Archive for the ‘Garshuni’ Category
I learned earlier this week from a tweet by Matthew Crawford (
@mattrcrawford) that the Rabbula Gospels are freely available to view online in fairly high-quality images. This sixth-century manuscript (Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Plut. 1.56) is famous especially for its artwork at the beginning of the codex before, surrounding, and following the Eusebian canon tables, including both figures from biblical history and animals: prophets, Mary, Jesus, scenes from the Gospels (Judas is hanging from a tree on f. 12r), the evangelists, birds, deer, rabbits, &c. Beginning on f. 13r, the folios are strictly pictures, the canon tables having been completed. These paintings are very pleasing, but lovers of Syriac script have plenty to feast on, too. The main text itself is written in large Estrangela, with the colophon (f. 291v-292v) also in Estrangela but mostly of a much smaller size. Small notes about particular lections are often in small Serto. The manuscript also has several notes in Syriac, Arabic, and Garšūnī in various hands (see articles by Borbone and Mengozzi in the bibliography below). From f. 15v to f. 19r is an index lectionum in East Syriac script. The Gospel text itself begins on f. 20r with Mt 1:23 (that is, the very beginning of the Gospel is missing).
The images are found here. (The viewer is identical to the one that archive.org uses.)
Rabbula Gospels, f. 231r, from the story of Jesus’ turning the water into wine, Jn 2.
Rabbula Gospels, f. 5r. The servants filling the jugs with the water that will become wine.
For those interested in studying this important manuscript beyond examining these now accessible images, here are a few resources:
Bernabò, Massimò, ed. Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula: Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Plut. 1.56. L’illustrazione del Nuovo Testamento nella Siria del VI secolo. Folia picta 1. Rome, 2008. A review here.
Bernabò, Massimò, “Miniature e decorazione,” pp. 79-112 in Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula.
Bernabò, Massimò, “The Miniatures in the Rabbula Gospels: Postscripta to a Recent Book,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 68 (2014): 343-358. Available here.
Borbone, Pier Giorgio, “Codicologia, paleografia, aspetti storici,” pp. 23-58 in Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula. Available here.
Borbone, Pier Giorgio, “Il Codice di Rabbula e i suoi compagni. Su alcuni manoscritti siriaci della Biblioteca medicea laurenziana (Mss. Pluteo 1.12; Pluteo 1.40; Pluteo 1.58),” Egitto e Vicino Oriente 32 (2009): 245-253. Available here.
Borbone, Pier Giorgio, “L’itinéraire du “Codex de Rabbula” selon ses notes marginales,” pp. 169-180 in F. Briquel-Chatonnet and M. Debié, eds., Sur les pas des Araméens chrétiens. Mélanges offerts à Alain Desreumaux. Paris, 2010. Available here.
Botte, Bernard, “Note sur l’Évangéliaire de Rabbula,” Revue des sciences religieuses 36 (1962): 13-26.
Cecchelli, Carlo, Giuseppe Furlani, and Mario Salmi, eds. The Rabbula Gospels: Facsimile Edition of the Miniatures of the Syriac Manuscript Plut. I, 56 in the Medicaean-Laurentian Library. Monumenta occidentis 1. Olten and Lausanne, 1959.
Leroy, Jules, “L’auteur des miniatures du manuscrit syriaque de Florence, Plut. I, 56, Codex Rabulensis,” Comptes-rendus des séances de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Paris 98 (1954): 278-283.
Leroy, Jules, Les manuscrits syriaques à peintures, conservés dans les bibliothèques d’Europe et d’Orient. Contribution à l’étude de l’iconographie des églises de langue syriaque. Paris, 1964.
Macchiarella, Gianclaudio, “Ricerche sulla miniatura siriaca del VI sec. 1. Il codice. c.d. di Rabula,” Commentari NS 22 (1971): 107-123.
Mango, Marlia Mundell, “Where Was Beth Zagba?,” Harvard Ukrainian Studies 7 (1983): 405-430.
Mango, Marlia Mundell, “The Rabbula Gospels and Other Manuscripts Produced in the Late Antique Levant,” pp. 113-126 in Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula.
Mengozzi, Alessandro, “Le annotazioni in lingua araba sul codice di Rabbula,” pp. 59-66 in Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula.
Mengozzi, Alessandro, “The History of Garshuni as a Writing System: Evidence from the Rabbula Codex,” pp. 297-304 in F. M. Fales & G. F. Grassi, eds., CAMSEMUD 2007. Proceedings of the 13th Italian Meeting of Afro-Asiatic Linguistics, held in Udine, May 21st-24th, 2007. Padua, 2010.Available here.
Paykova, Aza Vladimirovna, “Четвероевангелие Раввулы (VI в.) как источник по истории раннехристианского искусства,” (The Rabbula Gospels (6th cent.) as a Source for the History of Early Christian Art) Палестинский сборник 29  (1987): 118-127.
Rouwhorst, Gerard A.M., “The Liturgical Background of the Crucifixion and Resurrection Scene of the Syriac Gospel Codex of Rabbula: An Example of the Relatedness between Liturgy and Iconography,” pp. 225-238 in Steven Hawkes-Teeples, Bert Groen, and Stefanos Alexopoulos, eds., Studies on the Liturgies of the Christian East: Selected Papers of the Third International Congress of the Society of Oriental Liturgy Volos, May 26-30, 2010. Eastern Christian Studies 18. Leuven / Paris / Walpole, MA, 2013.
Sörries, Reiner, Christlich-antike Buchmalerei im Überblick. Wiesbaden, 1993.
van Rompay, Lucas, “‘Une faucille volante’: la représentation du prophète Zacharie dans le codex de Rabbula et la tradition syriaque,” pp. 343-354 in Kristoffel Demoen and Jeannine Vereecken, eds., La spiritualité de l’univers byzantin dans le verbe et l’image. Hommages offerts à Edmond Voordeckers à l’occasion de son éméritat. Instrumenta Patristica 30. Steenbrugis and Turnhout, 1997.
