Archive for June 2014
Passages with strange vocabulary, including fauna, sometimes stick in the mind better than others, and thus they can be good, or at least fun, for learning. Here is one from the beginning of Joel:
ნეშტი იგი ჭიისაჲ შეჭამა მკალმან [NB the nice occurrence of ჭ in two neighboring words]
More ჭs! “a colorful magpie” (იაკობ გოგებაშვილის დედა ენა, p. 24).
Joel 1:4 (ed. of Blake and Brière)
LXX τὰ κατάλοιπα τῆς κάμπης κατέφαγεν ἡ ἀκρίς
Arm Զմնացորդս թրթրոյ եկեր մարախ [Rem. ուտեմ “to eat”, with aor. կերայ, 3s եկեր]
(This Georgian sentence is quoted in Sarjveladze-Fähnrich, Altgeorgisch-Deutsche Wörterbuch , 1559, s.v. ჭიაჲ, “Das Restliche von den Würmern haben die Heuschrecken aufgefressen.”)
- ნეშტი remainder, remains
- ჭიაჲ worm [Rayfield et al. have წიგნის ჭია “bookworm” as an ex.!]
- შეჭამება to eat up
- მკალი locust (cf. Mt 3:4 Ad საზრდელად მისა იყო მკალი და თაფლი ველური and Rev 9:3 და კუამლისა მისგან გამოვიდეს მკალნი ქუეყანად. და მიეცა მათ ჴელმწიფებაჲ, ვითარცა აქუს ჴელმწიფებაჲ ღრიაკალთა ქუეყანისათა [ღრიაკალი σκορπίος])
With მკალი cf. this word, “locust, grasshopper” (იაკობ გოგებაშვილის დედა ენა, p. 16).
Christian scribes typically trumpet their sinfulness, and there is no shortage of creative self-deprecation. In a colophon to a text in SMMJ 170 (also mentioned in the previous post) the scribe asks colorfully for prayer from his reader with memorable imagery.
SMMJ 170, f. 218r
Here is the same in Arabic script:
كملت امثال الحكيم يوسيفوس بعون الله وعلينا رحمته اجمعين امين. يا ايها القاري لا تنسا الكاتب الخاطي من صلاتك لاجل الله لاني غارق في بحر الخطيّة وخص نفسك بالف سلام امين. وذلك في سنة ١٩٠٧ ٢٣ يوم من تموز
This imagery even becomes alliterative in English:
Ended are the Parables of Josippos the Sage with God’s help: his mercy be on us all, Amen. Reader! Do not delay the sinful scribe from your prayer, for God’s sake, because I am sinking in the sea of sin, and may he grant your soul peace a thousandfold. This is in the year 1907 [AG], the 23rd day of Tammuz.
The text that ends here contains sixty-two parables (amṯāl) with explanation, presented as a dialogue between “Josippos” and King Nebuchadnezzar.
Any other examples of sea-imagery (cf. Ps 69:1-2), with sin and otherwise? Feel free to mention them in the comments.
In the manuscript Saint Mark’s, Jerusalem, № 170, ff. 139v-145v, a collection mostly of homilies in Garšūnī, there is a letter attributed to Ignatius of Antioch (al-nūrānī). As I was cataloging the manuscript and hunting down some information on the text, I located what seemed to be it in CPG 1030:
I was glad to see that a Syriac version of the letter might be available, but when I went to check it (only in the Woodbrooke vol., BJRL not being available to me), it was immediately apparent that Mingana published a Garšūnī text, not Syriac. So there in CPG 1030 we should read arabice, not syriace! Mingana’s text is based on two Garšūnī manuscripts, perhaps of the sixteenth century (see his pages 96-97). SMMJ 170 is later, and I have yet to determine the relationship of this copy of the text to that which Mingana published, but here is a sample (= Mingana, p. 110, line 7-p. 111, line 3) for those few who might be interested.
SMMJ 170, f. 140r
Hinrich Biesterfeldt, ed. “Franz Rosenthal’s Half an Autobiography.” Die Welt des Islams 54 (2014): 34-105.
I’m now reading the hot-off-the-press memoir of Franz Rosenthal, edited by Hinrich Biesterfeldt. I highly recommend it for reasons of interest academic and historical. Here, as only a taste, are some remarks on his teacher Hans Heinrich Schaeder, with whom Rosenthal studied in Berlin.
My principal mentor and shaykh was Hans Heinrich Schaeder, then at the peak of his mental and physical powers, a conscientious and wonderfully inspiring teacher. His official field was Iranian, and I studied Middle Persian and Islamic Persian with him. Initially, he repaired the damage done me by an earlier course in Syriac that was taught by someone incompetent to teach the language. He showed me how to approach Muslim historical texts, how to reconstruct an Oriental religion, Manichaeism, from fragments transmitted in Arabic, and how to use the tools of scholarship properly. Above all, he was the living example of the need for, and the methods of looking at, the large historical picture without ever neglecting the details offered by the sources. He set the subject of my doctoral dissertation for which he prepared my way by his previous instruction in Aramaic. [p. 54]
I’m very happy that this document has appeared, and thanks are due to the editor and the publisher. As far as I’m concerned, one can never have too much personalia to read.
