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A camel or a rope in the eye of a needle? The Old Georgian witness   2 comments

In Mt 19:24, Mk 10:25, and Lk 18:25 Jesus famously paints the difficulty of a rich person’s ability to get into the kingdom of God with the picture of a camel going through the eye of a needle. The strangeness of the image has not been lost on Gospel-readers from early on. Origen, followed by Cyril, reports that some interpreters took the word κάμηλος ≈ κάμιλος not as the animal, but as some kind of thick rope. This interpretation from Cyril is known also in Syriac, both in the Syriac translation of the Luke commentary, and in Bar Bahlul, and probably elsewhere. I noticed recently in my Georgian Gospel reading that the early translations also bear witness to the reading “rope”, but the later translations — not surprisingly, given the predominant hellenizing tendencies of the period — line up with the standard Greek reading, “camel”, in most (but not all!) places. Below I list a few of the Greek exegetical places, followed by the three synoptic Gospel verses in Greek, Armenian, and Georgian; I have translated into English everything quoted below except for the Greek Gospel verses. The Syriac versions (Old Syriac, Peshitta, Harqlean), at least in Kiraz’s Comparative Edition of the Syriac Gospels, all have “camel” (gamlā), not “rope” (e.g. ḥablā). As usual, for Armenian and Georgian I provide a few lexical notes. I’ve used the following abbreviations:

  • A89 = the xanmeti text A89/A844, ed. Lamara Kajaia (not extant for the whole of the Gospel of text), at TITUS here (given in both asomtavruli and mxedruli)
  • Ad = Adishi, at TITUS here
  • At = Athonite (Giorgi the Hagiorite), at TITUS here
  • Künzle = B. Künzle, Das altarmenische Evangelium / L’évangile arménien ancien, 2 vols. [text + Armenian-German/French lexicon (Bern, 1984)
  • Lampe = G.W.H. Lampe, A Patristic Greek Lexicon
  • PA = Pre-Athonite, see here at TITUS
  • PG = Migne, Patrologia Graeca

As a side note, for the Qurʾān verse that cites the phrase in question, see the following:

  • W. Montgomery Watt, “The Camel and the Needle’s Eye,” in C.J. Bleeker et al., eds., Ex Orbe Religionum: Studia Geo Widengren, vol. 2 (Leiden, 1972), pp. 155-158.
  • Régis Blachère, “Regards sur un passage parallèle des Évangiles et du Coran,” in Pierre Salmon, ed., Mélanges d’Islamologie, volume dédié à la mémoire d’Armand Abel par ses collègues, ses élèves et ses amis (Leiden, 1974), pp. 69-73.
  • M.B. Schub, “It Is Easier for a Cable to go through the Eye of a Needle than for a Rich Man to Enter God’s Kingdom,” Arabica 23 (1976): 311-312.
  • Samir Khalil, “Note sur le fonds sémitique commun de l’expression ‘un chameau passant par le trou d’une aiguille’,” Arabica 25 (1978): 89-94.
  • A. Rippin, “Qurʾān 7.40: ‘Until the Camel Passes through the Eye of the Needle'” Arabica 27 (1980): 107-113.

A similar phrase with “elephant” (pīlā) instead of “camel” appears in the Talmud: see Strack-Billerbeck, Kommentar, vol. 1, p. 828, and Sokoloff, Dict. of Jewish Babylonian Aramaic, s.v. qwpʾ.

Some Greek and Syriac exegetical and lexical references

Origen, Fragment on Mt 19:24: οἱ μὲν τὸ σχοινίον τῆς μηχανῆς, οἱ δὲ τὸ ζῷον (cited in Lampe, 700a, s.v. κάμηλος)

Some [say the word means] the rope of some apparatus, others [say it means] the animal [the camel].

Cyril of Alexandria, Fragment on Mt 19:24 (PG 72: 429) Κάμηλον ἐνταῦθά φησιν, οὐ τὸ ζῶον τὸ ἀχθοφόρον, ἀλλὰ τὸ παχὺ σχοινίον ἐν ᾧ δεσμεύουσι τὰς ἀγκύρας οἱ ναῦται.

