Archive for the ‘Persian’ Category

Gregory the Illuminator and saints-for-idols replacement   Leave a comment

Here are a few lines from today’s reading in the Armenian synaxarion (text and FT in Bayan, Aug 25, PO 5: 433). The title of the reading is:

Տօն է ամենասրբուհւոց Աստուածածնին զոր կարգեաց սուրբն Գրիգոր Լուսաւորիչ։

  • ամենասրբուհւ all-holy, very holy
  • Աստուածածնին Mother of God
  • կարգեաց aor 3sg կարգեմ, -եցի to arrange, fix, establish

The Feast of the All-Holy Mother of God, which Saint Gregory the Illuminator Established

This paragraph explains how the famous Armenian saint replaced idol-worship in Caucasia with feast-days for the saints. See similarly Agat’angełos, §§ 48ff., and on Anahit and Aramazd, see Thomson’s remarks in the introduction to his edition and translation of Agat’angełos, pp. xxxviii-xlii. (For an earlier report on Anahit among the Armenians, see Strabo 11.14.16.) Anahit is in other places identified with the Greek Artemis, but here with Aphrodite.

Gregory the Illuminator, of course, was hardly the only idol-basher in the early centuries of Christianity. For Theodosius as one, for example, see Movsēs Xorenac’i, History of the Armenians, § 3.33 (Thomson, ET, p. 286). For a general reflection, see lines 867-884 of Grigor Magistros’ poem recently edited and translated by Abraham Terian: Magnalia Dei: Biblical History in Epic Verse by Grigor Magistros, Hebrew University Armenian Studies 14 (Leuven: Peeters, 2002; ET pp. 61-62, comm. pp. 98-99, Arm. 161-162).

Սուրբ Գրիգոր Լուսաւորիչն եւ մեծ հայրապետն ամենայն Հայոց Մեծաց կործանեաց զամենայն պատկերս կռոցն եւ եբարձ զդիւապաշտութիւնն յաշխարհէս Հայոց եւ Վրաց եւ Աղուանից,

  • հայրապետ patriarch
  • կործանեաց aor 3sg կործանեմ, -եցի to overthrow, destroy
  • պատկեր, -աց statue, idol, figure, icon, image, painting (< Parthian, Middle Persian patkar; cf. Aramaic paṯkar)
  • կուռք, կռոց (pl. tantum) idol, image, statue
  • եբարձ aor 3sg բառնամ, բարձի to lift up, raise, take away, destroy (NB the ե- augment, added as usual to aorist forms that would otherwise be monosyllabic)
  • դիւապաշտութիւն idolatry (demon-/devil-worship; cf. դեւ demon, devil [Middle Persian dēw] + պաշտեմ to worship, serve)
  • Վիրք Georgians
  • Աղուանք (Caucasian) Albanians

եւ փոխանակ շինեաց եկեղեցիս յանուն սուրբ աստուածածնին Մարիամու եւ սուրբ Կարապետին Յովհաննու։

  • փոխանակ substitute, alternative, exchange (cf. փոխեմ below)
  • շինեաց aor 3sg շինեմ, -եցի to found, build, construct
  • կարապետ, -ի forerunner, precursor, guide (for կար- here cf. the Iranian root in Middle Persian kārawān “caravan” and kārdāg “traveler”)

Եւ զտօնս պղծութեանն՝ փոխեաց ի տօնս սրբութեան, զի մինչ ի կռապաշտութիւն էր աշխարհս, տօնէին այսօր Անահիտ տիկնոջն եւ կոչէին զնա ծնունդ այրոյն Արամազդայ որ է Ափրոդիտէս ըստ յունականին։

  • պղծութիւն contamination, stain, impurity, pollution
  • փոխեաց aor 3sg փոխեմ, -եցի to change, transform, displace, transfer
  • կռապաշտութիւն idolatry, idol-worship
  • տօնէին impf 3pl տօնեմ, -եցի to feast, celebrate
  • այսօր this day (also today)
  • տիկին queen, empress, princess (decl. like կին; < *տի- + կին, as տէր < *տի- + այր)
  • կոչէին impf 3pl կոչեմ, -եցի to call, name
  • ծնունդ, ծննդեան, -դոց child, offspring (also birth, origin)
  • այրոյն (presumably an aberrant form of the gen.sg of այր, the usual classical form being առն)
  • յունական Greek

English translation:

Saint Gregory, the Illuminator and great Patriarch of all Armenia, overthrew all the statues of the idols and removed demon-worship from the land of the Armenians, Georgians, and Albanians, and as a substitute he founded churches in the name of the holy Mother of God, Mary, and the holy forerunner, John [the Baptist], and he changed the feasts of impurity to feasts of holiness. [The feast is today] because while the land was in idol-worship, on this day [Aug 25] they would celebrate Lady Anahit and they would call her the offspring of her husband Aramazd; she was Aphrodite among the Greeks.

