgbaston, University of Birmingham, Mingana Syr. 48 (1906, but based in part on a MS from 1757)

3.1.1.3 Group c

ma-bulletS  Cambridge Mass., Harvard Houghton Library, Syr. 59 (formerly SMH 47, access 3985) (1856), fol. 86r-94r (book four only)

ma-bulletT  Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, syr. 377 (1854/1855), fol. 145r-154v (book four only)

ma-bulletV  Cambridge Mass., Harvard Houghton Library, Syr. 39 (formerly SMH 27, access 3965), (1856)

Burke, Tony. The Infancy Gospel of Thomas in the Syriac Tradition. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, forthcoming.

3.1.1.4 Additional Syriac Manuscripts

Aleppo, Syriac-Orthodox Archdiocese, 7077 (1567/1568)

ma-bulletCambridge Mass., Houghton Library, Syr. 36 (formerly SMH 24, access 3962) (16th-17th cent.) (books 5 and 6 only).

ma-bulletEdgbaston, University of Birmingham, Mingana Syr. 184 (1637) (end of book 6 only)

ma-bulletCharfet, Syrian-Catholic Patriarchate, Fonds Rahmani 60 (19th cent.) (book 5 only)

Diyarbakir, Meryem Ana Syriac Orthodox Church, 99 (1728-1731) (listed as missing, perhaps identical to Mardin, Chaldean Bishopric, 80; both perhaps identical to manuscript D above)

Mardin, Chaldean Bishopric, 80 (1728-1731) (listed as missing, perhaps identical to Diyarbakir, Meryem Ana Syriac Orthodox Church, 99; both perhaps identical to manuscript D above)

ma-bulletMosul, Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese of Mosul, 264 (17th/18th cent.) (books 2, 5, and 6 in Garšūnī; books 1 and 2, beginning only, in Syriac)

ma-bulletVatican, Biblioteca apostolica, Borgia Syr. 128 (1720) (books 1-3, 5, 6; book 4 explicit only)

3.1.2 Garšūnī

Cambridge, Trinity College, R.13.49 (date undetermined)

Charfet, Syrian-Catholic Patriarchate, Fonds Rahmani 48 (15th/16th cent.)

Charfet, Syrian-Catholic Patriarchate, Fonds Rahmani 52 (17th cent.)

Charfet, Syrian-Catholic Patriarchate, Fonds Rahmani 53 (date undetermined)

Edgbaston, University of Birmingham, Mingana Syr. 39 (1462)

Edgbaston, University of Birmingham, Mingana Syr. 114 (1901)

Edgbaston, University of Birmingham, Mingana Syr. 315 (14th/15th cent.) (books 5 and 6 only)

Mosul, Mar Behnam Monastery, MBM 172 (olim 409) (6th cent.) (books 5 and 6 only)

Mosul, Mar Behnam Monastery, MBM 207 (olim 14) (17th cent.) (books 2, 3, 5, and 6 only; portions missing)

Mosul, Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese of Mosul, 264: see the description in 3.1.1.4 above

Oxford, Bodleian Library, Hunt. donat. 32 (1549)

Vatican, Biblioteca apostolica, syr. 561 (1683)

Another two Garšūnī MSS are listed among the Ancien fonds of Charfet: 11/16 (dated 1693 and 1818), and 11/25 (16th cent.).

3.2 Modern Translations

As yet no edition and translation of the entire Life Mary compilation has appeared. For editions and translations of individual texts within the compilation see their respective entries.

3.3 General Works

Baumstark, Anton. Geschichte der syrischen Literatur mit Ausschluss der christlich-palästinensischen Texte. Bonn: A. Marcus & E. Webers Verlag, 1922. Discussion and manuscript listing pp. 69-70 and 99.

online-bulletBurke, Tony. “An Unpublished Syriac Manuscript of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas: Introduction, Text, Translation, and Notes.” Hugoye 16.2 (2013): 225-99. Discussion and manuscript listing pp. 234-37.

Burke, Tony. “The Infancy Gospel of Thomas (Syriac).” Pages 52-68 in Tony Burke and Brent Landau (eds.), New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, vol. 1. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2016.

online-bulletGraf, George. Geschichte der christlichen Arabischen Literatur, vol. 1. Vatican: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1944. Discussion and manuscript listing pp. 226, and p. 246. online-bullet

Horn, Cornelia B. and Robert R. Phenix. “Apocryphal Gospels in Syriac and Related Texts Offering Traditions about Jesus.” Pages 527-55 in Jörg Frey and Jens Schröter (eds.), Jesus in apokryphen Evangelienüberlieferungen. WUNT 254. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2010.

Mimouni, Simon Claude. “Vies de la Vierge. État de la question.” Apocrypha 5 (1994) : 211-48. Reprinted in Simon Claude Mimouni, Les traditions anciennes sur la Dormition et l’Assomption de Marie : études littéraires, historiques et doctrinales. VCSupp 104. Leiden and Boston : Brill, 2011.

Naffah, Charles. “Les ‘histoires’ syriaques de la Vierge: traditions apocryphes anciennes et récentes.” Apocrypha 20 (2009) : 137-88.