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Title: Nicon's Treatise on the Conversion of the Georgians in Christian Arabic Literature and its Possible Georgian Source
Author(s): WALBINER, Carsten-Michael , NANOBASHVILI, Mariam
Journal: Le Muséon
Volume: 121    Issue: 3-4   Date: 2008   
Pages: 437-461
DOI: 10.2143/MUS.121.3.2034329

Abstract :
The Greek monk Nicon who flourished in the second half of the XIth century in the region of Antioch and was hence surnamed of the Black or Miraculous Mountain belongs to the important authors of Melkite medieval literature. He left three voluminous books which have not yet been studied thoroughly and systematically. By examining his treatise On the beloved Georgian spiritual fathers and brothers, which deals with the conversion of the Georgians to the Christian faith and the history of their church, the present article is intended as a modest contribution to the further study of Nicon’s works. Special emphasise is given to the sources Nicon used and the way his work was perceived by later generations. A comparison between Nicon’s treatise on the Georgians and a 'Report' on the same subject written by his Georgian contemporary Ephrem Mcire reveals Nicon’s heavy dependence on Ephrem as there are striking correspondences between the two works concerning composition and content. Thus the thesis that both authors worked independently can not be maintained any longer. By translation Nicon’s works became soon available for Arabic readers too. Mostly forgotten by the end of the Middle Ages, they owed their rediscovery in the XVIIth century to Meletius Karma and Macarius ibn al-Zacīm, two prominent Melkite church leaders and men of letters. As the latter developed a keen interest in everything concerning Georgia, Nicon’s treatise became a valuable source for several tracts in which Macarius touched the issue of Georgian church history. Attached to the article is an English translation of Ephrem’s 'Report' based on Ms. Tbilisi, Institute of Manuscripts, A 24 as well as an edition and English translation of Nicon’s treatise based on Ms. Vatican, Apostolic Library, vat. Ar. 76.

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