(Thanks to Ed Mathews for discussing այրոյն with me.)

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Lk 4:23 in Persian   Leave a comment

We recently took a look at Lk 4:23 in Old Georgian and some other versions. To those texts let’s now add the Persian witness, which includes (at least) three versions: the Gospel text published in the London Polyglot [L] and Abraham Wheeloc(ke)’s edition [W] and the Persian Gospel Harmony [GospHarm] (the so-called Persian Diatessaron, although it is distinct from Tatian and the Arabic Diatessaron). In the Roman representation below, I have included vowels, but it is still closer to a transliteration than a phonetic transcription. The three texts stand far enough apart to be treated differently, with different word order and different vocabulary — e.g. “heal!” is tīmār kun, tan-durust kun, or šifā bi-de — across all three texts.

Lk 4:23 GospHarm (3.2, ed. Messina, p. 192, ll. 15-17)

وگفت ديگر بار اين مثل با من ميگوييد ای پزشك نفس خودرا تيمار كن وهرچه شنيديم در كُفرناحوم كردى اينجا در شهر خود بكن

va-guft dīgar bār: īn maṯal bā man mī-gūyīd: ay bizišk, nafs-i xūd-rā tīmār kun va-harče šinīdīm dar Kufarnāḥūm kardī, īnǧā dar šahr-i xūd bi-kun!

Lk 4:23 W

گفت با ايشان مگر مى گوييد اين مثل كه اى طبى خودرا تندرست كن و هر چه شنيديم كه كردى در كفرناحوم اينجا نيز بكن در شهر خود

guft bā īšān magar mī-gūyīd īn maṯal ke: ay ṭibbī [sic! prob. leg. ṭabīb], xūd-rā tan-durust kun, va-har če šinīdīm ke kardī dar Kafarnāḥūm, īnǧā nīz bi-kun dar šahr-i xūd!

  • ṭibbī medical > physician, or better, read ṭabīb?

Lk 4:23 L

عيسى گفت باز اين مثل مى گوييد اى طبيب خودرا شفا بده وهرچه شنيديم كه در كفرناحوم كردى اينجا در شهر خود بكن

ʿĪsá guft bāz: īn maṯal-rā bā man mī-gūyīd: ay ṭabīb, xūd-rā šifā bi-de, va-harče šinīdīm ke dar Kafarnāḥūm kardī, īnǧā dar šahr-i xūd bi-kun!

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 52 (fruit trees in the desert)   Leave a comment

I stumbled upon these lines in Sarjveladze & Fähnrich, p. 525. The citation is from an 11th-cent. manuscript, H-341 (46). (Incidentally, it is a boon to the dictionary that the authors scoured not only editions, but manuscripts, too, thus including unedited textual pieces and even, it seems, some marginal notes and colophons.)

დამიკჳრდა უდაბნოსა მას ესევითარი ხეოანი, რამეთუ იყო ფინიკი, ბროწეული, თრუნჯი, ატამი

Ich staunte über so einen solchen Baumbestand in der Wüste, denn es gab Dattel, Granatapfel, Orange, Pfirsich.

  • და-მ-ი-კჳრ-დ-ა aor 3sg O1 (here indir. vb) დაკჳვება to be amazed, astounded
  • უდაბნოოჲ wilderness
  • ხეო(ვ)ანი having trees (ხეჲ)
  • ფინიკი date
  • ბროწეული pomegranate
  • თრუნჯი orange or some other citrus fruit
  • ატამი peach

I was amazed at such a tree-area in the wilderness, because there were [trees of] date, pomegranate, citrus, and peach.

