Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Ron Landau

First Committee Member

Edward A. Raleigh

Second Committee Member

Malcolm Moule


The purpose of the study, based mainly on modern research, is to investigate the elements composing the transmission of Hellenic knowledge to the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates through Syriac and Arabic.

The emphasis of the study is placed upon the period of the mid-800’s when the potently intellectual and cultural achievements of the most famous Abbasid capital, Baghdad, reached an unprecedented level of activity. One scholarly accomplishment built under the patronage of the Caliph al-Ma’mun was the Bayt al-Hikmat (House of Knowledge) where Syriac and Arabic translations from Greek texts were encouraged. The record of greatest output of accurate translations at the Bayt al-Hikmat was held by Hunayn ibn Ishaq and his school which flourished during the reign of al-Mutawakkil. Both earlier and later translating bodies will be discussed, but the concentration of the thesis lies upon Hunayn ibn Ishaq and his school of Baghdadi translators.





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