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Book Title: Barlaam and Ioasaph|
The author of the book: John Damascene
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 382 KB
Edition: Harvard University Press (Cambridge)
Date of issue: January 1st 1914
ISBN 13: 9780674990388
Read full description of the books Barlaam and Ioasaph:A well known example of hagiographic novel is the tale of an Indian prince who learns of the world's miseries & is converted to Xianity by the monk Barlaam. Barlaam & Josaphat (Ioasaph) were believed to have reconverted India after her lapse from conversion to Xianity. They were numbered among the Xian saints. Centuries ago likenesses were noticed between the life of Josaphat & the life of the Buddha. The resemblances are in incidents, doctrine & philosophy. Barlaam's rules of abstinence resemble the Buddhist monk's. By the mid-19th century it was recognised that, in Josaphat, the Buddha had been venerated as a Xian saint for about 1000 years. The origin of the story of Barlaam & Ioasaph which in itself has little peculiar to Buddhism appears to be a Manichaean tract produced in Central Asia. It was welcomed by the Arabs & the Georgians. The Greek romance of Barlaam appears separately 1st in the 11th century. Most of the Greek manuscripts attribute the story to John the Monk. Some later scribes identify this John with John Damascene (c.676-749). There's evidence in Latin & Georgian as well as Greek that it was the Georgian Euthymius (d. 1028) who caused the story to be translated from Georgian into Greek, the whole being reshaped & supplemented. The Greek romance soon spread throughout Xendom, & was translated into Latin, Old Slavonic, Armenian & Arabic. An English version (from Latin) was used in Shakespeare's caskets scene in The Merchant of Venice.
Lang's Introduction traces parallels between the Buddhist & Xian legends, discusses the importance of Arabic versions & notes influences of the Manichaean creed.
Read information about the authorSaint John of Damascus (Arabic: يوحنا الدمشقي Yuḥannā Al Demashqi; Greek: Ιωάννης Δαμασκήνος Iôannês Damaskênos; Latin: Iohannes Damascenus; also known as John Damascene, Χρυσορρόας/Chrysorrhoas, "streaming with gold"—i.e., "the golden speaker") (c. 676 – 4 December 749) was a Syrian Christian monk and priest. Born and raised in Damascus, he died at his monastery, Mar Saba, near Jerusalem.
A polymath whose fields of interest and contribution included law, theology, philosophy, and music, before being ordained, he served as a Chief Administrator to the Muslim caliph of Damascus, wrote works expounding the Christian faith, and composed hymns which are still in everyday use in Eastern Christian monasteries throughout the world. The Catholic Church regards him as a Doctor of the Church, often referred to as the Doctor of the Assumption due to his writings on the Assumption of Mary.
The most commonly used source for information on the life of John of Damascus is a work attributed to one John of Jerusalem, identified therein as the Patriarch of Jerusalem. It is actually an excerpted translation into Greek of an earlier Arabic text. The Arabic original contains a prologue not found in most other translations that was written by an Arabic monk named Michael who relates his decision to write a biography of John of Damascus in 1084, noting that none was available in either Greek or Arabic at the time. The main text that follows in the original Arabic version seems to have been written by another, even earlier author, sometime between the early 9th and late 10th centuries AD. Written from a hagiographical point of view and prone to exaggeration, it is not the best historical source for his life, but is widely reproduced and considered to be of some value nonetheless. The hagiographic novel Barlaam and Josaphat, traditionally attributed to John, is in fact a work of the 10th century.
John was born into a prominent Arab Christian family known as Mansour (Arabic: Mansǔr, "victorious one") in Damascus in the 7th century AD.
He was named Mansur ibn Sarjun Al-Taghlibi (Arabic: منصور بن سرجون التغلبي) after his grandfather Mansur, who had been responsible for the taxes of the region under the Emperor Heraclius. When the region came under Arab Muslim rule in the late 7th century AD, the court at Damascus remained full of Christian civil servants, John's grandfather among them. John's father, Sarjun (Sergius) or Ibn Mansur, went on to serve the Umayyad caliphs, supervising taxes for the entire Middle East. After his father's death, John also served as a high official to the caliphate court before leaving to become a monk and adopting the monastic name John at Mar Saba, where he was ordained as a priest in 735.
Until the age of 12, John apparently undertook a traditional Muslim education. One of the vitae describes his father's desire for him to, "learn not only the books of the Muslims, but those of the Greeks as well." John grew up bilingual and bicultural, living as he did at a time of transition from Late Antiquity to Early Islam.
Other sources describes his education in Damascus as having been conducted in a traditional Hellenic way, termed "secular" by one source and "Classical Christian" by another. One account identifies his tutor as a monk by the name of Cosmas, who had been captured by Arabs from his home in Sicily, and for whom John's father paid a great price. Under the instruction of Cosmas, who also taught John's orphan friend (the future St. Cosmas of Maiuma), John is said to have made great advances in music, astronomy and theology, soon rivaling Pythagoras in arithmetic and Euclid in geometry.
In the early 8th century AD, iconoclasm, a movement seeking to prohibit the veneration of the icons, gained some acceptance in the Byzantine court. In 726, despite the protests of St. Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople, Emperor Leo III issued his first
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