(grammar and literary criticism), as well as practical manuals embodying a western perception of various Near Eastern communities and how to engage them in debate.98 The results of this translation process are significant historically as one of the earliest attempts to render contemporary Latin thought into another language, antedating by a generation the first Greek renderings of the brothers Demetrios and Prochoros Kydones.99
Esayi Ncec'i, the director of the monastic academy of Glajor, was extremely widely read and possessed an excellent understanding of the development of doctrine and church history. Profoundly engaged with western ideas, he was initially open to involvement in dialogue with the Latins, while still preserving Armenian autocephaly intact. Indeed, in 1323 his close associate and successor, Tiratur Kilikec'i, commissioned one of our earliest extant copies of Aquinas's commentary on Peter Lombard in Armenian.100 This balance is well illustrated by the illuminations in the Glajor Gospel from the turn of the fourteenth century, which include a number of typically western scenes, while in general reflecting Armenian theology and scriptural exegesis.101 Like Snorhali before him, Ncec'i also accepted the legitimacy of predicating either one or two natures in Christ, depending on how these were defined.102 Of an eirenic disposition, he maintained that it was better to be slow to engage in disputation and quick to approach conciliation and peace. At the same time, he argued that in an unequal alliance the partner better endowed with material resources should not exploit his advantage to deprive the other of his rights.103
The fluidity of the theological situation is reflected in the vacillating positions taken up by Armenian scholars, such as Mxit'ar Sasnec'i, who broke with his former mentor Ncec'i in the 1320s in favour of Orbelean's 'harder-line' position on divergence of liturgical rites.104 One of the first Armenian thinkers to respond to the Latin position, he agreed that previously the Armenians
98 M. A. van den Oudenrijn, Linguae haicanae scriptores ordinis praedicatorum congregatio-nis fratrum unitorum etff. Armenorum ordinis s. Basilii citra mare consistentium quodquod hucusque innotuerunt (Berne and Munich: A. Francke, 1960), 19-295; S. P. Cowe, 'Catholic missionaries to Armenia and anti-catholic writings', in Where the only-begotten descended: the church of Armenia through the ages, ed. KevorkB. Bardakjian (Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, in press).
100 Xaccikyan, ZD dari hayeren jeragreri hisatakaranner, 174.
101 T. Mathews and Avedis K. Sanjian, Armenian gospel iconography: The tradition of the Glajor Gospel [Dumbarton Oaks Studies 29] (Washington, DC: (Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 1991).
102 Esayi Ncec'i, 'T'ult' Esayeay vardapeti ar ter Matt'eos' [Letter of the vardapet Esayi to the Lord Matt'eos], Crak'al (i860), 157-64; (1861), 205-11.
103 Ncec'i, 'T'ult'Esayeay vardapeti', 162.
104 Mxit'ar Sasnec'i, Mxit'ar Sasnec'i's theological discourses, ed. S. P. Cowe [CSCO 21 (Armenian text); 22 (English translation)] (Leuven: Peeters, 1993), 101-2 (trans.).
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