1672 Barlaam & Josaphat Martyrs Buddha John of Damascus Buddhism Christian Arab

Joannes Damascenus Frans van Hoogstraten (transl.)

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Saint John of Damascus (c. 675 – 749) was a Syrian monk and priest. Born and raised in Damascus, he died at his monastery, Mar Saba, near Jerusalem.

Barlaam and Josaphat (Latin: Barlamus et Iosaphatus) are two legendary Christian martyrs and saints, their story probably based ultimately on the life of the Buddha. It tells how an Indian king persecuted the Christian Church in his realm. When astrologers predicted that his own son would someday become a Christian, the king imprisoned the young prince Josaphat, who nevertheless met the hermit Saint Barlaam and converted to Christianity.

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1672 Barlaam & Josaphat Martyrs Buddha John of Damascus Buddhism Christian Arab

VERY Rare with 9 INCREDIBLE Woodcut Illustrations

 

Saint John of Damascus (c. 675 – 749) was a Syrian monk and priest. Born and raised in Damascus, he died at his monastery, Mar Saba, near Jerusalem.

 

Barlaam and Josaphat (Latin: Barlamus et Iosaphatus) are two legendary Christian martyrs and saints, their story probably based ultimately on the life of the Buddha. It tells how an Indian king persecuted the Christian Church in his realm. When astrologers predicted that his own son would someday become a Christian, the king imprisoned the young prince Josaphat, who nevertheless met the hermit Saint Barlaam and converted to Christianity.

 

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Main author: Joannes Damascenus; Frans van Hoogstraten (transl.)

 

Title: Het leven en bedryf van Barlaäm den heremijt, en Josaphat koning van Indien

 

Published: Tot Antwerpen : Voor Cornelis Woons …, 1672.

 

Language: Dutch

 

Notes & contents:

  • Incredible woodcut engravings including illustrated title page
  • Vellum binding

 

 

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Binding: tight and secure vellum binding

Illustrated: 9 beautiful engravings

Pages: complete with all 431 pages; plus indexes, prefaces, and such

Publisher: Tot Antwerpen : Voor Cornelis Woons …, 1672.

Size: ~6in X 4in (15cm x 10cm)

 

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Barlaam and Josaphat (Latin: Barlamus et Iosaphatus) are two legendary Christian martyrs and saints, their story probably based ultimately on the life of the Buddha.[1] It tells how an Indian king persecuted the Christian Church in his realm. When astrologers predicted that his own son would some day become a Christian, the king imprisoned the young prince Josaphat, who nevertheless met the hermit Saint Barlaam and converted to Christianity. After much tribulation the young prince’s father accepted the true faith, turned over his throne to Josaphat, and retired to the desert to become a hermit. Josaphat himself later abdicated and went into seclusion with his old teacher Barlaam.[2] The tale derives from a second to fourth century Sanskrit Mahayana Buddhist text, via a Manichee version, then the Arabic Kitab Bilawhar wa-Yudasaf (Book of Bilawhar and Yudasaf), current in Baghdad in the eighth century, from where it entered into Middle Eastern Christian circles before appearing in European versions. The two were entered in the Eastern Orthodox calendar with a feast-day on 26 August,[3] and in the Roman Martyrology in the Western Church as “Barlaam and Josaphat” on the date of 27 November.[4]

Contents  [hide]

1          Buddhist original

2          Eastern versions

2.1       Arabic

2.2       Sogdian, Turfan, Uyghur

2.3       Hebrew

2.4       Persian

2.5       Confusion of Kushinara and Kashmir

2.6       Identification of Yuzasaf with Jesus

3          Christian version

3.1       The legend

3.2       Name

3.3       Feast day

4          Texts

4.1       Greek manuscripts

4.2       English manuscripts

4.3       Editions

5          See also

6          Notes and references

7          External links

Buddhist original[edit]

The story of the two Indian saints was ultimately derived, through a variety of intermediate versions (Arabic and Georgian), from the life story of the Buddha.[4][5] Wilfred Cantwell Smith (1981) traced the story from a 2nd to 4th century Sanskrit Mahayana Buddhist text, to a Manichee version, which then found its way into Muslim culture as the Arabic Kitab Bilawhar wa-Yudasaf (Book of Bilawhar and Yudasaf), which was current in Baghdad in the 8th century.[6]

Eastern versions[edit]

The Bilauhar u Buddsaf story was translated into Pahlavi during the Sasanian period, and into Arabic in the Islamic era.[7] This is not a strict translation of the Sanskrit Buddhacarita (Life of Buddha) but a collection of legends.[8] The Arabic version is Balauhar wa Budasaf, in 8th Century and 10th Century versions.[9][10][11]

The name changed from Budasaf to Yudasaf, then to Yuzasaf.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18]

Arabic[edit]