Wright, David H., “The Date and Arrangement of the Illustrations in the Rabbula Gospels,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 27 (1973): 199-208.
Readers of this blog are undoubtedly aware of the recent reports of the destruction of the Monastery of Mar Behnam and Sara (see here, here, and elsewhere). The fate of the monastery’s manuscripts is now unknown. Not long ago, at least, HMML and the CNMO (Centre numérique des manuscrits orientaux) digitized the collection. A short-form catalog of these 500+ manuscripts has been prepared for HMML by Joshua Falconer, and I have taken a more detailed look at a select number of manuscripts in the collection. From this latter group I would like to highlight a few and share them with you. The texts mentioned below are biblical, hagiographic, apocryphal/parabiblical, historical, poetic, theological, medical, lexicographic, and grammatical. Here I merely give a few rough notes, nothing comprehensive, along with some images, but in any case the value and variety of these endangered manuscripts will, I hope, be obvious.
These manuscripts, together with those of the whole collection, are available for viewing and study through HMML (details for access online and otherwise here).
Syriac Pentateuch. Pages of old endpapers in Syriac, Garšūnī, and Arabic. Very many marginal comments deserving of further study to see how they fit within Syriac exegetical tradition. The comments are anchored to specific words in the text by signs such as +, x, ~, ÷. According to the original foliation, the first 31 folios are missing.
- Gen 1r-58v (beg miss; starts at 20:10)
- Ex 59r-129v
- Lev 129v-180v
- Num 181r-241r
- Deut 241r-283v (end miss; ends at 28:44)
MBM 1, f. 105v, with marginal note to Ex 28:37, with the Greek letter form of the tetragrammaton.
MBM 1, f. 275v, with marginal note on Dt 25:5 explaining ybm as a Hebrew word.
Syriac texts on Mary and the young Jesus. Folio(s) missing, and the remaining text is somewhat disheveled. In addition, some pages are worn or otherwise damaged. Colophon on 79v, but incomplete.
- The Book of the Upbringing of Jesus, i.e. the Syriac Infancy Gospel, 1r-12v. Beg. miss. See the published text of Wright, Contributions to the Apocryphal Literature of the New Testament, pp. 11-16 (Syr), available here.
- The Six Books Dormition 13r-79r (beg and end miss?). See Wright, “The Departure of my Lady from this World,” Journal of Sacred Literature and Biblical Record 6 (1865): 417–48; 7: 110–60. (See also his Contributions to the Apocryphal Literature) and Agnes Smith Lewis, Apocrypha Syriaca, pp. 22-115 (Syr), 12-69 (ET); Arabic version, with LT,by vailable here. In this copy, the end of the second book is marked at 24v, and that of the fifth book on 30v. As indicated above, there are apparently some missing folios and disarranged text.
MBM 20, f. 24v. End of bk 2, start of bk 3 of the Six Books.
Another copy of Eliya of Nisibis, Book of the Translator, on which see my article in JSS 58 (2013): 297-322 (available here).
Bar ʿEbrāyā’s Metrical Grammar. Colophon on 99r: copied in the monastery of Symeon the Stylite, Nisan (April) 22, at the ninth hour in the evening of Mar Gewargis in the year 1901 AG = 1590 CE.
Bar ʿEbrāyā’s Metrical Grammar, d. 1492/3 on 78v. Clear script, but not very pretty.
Bar ʿEbrāyā, Book of Rays. Lots of marginalia in Syriac, Arabic, and Garšūnī.
Bar Bahlul’s Lexicon, 18th cent. Beg. miss. Some folios numbered by original scribe in the outer margin with Syriac letters, often decorated. Nice writing. Beautiful marbled endpapers, impressed Syriac title on spine.
MBM 152, spine.
MBM 152, marbled endpapers.
The Six Books Dormition, Garšūnī, from books 5-6, 16th cent. (?).
Hagiography, &c., Garšūnī, 16th/17th cent. According to the original foliation, the first eleven folios are missing from the manuscript.
- 1r end of the Protoevangelium Jacobi (for the corresponding Syriac part, cf. pp. 21-22 in Smith Lewis’s ed. here). Here called “The Second Book, the Birth”.
- 1r-31v Vision of Theophilus, here called “The Third Book, on the Flight to Egypt…” Cf. GCAL I 229-232; Syriac and Arabic in M. Guidi, in Rendiconti della Accademia dei Lincei, Classe di scienze morali, storiche e filologiche, 26 (1917): 381-469 (here); Syriac, with ET, here.
- 31v-37v book 6, The Funeral Service (taǧnīz) of Mary
- 37v-39r Another ending, from another copy, of this book 6
- 39r-62r Miracle of Mary in the City of Euphemia
- 62r-72v Marina and Eugenius
- 72v-96r Behnam & Sara (new scribe at ff 83-84)
- 96r-104r Mart Shmoni and sons
- 104r-112v Euphemia (another scribe 112-114)
- 112v-124v Archellides
- 124v-131r Alexis, Man of God, son of Euphemianus
- 131v-141v John of the Golden Gospel
- 141v-147v Eugenia, Daughter of the King/Emperor (incom)
19th cent., Garšūnī, hagiography. Not very pretty writing, but includes some notable texts (not a complete list): Job the Righteous 3v, Jonah 14v, Story of the Three Friends 24r (?), Joseph 73r, Ahiqar 154v, Solomon 180v, and at the end, another Sindbad text 197v-end (see the previous posts here and here).
MBM 209, f. 197v. The Story of Hindbād and Sindbād the Sailor.
