Archive for the ‘Arabic’ Tag

“With the jawbone of an ass…”   Leave a comment

Many years ago I read F.F. Bruce’s In Retrospect, and among the anecdotes he relates that for some reason or other have remained in my memory is one about W.M. Edward of Leeds University. Bruce says (pp. 106-107),

My new chief, Professor W.M. Edwards of the Chair of Greek in Leeds, was an unusual man. He had been born into a military family and himself embarked on a military career, being an officer in the Royal Garrison Artillery until his later thirties. He then went to Oxford as an undergraduate, taking his B.A. at the age of forty and becoming a Fellow of Merton College the same year. Three years later he was appointed Professor of Greek in Leeds. He was an accomplished linguist, speaking Welsh, Gaelic, Russian and Hebrew as well as the commoner European languages. … On another occasion he came into my room to see me about something or other, and found me reading the Hebrew text of Judges. Immediately he threw back his head and recited in Hebrew, Samson’s song of victory, “With the jawbone of an ass…”

The Samson story is a good one, and well known. Students making their first forays into classical Hebrew prose rightly learn it thoroughly, and these two lines in verse 15:16 (בלחי החמור חמור חמרתים בלחי החמור הכיתי אלף איש), with the word play and the rhythm, make a good inhabitant of the memory’s palace. For fun, here they are in a few more languages, and some vocabulary in case students of any of these languages are reading.

Poster for Cecil B. DeMille's Samson and Delilah (1949). Source.

Poster for Cecil B. DeMille’s Samson and Delilah (1949). Source; cf. this one.

Aramaic (Targum) בלועא דחמרא רמיתנון דגורין דלועא דחמרא קטלית אלף גברא

  • לווּעָא jaw
  • חמָרָא ass
  • דְּגוֹר heap

Greek Ἐν σιαγόνι ὄνου ἐξαλείϕων ἐξήλειψα αὐτούς, ὅτι ἐν σιαγόνι ὄνου ἐπάταξα χιλίους ἄνδρας.

Syriac (Pesh.) ܒܦܟܐ ܕܚܡܪܐ ܟܫܝ̈ܬܐ ܟܫܝܬ ܡܢܗܘܢ. ܒܦܟܐ ܕܚܡܪܐ ܩܛܠܬ ܐܠܦ ܓܒܪ̈ܝܢ܀

  • pakkā jaw, cheek
  • ḥmārā ass
  • kšā to pile up, heap (both verb and pass. ptcp. here)

Armenian ծնօտի́ւ իշոյ ջնջելով ջնջեցի́ զն(ո)ս(ա), զի ծնօտիւ իշոյ կոտորեցի հազա́ր այր։

  • ծնօտ, -ից jaw, cheek
  • իշայր, -ոյ wild ass
  • ջնջեմ, -եցի to destroy, exterminate
  • կոտորեմ, -եցի to shatter, destroy, massacre
  • հազար thousand

Georgian (Gelati; only the first half translated, and no mention of the ass!) ღაწჳთა აღმოჴოცელმან აღვჴოცნე იგინი

  • ღაწუი cheek
  • აღჴოცა to kill off (participle აღმოჴოცელი and finite verb both in the sentence)

Arabic (from the London Polyglot; there are other versions)

judges_15_16_london_polyglot

  • ṭaraḥa (a) to drive away, repel
  • ʕaẓm bone
  • ḫadd cheek
  • ḥimār ass
  • tulūl is a pl. of tall hill, but here, heap
  • fakk jawbone (cf. Syriac above)

Gǝʕǝz በዐጽመ ፡ መንከሰ ፡ አድግ ፡ ደምስሶ ፡ ደምሰስክዎሙ ፡ እስመ ፡ በዐጽመ ፡ መንከሰ ፡ አድግ ፡ ቀተልኩ ፡ ዐሠርተ ፡ ምእተ ፡ ብእሴ ።

  • መንከስ፡jaw, jawbone (√näkäsä to bite, like näsäkä, with cognates in many Semitic languages)
  • አድግ፡ ass
  • ደምሰሰ፡ to abolish, wipe out, destroy

NB: In Islamic tradition, it is not the jawbone of an ass, but that of a camel (laḥy baʕīr), that Samson employs:

وكان اذا لقيهم لقيهم بلحي بعير

(J. Barth & Th. Nöldeke, Annales quos scripsit Abu Djafar Mohammed Ibn Djarir At-Tabari, 1.II.794.7-8 [1881-1882]; available here) [More broadly, see Andrew Rippin, “The Muslim Samson: Medieval, Modern and Scholarly Interpretations,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 71 (2008): 239-253.]

