BUTRUS IBN SALIM AL-SUNBATI, a Melchite hieromonk from the village of Sunbat, who in 1199 was living at the monastery of Saint Catherine in Sinai. Sunbât is in the district of Zifta, in the province of Gharbiyyah on the Delta, and is situated 21/4 miles (about 31/2 km) southwest of Mit Damsis. At the time of Butrus and in the thirteenth century, it was of considerable religious importance, especially as regards hagiography. However, no works ever mention Melchites living there.
This monk was the copyist of at least two Sinai manuscripts. One (Sinai Arabic 159, a codex of 273 sheets) contains a lectionary of the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of Paul for the entire year with brief commentaries; it was completed on 14 Ab 6707 of Adam/20 Shawwal A.H. 596/14 August A.D. 1199 (cf. Atiya and Youssef, 1970, p. 312). The other (Sinai Arabic 96, 352 sheets in addition to those missing, undated) continues a manuscript (Sinai Arabic 159) giving the Gospel readings for the whole year with a commentary on each pericope (cf. Atiya and Youssef, 1970, p. 193).
Butrus al-Sunbati wrote in a clear, pleasant hand (a specimen may be seen in Atiya and Youssef, 1970, p. 312). Although the folios are not numbered, his work was very careful. Each folio bears a title running along the top of the recto, and each fascicule (quinion) is numbered at the foot of the recto in Arabic letters (cf. Sinai Arabic 96, fols. 9, 19, 29, 39, etc.; this shows that the first forty-two folios of this manuscript have disappeared, a detail not mentioned in the catalogs). Last, each fascicule was revised, and bears at the foot of the recto of the first folio the word qubila, which means that the text was rechecked against the model.
KHALIL SAMIR, S.J.
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