Archive for the ‘Arabic’ Tag

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.

“Sinking in the sea of sin”   1 comment

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

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.

(Ps.-)Ignatius of Antioch, Hortatory Epistle to Priests (CPG 1030)   1 comment

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:

Picture 44

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

SMMJ 170, f. 140r

Franz Rosenthal on Hans Heinrich Schaeder   3 comments

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.

A taʿlīq Arabic colophon in a Garšūnī manuscript   2 comments

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

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

 

Two scribal notes (Garšūnī & Arabic) of a certain Rabbān Īsḥāq   Leave a comment

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

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

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!

The beginning of Nemesius of Emesa’s De natura hominis in Greek, Armenian, Georgian, Syriac, and Latin   2 comments

The name of the later fourth-century author and bishop Nemesius of Emesa may not often pass the lips even of those closely interested in late antique theology and philosophy, but his work On the Nature of Man (Περὶ φύσεως ἀνθρώπου, CPG II 3550), to judge by the evident translations of the work, attracted translators and readers in various languages. What follows are merely a few pointers to these translations and some related evidence in Greek, Armenian, Syriac, Georgian, and Latin (bibliography below), with renderings of the book’s incipit in the versions.

For Arabic, I don’t have any texts ready to hand, but with attribution to Gregory of Nyssa, Isḥāq b. Ḥunayn (d. 910/911) translated it into Arabic (GCAL I 319, II 130), and Abū ‘l-Fatḥ ʕabdallāh b. al-Faḍl (11th cent.) apparently writes in connection to the work in chs. 51-70 of his Kitāb al-manfaʕa al-kabīr (GCAL II 59). (Note also the latter’s translation and commentary to Basil’s Hexaemeron and its continuation by Gregory of Nyssa [GCAL II 56].)

Greek

Morani, Moreno, ed. Nemesii Emeseni De natura hominis. Bibliotheca scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana. Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1987.

Older ed. in PG 40 504-817.

(ed. Morani, as quoted in Zonta, 231):
Τὸν ἄνθρωπον ἐκ ψυχῆς νοερᾶς καὶ σώματος ἄριστα κατεσκευασμένον

Armenian

See Thomson, Bibliography of Classical Armenian, 40. The Venice, 1889 ed. is available here.

title: Յաղագս բնութեան մարդոյ

Զմարգն ի հոգւոյ իմանալւոյ եւ ի մարմնոյ գեղեցիկ կազմեալ

  • մարդ, -ոց man, mortal, human being
  • իմանալի intelligible, perceptible; intelligent
  • մարմին, -մնոց body
  • գեղեցիկ, -ցկի, -ցկաց handsome, agreeable, proper, elegant, good
  • կազնեմ, -եցի to form, model, construct, arrange

Latin

C. Burkhard, ed. Nemesii Episcopi Premnon Physicon sive Περὶ φύσεως ἀνθρώπου Liber a N. Alfano Archiepiscopo Salerni in Latinum Translatus. Leipzig: Teubner, 1917. At archive.org here.

It was translated into Latin by Alfanus of Salerno (fl. 1058-1085), and in the Latin tradition it is known by the Greek title πρέμνον φυσικῶν, “the trunk of physical things”. This seems to be the usual title (spelled variously in Latin letters, of course), and a marginal note has “Nemesius episcopus graece fecit librum quem vocavit prennon phisicon id est stipes naturalium. hunc transtulit N. Alfanus archiepiscopus Salerni.” The text begins thus:

A multis et prudentibus viris confirmatum est hominem ex anima intellegibili et corpore tam bene compositum…

Georgian

Gorgadze. S. ნემესიოს ემესელი, ბუნებისათჳს კაცისა (იოანე პეტრიწის თარგმანი). Tbilisi, 1914. The text from this edition is at TITUS here.

The translation is that of the famous philosopher and translator Ioane Petrici (d. 1125; Tarchnishvili, Geschichte, 211-225).

კაცისა სულისა-გან გონიერისა და სხეულისა რჩეულად შემზადებაჲ

  • გონიერი wise, understanding
  • სხეული body
  • რჩეული choice, select
  • შემზადებაჲ preparation

Syriac

The witness to a Syriac translation is fragmentary. It has been studied by Zonta. The incipit of Nemesius’ work appears in two places, and differently.

1. from Timotheos I (d. 823), Letter 43, as given in Pognon, xvii:

ܥܩܒ  ܬܘܒ ܘܥܠ ܣܝܡܐ ܕܐܢܫ ܦܝܠܣܘܦܐ ܕܡܬܩܪܐ ܢܡܘܣܝܘܣ ܕܥܠ ܬܘܩܢܗ ܕܒܪܢܫܐ ܘܐܝܬܘܗܝ ܪܫܗ ܗܢܐ. ܒܪܢܫܐ ܡܢ ܢܦܫܐ ܡܬܝܕܥܢܝܬܐ ܘܦܓܪܐ ܛܒ ܫܦܝܪ ܡܬܩܢ
Brock’s ET (“Two Letters,” 237): “Search out for a work by a certain philosopher called Nemesius, on the structure of man, which begins: ‘Man is excellently constructed as a rational soul and body…’”

2. from Iwannis of Dara (fl. first half of 9th cent.), De anima, in Vat. Syr. 147, as given by Zonta, 231:

ܒܪܢܫܐ ܡܢ ܢܦܫܐ ܝܕܘܥܬܢܝܬܐ ܘܦܓܪܐ ܡܪܟܒ

Bibliography

(In addition to the already cited editions, etc.)

Brock, Sebastian P., ”Two Letters of the Patriarch Timothy from the Late Eighth Century on Translations from Greek”, Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 9 (1999): 233-246.

Motta, Beatrice, ”Nemesius of Emesa”, Pages 509-518 in The Cambridge History of Philosophy in Late Antiquity. Edited by Gerson, Lloyd Phillip. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Pognon, Henri. Une version syriaque des aphorismes d’Hippocrate. Texte et traduction. Pt. 1, Texte syriaque. Leipzig, 1903.

Sharples, Robert W. and van der Eijk, Philip J., Nemesius. On the Nature of Man. Translated Texts for Historians 49. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2008.

Zonta, Mauro, ”Nemesiana Syriaca: New Fragments from the Missing Syriac Version of the De Natura Hominis”, Journal of Semitic Studies 36:2 (1991): 223-258.

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