The dearness of home: Arabic verse attributed to Maysūn bint Baḥdal al-Kalbiyya   1 comment

The poem below is one of Heimweh. The poetess credited with the poem, whether rightly or wrongly, is Maysūn bint Baḥdal b. Unayf al-Kalbiyya, the mother of Yazīd I and wife of Muʿāwiya, and she is said to have sung these lines after her husband brought her to Syria (al-Šām) from the desert home of her family. She came from a tribe predominantly Christian. (See the brief article about her by Lammens in EI² 6: 924. On her father, Baḥdal, see EI² 1: 919-920.) After the Arabic text, an English translation follows, together with a list of some vocabulary.

The poem’s rhyme-letter (rawī) is f, which is preceded by ī or ū, these two vowels being considered as rhyming (Wright, Grammar of the Arabic Language, vol. 2, § 196b). The text of the poem is given in Nöldeke-Müller, Delectus veterum carminum arabicorum, Porta Linguarum Orientalium 13 (Berlin, 1890), p. 25, and in Heinrich Thorbecke’s edition of Al-Ḥarīrī’s (EI² 3: 221-222) Durrat al-ġawwāṣ fī awhām al-ḫawwāṣ (Leipzig, 1871), pp. 41-42. (Nöldeke and Müller dedicated their Delectus to the memory of the recently departed Thorbecke.) The images below are from the latter book.

al-hariri_durrat_p41al-hariri_durrat_p42

English’d:

Aye, dearer to me is a tent where the winds roar than a lofty palace.
Dearer to me is a rough woolen cloak with a happy heart than clothes of well-spun wool.
Dearer to me is a morsel of food at the side of the tent than a cake to eat.
Dearer to me are the sounds of winds in every mountain path than the tap of the tambourine.
Dearer to me is a dog barking at my night visitors than a familiar cat.
Dearer to me is a young, unyielding camel following a litter than an active mule.
And dearer to me is a thin generous man from among my cousins than a strong lavishly fed man.

Vocabulary and notes:

  • ḫafaqa i to beat; (of wind) to roar
  • qaṣr citadel, palace (on which see Jeffery, Foreign Vocabulary of the Qurʾān, 240)
  • munīf lofty, sublime, projecting
  • ʿabāʾa cloak made of coarse wool
  • qarra a i to be cool; with ʿayn eye, to be joyful, happy (Lane 2499c)
  • šaff a garment of fine wool
  • kusayra (dimin.) a small piece of something
  • kisr side (of a tent). Note in this line the jinās, the use of two words of the same root but different meaning (see Arberry, Arabic Poetry, 21-23).
  • raġīf cake
  • faǧǧ wide path in the mountains
  • naqr beat, crack, tap
  • duff tambourine
  • ṭāriq, pl. ṭurrāq someone who comes at night
  • dūn here, before, opposite (Lane 938c)
  • alūf familiar, sociable
  • bakr young camel
  • ṣaʿb difficult, unyielding
  • baġl mule
  • zafūf agile, active, quick
  • ẓaʿīna a woman’s litter carried by camels
  • ḫirq liberal, generous, bountiful
  • naḥīf thin, slight, meager
  • ʿilǧ “strong, sturdy man” (Lane)
  • ʿalīf fatted, stuffed, fed

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.)

The tradition about the origin of Saint Mark’s Monastery from a 19th-century colophon   Leave a comment

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

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.)

Garšūnī text

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

‏389r

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

389r

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

English translation

[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.

Two Arabic and Garšūnī verses in Saint Mark’s, Jerusalem, № 183   Leave a comment

At the end of one of the texts in SMMJ 183, which contains theological and hagiographic writings in Garšūnī, some later reader (or readers?) — the handwriting does not seem to be the same as the scribe’s — has recorded some intended wisdom. The two four-line sayings are in Arabic, but written in both Syriac and Arabic script.

SMMJ 183, f. 98v

SMMJ 183, f. 98v

This is not the prettiest handwriting, and the spelling might not be what is expected, but the meaning of both is relatively clear. (For the long vowels at line-end, cf. Wright, Grammar, vol. 2, § 224.) The sideways text in the center has its Arabic-script version is on the bottom.

O seeker of knowledge! Apply yourself to piety,
Forgo sleep and subdue satiety,
Continue studying and don’t leave it,
For knowledge consists and grows in study.

On the right we have four more lines in Garšūnī, with its Arabic-script version immediately below.

O child of Adam! You are ignorant!
There is no more awaiting the reckoning:
Look! Your life and your time have vanished.
Now you shall return to dust.

In line 2, al-ḥisābi (written –ī) must be genitive with the foregoing V maṣdar, tanaẓẓur; the latter word is written within the Arabic text, but a derivative of “to blossom” doesn’t make much sense, and the Garšūnī writing of , even without a dot, is known well for . In the last word of these lines, the Garšūnī version lacks the preposition l-, but it’s present in the Arabic version and is needed for the sense in any case.

