DĀDIŠOʿ QAṬRĀYĀ (late 7th century c.e.), Nestorian author of ascetic literature in Syriac. Pre­sumably a native of Qaṭar, as his surname suggests, Dādišoʿ seems to have become a monk at the otherwise unknown monastery of Rab-kennārē before dwelling for a time at the monastery of Rabban Šābūr (near Šostar [Šūštar, Tostar] in Ḵūzestān) and at that of the “Blessed Apostles” (Scher, pp. 103-12). In addition to the Retreat of the Seven Weeks and other short treatises on solitude, prayer, and contemplation (Mingana, 1934, pp. 70-143, 201-47; cf. idem, 1933, col. 131), his writings included commentaries on the Paradise of the Fathers (see apophthegmata patrum) and on the twenty-six “discourses” of Abbā Isaiah. All extant manuscripts of this last work (Draguet, 1972; for an additional manuscript, see Mingana, 1933, cols. 160-61) break off toward the end of the commentary on the fifteenth discourse, but it is clear that Dādišoʿ did in fact complete it, for extracts from subsequent sections were incorporated into a later commentary on the works of Isaiah. This “anonymous commentary,” which exists in fragments in Syriac (Draguet, 1973) and in a fuller form in Arabic (see Draguet, 1973, it., pp. xviii-xxiv), consists in fact of a series of excerpts from the commentary of Dādišoʿ, rearranged on a thematic basis; René Draguet (1973, tr., pp. xxv-xxvi) gives reasons for supposing that it was compiled in the first half of the 8th century by a disciple of the mystical writer Isaac of Nineveh.

Excerpts from Dādišoʿ’s Isaiah commentary are found in Sogdian translation in two manuscripts: first, C2, folios 39, 40, 48 (Sims-Williams, pp. 78-86), contain­ing part of the commentary to the fifteenth discourse, and, second, a group of unpublished fragments (Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin), two of the largest of which bear the signature C34. From these fragments one can reconstruct two folios belonging to the commentary to the fourteenth dis­course (preceded by an unidentified text) and three folios containing the end of the commentary to the second discourse. This last passage is followed in the manuscript by a passage from Dādišoʿ’s commentary on the Paradise, of which the Syriac text has not yet been published (for a list of manuscripts, see Baumstark, p. 226 n. 7).



A. Baumstark, Geschichte der syrischen Literatur, Bonn, 1922, pp. 226-27.

R. Draguet, Commentaire du livre d’Abba Isaïe (logoi I-XV) par Dadîšôʿ Qaṭraya (VIIe s.), CSCO, Scriptores Syri, CXLIV (text), CXLV (translation), Louvain, 1972.

Idem, Commentaire anonyme du livre d’Abba Isaïe, CSCO, Scriptores Syri, CL (text), CLI (trans­lation), Louvain, 1973.

A. Mingana, Catalogue of the Mingana Collection of Manuscripts I, Cam­bridge, 1933.

Idem, Woodbrooke Studies VII, Cambridge, 1934.

A. Scher, “Notice sur la vie et les oeuvres de Dadîšôʿ Qaṭraya,” JA, sér. 10, 6, 1906, pp. 103-18 (Figure 1).

N. Sims-Williams, The Christian Sogdian Manuscript C2, Berliner Turfantexte 12, Berlin, 1985.

(Nicholas Sims-Williams)

Originally Published: December 15, 1993

Last Updated: December 15, 1993