lęsa Majestas of the State is ever ready to treat an attack on Islam as high treason of an unpardonable stamp. But the evidence of Al Bīrūni shows that, having survived, our Apology was actually in circulation, in a Mahometan country, a century and a half after the time, it which it first appeared. This is almost a greater marvel than that it should even have been written in the first instance; for, under the tolerant sway of the free-thinking Al Māmūn, that was possible, which a few years later would have been utterly impossible. And one may be very certain that, when orthodox views again prevailed, every effort would be made to suppress and exterminate an Apology, obnoxious not only for its attack on the religion of the State, but also for the political sentiments therein advocated as to the divine right of Ali, the usurpation of Abu Bekr, and the manner in which the Coran was compiled. But the work had in all likelihood, from its intrinsic excellence, already so spread during the reign of Al Māmūn and his immediate successors (who shared his Motįzelite views), that its entire suppression became, no doubt on that account, impossible. And so copies survived, although stealthily, here and there in Mahometan countries. But why this remarkable book was not better known and valued in Christian countries, is very strange,—indeed, to my mind, altogether unaccountable.

Admitting all that has been advanced, it will still remain a question of rare interest who this unknown "Al Kindy, the Christian," was. In a letter from


Dr. Steinschneider to Professor Loth, a suggestion is thrown out which might possibly lead to the identification of our Author. The trace is there given of a Eustathius Al Kindy, mentioned among other Christian and Jewish names by Casiri in his Bibliotheca Arabica, as one of the translators of Aristotle, or copyists of Greek works. May this not have been our Apologist?1

Further inquiry in this, or some other similar direction, might possibly throw more certain light on the authorship of our Apology. Other MSS. of the same, whether in the East or in our European libraries, might also with advantage be compared with the printed version so as to elucidate the purity of the text, and especially of such passages as appear to be imperfect or obscure in the MSS. from which this edition was printed.2

The inquiry is not unworthy the attention of the

1  Dr. Steinschneider's letter will be found at page 315 of the "Zeitschrift der Morgenländischen Gesellschaft," vol. xxix. The passage referred to in Casiri is as follows:—

"Bibliotheca Arab. Hisp. Michaelis Casiri," Matrili, A.D. 1760, vol i. p. 310.

2  There is the MS. in Paris referred to by de Sacy as. No. 257 of the "Bibliothčque Orientale." And there is also that mentioned by Steinschneider, No. 112, "Kindi, Jacob? Vertheidigung der Christlichen Religion gegen den Islam, in Karschunischen MSS." See his "Polemische und Apologetische Literatur in Arabischer Sprache," Leipzig, 1877, p. 131. In this last, the letter of al Hāshimy (we are told) is given in an abridged form.