Frantsouzoff Serge

A note in the Arabic Bible about the interconfessional conflict in Palestine in the late 17th century

Frantsouzoff Serge (2020) "A note in the Arabic Bible about the interconfessional conflict in Palestine in the late 17th century ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia III : Filologiia, 2020, vol. 65, pp. 102-118 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturIII202065.102-118


This article studies a note in the Middle Arabic language found before the Book of Job in the second volume of the earliest copy of the complete Arabic Bible kept in the collection of the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences. This note, the author of which is unknown, deals with the seizure by the Roman Catholics of those Holy Places in Jerusalem and Bethlehem which belonged to the Greek Orthodox; the seizure was made with consent from the Ottoman authorities. This event, which in fact happened in 1690, is in the note erroneously dated two years earlier. In 1922, the text of the note was published by Archimandrite Elij ah from Alexandria in a considerably edited version in accordance with the rules of Classical Arabic grammar. This edition was carried out on the basis of an inaccurate copy taken in 1908 from the above-mentioned manuscript of the Arabic Bible which at that time was kept in the monastery of Balamand near Tripoli in Northern Lebanon. As a result, the content of the note was distorted in certain places, which aff ected its Greek and French translations. In this article, the original text of the note is published for the first time. The publication is accompanied by a Russian translation and commentaries. It identifies all political and church fi gures mentioned in the note, including the ambassador of France hidden under the nickname of Zamaria (in all probability, a distorted form of ce marquis).


Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Holy Places, Roman Catholics in Holy Land, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Palestine in Ottoman Empire, Sultan Suleiman II, Köprülü family


  1. Baranov Kh. (1977) Arabsko-russkii slovar’ [Arabic-Russian Dictionary]. Moscow (in Russian).
  2. Bohas G., Saguer A., Sinno A. (eds) (2012) Le Roman d’Alexandre à Tomboucou: Histoire du Bicornu: Le manuscrit interrompu. Barcelone.
  3. Duţu A., Cernovodeanu P. (eds) (1973) D. Cantemir. Extracts from “The History of the Ottoman Empire”. Bucharest.
  4. Chernetsov S. (2001) “O ‘zapadnykh volkakh’ — efiopskom prozvishche katolikov” [On the ‘Western Wolves’, the Ethiopian nickname of Roman Catholics], in Hyperboreus: Studia classica, 7, 1–2, p. 417–418.
  5. Elias Archimandritos (1922) “Ektropi skene Latinon en Ierusalim” [Ugly scenes of behaviour of the Latins in Jerusalem]. Ecclesiaticos Pharos, 21, p. 195–212 (in Greek).
  6. Frantsouzoff S. (2002) “Balamand”, in Pravoslavnaia entsiklopediia [Orthodox Encylopaedia], vol. 4. Moscow. P. 281–283 (in Russian).
  7. Frantsouzoff S. (2009) “Pripiski k arabskoi rukopisnoi Biblii (D 226) iz sobraniia Instituta vostochnykh rukopisei RAN kak istoricheskii istochnik” [Notes in the Arabic Manuscript Bible (D 226) from the Collection of the the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the RAS as a historical source”]. Vestnik PSTGU. Ser. III: Filologiia, 3 (17), p. 38–57 (in Russian).
  8. Frantsouzoff S. (2014) “Skazanie o blagochestivoi izrail’tianke Ḥasane v arabo-pravoslavnoi agiograficheskoi traditsii” [A story of the pious Israelite Ḥasana in the Arab Orthodox hagiographic tradition]. Vestnik PSTGU. Ser. III: Filologiia, 5 (40), p. 89–99 (in Russian).
  9. Frantsouzoff S. (2017) “Khotosho zabytoe staroe… (Kak siriiskie kurdy ukryvalis’ ot presledovanii v khristianskom monastyre)” [“Well forgotten past… (How the Syrian Kurds took shelter form persecutions in a Christian monastery)”]. Khristianskii Vostok, 8 (14), p. 331–338 (in Russian).
  10. Frantsouzoff S. (2017) “Polnyi spisok Biblii na arabskom iazyke v Sankt Peterburge: Problema datirovki” [The complete copy of the Bible in the Arabic language in St. Petersburg: a problem of its dating”], in A. Alekseev (ed.) Slavianskaia Bibliia v epokhu rannego knigopechataniia: K 510-letiiu sozdaniia Bibleiskogo sbornika Matfeia Desiatogo [The Slavonic Bible in the epoch of early book-printing: 510th anniversary of the Biblical Collection of Matfei Desyatyi]. St. Petersburg. P. 110–123 (in Russian).
  11. Frantsouzoff S. (2018) “Khozhdenie Zosimy k blazhennym synam Ionadava: k kharasteristike arabo-pravoslavnoi versii” [Itinerary of Zosimas to the Blessed Sons of Jonadab: Shedding light on its Arabic Orthodox version”]. Vestnik PSTGU. Ser. 3: Filologiia, 57, p. 124–130 (in Russian).
  12. Krymskii A. E. (2018) Istoriia novoi arabskoi literatury (XIX — nachalo XX veka) [History of the modern Arabic literature (19th — early 20th centuries)]. Moscow (in Russian).
  13. Panchenko K. (2012) Blizhnevostochnoe pravoslavie pod osmanskim vladychestvom. Pervye tri stoletiia. 1516–1831 [Middle Eastern Greek Orthodox Community under the Ottoman dominition. The first three centuries. 1516–1831]. Moscow (in Russian).
  14. Piamenta M. (1990) Dictionary of Post-Classical Yemeni Arabic, pt. 1. Leiden; New York; Copenhagen; Cologne.
  15. Piatnitskii Iu. A. (2014) “Antiokhiiskii patriarkh Grigorii IV i Rossiia: 1909–1914” [Gregory IV, Patriarch of Antioch, and Russia: 1909–1914], in A. Sedov (ed.) Issledovaniia po Aravii i islamu: Sbornik statei v chest’ 70-letiia Mikhaila Borisovicha Piotrovskogo [Studies in Arabia and Islam. A collection of papers in honour of Mikhail Borisovich Piotrovskii on the occasion of his 70th birthday. Moscow. P. 282–337 (in Russian).
  16. Serikoff N., Frantsouzoff S. (2018) “Arabografi chnyi fond. D226*1, 226*2, 226*3. Arabskaia Bibliia” [The fund in Arabic script. D226*1, 226*2, 226*3. The Arabic Bible], in Aziatskii Muzei — Institut vostochnykh rukopisei RAN: Putevoditel’ [The Asiatic Museum — the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences: a guide]. Moscow. P. 87–92 (in Russian).
  17. Voiron D. (1924) “‘Scènes de désordre’ à Jérusalem et à Bethléem en 1690”. Échos d’Orient, 23, 133, p. 86–92.

Information about the author

Frantsouzoff Serge

Academic Degree: Doctor of Sciences* in History;
Academic Rank: Associate Professor;
Place of work: Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, Russian Academy of Sciences; 18 Dvortsovaya nab., St. Petersburg, 191186, Russian Federation;
ORCID: 0000-0003-3945-8898;
Email: serge.frantsouzoff@yahoo.fr.

*According to ISCED 2011, a post-doctoral degree called Doctor of Sciences (D.Sc.) is given to reflect second advanced research qualifications or higher doctorates.