He says that kámēlos here is not the beast of burden, but rather the thick rope with which sailors tie their anchors.

Cyril, Comm. on Lk 18:23 (PG 72: 857) Κάμηλον, οὐ τὸ ζῶον, ἀλλὰ τὸ ἐν τοῖς πλοίοις παχὺ σχοινίον.

Kámēlos is not the animal, but rather the thick rope found in boats.

With this Greek line from the Luke commentary we can compare the Syriac version, ed. Payne Smith, p. 338.15-17: gamlā dēn āmar law l-hāy ḥayutā mālon ellā l-ḥablā ʿabyā. ʿyāda (h)w gēr l-hānon d-šappir yādʿin d-neplḥun b-yammā da-l-hālēn ḥablē d-yattir ʿbēn gamlē neqron.

He says gamlā, [meaning] not the animal, but rather a thick rope, for those who know well how to plow the sea are accustomed to call the very thick ropes that they use gamlē.

One more place in Syriac attributed to Cyril has this interpretation, a few lines in the fragmentarily preserved work Against Julian (CPG 5233), ed. E. Nestle in Karl Johannes Neumann, Iuliani imperatoris librorum contra Christianos quae supersunt (Leipzig, 1880), here p. 56, § 21: d-qaddišā Qurillos, men mēmrā d-16 d-luqbal Yuliyanos raššiʿā. mqabbel hākēl l-taḥwitā: ḥrurā da-mḥaṭṭā w-gamlā, w-law ḥayutā a(y)k d-asbar Yuliyanos raššiʿā wa-skal b-kul w-hedyoṭā, ellā mālon ḥablā ʿabyā da-b-kul ellpā, hākanā gēr it ʿyādā d-neqron ennon aylēn d-ilipin hālēn d-elpārē.

Cyril, from book 16 of [his work] Against Julian the Wicked. He accepts, then, the example: the eye of the needle and the gamlā, but not the animal, as the wicked, completely stupid, and ignorant Julian thought, but rather the thick rope that is on every ship, for thus those sailors who are expert are accustomed to call them.

Theophylact of Ohrid, Ennaratio on Mt (PG 123: 356): Τινὲς δὲ κάμηλον οὐ τὸ ζῷόν φασιν, ἀλλὰ τὸ παχὺ σχοινίον, ᾧ χρῷνται οἱ ναῦται πρὸς τὸ ῥίπτειν τὰς ἀγκύρας.

Some say that kámēlos is not the animal, but rather the thick rope that sailors use to cast their anchors.

Suda, Kappa № 282: Κάμηλος: τὸ ζῷον. … Κάμιλος δὲ τὸ παχὺ σχοινίον.

Kámēlos: the animal. … Kámilos a thick rope.

Ps.-Zonaras, Lexicon: Κάμηλος. τὸ ἀχθοφόρον ζῶον. κάμηλος καὶ τὸ παχὺ σχοινίον, ἐν ᾧ δεσμεύουσι τὰς ἀγκύρας οἱ ναῦται. ὡς τὸ ἐν εὐαγγελίοις· κάμηλον διὰ τρυπήματος ῥαφίδος διελθεῖν.

Kámēlos: the beast of burden. Kámēlos is also the thick rope with which sailors tie their anchors, as in the Gospels: “for a kámēlos to go through the eye of a needle.”

As mentioned above, Cyril’s report on the verse re-appears among other things in Bar Bahlul: ed. Duval, coll. 500-501, s.v. gamlā: gamlā tub maraš [sic! cf. maras]. ba-ṣḥāḥā Qurillos gamlā qārē l-ḥablā ʿabyā d-āsrin bēh spinātā. Moše bar Kēpā gišrā ʿabyā d-mettsim l-ʿel b-meṣʿat benyānē qārē gamlā, haw da-ʿlāw(hy) mettsimin qaysē (ʾ)ḥrānē men trayhon gabbāw(hy) w-taṭlilā d-a(y)k hākan gamlā metqrā. (ʾ)ḥrā[nē] dēn d-ʿal gamlā d-besrā w-da-kyānā rāmez wa-b-leššānā yawnāyā qamēlos metemar. (ʾ)ḥrā[nē] dēn āmrin d-gamlā haw d-emar māran b-ewangelyon sgidā — da-dlil (h)u l-gamlā l-meʿal ba-ḥrurā da-mḥaṭṭā — l-hānā gamlā d-ḥayy āmar, w-law d-a(y)k (ʾ)ḥrā[nē] šāṭrin l-gamlā. ba-ṣḥāḥā (ʾ)nāšin dēn āmrin d-šawšmāna (h)w arik reglē w-lā šarririn. w-gamlā b-meṣʿat ḥaywātā dakyātā w-ṭaʾmātā itāw(hy), b-hāy gēr d-metgawrar, men ḥaywātā dakyātā metḥšeb, wa-b-hāy d-lā ṣāryā parstēh, men ṭaʾmātā.

A gamlā is also a rope [Arabic]. In one copy: Cyril calls the thick rope with which people tie their ships a gamlā. Moše bar Kēpā calls the thick beam people place at the top of buildings in the middle a gamlā, the one on which other pieces of wood are placed from either side, and a ceiling like this is called a gamlā. Others [say] that it means the natural animal [? lit. of flesh and of nature] gamlā (camel), and in Greek it is called kámēlos. Others say that the gamlā that the Lord mentioned in the Gospel — i.e., “it is easier for a gamlā to enter the eye of a needle” — by this he means a living gamlā, and not, as some foolishly say, a [non-living] gamlā [i.e. a rope, as in the interp. above?]. In one copy: Some people say that it is an ant with long, unstable legs. A camel is midway between the categories of clean and unclean animals: since it chews the cud, it is counted among clean animals, and since it does not split the hoof, among unclean.

[NB with this ant mentioned here cf. Brockelmann, Lexicon Syriacum, 2d ed., 120b (s.v. gamlā mng. 2c), JBA gamlānāʾāh (Sokoloff, Dict. Jewish Babylonian Aramaic, 289-290); also Persian uštur mūr (camel-ant).]

The Gospel verses in Greek, Armenian, and Georgian

(English translations in the next section.)

Mt 19:24

πάλιν δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, εὐκοπώτερόν ἐστιν κάμηλον διὰ τρυπήματος ῥαφίδος διελθεῖν ἢ πλούσιον εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ.

Դարձեալ ասեմ ձեզ· դիւրի́ն է մալխոյ մտանել ընդ ծակ ասղան. քան մեծատան յարքայութիւն ա՟յ մտանել։

դիւրին easy, light | մալուխ, -լխոյ rope (supposedly also “camel”; see note below) | ծակ, -ուց hole | ասեղն, ասղան, -ղունք, -ղանց needle | մեծատուն, մեծատան, -անց rich NB on մալուխ, see Lagarde, Armenische Studien, № 1404; Ačaṙean, 3.226-227; Künzle 2.437 says “Die Bedeutung ‘Kamel’ ist wohl durch diese NT-Stellen irrtümlich in die armen. Lexika eingegangen.” The proper Arm. word for camel is ուղտ, Lagarde, Arm. St., № 1760 (cf. MP uštar, NP uštur; Sanskrit उष्ट्र uṣṭra).

A89 ႾႭჃႠႣႥႨႪჁႱ ႠႰႱ ႬႠႥႨႱႠ ႫႠႬႵႠႬႨႱႠ ႱႠႡႤႪႨ ჄႭჃႰႤႪႱႠ ႬႤႫႱႨႱႠႱႠ ႢႠႬႱႪႥႠႣ Ⴅ~Ⴄ . . . . . . . ႸႤႱႪႥႠႣ ႱႠႱႭჃႴႤႥႤႪႱႠ Ⴖ~ႧႨႱႠႱႠ

ხოჳადვილჱს არს ნავისა მანქანისა საბელი ჴოჳრელსა ნემსისასა განსლვად ვ(იდრ)ე . . . . . . . შესლვ[ა]დ სასოჳფეველსა ღ(მრ)თისასა

ხ-ოჳ-ადვილ-ჱს easier (< ადვილი easy) | ნავი ship | მანქანაჲ mechanism, machine | საბელი cable, rope, cord | ჴურელი hole | ნემსი needle

Ad მერმე გეტყჳ თქუენ: უადვილესა ზომთსაბლისაჲ ჴურელსა ნემსისასა განსლვაჲ, ვიდრე მდიდრისაჲ შესლვად სასუფეველსა ღმრთისასა.

