I greet you in peace, especially remembering you in my prayers and begging the Most High to keep you well and safe from all evil. I had sent you (may God continue to preserve you!) a work of mine in which I recounted to you the conversations that I had in the presence of the vizier Abū l-Qāsim Ibn ‘Alī al-Maghribī – may God have mercy on him. I had noted down for you in general terms what had occurred during each one of them, in order then to explain it to you in detail when it became possible, so that you might acquaint yourself with the details, since I am well aware of your ardent desire to do so. However, since this has not yet occurred, for a reason not unknown to you, I will explain to you now, in this letter, what happened during each conversation, so that you may get acquainted with the facts, in accordance with the will of the Most High.
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1A critical edition of the whole Book of Dialogues does not yet exist. For the introduction and the first conversation, the critical Arabic text established by Samir Khalil Samir, “Entretien d’Élie de Nisibe avec le vizir Ibn ‘Alī al-Maġribī sur l’Unité et la Trinité,” Islamochristiana, 5 (1979), pp. 31-117, has been followed. For the fifth dialogue, on the other hand, reference has been made to the non-critical edition by Louis Cheikho, Al-Mashriq, 20 (1922), pp. 270-272. As Samir has demonstrated, Cheikho based his edition on some late Melchite manuscripts that have been reworked in several places for stylistic and theological reasons. The translation is by Martino Diez.
2This is Elias’s older brother.
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