Finally, the three Garšūnī lines on the far left read, “Our trust is in God, the quickener of our souls. To him be glory forever.”

Talking to a dog in Aramaic   1 comment

At some points in the history of lexicography, the acceptable fodder for lexicographers has been restricted, investigations into non-literary and purely colloquial words being eschewed. In the course of the last few centuries, at least, in more than one lexicographic arena, this custom has fortunately fallen into disuse, with the study of slang, etc. finding able word-hunters such as John S. Farmer (on whom see here, with numerous works here, with his French-English Vocabula Amatoria elsewhere), Allen Walker Read (Lexical Evidence from Folk Epigraphy in Western North America: A Glossarial Study of the Low Element in the English Vocabulary [Paris, 1935], reprinted by Maledicta Press in 1977 as Classical American Graffiti), and more recently Eric Partridge, Jonathon Green, and others. It is not only the vocabulary of languages of Europe that have been studied on this more earthy level. Yona Sabar’s Jewish Neo-Aramaic Dictionary (Harrassowitz, 2002), for example, includes in its store euphemisms, taboo words, and metaphors as such, as well as the vocabulary of women’s speech and baby talk (see pp. 59-64).

The tenth-century scholar Ḥasan bar Bahlul (see GEDSH, p. 54) compiled a large Syriac lexicon, which contains many terms that are quite rare — indeed some words we know only thanks to his lexicon — and he also gives evidence of Aramaic dialects as spoken in his own time. One colloquial word, yet a word that he came across, he says, in reading, not necessarily in speech, is kušukušu:

Eric Partridg
Eric Partridge
Bar Bahlul's lexicon, ed. Duval, col. 883

Bar Bahlul’s lexicon, ed. Duval, col. 883

Kušukušu. I found it in the Proverbs [or tales] of the Arameans. [It is a term for] coaxing a dog, putting a dog at ease.

This is just the kind of dog-speech one might use with the animal as described by T.S. Eliot:

The usual Dog about the Town

Is much inclined to play the clown,

And far from showing too much pride

Is frequently undignified.

He’s very easily taken in —

Just chuck him underneath the chin

Or slap his back or shake his paw,

And he will gambol and guffaw.

He’s such an easy-going lout,

He’ll answer any hail or shout.

Perhaps especially a hail or shout “Kušukušu!” If we’re to believe the rest of Eliot’s poem (thanks to my children for keeping it so often in my ears), it’s not so with cats!

Bar Bahul’s complete lexicon, ed. R. Duval, is available online, and the CAL project provides links from individual lemmas to the appropriate pages. The work is hardly a mere glossary, with just close equivalents for Syriac-Syriac or Syriac-Arabic. Some entries are long and give much more than simple definitions (e.g. philosophy on cols. 1548-1554). A full-scale study of the work would yield us a fuller picture of intellectual work and knowledge around Baghdad in the tenth century, especially in Christian circles, so hopefully some able scholar will undertake such a project before long, and a complete digital edition, fully searchable, would be a good foundational start.

More on the Homily on the Burial of Jesus (CPG 3768)   3 comments

A few years ago (2011), Alin Suciu pointed to some Coptic manuscripts of a homily for Holy Saturday attributed to Epiphanius of Salamis (see here). The Greek is at PG 43: 440-464 and some data is available for other versions at CPG 3768; Alin kindly provides PDFs for both of these in his post. I would like to add some more information on this homily — attributed elsewhere also to Anastasius of Sinai and even Cyril of Alexandria — in Gəʕəz, Georgian, Armenian, Syriac, and Arabic/Garšūnī; for all of these versions except Georgian and Armenian, there are manuscripts available through HMML.

(There are, of course, many pieces of art that cover the contents of this homily, from Joseph of Arimathea and the removal of Jesus’ body from the cross, his burial, and his descent into hell, even from the Brick Testament; there are, in fact, so many that I didn’t have time to choose any to include here, but for what it’s worth, here is a relatively unknown one from Sybil Andrews [d. 1992].)

Gəʕəz

There is no Gəʕəz in the CPG list, but there are at least four copies known to me; I have not, however, checked all the catalogs. In these four manuscripts, at least, it is attributed to Anastasius of Sinai, as in Vat. Syr. 369 (see below).

