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The Gospel of Mark in the Syriac Harklean Version

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Yohanna Samer Soreshow

“Biblica et Orientalia” vol. 52

2015 pp. 208 + 4 tav.



This edition of the Harklean version of the Gospel of Mark fills a well-known desideratum in the field of the New Testament textual criticism. Based upon manuscript Chaldean 25 from the depository of the Chaldean Antonian Order of St. Hormizd (O.A.O.C.), this edition describes and collates the surviving Harklean manuscripts from the first millennium. The first critical apparatus reports variants to the lemma while a second apparatus reports variants in the marginal readings.  Colour images from the manuscripts are included so that the reader can fully appreciate the Harklean tradition and understand how the apparatuses were created. The introduction explains the system of text division, the marginalia, the diacritics and the other punctuation marks in the Harklean traditions. Special attention is given to the meaning of the critical signs that Thomas of Harqel employed in his creation of a new Syriac translation of the New Testament. 

Samer Soreshow Yohanna (1980), is a Chaldean priest (2006) and member of the Chaldean Antonian Order of St. Harmizd since 2003. He studied in Rome at the Pontifical Biblical Institute where he received his licentiate (2011) and his doctorate (2014) in Ancient Near Eastern Studies. 

This admirable critical edition of the Harklean version of the Gospel according to St. Mark, with its detailed introduction, constitutes a major contribution to the study of this important Syriac version. Besides presenting the evidence of twelve of the earliest manuscripts, Samer Yohanna also pays excellent attention to the marginalia and text divisions, as well as to the critical signs, thus providing a solid basis for all future research on the Harklean text of Mark.  Prof. Sebastian P. Brock, Oxford University.


Samer Yohanna’s excellent critical version edition of the Harklean Gospel of Mark based on the earliest manuscripts, including the hitherto unpublished manuscript C, fills a major gap in the study of the Harklean version of the New Testament. The edition sheds new light on the philological, orthographical, and ‘critical’ feature of the Syriac ‘mirror translatiion’ of the Greek Vorlage, and serves as a model to follow in the edition of the remaining gospels.  Prof. Amir Harrak, University of Toronto.


Dr. Samer Yohanna’s fine monograph marks a very substantial progress on previous editions of the Gospel of Mark in the Harklean version, most particulary by its excellent apparatus critici, both for the text and for the highly significant marginalia, which will allow future scholars to reach different interpretations of the evidence, and by its convincing-though avowedly provisional-diagram illustrating the relationships between the earliest manuscripts, far more complex than a traditional stemma codicum. Prof. Riccardo Contini, University of Naples “L’Orientale”.

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