Medical, very nice ES Garšūnī. Includes Ḥunayn’s Arabic translation of the Summary of Galen’s On the Kinds of Urine (fī aṣnāf al-bawl), ff. 1v-8r; cf. here. For a longer Greek text, see Kuehn, Claudii Galeni Opera Omnia (Leipzig, 1821-33), vol. 19, pp. 574-601. These now separate folios seem originally to have been the eighth quire of another codex.
MBM 250, f. 1v. Beg. of Ḥunayn’s Arabic translation of the Summary of Galen’s On the Kinds of Urine.
John of Damascus, De fide Orthodoxa, Arabic (cf. Graf, GCAL II, p. 57, this ms not listed). Fine writing. 16th/17th cent.
MBM 270, f. 5v. John of Damascus, Arabic.
A late copy (19th cent.), but with a fine hand, of the Kitāb fiqh al-luġa, by Abū Manṣūr ʿAbd al-Malik b. Muḥammad al-Ṯaʿālibī, a classified dictionary: e.g. § 17 animals (82), § 23 clothing (155), § 24 food (173), § 28 plants (205), § 29 Arabic and Persian (207, fīmā yaǧrá maǧrá al-muwāzana bayna al-ʿarabīya wa-‘l-fārisīya).
Syriac, 15th cent. (?). F. 10v has quire marker for end of № 11. The manuscript has several notes in different hands:
- 29v, a note with the year 1542 (AG? = 1230/1 CE); Ascension and Easter are mentioned
- 31v, note: “I had a spiritual brother named Ṣlibā MDYYʾ. He gave me this book.” (cf. 90v)
- 66v, note: “Whoever reads this book, let him pray for Gerwargis and ʿIšoʿ, the insignificant monks.”
- 90v, note: Ownership-note and prayer-request for, it seems, the monk Ṣlibonā (cf. 31v)
- 132v, longish note similar to the note on 168v
- 157r, note: “Theodore. Please pray, for the Lord’s sake.”
- 168v, note: “I found this spiritual book among the books of the church of the Theotokos that is in Beth Kudida [see PS 1691], and I did not know [whether] it belonged to the church or not.”
For at least some of the contents, cf. the Syriac Palladius, as indicated below.
- Mamllā of Mark the Solitary, Admonition on the Spiritual Law 1r-17r
Second memra 17r
Third memra 41v
Fourth memra 48r
- Letters of Ammonius 67r-78v (see here; cf. with Kmosko in PO 10 and further CPG 2380)
- “From the Teaching of Evagrius” 78v-100r
- Confession of Evagrius 100v
- Abraham of Nathpar 101r-117v
2nd memra 105r
3rd memra 109v
4th memra 110v
5th memra 115v
- Teachings of Abba Macarius 117v
- Letter (apparently of Macarius) 130r-130v
- Letter of Basil to Gregory his Brother 131r-139v
- Letter from a solitary to the brothers 139v-142r
- Sayings of Evagrius 142r-146v
- Gluttony 147v
- The Vice of Whoring (ʿal ḥaššā d-zānyutā) 147v
- Greed 148r
- Anger 149r
- Grief 149v
- On the Interruption of Thought (ʿal quṭṭāʿ reʿyānā) 149v
- Pride 150r
- From the Tradition (mašlmānutā) of Evagrius 151r
- On the Blessed Capiton (here spelled qypyṭn) 151r (cf. Budge, Book of Paradise, vol. 2, Syr. text, p. 223)
- The Blessed Eustathius 151v
- Mark the Mourner 151v
- A student of a great elder in Scetis 152r
- A student of another elder who sat alone in his cell 155v
- A student of a desert elder 156r
- (more short saint texts) 157v-161r
- Tahsia 161r-164r (cf. Budge, Book of Paradise, vol. 2, Syr. text, p. 173)
- An Elder named Zakarya 164r
- Gregory 168r
- Daniel of Ṣalaḥ 180v
- Philemon 180v (cf. Budge, Book of Paradise, vol. 2, Syr. text, p. 427)
- One of the Blessed Brothers 181r
- Pachomius, with various subtexts and miracles 182v
- Didymus 188v-190v
Arabic, 15th century (?). Second, but probably contemporaneous with the first, scribe begins at 80r.
- 1r-34r Pss 38:17-150 (end)
- 34r-79v maqāla 11 by Saint Simʿān, maqāla 12 by Simʿān, … maqāla 16 by Simʿān on 67r. There is some apparent disarray and missing folios: the end of this group of texts seems really to be 78v, but 79r has “Sayings and Questions of Abū ‘l-qiddīs Simʿān”
- 80r-114r Jn 7:20-21:25 (i.e. end of the Gospel)
MBM 365, f. 79r, the beginning of the Saying and Questions of Saint Simʿān
Two loose folios of an Arabic tafsīr of the Gospels, one of which has the quire marker for the original thirty-first quire (so numbered with Syriac letters). Perhaps 16th cent. From Mt 10, with commentary (qāla ‘l-mufassir), on 1v (image below); Lk 6:20 ff. on f. 2r.
MBM 367, f. 1v. Mt 10:19-23 with the beginning of the commentary.
Garšūnī (very nice, clear script). Memre and other texts on theological, monastic, and spiritual subjects.
17th cent., Garšūnī, hagiography. Note the Qartmin trilogy beginning on 105v.
- The Book of the Ten Viziers / Arabic version of the Persian Baḫtīār Nāma 1r (beg miss). (On this work, see W.L. Hanaway, Jr., in EIr here.) It is a frame story spread over several days with a boy (ġulām) telling smaller stories (sg. ḥadīṯ) to a king. As it now stands in the manuscript, it begins in the eighth day, ending on the eleventh. (ET of the Persian here by William Ouseley; ET by John Payne of an Arabic version with Alf layla wa-layla here, eighth day beg. on p. 125). Here are the subdivisions:
The Story of [the city of] Īlān Šāh and Abū Tamām 1v
Ninth day 7r
King Ibrāhīm and his son (on 9r, marginalia in Arabic: “this is an impossible thing!”)
