The Life of Bishoi: The Greek, Arabic, Syriac, and Ethiopic Lives

21,000+ Reviews has the highest-rated customer service of any bookstore in the world


Four translations of major accounts of the life of the fourth-century Egyptian desert father St. Bishoi, in one volume

Saint Bishoi of Scetis (d. ca. 417) enjoys tremendous popularity throughout the Christian east, particularly among the Copts. He lived during a remarkable era in which a litany of larger-than-life monastics lived and interacted with one another. Even then, Bishoi stood out as the founder of one of the four great monasteries of Scetis (Wadi al-Natrun): those of Macarius, John the Little, Bishoi, and the Baramus. Yet in spite of Bishoi’s prominence, the various recensions of his hagio-biography have received sporadic, scattered attention.

The Life of Bishoi joins other Lives of eminent monastics of early-Egyptian monasticism: the Lives of Antony, Daniel, John the Little, Macarius, Paphnutius, Shenoute, and Syncletica. These Lives are vital for what they tell us about monastic politeia (way of life), spirituality, and theology, both of the early monastics and of those who later wrote, translated, and revised the Lives. They appeared first in Greek and Coptic, and later generations translated and revised them into Syriac, Arabic and Ge‘ez (Ethiopic).

This definitive volume contains the first English translation of the Greek, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic Lives of Bishoi, each translation accompanied by an introduction that focuses on certain aspects of the source text. It also has the first transcription and English translation of an important Greek text. The General Introduction provides rich context about the texts and textual traditions in the various languages, and thoroughly revises our knowledge about the Syriac tradition, the translation of the Syriac text here now consequently providing what is the best translation in any modern language.


Tim Vivian,
California State University, Bakersfield
Maged S.A. Mikhail, California State University, Fullerton
Rowan Allen Greer III (1935–2014), an Episcopal priest and Walter H. Gray Professor of Anglican Studies at Yale Divinity School, was author of Broken Lights and Mended Lives: Theology and Common Life in the Early Church and Anglican Approaches to Scripture: From the Reformation to the Present.
Robert Kitchen is a retired minister of the United Church of Canada, living in Regina, Saskatchewan. He read for the D.Phil. (Oxford) in Syriac Language and Literature and has taught Syriac studies in Sweden and Austria.
Apostolos N. Athanassakis was Argyropoulos Chair in Hellenic Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Product Details

American University in Cairo Press
Publish Date

Earn By Promoting Books

Earn money by sharing your favourite books through our Affiliate programme.

Become an Affiliate
We use cookies and similar methods to recognize visitors and remember their preferences. We also use them to help detect unauthorized access or activity that violate our terms of service, as well as to analyze site traffic and performance for our own site improvement efforts. To learn more about these methods, including how to disable them view our Cookie Policy.