  • BL Orient. 774 (15th cent.), ff. 91r-101r (Wright, Cat. Eth. BM, p. 228); in margin በዕርበተ ፡ ፀሓይ ፡ ፡ምንባብ። “Reading for the evening”
  • BL Orient. 775 (18th cent.), ff. 108r-121v (Wright, Cat. Eth. BM, p. 229)
  • EMML 2868 (late 18th cent., it seems), ff. 169r-end

ድርሳን ፡ ዘቅዱስ ፡ ወብዙዕ ፡ አንስጣስዮስ ፡ አቡነ ፡ ዘደብረ ፡ ሲና ፡ በእንተ ፡ ዘከመ ፡ ተቀብረ ፡ … ወርደቶ ፡ ውስተ ፡ ሲኦል ፡ ወበእንተ ፡ ዮሴፍ ፡ ዘአርማትያስ ፡ ረድኡ ፡ ለኢየሱስ።

Homily of Saint Anastasius of Mt. Sinai on how [Jesus] was buried and his descent into hell, and on Joseph of Arimathea, Jesus’ disciple.

Incipit: ይቤ ፡ ምንት ፡ ይእቲ ፡ ዛቲ ፡ አርምሞ ፡ He said: What is this silence…?

  • EMML 4967 (20th cent.), ff. 141v-146v

Georgian

The information given at CPG 3768 for Georgian is very spare, so I’ll fill it out here. Only Michel Van Esbroeck’s book Les plus anciens homéliaires géorgiens (1975) is cited, yet without page numbers: the relevant ones are pp. 85-86. The title (with my ET) is

დიდსა შაფათსა. საკითხავი. თქუმული წმიდისა მამისა ჩუენისა ეპიფანე კჳპრელ მთავარებისკოპოსისაჲ დაფლვისა თჳს უფლისა ჩუენისა იესუ ქრისტჱსა და იოსების თჳს მართლისა.

Great [i.e. Holy] Saturday, reading: Homily of our father, Saint Epiphanius of Cyprus, archbishop, on the burial of our Lord Jesus Christ and on Joseph the Just.

The title in Borg. Geo. 4, where the homily occupies ff. 14v-28r (see Van Lantschoot, “Le ms. Borgia géorgien 4,” Le Muséon 61 [1948], here 80-81), is different and fuller:

წმიდათა შოვრის მამისა ჩუენისა ეპიფანე კჳპრელ მთავარებისკოპოსისაჲ. საღმრთოთა ჴორცთა ოჳფლისა ჩუენისა იესოჳ ქრისტჱსთა დაფლვისათჳს: და იოსიფ და ნიკოდიმოსისთჳს: და ჯოჯოხეთს შთასლვისათჳს ოჳფლისა შემდგომად განმაცხოველებელისა ვნებისა მისისა რომელი ესე იკითხვების დიდსა შაბათსა: მამაო გუაკურთხენ:

[Homily] of our father among the saints, Epiphanius of Cyprus, archbishop, on the burial of the divine body of our Lord Jesus Christ, on Joseph and Nicodemus, and on the Lord’s descent into hell after his life-giving Passion, which is read on Great Saturday. Bless us, father!

The incipit (from Van Esbroeck) reads

რაჲ არს ესე დღეს დუმილი მრავალი ქუეყანასა ზედა რაჲ არს ესე დუმილი

What is this thorough silence today on the earth? What is this silence?

“La tradition géorgienne est surabondante,” he says, citing eleven manuscripts in addition to Athos 11.

Armenian

For Armenian, too, CPG points to Van Esbroeck’s study, again with no page references. At the end of the section on this homily, he lists Venice 201 and 227, and Matenadaran 993, № 106, where the homily is attributed to Cyril of Alexandria.

Syriac

In Vat. Syr. 369, № 37 (see Sauget’s art. cited in CPG: OCP 27 [1961], p. 420), it is attributed to Anastasius of Sinai. It is not clear how the text referred to by Sauget corresponds with the following two late copies:

  • MGMT 33 (d. 1969), pp. 1-8
  • SOAH 16 (d. 1969), pp. 537-540 (The text here corr. to PG 43: 444c-452c.)

Arabic (see Garšūnī below)

In addition to the note in CPG, with reference to GCAL I 357 (see lines 11-23), we mention these:

  • Monastery of St. George, Homeira, Syria (HMIR) 16 (d. 1682/3), ff. 53v-67r
  • DIYR 121 (18th/19th cent.), ff. 332r-340v
  • BzAr 118 (d. 1820), ff. 139v-151r

 

HMIR 16 (22), f. 53v

HMIR 16, f. 53v

Garšūnī

  • SMMJ 170 (d. 1596), ff. 279r-282v
  • CCM 345 (d. 1678/9), ff. 34v-44r
  • CFMM 286 (16th/17th cent.), pp. 95-109
  • SMMJ 169 (18th cent.), ff. 111r-118v
  • CFMM 292 (18th/19th cent.), pp. 88-97
SMMJ 170, f. 279r

SMMJ 170, f. 279r

_____________________________________________

Others have noted that this homily, whoever wrote it, was obviously popular in several languages. There is, I think, no English translation from the Greek or any of the versions, so a monograph on one or more of these versions, with English translation, is an obvious desideratum.

%d bloggers like this: