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Book/Printed Material Discourse on Universal History.

About this Item


  • Discourse on Universal History.


  • This work is a translation into Arabic of Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet's history of the world, Discours sur l'histoire universelle (Discourse on universal history), in which the author argues for the divine right of kings. Bossuet's book, originally published in 1681, is regarded as a classic statement defining the monarch as the embodiment of the state. Bossuet wrote the book for the benefit of the crown prince of France and based his argument on an interpretation of Biblical history. The work was translated by 'Abd Allah al-Bustāni. It was commissioned for translation and publication by Bishop Yūsuf ibn Ilyās al-Dibs, primate of Lebanon and president of al-Da'irah al-'Ilmiyah (The Scientific Society). It is difficult to understand why the bishop selected this work, since the political circumstances of the Ottoman Levant of the late-19th century differed radically from 17th century France. He may have endorsed it for its edifying content and judged it appropriate for teaching in schools under his authority. The work was printed at the Catholic Press in Beirut in 1882, which at the time was administered by Bishop al-Dibs. 'Abd Allah al-Bustāni was a Maronite Catholic writer and teacher of Arabic. Little is known of Shakir al-'Awn, whose name appears on the title page as co-translator.


  • Bossuet, Jacques-Bénigne, 1627-1704 Author.
  • Bustānī, ʻAbd Allāh, 1854-1930 Translator.
  • Dibs, Yūsuf ibn Ilyās, 1833-1907 Associated Name.
  • ʻAwn, Shākir Translator.

Created / Published

  • Beirut : Catholic Press, 1882.


  • -  Lebanon
  • -  1681
  • -  Bible. Old Testament
  • -  Kings and rulers
  • -  Politics and government


  • -  Title devised, in English, by Library staff.
  • -  Original resource extent: 344 pages ; 24 centimeters.
  • -  Original resource at: Qatar National Library.
  • -  Content in Arabic.
  • -  Description based on data extracted from World Digital Library, which may be extracted from partner institutions.


  • 1 online resource.

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2021666227

Online Format

  • compressed data
  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

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Credit Line: [Original Source citation], World Digital Library

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Bossuet, Jacques-Bénigne, Author, ʻAbd Allāh Bustānī, Yūsuf Ibn Ilyās Dibs, and Shākir Translator ʻAwn. Discourse on Universal History. Beirut: Catholic Press, 1882. Pdf.

APA citation style:

Bossuet, J., Bustānī, ʻ. A., Dibs, Y. I. I. & ʻAwn, S. T. (1882) Discourse on Universal History. Beirut: Catholic Press. [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Bossuet, Jacques-Bénigne, Author, et al. Discourse on Universal History. Beirut: Catholic Press, 1882. Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.