უადვილეს easier (< ადვილი easy) | ზომთ(ა)-საბელი cable, thick rope (cf. Rayfield et al., 695a; ზომი measurement) | მდიდარი rich

PA და მერმე გეტყჳ თქუენ: უადვილეს არს მანქანისა საბელი განსლვად ჴურელსა ნემსისასა, ვიდრე მდიდარი შესლვად სასუფეველსა ღმრთისასა.

At და მერმე გეტყჳ თქუენ: უადვილეს არს აქლემი განსლვად ჴურელსა ნემსისასა, ვიდრე მდიდარი შესლვად სასუფეველსა ცათასა.

აქლემი camel

Mk 10:25

εὐκοπώτερόν ἐστιν κάμηλον διὰ [τῆς] τρυμαλιᾶς [τῆς] ῥαφίδος διελθεῖν ἢ πλούσιον εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν.

դիւրի́ն է մալխոյ ընդ ծակ ասղան անցանել. քան մեծատան յարքայութիւն ա՟յ մտանել։.

անցանեմ, անցի to pass, flow, run

Ad უადვილეს არს ზომსაბელისა განსლვაჲ ჴურელსა ნემსისა, ვიდრეღა <არა> [?] მდიდარი სასუფეველსა ღმრთისასა შესულად.

PA უადვილჱს არს მანქანისა საბელი ჴურელსა ნემსისასა განსლვად, ვიდრე მდიდარი სასუფეველსა ღმრთისასა შესლვად.

At უადვილეს არს აქლემი ჴურელსა ნემსისასა განსლვად, ვიდრე მდიდარი შესლვად სასუფეველსა ღმრთისასა.

Lk 18:25

εὐκοπώτερον γάρ ἐστιν κάμηλον διὰ τρήματος βελόνης εἰσελθεῖν ἢ πλούσιον εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν.

դիւրագոյն իցէ մալխոյ ընդ ծակ ասղան անցանել. քան մեծատան յարքայութիւն ա՟յ մտանել։.

դիւրագոյն easier

A89 ႾႭჃႠႣႥႨႪჁႱ ႠႰႱ ႫႠႬႵႠႬႨႱ ႱႠႡႤႪႨ ჄႭჃႰႤႪႱႠ ႬႤႫ ႱႨႱႠႱႠ ႢႠႬႱႪႥႠႣ Ⴅ~Ⴄ ႫႣႨႣႠႰႨ ႱႠႱႭჃႴႤႥႤႪႱႠ Ⴖ~ႧႨႱႠႱႠ

ხოჳადვილჱს არს მანქანის საბელი ჴოჳრელსა ნემსისასა განსლვად ვ(იდრ)ე მდიდარი სასოჳფეველსა ღ(მრ)თისასა

Ad უადვილეს არს მანქანისსაბელი ჴურელსა ნემსისასა განსლვად, ვიდრე მდიდარი სასუფეველსა ღმრთისასა შესლვად.

PA = Ad

At უადვილეს არს მანქანისა საბელი ჴურელსა ნემსისასა განსლვად, ვიდრე მდიდარი შესლვად სასუფეველსა ღმრთისასა.

English translations of these verses

Mt 19:24

Arm Again I say to you: it is easier for a rope to enter the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.

A89 It is easier for a rope from a ship’s apparatus to go through the eye of a needle than [for the rich] to enter the kingdom of God.

Ad Again I say to you: It is easier for a cable to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.

PA And again I say to you: It is easier for the rope of an apparatus to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.

