The book of governors
by Thomas, Bishop of Marga
Editor, translator Budge, E. A. Wallis (Ernest Alfred Wallis), Sir, 1857-1934
Publication date 1893
Topics Beth Abbe (Nestorian monastery), Nestorian Church — History
Publisher London : K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & co., ltd.
Collection majorityworldcollection; Princeton; americana
Digitizing sponsor Princeton Theological Seminary Library
Contributor Princeton Theological Seminary Library
Volumes 1 & 2
2 volumes : 22 cm
Vol. I has added t.-p. in Syriac
History of the monastery of Beth Abhe and of Nestorianism for three centuries
I. The Syriac text, introduction, etc.–II. The English translation
The object of the present work is to give in a convenient form the complete Syriac text of the “Book of Governors”, together with an English translation and necessary notes.
The “Book of Governors”, better known as the “Historia Monastica of Thomas of Margâ”, was written in the Syriac language in the first half of the ninth century of our era. Its author Thomas was originally a monk in the famous Nestorian Monastery of Bêth ‘Âbhê, which was founded at the end of the sixth century by Jacob of Lâshôm, the modern Lasim near Kerkûk. Bêth ‘Âbhê was practically an offshoot of the “Great Monastery” of Mount Îzlâ near Nisibis, where the first Christian ascetics of Mesopotamia, under the direction of Mâr Awgîn of Clysma near Suez, established themselves in the early part of the fourth century. It was a building half fortress, half monastery, and it stood in a forest (hence the name Bêth ‘Âbhê, i. e., “house of the forest”) upon a mountain peak between two valleys on the right bank of the Great Zâb river. This monastery had been endowed with large estates and many possessions by several Persian noblemen, and to it was given the proud title of the “King of Monasteries”; its society generally contained several members of noble Persian families. The monks of Bêth ‘Âbhê were renowned for their learning, and under the shadow of its walls the revision and re-arrangement of the “Ḥudhrâ” or Service-Book for all the Sundays of the Year were made, and the famous recension of the Syriac version of the “Paradise” of Palladius was completed. Attached to the monastery was a fine ecclesiastical library in which were preserved copies of histories and other works which are no longer extant. Four, if not five, of the Patriarchs of the Nestorian Church were educated at Bêth ‘Âbhê, and during the period of which we have any written record of its existence, i. e., A.D., 595—850, at least one hundred of its sons became Bishops, Metropolitans, and Governors of Nestorian dioceses in Mesopotamia, Arabia, Persia, Armenia, Kurdistan and China.