Plant-names are notorious for spreading across languages, and we have some such words here, words it would be easy to follow down many interconnected paths. To take two of the Georgian words above, for ფინიკი we have Greek φοίνιξ (φοινικ-), for თრუნჯი we have Persian turunǧ, Aramaic etrog (Mandaic trunga, Syriac ṭruggā), Arabic utruǧ/nǧ. (For Aramaic terms, see I. Löw, Aramaeische Pflanzennamen.) Wholly unrelated, however, to the Georgian word ატამი above is a widespread term for peach: MP šiftālūg/NP šaftālū(ǧ/d)/Tajik шафтолу/Turk şeftali/Tatar шәфталу; NP has another related word šaftarang for a kind of red peach, and another word hulū. We could, of course, go on, both more deeply and broadly, but for now let’s stop at this marvelous oasis that appeared in the wilderness to the Georgian speaker above.

Some Judeo-Persian manuscripts at the BnF   1 comment

Previously I have highlighted some Georgian manuscripts that the Bibliothèque nationale de France has graciously made freely available online. Here is a list of Judeo-Persian manuscripts from the BnF that I have been able to find at Gallica. (If I happen to have missed one, please let me know.) They mostly come from the fifteenth-seventeenth centuries, some of them with colophons. While these manuscripts obviously fall outside of the delimiter “eastern Christian” that guides most of the posts appearing here, I know that at least some readers of the blog have, just as I do, broader interests than that delimiter allows. Most of the texts here are biblical; for details about published biblical texts in Persian (Judeo-Persian and otherwise), see my hitherto incomplete bibliography here.

These manuscripts often have a verse in Hebrew followed immediately by a Persian translation. For the Catalogues des manuscrits hébreux et samaritains de la Bibliothèque Impériale (Munk, Derenbourg, Franck, and Zotenberg) see at Gallica here and archive.org here. The few remarks I give below rely on this volume.

Un grand merci à la BnF de partager ces manuscrits!

70 Pentateuch http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9002771d (catalog)

BnF héb 70, f. 22v, end of Gen 14 in Heb and Judeo-Persian

BnF héb 70, f. 22v, end of Gen 14 in Heb and Judeo-Persian

71 Pentateuch http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b90027700 (catalog)

  • The Persian text of №s 70-71 is said to follow Targum Onqelos closely.

90 Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Ezra, Nehemiah http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9064442x (catalog)

  • Probably the same scribe as №s 70-71.

97 Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel (to 10:3), with David Kimḥi’s commentary http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9064631t (catalog)

100 Jeremiah http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b90644470 (catalog)

  • Different from the version in № 97. Like some of the other JP translations, this one follows Onqelos more than the MT.

101 Minor Prophets, Lamentations http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b90644151 (catalog)

  • The margins have some of the Persian in Perso-Arabic script.

116 Proverbs, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Ruth, Esther http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9064448d (catalog)

117 Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9064446k (catalog)

BnF héb 117, f. 1v, the beginning of Proverbs in Heb and Judeo-Persian

BnF héb 117, f. 1v, the beginning of Proverbs in Heb and Judeo-Persian

118 Job, Lamentations, Jeremiah http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b90644544 (catalog)

120 Job http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9064420b (catalog)

121 Job http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b90644188 (catalog)

127 Esther, benedictions, and a Purim song (Heb and Pers) http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9064444r (catalog)

129 Daniel http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b90645658 (catalog)

130 Tobit, Judith, Bel and the Dragon, Megillat Antiochos[1] http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9064465x (catalog)

BnF héb 130, f. 58r, colophon in Persian in Perso-Arabic and Hebrew script

BnF héb 130, f. 58r, colophon in Persian in Perso-Arabic and Hebrew script

The colophon (f. 58r) reads as follows:

نبشتة (!) شد این کتاب در موضع لار سال هزار و نوه صد ودوازده

נבשתה שוד אין כתאב דר מוצׄע לאר סאל הזאר ונוה צד ודואזדה

nevešte šod in ketāb dar mawẓiʿ-e Lār sāl-e hezār o noh sad o davāzdah

This book was written in the village of Lār in the year 1912 [AG, = 1600/1].

[1] The Aramaic text, for whatever it’s worth (Kaufman’s comments here), is available at the CAL site sub Late Jewish Literary Aramaic, text 81406.

Reading challenge, April 2015   2 comments

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):

  • Armenian
  • Christian Palestinian Aramaic
  • Syriac
  • Arabic
  • Jewish Babylonian Aramaic
  • Greek
  • Sogdian
  • Persian
  • Georgian
  • Turkish
  • Coptic
  • Gǝʿǝz
  • Uyghur

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:

  1. Persian. 10 pages in the so-called Persian Diatessaron
  2. Turkish. Ali Bey’s Bible: Jonah 1-2; Mt 4:1-11; 11:17-19; 15:21-28
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!

