A diagram for the textual genealogy of Kalila and Dimna   2 comments

Many of us who work on Syriac literature read portions of one of the Syriac versions of Kalila wa-Dimna in our beginning days of studying the language. It’s an entertaining and engaging read, generally not too difficult, and contains many words not so commonly met with in texts of more pedestrian, run-of-the-mill, literary genres. Several months ago I was studying the work again, not only its Syriac witness, but others, too, and naturally I consulted Brockelmann’s article on it in the Encyclopaedia of Islam (2d ed., vol. 4, 503-506). From the details he provides I drew up for my own reference this diagram, admittedly crude, of the relationships among the many versions of this long popular text.

I keep it up on the wall in my office, not because I consult it that often, but because I appreciate the complexity — linguistic, literary, historico-cultural, &c. — that it serves as a reminder for. If anyone else finds it of use, good; if not, well, at least this may serve as a prod for you to devote some of your next leisure reading to these stories in some language or other!

2 responses to “A diagram for the textual genealogy of Kalila and Dimna

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  1. There is more up-to-date literature on all of this, e.g. my monograph of 1990.

    François de Blois
  2. 1- 102 years earlier there was Jacobs 1888 diagram (I wish I’d learned about de Blois’s 1990 update sooner!) which I used in still clips as the framework for my 2009 ICR lecture on the Panchatantra’s westward migration:


    2- ICR published in Oct 2011 my subsequent monograph “Extraordinary Voyages of the Panchtantra:


    3- ICR however cut this monograph’s Appendix (purely for reason’s of space) which contained details on the narratology & neuroscience of so-called “story worlds”. The full Appendix is included at the end of Vol 2 of my novel series •KALILA AND DIMNA – Fables of Conflict and Intrigue• available on Kindle and paperback from amazons, for example:


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