|22||THE APOLOGY OF AL KINDY.|
Nestorian, not a Mahometan, and wrote in the Syrian language, not in Arabic.1
If any doubts were entertained of the religious principles of Ibn Ishâc al Kindy, they must be set at rest by the fact that he wrote a treatise to disprove the doctrine of the Trinity. It was answered by Yahya ibn Adî, a Jacobite writer, whose pamphlet appears as No. 108 in Steinschneider's list.2 The same is in the Vatican Library (Codex, 127, f. 88), and was kindly copied out for me by Prof. Ign. Guidi. In this tract, the attack of Ibn Ishâc is quoted and replied to passage by passage; and the tenor of the writing leaves no doubt of the antagonism of the writer to Christianity.
On all these grounds, we must clearly look for the author of our Apology elsewhere.3 But before doing
|ITS AGE AND AUTHORSHIP.||23|
so, it may be expedient to notice the conjecture of de Sacy, that the Apology may have been ascribed to Ibn Ishâc al Kindy, either by a misunderstanding, or as a pious fraud with the view of gaining for it greater celebrity and weight.
As to the supposed misunderstanding, it seems doubtful whether, in reality, the Apology ever was so ascribed, excepting as a mere conjecture in modern times. The misunderstanding, whatever it may have been, has arisen apparently from the similarity of name and tribe, as given in the quotation by Al Bîrûni.
The notion that, with the view of gaining greater weight, a paper purporting to be in refutation of Islam and establishment of Christianity, should have been ascribed to a Mahometan philosopher, will hardly, I think, be seriously held. What possible advantage could have been expected from an attempt to palm off a polemical work of the kind on an enemy of the Christian faith,a writer, moreover, who had himself attacked one of its cardinal doctrines? There is, besides, no trace in the Apology itself of any design to rest upon the authority of a great name. The author's identity, as we have seen, is carefully suppressed. The only thing common to the "Philosopher" and the Author, which appears throughout the work, is that both were learned, and both went by the tribal title of Al Kindy; but that tribe was surely