Biography: Joseph Barbatus أبو دقن

Joseph Barbatus was an Egyptian Copt who lived in early 17th century Paris, France, and taught Arabic there.He is also known as Josephus Barbatus, Abudacnus, which is a latinized version of the Arabic أبو دقن "Abu Dakn" (one with a beard).The fact that he is from Egypt, and a native speaker of Arabic, no doubt made him distinguished in teaching this language. Not only did he teach Arabic, but wrote on Hebrew as well. As a Copt, he also wrote a history of the Coptic church, a work that Edward Gibbons in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is familiar with.His works include:

  • Historia Jacobitarum or History of the Jacobites. This is a history of the Coptic Church.
  • Lexicon Hebraica - a Hebrew Dictionary.

Among his students are the famous Dutch scholar, Thomas Van Erpe (Erpenius).



In fact it seems that his

In fact it seems that his knowledge of Arabic was limited to the vernacular as attested by Erpenius himself. See An Egyptian Traveller in the Republic of Letters: Josephus Barbatus or Abudacnus the Copt] Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Vol. 57. (1994), pp. 123-150. . You can also check the Wikipedia article about him which I wrote myself. You are most welcome to expand and improve it. By the way I couldn't find any reference about the his History of the Coptic Church. Can you refer to where I can get hold of a copy or an online version or anything about it?. Thanks for the post :) hakeem