The Transfiguration in Gǝʿǝz: Three sälam verses from the Synaxarion   Leave a comment

Today (Aug 19) some churches celebrate the Transfiguration, and there are readings for the feast in published synaxaria in Arabic, Armenian, and Gǝʿǝz. A close reading and comparison of the language of these texts would be worthwhile, but now I’d like only to share part of the Gǝʿǝz reading, namely the three sälam verses that close the commemoration of the Transfiguration. (On the genre of the sälam, see this post.) Most typically, there is only one five-line verse in the Gǝʿǝz synaxarion at the end of the commemoration of a saint or holy event, but for this important feast there are three together, the verses ending, respectively, with the syllabic rhymes -ʿa/ʾa, -wä, -se. As usual, verses like this provide a good learning opportunity for students interested in Gǝʿǝz, both in terms of lexicon and grammar, the latter especially thanks to the freer arrangement of the sentence’s constituents that obtains in this kind of writing.

I give Guidi and Grébaut’s text from PO 9: 513-514, together with a new, rough English translation.

ሰላም፡ለታቦር፡እንተ፡ተሰምየ፡ወተጸውዓ።
ደብረ፡ጥሉለ፡ወደበረ፡ርጉዓ።
ባርቅ፡ሞአ፡በህየ፡ወኃይለ፡ሲሳራ፡ተሞአ።
ወቦቱ፡አሪጎ፡አመ፡ኢየሱስ፡ተሰብአ።
ምሥጢረ፡ምጽአቱ፡ዳግም፡ከሠተ፡ኅቡአ።

ሰላም፡ለዕርገትከ፡ዓቀበ፡ደብረ፡ታቦር፡ጽምወ።
እምብዙኃን፡ነሢአከ፡እለ፡ኃረይከ፡ዕደወ።
ኢየሱስ፡ዘኮንከ፡እምቤተ፡ይሁድ፡ሥግወ።
ርእየተ፡ገጽከ፡አምሳለ፡መብረቅ፡ሐተወ።
ወከመ፡በረድ፡ልብሰከ፡ፃዕደወ።

ፀርሐ፡አብ፡ኪያከ፡በውዳሴ።
ወርእስከ፡ጸለለ፡ምንፈሰ፡ቅዳሴ።
አመ፡ገበርከ፡በታቦር፡ምስለ፡ሐዋርያት፡ክናሴ።
ኤልያስ፡መንገለ፡ቆመ፡ወኀበ፡ሀለወ፡ሙሴ።[1]
ዘመለኮትከ፡ወልድ፡ከሠትከ፡ሥላሴ።

Greetings to Tabor, which is named and called
The fertile mountain and the firm mountain!
There Barak conquered, and the might of Sisera was conquered.
And having ascended [that mountain], when Jesus had become man,
He revealed the hidden mystery of his second coming.

Greetings to your ascent up the slope of Mount Tabor in tranquility!
Having taken the men you had chosen from among many,
Jesus, you who were incarnate from the house of Judah,
The appearance of your face shined like lightning,
And your clothes were as white as snow.

The Father proclaimed you in praise,
And the Spirit of holiness concealed your head.
When you had made an assembly of apostles,
Where Elijah was present and where Moses was,
You, Son, showed the trinity of your divinity.

Note

[1] The two prepositions in this line behave more like adverbs than prepositions, given that a relative pronoun pointing back to ክናሴ፡ in the previous line is omitted: “assembly at [which] Elijah was present and with [which] Moses was.” Cf. Dillmann, Gr., § 201.

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