Aga Khan Museum: Highlights of the highlights   Leave a comment

This week were announced some highlights of the remarkable collection of the newly opened Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. From this long list, I’ve made a short list of my own favorites. You cannot view entire manuscripts, but the individual images presented are of very high quality, so those interested in paleography, codicology, &c. have plenty to feast their eyes and minds on. I’ve included a few non-manuscripts in the list, too.

Books & leaves

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/letter-crown-prince-%E2%80%98abbas-mirza-napoleon-i

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/sayings-pythagoras

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/quran-leaf

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/quran-folio-2

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/young-man-carried-simurgh

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/manuscript-mia-layla-wa-layla

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/quran-folio

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/tashrih-e-mansuri-anatomy-mansur

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/quran-folio-0

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/quran-leaf-0

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/qanun-fi%E2%80%99l-tibb-canon-medicine-volume-5

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/sea-serpent-swallows-royal-fleet

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/al-khashkhash-poppy

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/qur%E2%80%99-leaf

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/manuscript-mathnavi-rumi

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/school-courtyard-boys-reading-and-writing

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/rostam-pursues-akvan-onager-div

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/quatrain-al-faqir-ali-al-katib-mir-ali

Non-books

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/funerary-stele

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/scribal-implements

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/inkwell

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/bow

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/portrait-safavid-noblewoman

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/portrait-sultan-selim-ii

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/portrait-safavid-nobleman

 

Dried meat in Bar Bahlul   Leave a comment

In a recent post, I mentioned Bar Bahlul’s source “the Proverbs [or tales] of the Arameans”. Among other entries in his lexicon where he cites that source, here is another:

Bar Bahlul, Lexicon, ed. Duval, col. 2072

Bar Bahlul, Lexicon, ed. Duval, col. 2072

English’d:

Tmirā I found it in the Proverbs [or tales] of the Arameans. I think it is tatmīr, that is, seasoned, salted meat.

Here is an image from a manuscript of the Lexicon, SMMJ 229 (dated 2101 AG = 1789/90 CE), f. 311v:

SMMJ 229, f. 311v

SMMJ 229, f. 311v

This is not a particularly special copy of the Lexicon; it’s just one I had immediately at hand. It is, not surprisingly, slightly different from Duval’s text, including the variants he gives. Note that the Persian word at the end is misspelled in this copy.

Payne Smith (col. 4461) defines tmirā as caro dactylis condita (“meat seasoned with dates”), with Bar Bahlul cited, along with some variation in another manuscript, including alongside tatmīr the word تنجمير. I don’t know anything certain about this additional word (rel. to Persian tanjidan, “to twist together, squeeze, press”?).

The word tatmīr is a II maṣdar of the root t-m-r, which has to do with dates. The Arabic noun is tamr (dried) dates (do not confuse with ṯamar fruit), and probably from Arabic Gǝʿǝz has ተምር፡; cf. Heb. tāmār, JPA t(w)mrh, Syr. tmartā, pl. tamrē. (Another Aramaic word for date-palm is deqlā.) The Arabic D-stem/II verb tammara means “to dry” (dates, meat) (Lane 317). While the noun tamr means “dates”, the verb tammara does not necessarily have to do with drying dates, but can also refer to cutting meat into strips and drying it. Words for tatmīr in the dictionary Lisān al-ʿarab are taqdīd, taybīs, taǧfīf, tanšīf; we find the description taqṭīʿu ‘l-laḥmi ṣiġāran ka-‘l-tamri wa-taǧfīfuhu wa-tanšīfuhu (“cutting meat into small pieces like dates, drying it, and drying it out”) and further, an yaqṭaʿa al-laḥma ṣiġāran wa-yuǧaffifa (“he cuts meat into small pieces and dries it”).  All this makes it doubtful that the word above in Bar Bahlul’s lexicon really has anything to do with dates. Why not simply “dried, seasoned meat”?

As for the passive participle mubazzar, b-z-r is often “to sow”, but may also be used for the “sowing” of seeds, spices, etc. in cooking, so: “to season” (Lane 199). Finally, the last word is Persian namak-sud “salted” (Persian [< Middle Persian] namak salt + sudan to rub [also in Mid.Pers.)

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