Al-Masudi (d.965) The Meadows of Gold is the classic reference point for the legend.[19] Al-Masudi is contemporary with Al-Tawhidi (922-1023) recounting the Buddhist story of the blind men describing an elephant according to their sense of touch.[20]

Daniel Gimaret (Kitāb Bilawhar wa Bûd̲âsf 1971) defines ten principal sources:

The Halle-Taymuriyya manuscript; an abbreviated account of a severed manuscript, the first part is at Halle, the end in the Taymuriyya library in Cairo

The Qasida of Aban al-Lahiqi – Ibn al-Nadim (d.998) mentions the story in his Al-Fihrist (The Catalogue), and states that Aban al Lahiqi (d.816) rendered it into Arabic verse.[21]

Rasa’il Ihwan as-Safa – The Brethren of Purity’s Rasail Ikhwan al-Safa (c.960) refers to Balauhar’s conversation with Budasaf, given in the form of Yuzasaf,[22] verified by D. M. Lang.[23][24] Yuzasaf occurs as a spelling in the Rasail Ikhwan al-Saja of the Brethren of Purity and other sources.[25]

Ibn Babuya (d.991) adapted it in his Kamal ud Din. The version was printed by lithography in Tehran in 1883 where the name Būdāsaf appears as Yūdāsaf; though it was incorrectly cited as Yūzāsaf by Ghulam Ahmad in support of his Urdu work Jesus in India (1899).[26]

The adab of Buzurgmihr[27][28][29]

Kitab Bilawhar wa Budasf – the complete but late version.

Sogdian, Turfan, Uyghur[edit]

One example of Bilauhar and Bfidisaf is written in the Turfan dialect of the Uyghur language in the 10th century.[30]

Hebrew[edit]

The Hebrew version of Ibn Hasdai[31]

Persian[edit]

The legend of Balauhar and Budasaf appears in Persian texts as Bilawhar wa Yudhâsâf in Muhammad Baqir Majlesi (1616–1698) Ayn al-Hayat.[32][33]

Persian paraphrase of Nizam ad-din Sami

Ain-ul-Hayat of Ibn-i-Muhammad Hade Muhammad Imail, Allamah Majlisi (1616–1698)

Waqiat-i-Kashmir of Muhammed Azam Dedamari (1747)

Qisa Shazada Yuzasaph wo hakim Balauhar (anonymous Urdu text 18thC)

Confusion of Kushinara and Kashmir[edit]

 

The plinth in Kushinara where Buddha’s body was laid between the sala trees for one week before cremation

Lang (1960) notes that the connection of the Buddhist Yuzasaf with Kashmir in part results from a printing error in the Bombay Arabic edition referencing the legend of the Wisdom of Balahvar which makes its hero prince Yuzasaf die in “Kashmir” (Arabic: كشمير) by confusion with Kushinara (Pali: كوشينر), the traditional place of the original Buddha’s death.[34][35] The disassociation of Yudasaf with the Hindu town of Kushinara and association with Kashmir is found in several local Kashmiri histories from the 17th Century onwards, leading to traditions associated with the Roza Bal shrine in Srinagar.

As Lang notes, the Bombay Arabic printing and the English translation of Ibn Babawayah also have “Kashmir” for “Kushinara”:[36][37]

Yuzasif… After that he departed from the land of Saulabath and traveled to many areas propagating religion and reached the land of Kashmir. He toured the place and gave a new life to the dead hearts of the people of this country and he died during this period. Leaving the mortal body his soul flew up to the ethereal world. Before his death he summoned his disciple named, Ayabad who was serving him in sincerity and was a perfect man in all regards. He made a bequest to him in which he stated that it was time for him to depart from the world. You must fulfill all your duties. You must never give up truth and continue to remain on piety and worship. Then he ordered Ayabad to prepare a place for him to lie. Then he stretched out his legs and turned his head to the west and his face to the east. He died in this position.

Saulabath in Ibn Babawayah’s text is correctly Kapilavastu.[38] In Buddhist versions the funeral pyre of the Lord Buddha Gautama could not be made to burn until Kashyapa arrived seven days late.[39]

Identification of Yuzasaf with Jesus[edit]

Main article: Jesus in Ahmadiyya Islam

In 1895 the founder of Ahmadiyya Islam, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad made the first identification of the local Kashmiri Josaphat tradition with Jesus of Nazareth, publishing this claim in Masih Hindustan-mein (Urdu 1899, English translation Jesus in India 1978).[40]

Paul C. Pappas states that from a historical perspective, this identification of Yuzasaf relies on legends and documents which include clear historical errors (e.g. Gondophares’ reign) and that “it is almost impossible to identify Yuz Asaf with Jesus”.[41]

Christian version[edit]

 

