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674

ARABIA


674


ARABIAN


The tribe of Taghlib was true to its faith, and Bar- Hebra-us tells us of two of its chieftains who later suffered martyrdom (Chronicon Syriacum, 112, 115). We continue to hear for a long time of Jaco- bite and Nestorian bishops of the Arabs, one even being IJishop of Sanaa, Yemen, and Balirein, and of the border regions [Bar-Hebrieus, Chronicon Ecclesiasticum, I, 303; III, 123, 193; and Thomas of -Marga, Book of Governors (ed. Budge, 1893), II, 44S sqq.].

Under the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphs, Chris- tianity enjoyed, with few exceptions, great freedom and respect throughout all the Mohammedan Empire, as can be seen from the facts and data collected by Assemani and Bar-Hebrjeus, according to which many Nestorian and Jacobite patriarchs from the seventh to the eleventh centuries received diplomas, or firmans, of some sort from Mohammed himself, from Umar, Ali, Merwan, Al-Mansur, Harounal- Raschid, Abu Ja'far, and others. (Shedd, op. cit., 239-241; Assemani, De Catholicis Nestorianis, 41-43 sqq.; Bar-Hebraeus, Chronicon Ecclesiasticum, I, 309, 317, 319, 325; II, 465, 625; III, 307, 317, 229, 433, etc.; and Thomas of Marga, op. cit., II, 123, note.)

In conclusion, a few words may be said of the various sects and creeds to which the Christian Arabs of the north and of the south belonged, as ■well as of their practical observance of the Chris- tian religion and duties. We have already seen how that part of .\rabia adjacent to the Syrian borders was, from the tliird century on, regarded as the "mother of heresies". The religious and political freedom of the Arab tribes opened the door to all creeds, errors, and heresies. Before the rise and spread of Nestorianism antl Monophysitism, the Arian heresy was the prevailing creed of the Christian Arabs. In the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries Arianism was supplanted by Nestoriani.sm and Monophysitism, which had then become the offi- cial creeds of the two most representative Churches of Syria, Egypt, Abyssinia, Mesopotamia, and Persia. Like the Arabian Jews, the Christian Arabs did not, as a rule, particularly in the times imme- diately before and after Mohammed, attach much importance to the practical observance of their re- ligion. The Arabs of pre-Islamic times were no- torious for their indifference to their theoretical and practical religious beliefs and observances. Every religion and practice was welcomed so long as it was compatible with Arab freedom of con- science and sensuality; and, as Wellhausen truly remarks, although Christian thought and sentiment could have been infused among the Arabs only through the channel of poetry, it is in this that Christian spirituality performs rather a silent part (op. cit., 203).

Arabian Christianity was a seed sown on stony ground, whose product had no power of resistance when the heat came; it perished without leaving a trace when Islam appeared. It seems strange that these Christian Arabs, who had bishops, and priests, and churches, and even heresies, of their owm, apparently took no steps towards translating into their language any of the Old and New Testament books; or, if any such tran.slation existed, it has left no trace. The same strange fact is also true in the case of the numerous Jews of Yemen (Mar- goliouth, op. cit., 35; and Harnack, Expansion of Chri.stianity, II, .300). Of these Emmanuel Dcutsch remarks that, "acquainted with the Halachah and Haggada, they seemed, under the peculiar story-lov- ing influence of their coimtrymcn, to have cultivated the latter with all its gorgeous hues and colours" [Remains of Emmanuel Dcutsch, Islam (New- York), 92]. A.s to the Christians, at least the bishops, the priests, and the motiks must have had some


religious books; but as we know nothing of their existence, we are forced to suppose that tliese books were written in a language which they learned abroad, probably in Syria.

