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Bar Salibi, Dionysius (d. 1171)

  1. Joseph P. Amar

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc0120

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Amar, J. P. 2011. Bar Salibi, Dionysius (d. 1171). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


Dionysius Bar Salibi is one of three towering literary figures in West Syriac tradition responsible for what some scholars refer to as the Revival of Syriac Letters in the late 12th and early 13th centuries; with Michael the Syrian (d. 1199) and Gregory Bar Hebraeus (d. 1286), Bar Salibi composed works of such quantity and erudition that both his younger contemporaries called him “the star of his age.” Baptized Jacob, he took the name Dionysius when he was consecrated bishop of Marash in 1154. As other ecclesiastical scholars of the age, he set about collecting and writing commentaries on the works of earlier Syriac writers which were threatened with extinction due to the increased dominance of Arabic. In addition to major commentaries on the Old and New Testaments and theological works on the Trinity, incarnation, and the sacraments, he wrote a monumental commentary on the Kephalia gnostica which is still extant. Ever the controversialist, Jacob wrote polemical treatises against not only the perennial theological enemies of the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Nestorians and Chalcedonians, but also against Jews and Muslims; he even wrote against his miaphysite coreligionists, the Armenians.


  • Bar Salibi, Dionysius (d. 1171);
  • west Syriac tradition;
  • revival of Syriac letters;
  • theological works, on the trinity;
  • commentaries, on old and new testaments;
  • controversy, following dionysius