Tenth day 14r
Story of Sulaymān 15v
Eleventh day, 29v
- Infancy Gospel of Jesus 33v-55r
- John of Dailam 55r-68v
- Behnām and Sara 68v-73v
- Mar Zakkay 73v-105r (at 105r it says Mar Malke)
- Mar Gabriel 105v-132r (much of f. 111 torn away; partly f. 127, too)
- Mar Samuel 132v- (folios miss. after ff. 141, 157)
- Mar Symeon -163v (begins where?)
- Memra of Ephrem on Andrew when he entered the land of the dogs 163v
- Miracle of Mary 170v
- Miracle of Mark of Jabal Tarmaq 172v
17th cent., ES Garšūnī, mostly hagiography. Colophon on 135v.
- Story of Susanna
- Ephrem on Elijah 14r
- Story of a Jewish Boy and what happened to him with some Christian children 31v (hands change at 34r)
- Story of some royal children 40v (some Syriac, hands change at 47r)
- Story of Tatos the martyr (f.), martyred in Rome 51r
- Story of a Mistreated Monk 58v
- Story of Arsānīs, King of Egypt 66v
- John of the Golden Gospel 70v (folio(s) missing after 70v)
- Elijah the Zealous 88v
- Andrew the Apostle 100v
- Text by Eliya Catholicos, Patriarch 111r
- Zosimus and the Story of the Rechabites 116r
- Story of the Apple 131r (several other copies at HMML: CFMM 350, pp. 717-722; CFMM 109, ff. 179v-182r; CFMM 110, 182v-185v; ZFRN 73, pp. 382-390 and more)
17th cent., WS Garšūnī, some folios missing, hagiographic, homiletic, &c.
- Ahiqar 1r (on 27r dated 2006 AG in Arabic script)
- Merchant of Tagrit and his Believing Wife 27v
- Chrysostom, On Receiving the Divine Mysteries 34r
- Chrysostom, On Repentance and Receiving the Divine Mysteries 44v (s.t. miss. after 51v)
- Ephrem, (beg. miss.) 52r ? (s.t. miss. after 67v)
- Jacob of Serug, On Repentance 69v (s.t. miss after 69v)
- Ephrem ? 94r
- From the Fathers, That everyone has a guardian angel 102v (hands change just b/f this)
- Story of Petra of Africa 110r (no other Arabic/Garšūnī at HMML; for Syriac, see CFMM 270, pp. 291-302)
- Zosimus and the Story of the Rechabites, 119v-132r
- Life of John the Baptist 132r
- Five Miracles of John the Baptist 150r
- Story of Macarius (end miss) 152v-153v
Ecclesiasticus, Garšūnī, with some Turkish-Arabic/Garsh equivalents at beginning.
MBM 469, f. 1v. Turkish words with Arabic/Garšūnī equivalents.
Here are the forms on this page, first in Turkish, then Arabic:
- ıslattı naqaʿa [he soaked]
- aramış fattaša [he searched]
- aradın fattašta [you searched]
- aradım fattaštu [I searched]
- aramışlar fattašū [they searched]
- işitti samiʿa [he heard]
- içti šariba [he drank] *The Turkish root here is written with š for ç, as in Kazakh; on the previous page the verb also appears and is spelled ʾyǧty, i.e. içti (Garšūnī ǧīm = Turkish c or ç.)
Note that for the forms of aramak [to search], the third person forms are past indefinite, while the first and second person forms are past definite.
From a Gospel lectionary, Syriac, Estrangela. Here is f. 6v, with Mt 18:15-17, 20:1-3.
MBM 485, f. 6v. Mt 18:15-17, 20:1-3.
French drama translated into Syriac by Abraham ʿIso in Baghdad, 1972-1974.
- [5r] title page
- [6r-7v] introduction
- pp. 5-122 Athalie by Racine
- pp. 125-244 Le Cid by Corneille
- pp. 247-380 Polyeucte by Corneille
- pp. 381-463 Esther by Racine
MBM 489, f. 74r = p. 125. Title page to the Syriac translation of Corneille’s Le Cid.
With the first page of the Syriac Le Cid cf. the original text here. Note that the Syriac translation is in rhyming couplets like the French.
MBM 489, f. 77r = p. 131. The beginning of the Syriac Le Cid.
19th cent., Arabic. ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Baġdādī. Starts with excerpt from Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa on him (cf. the end of the ms). On 14r begins the K. al-Ifāda wa-‘l-iʿtibār fī ‘l-umūr wa-‘l-mušāhada wa-‘l-ḥawādiṯ al-muʿāyana bi-arḍ Miṣr. See De Sacy’s annotated FT here.
Here is the part from ch. 4, on monuments (beg. 30r), about the burning of the library of Alexandria by ʿAmr b. al-ʿĀṣ “with the permission of ʿUmar” and on the Pharos of Alex (bottom of 34v = de Sacy p. 183).
MBM 509, f. 34v.
Printed work. Mariano Ugolini. Vasco de Gama al Cabo das Tormentas, dodecasillabi siriaci con versione italiana. Rome, Tipografia Poliglotta, 1898. “Poesia letta in Roma nella solenne accademia per le feste centenarie della scoperta delle Indie, il giorno 21 Maggio 1898.” 6 pages. Bound with Rahmani’s Testamentum Domini.
Here are the first six lines:
MBM 514, p. 4.
And the same in Italian:
MBM 514, p. 5.