At And again I say to you: It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. [sic! Not “of God”]

Mk 10:25

Arm It is easier for a rope to pass through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.

Ad It is easier for a cable to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.

PA It is easier for the rope of an apparatus to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.

At It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.

Lk 18:25

Arm It would be easier for a rope to pass through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.

A89 It is easier for the rope of an apparatus to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich [to enter] the kingdom of God.

Ad It is easier for the rope of an apparatus to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.

PA = Ad

At ≈ Ad

Conclusion

So here is how the witnesses stand:

Camel Rope
Greek
Some Greek exeg.
Armenian
Syriac
Geo early, PA
Geo Athonite ✓ (Lk only)

For Greek, I wonder about the real existence of the word κάμιλος (with iota, not ēta, but both words pronounced the same at this period). I don’t know that it is attested anywhere that is certainly unrelated to the Gospel passages. More generally, is there an explanation for the two opposed readings “camel” and “rope”? There is in Arabic a similarity between ǧamal (camel) and ǧuml/ǧumla (“thick rope”, see Lane 460), but it is treading on thin ice to have recourse to this similarity as an explanation for earlier texts with no palpable connection to Arabic. It may simply be the case that, as Cyril says, in nautical argot ropes went by the name “camels”. (And we should remember that there were sailors in Jesus’ circle.)

The earliest reading may well have been “camel”, but a change to “rope” does not really make for an easier reading: one can put a thread through a needle’s eye, but a rope will go through it no more than a camel will! In any case, some traditions clearly side with “rope”, such that those traditions’ commonest readers and hearers of the Gospel passage would have known nothing of a camel passing through the eye of a needle, only a rope, and apparently one large enough to handle marine functions!

There is no early evidence among the sources above for “camel” in Georgian (or Armenian), while Greek knows both, as does Syriac (via Greek sources, to be sure). This variety of readings, attested without a doubt, adds to the richness of the textual witness of the Bible and the history of its interpretation. There are probably further exegetical and lexical places in Greek, Syriac, Armenian, and Georgian that bear on this question of what we’re dealing with here, a camel or a rope, but this is, I hope, at least an initial basis for some future work on the question for anyone interested.

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 58 (Psalm 151:7)   Leave a comment

This time our Georgian lines come from Psalm 151 in a tenth-century Sinai manuscript. Among the following Georgian manuscripts of the Psalms in the old Sinai collection, only № 42 (see Garitte, Catalogue, pp. 156-158) has Psalm 151 (ff. 257v-258r, image 263), there following the Odes and the Beatitudes:

  • 22 (10th/11th, nusxuri)
  • 29 (10th, asomtavruli)
  • 42 (10th, asomtavruli)
  • 86 (14th/15th, nusxuri)

The others listed here only have the 150 Psalms and the Odes, except for № 22, which is incomplete at the end, and so it is not known what it had in addition to the 150 Psalms. Ps 151 not in the Graz manuscript, which ends with the Odes, but it is in Red. A, ed. M. Shanidze (at TITUS here).

Here is an image of our verse from the aforementioned Sinai manuscript (thanks to E-corpus):

Ps 151:7 in Sinai geo. 42, f. 258r

Ps 151:7 in Sinai geo. 42, f. 258r

Here is the asomtavruli and a transliteration into mxedruli:

Ⴞ(ႭႪႭ) ႫႤ ႱႠႾႤႪႨႧႠ ႳႴႪႨႱႠ Ⴖ(ႫႰ)ႧႨႱႠ ႹႤႫႨႱႠჂႧႠ ႫႭႥႨႶႤ ႫႠႾჃႪႨ ႨႢႨ ႫႨႱႨ ႣႠ ႫႭႥჀႩႭჃႤႧႤ ႧႠႥႨ ႫႨႱႨ ႣႠ ႠႶႥჄႭႺႤ ႷႭჃႤႣႰႤႡႠჂ ႻႤႧႠ ႢႠႬ Ⴈ(ႱႰႠ)ჁႪႨႱႠႧႠ

ხ(ოლო) მე სახელითა უფლისა ღ(მრ)თისა ჩემისაჲთა მოვიღე მახჳლი იგი მისი და მოვჰკუეთე თავი მისი და აღვჴოცე ყოჳედრებაჲ ძეთაგან ი(სრა)ჱლისათა.

