THE KITAB AL-TARIKH OF ABUL-FATH – Book Sample
THE KITAB AL-TARIKH OF ABUL-FATH
ı. The Chronicle of Abu ‘1-Fath is the oldest complete historical work of the Samaritans that has come down to us. (1) This fact in itself would justify one’s devoting serious study to it – both as literature, and as an historical record of a once numerous people.
Other factors, however, combine to make such a study both necessary and rewarding: an awakening of interest in the Samaritans and their traditions on the part of biblical scholars in general (and not just specialists in Samaritan studies); and a re-assessment of the historical_ and religious links between the Samaritans, Jews and Christians.(2)
2. The first European known to have had fruitful contact with the Samaritans in ‘modern’ times, was Pietro della Valle who met communities of them in Cairo, Gaza, Nablus and Damascus in 1616, and obtained a copy of the Samaritan Pentateuch.(3)
Within 37 years of this contact, the first western reference. to Abu ‘1-Fath’s Chronicle appeared in Hebediesu, published by the Maronite scholar Abraham Ecchellensis, in 1653.(4) The Ms Abraham Ecchellensis quoted from was part of the ‘celeberrimae Bibliothecae En:;.. Cardinalis Mazarini’,(5) about which more will be said infra. (6)
The author of Hebediesu refers to Abu ‘1-Fath as ‘mox citatus Chronologus'(7) which is rather puzzling, since he mentions the Kitab al-Tarikh only twice,” and then briefly! One mu.at assume that contemporaries of Abraham Ecchellensis must have made other references to Abu ‘1-Fat•s Chronicle, and that these have up to the present not been trace.
We know, indeed, that in 1644 Joannes Hottinger quoted onıy· from the Scaliger(B) Ms of the Book of Joshua (9), and in his (1658) and Historia (1660) still appears not to have known of the Chronicle of Abu ‘1-Fath. Joannes Morinus (10) likewise shows no signs of knowing…..
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