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The martyr of Lebanon: autobiography of an Arab prisoner of conscience

Khabariyat As`ad al-Shidyaq alladhi udtuhida li-ajl iqrarihi fil-haqq. [Account of As ad al-Shidyaq who was persecuted for his steadfastness in the truth].
Malta, [Anglican] Church Missionary Society [for the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions], 1833. 12mo. With all text in Arabic and the wrapper with a decorated frame built up from typographic ornaments. Original publisher's letterpress printed wrapper. 52 pp.
€ 4,500
Extremely rare first edition in the original Arabic, of the autobiography, of Asad al-Shidyaq (1798-1830, brother of the writer Faris), who came under the influence of the American Congregationalist missionaries in Beirut when he was employed by them as a teacher and translator, and embraced Protestantism in defiance of the Maronite (Eastern Catholic) Patriarch. In retaliation, the Patriarch imprisoned and tortured al-Shidyaq in a convent in the Lebanese mountains, starving him to death in 1830. Al-Shidyaqs autobiography, the story of his conversion and persecution, was published three years later by the CMS press of Malta. "This of course is also anti-Catholic, or rather anti-Maronite. It has been quite erroneously attributed to his brother Faris al-Shidyaq by a number of eminent authorities, who have cited it as the latters earliest work. In fact it is clearly by Asad himself, being written in the first person, and his mentor Isaac Bird has recorded that it was written in 1826 at his (Birds) request, that we might make use of it to his advantage in future time; English translations were published in Boston (USA) in 1827 and 1839 and it was later incorporated into Birds biography of Asad, published in 1864" (Roper, p. 239). It is set entirely in Arabic, including the imprint and date, but gives the year following the Christian calendar 1833. We have located only four other copies: at the British Library, Glasgow University, New York Public Library and the National Library in Jerusalem.
A clean copy in very good condition. Agius 43f; Alwan 18; Brockelmann S II, 868; Ellis I, 323; Roper, Arabic printing in Malta 1825-1845 (PhD thesis, 1988), 49; Roper, "The beginnings of Arabic printing by the ABCFM ...", in: Harvard Library Bulletin, 9 (1998), pp. 50-68, at p. 53 (see also J.F. Coakleys account of the ABCFM printing office in Malta, idem, pp. 11-13 & 16-17); Sarkis 1105; WorldCat 786037988, 1182505849 (2 copies); Zenker I, 1658; for a contemporary report in English: Missionary herald, XXIII, no. 4 (April 1827), pp. 71-76, 97-101.
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Related Subjects:

Asia  >  Central & West Asia
Book history, education, learning & printing  >  Greek & Non-Western Types
Middle east & islamic world  >  Arabic Printing & Calligraphy
Religion & devotion  >  Church History & Missions