Ɵ Anthimos, Patriarch of Jerusalem, Al-Hidaya al-Qawiya ila l'amana al-Mustaqima (A Guide to the True Faith), first Arabic edition printed in Arabic, Bernardus de Jenisch for Hossinger [Austria (Vienna), 1792]
single volume, 5 parts in one volume, possibly lacking engraved portrait of Anthimos, else apparently complete, printed in red and black, in Arabic and Latin, in double column, woodcut head-pieces opening each of the five chapters, some additional engraved head- and tail-pieces throughout, final 4 leaves of text trimmed at outer edges with loss to sections of text, a few closed tears and small chips to edges elsewhere, leaves rather darkened with age, a few scuffs and smudges, 340 by 230 mm.; Austrian blind-stamped red morocco, covers with rectangular device stamped to centres, with border decorations also in blind, spine gilt in compartments, covers rather scuffed and rubbed
A rare and important work printed in Vienna using an Arabic typeset, commissioned by Anthimos, the Palestinian Patriarch of Jerusalem, for private distribution in the Levant. Its production was an important milestone for the history of Arabic printing in Europe. This the rarer title of two texts Anthimos compiled, the other being an explanation of the Psalms entitled Kitāb Tafsīr al-Zabūr al-Ilāhī al-Sharīf , also printed in Vienna in the same year as this volume.
The text here includes an introduction to the principles of the Christian religion, followed by 5 chapters concerning: the knowledge of the Christian God (his nature and attributes, the Son and the Holy Ghost), an account of the Creation, a section dedicated to Christ (incarnation, the cross and worship of images), Christian virtues and finally the seven sacraments.
This book is rare, even in grand public libraries. There are only a two copies recorded in Europe (those in Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen, and the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, with only one of these evidently containing the frontispiece engraving of the author). The scarcity of this title, makes it difficult to precisely determine if the present copy is complete, but on reflection it is most probably so. This text here includes 6 unnumbered preliminary leaves (a-c2), a title-page (pp.1r), and then continuous pagination 1-431 (A-Qqqqq2), which is consistent with the other two library collations. Moreover, the work is of staggering rarity at auction, with no known copies of this ever appearing on the open market and only one copy of the related publication of Arabic Psalms offered for sale by Sotheby's, 9 November 1973 (lot 207), realising £24.