Of the large number of Apocryphal books existing in Syriac8 the majority have been translated from Greek, one or two (such as Bar Sira or Ecclesiasticus) from Hebrew, while some (like the Doctrine of Addai above referred to) are original Syriac documents.
Their work has been fourfold: (i) they have brought out editions of important patristic works, some Armenian, others translated into Armenian from Greek and Syriac originals no longer extant; (2) they print and circulate Armenian literature among the Armenians, and thereby exercise a powerful educational influence; (3) they carry on schools both in Europe and Asia, in which Uniat Armenian boys receive a good secondary education; (4) they work as Uniat missioners in Armenia.
And by a skilful piecing together of the date furnished by the oldest Syriac versions of the Bible - such as the derivation of the Old Testament version from the Jews, and the almost exclusive use of Tatian's Diatessaron as the gospel of the Syriac Church down to the beginning of the 5th century - F.
Slightly later was made the Old Syriac version of the separate Gospels, which survives in two MSS.
At Bagdad, in the reign of Mamun (813-833), the son of Harun al-Rashid, philosophical works were translated by Syrian Christians from Greek into Syriac and from Syriac into Arabic. It was in his reign that Aristotle was first translated into Arabic, and, shortly afterwards, we have Syriac and Arabic renderings of commentators on Aristotle, and of portions of Plato, Hippocrates and Galen; while in the 10th century new translations of Aristotle and his commentators were produced by the Nestorian Christians.
That the Armenians appropriated from the Syrians this, as well as the stories of Bartholomew and Thaddeus (the Syriac Addai), was merely an avowal on their part that Edessa was the centre from which the faith radiated over their land.
On John of Asia or Ephesus, the eminent Monophysite bishop and earliest Syriac church historian, see the separate article.
The well-known legend of the correspondence of Abgar Ukkama, king of Edessa, with Christ and the mission of Addai to Edessa immediately after the Ascension was accepted as true by the historian Eusebius (f340) on the faith of a Syriac document preserved in the official archives of the city.
C. 550-570) who translated into Syriac some of the writings of Cyril, and Peter of Callinicus, Jacobite patriarch of Antioch 578-591, who wrote a huge controversial treatise in 4 books, each of 25 chapters, against Damian, patriarch of Alexandria, as well as other less important works.
JOHN OF ASIA (or OF Ephesus), a leader of the Monophysite Syriac-speaking Church in the 6th century, and one of the earliest and most important of Syriac historians.