provided a systematic presentation of Christian dogma, supported by long passages from the Church Fathers, but also from philosophers, both Christian and Muslim, particular use being made of the Kitab al-Arba'în of al-Razî.54 The same combination of theology and philosophy reappears in the celebrated encyclopaedia which Abu l-Barakat compiled in the following century under the title Misbah al-Zulma ('Lamp of Darkness').
In our period there were a large number of apologetic works, but with features that distinguished them from those of earlier centuries.55 Genres, such as polemic and disputation, were much less well developed than apologetics, where a Christian author explained, defended and justified Christian dogma against Muslim aspersions. He would defend the dogmas of the Trinity and the unity of the Godhead, of the Incarnation and the double nature of Christ, with the aid of arguments drawn from scripture and those based on reason. The Melkites boasted two great apologists: in the eleventh century they had 'Abdallah ibn Fadl, a native of Antioch, who was the author of numerous works in defence of Christianity, including a 'Demonstration of the Orthodox Faith', which criticises the errors of the Jacobites and the Nestorians. In the twelfth century Paul al-Rahib, a monk of Antioch, who became bishop of Sidon, compiled at least five treatises directed against pagan philosophers, Jews, Muslims and other Christian denominations. His contemporary, the Nestorian metropolitan Elie ibn Shinaya, was the author of a work, in which he defends the doctrine of the Trinity against the Muslims, the divinity of Christ against the Jews, and the Nestorian emphasis on the humanity of Christ against the Melkites and the Jacobites. It becomes apparent that some ofthese treatises were just as much designed to justify the doctrines of one church over another as they were to defend Christianity against outsiders. Something of an exception is a little tract entitled 'Treatise about the unanimity ofthe faith (Kitab ijtima' al-amana)': its eleventh-century author, an otherwise unknown Jacobite called 'All ibn Dawud al-Arfadî, is at pains to prove that despite divergences over the formulation of the mystery of Christ the different Christian confessions shared the same faith. 56
The theological summa, along with the apologetical treatises, testify to the influence of theological and philosophical concepts that are properly Muslim. Unfortunately modern research - often too steeped in ecclesiastical
54 See G. C. Anawati, 'The Christian communities in Egypt in the Middle Ages', in Conversion and continuity, ed. M. Gervers andR. J. Bikhazi, 237-51.
55 See K. Samir, 'Bibliographie du dialogue islamo-chrétien. Auteurs chrétiens de langue arabe', Islamochristiana 2 (1979), 201-45, where he provides abrief analysis of each treatise.
56 G. Troupeau, 'Le livre de l'unanimité de la foi de 'Alî ibn Dawud al-Arfadî', in Etudes sur le christianisme arabe au Moyen Age (Aldershot: Variorum, 1995), xiii.
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