The study of spoken and (ancient) written languages intersect perhaps less than might be desirable, but sic semper erat, sic semper erit. Nevertheless, I would like to take a cue from Olle Linge’s Hacking Chinese (http://challenges.hackingchinese.com/) and suggest an intentional, focused reading effort for ancient language students.
For the month of April 2015, let’s take an opportunity to push reading limits, or at least to re-kindle reading habits in this or that language. It is no secret that wide exposure to multitudes of lines is a boon to philological understanding and enjoyment. By “exposure” I mean reading with understanding. And there’s the rub. This is what makes it possible for an advanced student to do 100 pages of text (or more) in a month, and a novice to do much less: the novice requires far more frequent recourse to the lexicon, grammatical tables, perhaps a translation, etc. than the more experienced user. But the payoff is experience itself. Here is some counsel from the great sinologist George A. Kennedy:
The value of a reference work is its capacity to furnish facts quickly, and a good reference work must be a well-ordered affair. But the quickness with which these facts are appropriated depends in large part on the skill of the user. And this skill results only from diligent practice. It is not enough to know about a book of reference; one must handle it, thumb the pages, know where the index is, know what sort of information it gives. You are not qualified for research unless you can locate the facts that are available quickly.
DO NOT SKIP ANY SUGGESTED EXERCISE
MAKE UP MORE OF THEM FOR YOURSELF
from his Introduction to Sinology: Being a Guide to the Tz’u Hai (Ci hai), (New Haven, 1981), 1 (emphasis in original)
He has the 辭海 cí hăi in mind, here as a reference work for students of Chinese history, but his advice is equally applicable to textual experience in a language, or philological experience.
Here, then, is the challenge for the month: not a contest, but an individual exhortation to purposefully spend a given amount of time and effort moving — or more picturesquely, plowing, sailing, crunching, &c. — through a text or texts, with understanding. You pick the language, the genre, the text(s), the length. The unique thing is to read carefully more than you might normally do for this month. It might be an opportunity to work especially hard on a language you’re now closely involved with, or it might be an opportunity to return to a language you’ve not read in a while. Simply to be not too vague, here are some language suggestions in no particular order (I assume that if you know the language well enough to do this, you know some texts to read, but in any case, the Bible is usually a good place to start due to the accessibility of texts and the ease of comparison with other versions):
- Christian Palestinian Aramaic
- Jewish Babylonian Aramaic
Do more than one language, if you like. How about reading the same text in more than one language? Read from printed editions, read from manuscripts, read from chrestomathies, whatever suits you. Quant à moi, my reading goals for the month include the following texts:
- Persian. 10 pages in the so-called Persian Diatessaron
- Turkish. Ali Bey’s Bible: Jonah 1-2; Mt 4:1-11; 11:17-19; 15:21-28
- Coptic. “Marina” (pp. 27-33) and “Siebenschläfer” (pp. 21–24) in W. Till, Koptische Heiligen- Und Martyrerlegenden: Texte, Übersetzungen Und Indices, vol. 1, Orientalia Christiana Analecta 102 (Rome: Pont. Institutum Orientalium Studiorum, 1935); volumes available here. Further on this story in Coptic, see here from my hagiography bibliography.
- Georgian. The five texts on David & Constantine in I. Abuladze and E. Gabidzashvili, ძველი ქართული აგიოგრაფიული ლიტერატურის ძეგლები, წიგნი IV სვინაქსარული რედაქციები (XI-XVIII სს.) (Monuments of Old Georgian Hagiographic Literature, Vol. 4, Synaxarion Redactions, [11th-18th Centuries]) (Tbilisi, 1968), 359-366; and the Parable of the Man & Elephant in the two versions of Barlaam and Ioasaph.
- Old Turkic/Uyghur. The text on p. 53 of W. Bang, “Türkische Bruchstücke einer Nestorianischen Georgspassion,” Le Muséon 39 (1926): 41–75 (cf. Gabain, Gr., p. 264); and the text in P. Zieme, “Ein uigurisches Sündenbekenntnis,” Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 32 (1969): 107-121.
- Arabic/Garšūnī. Epistle of Ps.-Dionysius to Timothy, SMMJ 263
If you like, share what you plan to read in the comments below. And any thoughts on this enterprise generally are welcome, too. Happy studying!
I have written before on the page from CCM 10 that has the Trisagion in various languages, all in Syriac script. Let’s take a look specifically at the Turkish part now:
CCM 10, f. 8r, trisagion in Turkish written with Syriac letters
The readings of this one are more obvious than the Georgian part we looked at before. Here is a possible transcription:
arı Taŋrı, arı güçlü, arı ölmez
rahmet bizüm ʾwsnʾ eyle!
arı pure, clean (a homonym means bee, wasp). For “holy” in Isa 6:3, Ali Bey has kuddûs, and the same seems to be the norm in related places (e.g. Rev 4:8), too, in Ali Bey’s version and later translations. (For Ottoman translations of the Bible, see here.)
Taŋrı God (< sky). Here spelled tgry. The ŋ in this word (mod. Tanrı) was written in Ottoman with the ڭ (where so marked) or with نڭ. For the earlier history of the word see G. Clauson, An Etymological Dictionary of Pre-Thirteenth-Century Turkish, pp. 523-524; Turkish and Mongolian Studies, pp. 9-10, 220, 223. It appears in other Turkic languages, too, such as Tatar тәңре. From a Turkic language the word came into Mongolian (sky, heaven, deity; in addition to the above references, cf. N. Poppe, Introduction to Mongolian Comparative Studies, p. 45). The word is listed, of course, in Kāšġarī’s famous work on Turkic languages; see vol. 3: 278-279 of edition available here (PDF); no other edition is available to me now, but for a Russian translation, see № 6418 in the Z.-A. Auezova’s 2005 work (Мах̣мӯд ал-Ка̄шг̣арӣ, Дӣва̄н Луг̣а̄т ат-Турк). (Clauson and others — such as K. Shiratori, Über die Sprache des Hiung-nu Stammes und der Tung-hu Stämme, pp. 3-4 — point to an early occurrence of the word in Chinese garb in the 漢書 Hàn Shū: the form is 撐犁, modern chēng lí < t’ʿäng liei < tʿäng liǝr. The passage is in the last part of the Hàn Shū, the biographies, chapter (94) 匈奴傳上, § 10, available here.) Whether or not there is a real connection, the Turkic word does immediately bring to mind Sumerian diĝir (which we might just as well spell diŋir).
güçlü strong, powerful, mighty. Note in the Syriac script that ç is indicated by a gāmal with an Arabic ǧīm beneath it.
ölmez immortal, undying (the root of ölmek to die + neg. suffix -mAz)
bizüm 1pl pron gen. We might expect the dative bize, but the phrase here (lit. do our mercy) is not altogether unclear; but see the note to the following word. Analogous phrases in Ottoman versions of the Bible do have the dative:
- Ps 123:3 Ali Bey ʿināyet eyle bize
- Ps 123:3 Turabi Effendi merhamet eyle bize
- Lk 18:38 Ali Bey (with 1sg) baŋa merhamet eyle
ʾwsnʾ I’m not immediately sure how to take this word. Possibly a mistake for üstüne upon, a postposition with bizüm for object?
eyle impv of the auxiliary verb eylemek to do, make, here with rahmet: to have mercy, be merciful
The first Garšūnī manuscript that I remember studying closely is SMMJ 199, a huge manuscript copied in 1733-1734 and now divided into two parts due to its size. Altogether, it is 750 folios long, with 90 distinct longer or shorter hagiographic pieces. Fortunately the colophon has also survived. This colophon, with a few Syriac elements, but mostly in Garšūnī and Arabic, tells us not only the completion date, but the beginning date, where it was copied (and translated), and about its textual basis. It was copied and translated at Dayr al-Zaʿfarān from a Syriac manuscript dated 1490 AG (= 1178/9 CE) “into the Garšūnī language” by the scribe of this manuscript himself, Bišāra of Aleppo.
SMMJ 199B, f. 750v
Among the later notes to the manuscript is one on f. 367v by Yulius, Metr. of Malabar dated 1933.
SMMJ 199a, f. 367v
According to notes on f. 751 of SMMJ 199 B, the manuscript was purchased in Aleppo and donated to Saint Mark’s in 1874.
William Macomber’s catalog of the manuscript for the BYU microfilm project is available here, and the earlier record by Graf is in Oriens Christianus n.s. 3 (1913): 311-327. I am finishing up the new record of the manuscript for HMML’s own catalog now, but here is an alphabetical index that I made some time ago (also in PDF here: SMMJ_199_index). A few more images from the manuscript follow the index.
The stories are alphabetized by the names of the saints (or the miraculous events) themselves. The parenthetical reference to Graf is to vol. 1 of his Geschichte der christlichen arabischen Literatur (Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1944)
Aaron, 187a-195b (Graf 523)
ʿAbd Al-Maṣīḥ, 651b-657a (Graf 523)
Abel, see below under Martyrs
Abḥai, 513a-524a (Graf 523)
Abraham, 401a-409a (Graf 523)
Abraham of Qidun, 174b-182a (Graf 523)
Abraham of Kashkar, 310a-311b (Graf 523)
Addai, 545b-547a (Graf 524)
Agrippas, see under Lawrence & Agrippas
Andronicus & Athanasia his wife, 153b-156a (Graf 404)
Antonius, 4b-33b (Graf 312)
Arcadius, son of Xenophon, see under Xenophon
Archelides, 138a-142b (Graf 498)
Athanasia, see under Andronicus
Athanasius, 446b-452a (Graf 315)
Awgen, 323a-340a (Graf 525)
Awtil, 166b-171a (Graf 524)
Bacchus, see under Sergius & Bacchus
Barbara & Juliana, 714b-716a (Graf 499ff.)
Barsawma, 226a-265b (Graf 524)
Miracles of Basil, 462a-469b (Graf 328)
Basilia, see under Eugenia
Bayt Al-Šuhadāʾ, 313a-323a (Graf 525)
Bishoi, 67a-81a (Graf 539)
Children of the rulers of Rome & Antioch, 150b-153b
Christopher the Barbarian, 642a-646b (Graf 500)
Clement of Rome, 440b-443a (Graf 304)
The Invention of the Cross, 412a-414b (Graf 244)
Cyprian & Justa, 494a-498a (Graf 517)
Cyriacus & his mother Julitta, 646b-648b (Graf 500)
Daniel of Scetis, 156a-159a (Graf 403)
Daniel & the Virgins, 675a-677b (Graf 403)
Daniel of Ǧabal Galaš, 266a-272a
Dimet, 171b-174b (Graf 525)
Dionysius, see under Peter & Paul
Dometius, see under Maximus
Ephrem the Syrian, 453b-462a (Graf 433)
Eugenia, her family, & Basilia, 723a-729b (Graf 501)
Eulogius the stonecutter, 156a-159a (Graf 403)
Eulogius the Egyptian, 390b-400a (Graf 526)
Euphrosune, 689a-693a (Graf 501)
Eupraxia, 677b-684a (Graf 518)
Eustathius, see under Placidus
Evagrius, 362a-363b (Graf 399)
Faith, Hope, & Love, & their mother Wisdom, 719a-723a (Graf 513ff.)
Febronia, 729b-737a (Graf 502)
The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, 570b-574a (Graf 510)
George, 578b-582a (Graf 502-504)
Gerasimus, 308a-310a (Graf 408)
Gregory the Illuminator, 484a-494a (Graf 310, 518)
Gregory Thaumaturgus, 479b-484a (Graf 309)
Habib, 635b-638b (Graf 526)
Hagna, 718a-719a (Graf 526)
Hilaria, 684b-689a (Graf 526)
The Himyarites, 624b-631b (Graf 516)
Ignatius, 437b-439b (Graf 305)
The Image of Christ made by the Jews in Tiberias, 366a-379b (Graf 245)
Invention (of the Cross), see above under Cross
Isaiah of Aleppo, 349b-356a (Graf 528)
Isaiah of Scete, 363b-366a (Graf 403)
Jacob, 582a-585b (Graf 504ff.)
Jacob the Anchorite, 272a-277a (Graf 527)
Jacob Baradaeus, 527a-533a
Jacob of Nisibis, 452a-453b (Graf 527)
Jacob the Recluse, 379b-390a (Graf 527)
Jacob of Sarug, 526b-527a (Graf 452)
John the Anchorite, 409a-412a (Graf 527)
John the Baptist, 434a-437b (Graf 506-508)
John Chrysostom, 469b-479b (Graf 353ff)
John of Edessa, see under Paul of Cnidus
John the Evangelist, 422b-434a (Graf 261ff.)
John of Kfar Sanya, 590a-599a (Graf 527)
John of Tella, 533a-545b (Graf 528)
John of the Well, 290b-294a (Graf 527)
John, son of the emperor (John of the Golden Gospel), 142a-146a (Graf 505)
John the Short, 81a-98a (Graf 534)
John, son of Xenophon, see under Xenophon
Juliana, see under Barbara & Juliana
Julianus, 182a-187a (Graf 367)
Justa, see under Cyprian
Lawrence & Agrippas, 612b-624b (Graf 528)
Macarius, 33b-52a (Graf 395)
Malchus, 340a-349b (Graf 528)
Malchus of Clysma, 280a-282b (Graf 529)
Mamas, his father Theodotus, & his wife Rufina, 648b-651b (Graf 520)
Mari(n)a, 693a-694a (Graf 508)
Mary the martyr, 716a-718a (Graf 528)
Mary the Egyptian, 698b-703a (Graf 508)
Mark of Ǧabal Tarmaq, 110b-114a (Graf 512)
Mark the Merchant, 286b-290a
Martinianus, 277a-278a (Graf 510)
The Holy Martyrs, beginning with Abel, 564b-566b (Graf 528)
The Assumption of the Virgin Mary, 414b-420b (Graf 249-251)
Maximus & Dometius, sons of Emperor Valentinus, 52a-67a (Graf 536)
Nicholas, also known as Zakhe, 511a-513a (Graf 511)
Onesima & other women, 669a-672a (Graf 529)
Another on Onesima (the same martyr as above), 672a-675a (Graf 529)
Pantaleon, 604a-609b (Graf 521)
Pappus, 638b-642a (Graf 529)
Paul of Alexandria, 1b-4b (Graf 512)
Paul (the Apostle), see under Peter & Paul
Paul of Cnidus & John of Edessa, 506a-511a (Graf 529)
Pelagia, 703a-709b (Graf 529)
Peter, 443b-446b (Graf 309)
Peter & Paul, Dionysius’ Letter on the Apostles, 420b-422b (Graf 270)
Pethion, 657a-662a (Graf 529ff)
Petra, 311b-313a (Graf 530)
Pistis, Elpis, Agape, & Sophia, see under Faith et alii
Placidus, also known as Eustathius, 566b-570b (Graf 502)
Plotinus, 498a-506a (Graf 530)
Rechab, the sons of, (Rechabites) 282b-286b (Graf 214)
Reuben (Rubil), 162b-166a (Graf 530)
Risha, 146a-150b (in two parts) (Graf 498)
Romanus, 609b-612b (Graf 530)
Rufina, see under Mamas et alii
Saba of Alexandria, 278a-280a (Graf 530)
Seleucus, see under Stratonike
Serapion, 114a-132b (Graf 530)
Sergius & Bacchus, 585b-590a (Graf 512)
The Seven Martyrs of Samosata, 599a-604a
The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus, 574a-578b (Graf 512ff.)
Severus (Letter), 524b-526b (Graf 419)
Shenoute, 98a-110b (Graf 463)
Shmona & Gurya, 631b-635b (Graf 530)
Simeon of Kfar ʿĀbdīn, 159a-162b (Graf 530)
Simeon Stylites, 196a-226a (Graf 513)
Simeon the Fool (Salos), 294a-308a (Graf 409)
Stratonike and her fiance Seleucus, 737a-750a (Graf 530)
Susanna, 695b-698a (Graf 530)
Thecla & other female martyrs, 709b-714a (Graf 514)
Theodore, martyred in Euchaita, 662a-669a (Graf 514)
Theodotus, father of Mamas, see under Mamas et alii
Theodotus of Amida, 547a-564b
A Certain Virgin, 694a-695b
Another Virgin, 698a-698b
Xenophon & his sons, John & Arcadius, 132b-137b (Graf 515)
Yareth, 356b-362a (Graf 531)
Zakhe, see under Nicholas
Example of the mise en page. SMMJ 199A, f. 52r.
Scribal note on Mar Malkē. SMMJ 199A, f. 349v.
SMMJ 199A, f. 290v, John of the Well
SMMJ 199B, f. 698v, Mary the Egyptian
SMMJ 199B, f. 703r, Pelagia
In the colophon to SMMJ 187, ff. 388v-389r — this part of the manuscript was originally earlier in this codex, but it has been partly split up and rebound — the scribe has recorded a little about the tradition of Saint Mark’s Monastery. (The ms is № 21* in the catalog of Baumstark et al.) Students of Arabic and/or Garšūnī might appreciate it as a reading exercise, and for others, a tentative English translation is given below.
