"Dissertation Concerning the Thaddaeitan Kurds"- A Chaldean Bishop's Account of the Yezidis
The Swedish orientalist Matthias Norberg wrote a number of dissertations in Latin on topics pertaining to the Middle East. He also oversaw the compilation of some Arabic primary source materials and their translation into Latin, including this account of the Yezidis (called in the title of this work the “Thaddaeitan Kurds”) by a Chaldean bishop called Joseph Behenam. The dissertation, a Latin translation of that account and published in 1808 CE, presents the Yezidis as a community supposedly tracing their lineage to Jesus’ disciple Thaddaeus, one of the disciples of Jesus. Over time, however, they supposedly slipped into apostasy from Christianity, and now they worship the Devil, though they also practise dissimulation in the presence of Muslims and Christians. This recalls earlier Western accounts that similarly relied on local Muslim and Christian testimony to depict Yezidis as devil worshippers.