Depiction of Barlaam and Josaphat at the Baptistery of Parma, Italy

The story of Barlaam and Josaphat or Joasaph is a Christianized and later version of the story of Siddhartha Gautama, who became the Buddha.[5] In the Middle Ages the two were treated as Christian saints, being entered in the Greek Orthodox calendar on 26 August,[3] and in the Roman Martyrology in the Western Church as “Barlaam and Josaphat” on the date of 27 November.[4] In the Slavic tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church, these two are commemorated on 19 November (corresponding to 2 December on the Gregorian calendar).[42][43]

The first Christianized adaptation was the Georgian epic Balavariani dating back to the 10th century. A Georgian monk, Euthymius of Athos, translated the story into Greek, some time before he was killed while visiting Constantinople in 1028. There the Greek adaptation was translated into Latin in 1048 and soon became well known in Western Europe as Barlaam and Josaphat.[44] The Greek legend of “Barlaam and Ioasaph” is sometimes attributed to the 7th century John of Damascus, but Conybeare argued it was transcribed by the Georgian monk Euthymius in the 11th century.[45]

The story of Barlaam and Josaphat was popular in the Middle Ages, appearing in such works as the Golden Legend, and a scene there involving three caskets eventually appeared, via Caxton’s English translation of a Latin version, in Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice”.[46]

Two Middle High German versions were produced: one, the “Laubacher Barlaam”, by Bishop Otto II of Freising and another, Barlaam und Josaphat, a romance in verse, by Rudolf von Ems. The latter was described as “perhaps the flower of religious literary creativity in the German Middle Ages” by Heinrich Heine.[47]

The story of Josaphat was re-told as an exploration of free will and the seeking of inner peace through meditation in the 17th century.[citation needed]

The legend[edit]

According to the legend, King Abenner or Avenier in India persecuted the Christian Church in his realm, founded by the Apostle Thomas. When astrologers predicted that his own son would some day become a Christian, Abenner had the young prince Josaphat isolated from external contact. Despite the imprisonment, Josaphat met the hermit Saint Barlaam and converted to Christianity. Josaphat kept his faith even in the face of his father’s anger and persuasion. Eventually Abenner converted, turned over his throne to Josaphat, and retired to the desert to become a hermit. Josaphat himself later abdicated and went into seclusion with his old teacher Barlaam.[2]

Name[edit]

Ioasaph (Georgian Iodasaph, Arabic Yūdhasaf or Būdhasaf) is derived from the Sanskrit Bodhisattva.[4][5][48] The Sanskrit word was changed to Bodisav in Persian texts in the 6th or 7th century, then to Budhasaf or Yudasaf in an 8th-century Arabic document (possibly Arabic initial “b” ﺑ changed to “y” ﻳ by duplication of a dot in handwriting).[49] This became Iodasaph in Georgia in the 10th century, and that name was adapted as Ioasaph in Greece in the 11th century, and then as Iosaphat or Josaphat in Latin.[24]

Feast day[edit]

Although Barlaam and Josaphat were never formally canonized, they were included in earlier editions of the Roman Martyrology (feast day 27 November)[50] — though not in the Roman Missal — and in the Eastern Orthodox Church liturgical calendar (26 August in Greek tradition etc.[3] / 19 November in Russian tradition).[42][43]

Texts[edit]

 

A page from the 1896 edition by Joseph Jacobs at the University of Toronto (Click on image to read the book)

There are a large number of different books in various languages, all dealing with the lives of Saints Barlaam and Josaphat in India. In this hagiographic tradition, the life and teachings of Josaphat have many parallels with those of the Buddha. “But not till the mid-nineteenth century was it recognised that, in Josaphat, the Buddha had been venerated as a Christian saint for about a thousand years.”[51] The authorship of the work is disputed. The origins of the story seem to be a Central Asian manuscript written in the Manichaean tradition. This book was translated into Georgian and Arabic.

Greek manuscripts[edit]

The best-known version in Europe comes from a separate, but not wholly independent, source, written in Greek, and, although anonymous, attributed to a monk named John. It was only considerably later that the tradition arose that this was John of Damascus, but most scholars no longer accept this attribution. Instead much evidence points to Euthymius of Athos, a Georgian who died in 1028.[52]

The modern edition of the Greek text, from the 160 surviving variant manuscripts (2006), with introduction (German, 2009) is published as Volume 6 of the works of John the Damascene by the monks of the Abbey of Scheyern, edited by Robert Volk. It was included in the edition due to the traditional ascription, but marked “spuria” as the translator is the Georgian monk Euthymius the Hagiorite (ca. 955–1028) at Mount Athos and not John the Damascene of the monastery of Saint Sabas in the Judaean Desert. The 2009 introduction includes an overview.

Categories

Literature

Asia, Africa, & Middle Eastern

Religion

Authors

Joannes Damascenus Frans van Hoogstraten (transl.)

Printing Date

17th Century

Language

Other

Binding

Vellum

Book Condition

Good

Collation

Complete