SMMJ 187, ff. 388v-389r
I first give a transcription of the Garšūnī text itself, followed by a transliteration into Arabic letters. In the former, where some of the marks of non-standard literary Arabic will be noted, I have strictly followed the manuscript, but in the latter I have added a few diacritics. (The Garšūnī text is complete, but for the Arabic and the ET I stopped with the tradition of the monastery and have left off the common colophon part.)
ܩܕ ܟܬܒ ܦܝ ܣܢܗ̈ ܒܩܟܚ ܝܘܢܐܢܝܗ ܦܝ ܕܝܪ ܐܠܩܕܝܣ ܐܠܒܫܝܪ ܡܐܪ ܡܪܩܘܣ ܐܠܐܢܔܝܠܝܗ ܘܟܐܢ ܩܕܝܡܐ ܒܝܬܗ. ܘܦܝ ܗܕܐ ܐܠܕܝܪ ܟܐܢ ܡܓܡܥ ܠܐܪܣܠ ܟܘܦ ܡܢ ܐܠܝܗܘܕ ܘܐܟܝܪܐ ܒܥܕ ܐܠܨܠܒܘܬ ܐܬܬ ܣܬܢܐ ܡܪܝܡ ܐܠܥܕܪܝ ܘܣܟܢܬ ܦܝܗ ܘܒܥܕܗ ܒܛܪܣ ܐܠܪܣܘܠ ܪܣܡܗ ܟܢܝܣܗ̈ ܥܠܝ ܐܣܡ ܐܠܥܕܪܝ ܐܘܠ ܒܕܐܝܗ ܟܢܐܝܣ ܦܝ ܩܕܣ ܐܠܫܪܝܦ ܘܠܐܓܠ ܕܠܟ
ܝܩܘܠܘܐ ܒܝܬ ܡܐܪ ܡܪܩܘܣ ܐܠܐܢܔܝܠܝ ܟܢܝܣܗ̈ ܣܬܢܐ ܡܪܝܡ ܐܠܥܕܪܝ ܥܠܝܗܐ ܐܫܪܦ ܐܠܣܠܐܡ ܘܐܠܩܘܠ ܐܢܗܐ ܐܥܬܡܕܬ ܦܝ ܔܪܢ ܐܠܡܘܛܘܥ ܦܝ ܐܠܟܢܝܣܗ ܘܗܕܗ ܗܝ ܡܥܡܘܕܝܬܗܐ ܘܐܠܝ ܐܠܐܢ ܝܩܘܠܘܢ ܐܠܛܘܐܝܦ ܐܢܗܐ ܡܥܡܘܕܝܗ̈ ܐܠܥܕܪܝ ܒܪܟܗ̈ ܨܠܐܬܗ ܘܨܠܐܗ̈ ܔܡܝܥ ܐܠܪܣܠ ܘܐܠܡܒܫܪܝܢ ܘܐܠܩܕܝܣܝܢ ܬܟܘܢ ܡܥ ܐܠܟܐܬܒ ܐܠܟ̣ܐܛܝ ܐܠܚܩܝܪ ܐܠܕܠܝܠ ܦܝ ܚܝܐܬܗ ܘܡܡܐܬܗ ܘܪܘܚܐܢܝܗ ܐܠܓܡܝܥ ܬܪܐܦܩܗ ܦܝ ܐܢܬܩܐܠܗ ܡܢ ܗܕܐ ܐܠܥܐܠܡ ܐܡܝܢ ܘܐܡܝܢ ܘܢܣܐܠ ܟܠ ܐܒܐ ܘܐܟܐ ܡܥ ܡܢ ܝܩܪܐ ܦܝ ܗܕܗ ܐܠܚܪܘܦ ܐܠܕܡܝܡܗ ܝܬܪܚܡ ܥܠܝ ܐܠܟܐܬܒ ܐܠܟ̣ܐܛܝ ܘܟܠܡܢ ܝܬܚܪܡ ܝܓܕ ܐܠܪܚܡܗ ܒܨܠܘܐܬ ܣܬܢܐ ܡܪܝܡ ܐܠܥܕܪܝ ܘܐܠܩܕܝܣܝܢ ܐܡܝܢ ܐܡܝܢ
Transliterated into Arabic letters
قد كتب في سنة ٢١٢٨ يونانية في دير القديس البشير مار مرقوس الانجيليه (!) وكان قديمًا بيته. وفي هذا الدير كان مجمع الرسل خوفًا من اليهود واخيرًا بعد الصلبوت أتَتْ ستنا مريم العذراء وسكنَتْ فيه وبعده بطرس الرسول رسمه كنيسة على اسم العذراء اول بداية كنائس في قدس الشريف ولاجل ذلك
يقولوا بيت مار مرقوس الانجيلي كنيسة ستنا مريم العذراء عليها اشرف السلام والقول انّها اعتمدت في جُرْن الموضوع في الكنيسة وهذه هي معموديتها وإلى الآن يقولون الطوائف انّها معمودية العذراء
[This] was written in the year 2128 AG [=1809/10 CE] at the Monastery of Saint Mark the Evangelist. It was formerly his house. There was a gathering of apostles there in fear of the Jews, and later, after the crucifixion, our Lady the Virgin came and lived in it. After that, the apostle Peter consecrated it as a church in the name of the Virgin at the beginning of the churches in Jerusalem, and because of this they say, “the House of Saint Mark the Evangelist, the Church of our Lady Mary the Virgin,” on whom be the most exalted peace! It is said that she was baptized in the font there in the church, and this is her baptismal font. Even now the different denominations say that it is the baptismal font of the Virgin. …
For further information on the monastery, one can start with the entry on it in GEDSH, 269-270, by G.A. Kiraz.