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Comparative Literature | Intellectual History | Islamic World and Near East History | Near Eastern Languages and Societies | Reading and Language


It might be assumed that the genres of Syriac and Christian Arabic literature are made up exclusively (or almost so) of sacred topics (Bible, commentary, liturgy, asceticism, hagiography, theology, etc.), the writers, scribes, and readers in these communities often being monks, presbyters, deacons, and bishops. A broad look at the surviving evidence of this literature, however, shows an immense interest in subjects not directly connected to the church, monastery, or Christian life at all, among them philosophy, science, and belles-lettres. This paper offers a basic overview of these subjects as Syriac and Christian Arabic authors dealt with them, especially from manuscript collections in eastern Turkey.