Besides the Fathers and ecclesiastical writers nuoted in the body of the article, the reader is referred to the following mod- ern authorities: Wright, Early Chriatianitii in Arabia U-on- don, 1855); Wellhausen, Juden und Christen in Arabien, III; Skizzen und Vorarbeilen, III, 197 sqq; Noldeke, Geschichte der Peraer und Araber zur Zeit der haasaniden aua der arabischen Chronik dea Tabari (Leyden. 1879); Caussin de Perceval. Higtoire des Arabes avant Mohammet (Paris, 1847), I, 108, 112, 114, 124-128; II, 47-56, 58, 136, 142, 144, 200-202, 213-215; III. 275; Duchesne, Les eglises ai-paries (2d ed., Paris. 1905); 300-352, Zwemer. Arabia: The Cradle of Islam (New York, 1900), 300-313; Shedd. Islam and the Oriental Churches (Philadelphia, 1904); Harnack, The Ex- pansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries (tr. London, 1905), 300-304; Margoliouth, Mohammed and the Rise of Islam (London. 1905), 33 sqq. Among SjTiac writers see: Bar-Hebr.eus, Chronictim Ecclesiasticum, ed. Abbeloos and Lamy (Louvain, 1874). II; Maris. Amri et Sliba Liber Turns, ed. GisMONDi, (Rome, 1896, 1899); Assemani, Bibliatheca Orienlalis, III. pt. 2, 591-610. and passim; Lequien, Oriens Christianus, II; Chabot, Synodicon Orientale (Paris, 1902), passim; Labourt, Le Christianisme dans I'empire perse soils la dynastic sassanide (Paris, 1904). See also Bahonics, Pagi. and Tillemont. On the massacre of the Christians of Najran, see the letter of Simeon, Bishop of Beth-Arsam, the best edition of which is given by Guidi in the Memorie del- I'accademia dei Lincei (Rome, 1880-81, in Syriac and in Italian). The Greek hymn of John the Psalmist was trans- lated into Syriac by Paul. Bishop of Edessa (d. 526). and edited by Schroter in the Zeitschrift fur deutsche morgirUan- dische Gesellschaft, XXXI, together with the letter of James OF Sarug. See also Boissonade, Anecdota Grccca, V, 1, Martyrium Aretha, and Acta SS., X, 721. The sup-

Kosed theological dispute between Gregentius and Herhan ia jund in Boissonade, Anecdota Grceca, V, 63: and P. G., LXXVI, 568.

Gabriel Ouss.\ni.

Arabia, The Vicari.\te Apostolic of. — Arabia formerly belonged to the mission of Galla (Africa), but was made a separate prefecture Apostolic by Pius IX, 21 Jan., 1875. It was reunited to the mis- sion of Galla, then made a vicariate Apostohc, by Leo XIII, 25 April, 1888, under Monseigneur Las- serre. The Capuchin Fathers under Monseigneur Lasserre had long been in charge of the .A>den mission, together with that of Somaliland. The first vicar Apostolic brought to Aden a community of French Franciscan sisters, to whose care the British authori- ties entrusted 100 Galla children rescued from Arab slave ships. With these liberated captives it was hoped to found a Catholic colony at some distance inland, but circumstances had, as late as 1906, frustratetl this and other attempts to carry the Faith into the interior of Arabia. This vicariate Apostolic has 12,000,000 inhabitants, of whom about 15,000 are CathoUcs; 11 missions, 4 churches or chapels, 6 sta- tions. (For origins of Arabian Christianity, see Christianity in Arabia, under Arabia.)

Battandier, A7in. pont, cath., 1906; Piolet, Miss. calh.

Arabia, Councils of — In 246 and 247 two covui- cils were held at Bostra in Arabia against Ber\llus, Bishop of the see, and others who maintained with him that the soul perished and arose again with the body. Origen was present at these synods and con\'inced these heretics of their errors (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., VI, xix; Baronius, Ann. Ecel. ad an., 249, §§6-8).

Harnack. Mission 7ind Ausbrcitung des Chrtstentums (\902); Wright. Early Christianity in Arabia, (London, 1855); Mansi. Coll. Cone. I, 787.

Thomas J. Shahan. Arabian School of Philosophy.— Until the eighth centurj' the Arabians, although they expressed their religious feelings in a somewhat mystic poetry, failed to give expression to their thoughts about the world around them, except in so far as those thoughts may be said to be expressed in the Koran. It was only when they caine in contact with other civ - ilizations,"not;d)ly witli that of Persia, that their specu- lative and scientific activities were slinuihitcd into action. .•\ circumstance which favoured tlic study of letters and pliilosopiiy was the accession to tlic tlironc