Colophons do not necessarily match in language the texts that they conclude, so that we sometimes have a Garšūnī colophon at the end of a Syriac text, or vice versa (as in an earlier place in the manuscript mentioned below). Garšūnī and Arabic are not, of course, distinct languages, but given that the medium in view here is graphic, the clearly distinct writing systems employed for them may matter in a way approaching that which exists between different languages properly speaking. In addition, at least some scribes that used Garšūnī were careful to note the difference, as I pointed out recently.
Here, mainly for the handwriting, is an Arabic colophon at the end of a Garšūnī manuscript: Saint Mark’s Monastery, Jerusalem, № 169, which mostly contains homilies in Garšūnī. (At the beginning there is an excerpt, in Syriac, from the Chronicle of Michael the Great, book 11 of chapter 20, on the Council of Manazkert convened in 726 by Catholicos Yovhannēs Ōjnec’i the Philosopher with Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Athanasios III. Neither Michael nor the title Chronicle are specifically mentioned here, however.)
The kind of Arabic script most often found in the collections I have cataloged is naskh. Less commonly we see ruqʿa, and rarer still is the slanted taʿlīq or one of its derivations, so the handwriting here is of some interest merely for that reason. The script here is characterized by each word being written on a down-slanting line (sometimes with the last letter written above the preceding parts of the word), loosely placed diacritical marks, and some horizontal and rounded lines being notably extended. Perhaps others would like to try their hand at reading it. My transcription (save for one part in the first line that has proven undecipherable to me so far) follows below. By the way, the year is given as 1092 AG, but this must be a mistake for 2092 AG (= 1780/1 CE), so the full date as given below would be May 1, 1781; a purchase note at the end of the manuscript is dated 2102 AG (= 1790/1 CE). The scribe, also named earlier in this manuscript in a Syriac colophon, is called Anīs, who is from Gargar, but this manuscript was written outside Diyarbakır/Āmid.
SMMJ 169, f. 145r
كتب بداخل مدينة آمد في قلاية البطريركية الايغناطيوسية ادام الله سعادتها ؟ ؟ الينا المعظم المغبوط المكرم مار ايغناطيوس
بطريرك انطاكية بيد احقر عبيد الله واحوجهم الراهب الهارب وانيس باسم قسيس في سنة اثنان تسعين والف للاسكندر اليوناني
في يوم عيد القديس مار ميخايل
اول يوم شهر ايار
رحم الله من ترحم على الكاتب الحقير
وعلى والديه واخوته
I’ve recently finished David B. Honey’s Incense at the Altar: Pioneering Sinologists and the Development of Classical Chinese Philology, AOS Series 86 (New Haven: AOS, 2001), which my friend Chuck Häberl pointed out to me a few months ago. The books covers the lives and works of these “pioneering sinologists” from various countries, backgrounds, and temperaments in what was for me a delightful reading experience.
While I’ve not mentioned Chinese here before, the study of Classical Chinese language, literature, and history developed, not surprisingly, along lines partly analogous to the study of other such fields, including the textual matrices and complexes frequently touched on at hmmlorientalia. Among the scholars discussed in Honey’s book is Vladivostok-born Peter Boodberg (1903-1972), and for now I’d just like to quote part of the latter’s “Philologist’s Creed,” which Honey gives in full (pp. 305-306). It’s a testament of Boodberg’s approach to philology (not only Chinese), his “brooding humanism” (Honey, p. 306), penned in a confessional tone (with echoes of the language of Qohelet in one part), and the excerpt given here (and the whole of it) might resonate — even if wryly! — with other students and scholars.
I mind me of all tongues, all tribes, and all nations that labored and wrought all manner of works with their hands, and their minds, and their hearts. And I cast mine yes unto Hind, unto Sinim, and the lands of Gogs and Magogs of the earth, across wilderness, pasture, and field, over mountains, waters, and oceans, to wherever man lived, suffered, and died; to wherever he sinned, and toiled, and sang. I rejoice and I weep over his story and relics, and I praise his glory, and I share his shame.
Marginal notes of any kind, whether by the original scribe or by a later owner or reader, are among the unique parts of a particular manuscript, no matter how many other copies of the main text may exist. Here, as a simple example of such notes, and for those that might like some easy practice reading Garšūnī and Arabic, are two images from SMMJ 168, a collection of homilies attributed to Ephrem, Jacob of Serugh, John Chrysostom, and others in Garšūnī. They are both written by a reader and secondary scribe named Isaac (here spelled Īsḥāq). The first one is in Arabic script:
SMMJ 168, f. 240r, margin
iġfirū* li-rabbān Īsḥāq
Forgive Rabbān Īsḥāq!
*Missing the alif otiosum.
The second one, several folios later, is written around the outer and lower margin, all in Syriac script (but Arabic language) except for the last three words, which are in Arabic.
SMMJ 168, f. 270r
hāḏihi ‘l-waǧh katībat al-ʕabd al-ḫāṭiʔ rabbān Īsḥāq bi-sm qass wa-rāhib. taraḥḥam ʕalay-hi wa-ʕalá wāliday-hi ayyuhā ‘l-qānī wa-‘l-qāriʔ. raḥimaka ‘llāhu āmīn.
This side [of the folio] is the writing of the sinful slave Rabbān Īsḥāq, [who is] in name a priest and monk. O owner and reader, plead for mercy for him and his parents! May God be merciful to you! Amen!