  • მო-ვ-ი-ღე aor 1sg მოღება to take, get
  • მახჳლი sword
  • მო-ვ-ჰ-კუეთ-ე aor 1sg O3 მოკუეთა to cut off
  • აღ-ვ-ჴოც-ე aor 1sg აღჴოცა to destroy, remove
  • ყუედრებაჲ reproach, derision, abuse

Finally, for comparison, here is the verse in Greek, Armenian, and Syriac. The Georgian text is unique in having “with the name of the Lord, my God” at the beginning of the verse. (Syriac from Harry F. van Rooy, “A Second Version of the Syriac Psalm 151,” Old Testament Essays 11:3 (1998): 567-581; see also William Wright, “Some Apocryphal Psalms in Syriac,” Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology 9 (1886-1887): 257-266.)

ἐγὼ δὲ σπασάμενος τὴν παρ᾽ αὐτοῦ μάχαιραν ἀπεκεφάλισα αὐτὸν καὶ ἦρα ὄνειδος ἐξ υἱῶν Ισραηλ.

Ես հանի զսուսեր ՛ի նմանէ եւ հատի́ զգլուխ նորին, եւ բարձի զնախատինս յորդւոցն ի(սրաէ)լի։

հանեմ, հանի to draw, pull out | սուսեր sword | հատանեմ, հատի to cut | բառնամ, բարձի to lift, remove | նախատինք injury, blame, reproach, dishonor

9SH1 enā dēn kad šemṭēt saypēh pesqēt rēšēh w-arimēt ḥesdā men bnayyā d-Isrāʾēl

šmṭ to draw | saypā sword | psq to cut | rwm C to lift, remove | ḥesdā shame

12t5 enā dēn šemṭēt menēh ḥarbēh w-bēh nesbēt rēšēh w-aʿbrēt ḥesdā men Isrāʾēl

ḥarbā sword | nsb to take | ʿbr C to remove

The wise king: A passage from Philo’s Questions on Genesis (4.76) in Armenian   1 comment

(Preface: Some time ago I came across the passage below in Armenian. I don’t remember the trail that led me to it, but in any case, it’s an interesting passage for its content and vocabulary and for the fact that both the Greek original and the Armenian survive and can thus be readily compared.)

Most of Philo’s Quaestiones in Genesim survives only in Armenian. Here is part of § 4.76 on Genesis, which is on Gen 23:6. This passage = Chrysippus, Fragmenta Moralia, № 681 (SVF 3, p. 170; available here). The Armenian text was edited and translated into Latin by Aucher/Awgerean, a copy of which from Google Books is accessible at Robert Bedrosian’s site here; unfortunately, some pages were improperly scanned, resulting in an almost surreal stretching of the text, but this particular excerpt (pp. 304-305) is still legible. There is an ET of the Armenian by Marcus, in LCL Philo, suppl. 1, p. 354 (available here).

It happens that the fragmentary Greek evidence for this work of Philo includes part of this text. The Chrysippus fragment cited above is given in SVF in Aucher’s LT. The Greek fragment, of course, would be closer to Chrysippus’ own language. The fragment appears in J. Rendell Harris, Fragments of Philo Judaeus, p. 36 (available here), alongside Aucher’s slightly modified LT.

Fruitful observations would, no doubt, result from a close comparison and dual reading of the Greek and the Armenian version — NB e.g. the Armenian doublet զհմուտն եւ զտեղեակն for τὸν ἐπιστήμονα at the end — yet nothing so involved is given here, only a basic initial meeting with the two texts. So here is the Greek fragment (but nothing for the first sentence), the Armenian text (Aucher, pp. 304-305), and Marcus’s ET, with vocabulary and notes for the Armenian. For comparison and completeness Aucher’s LT follows at the end.

Եւ երկրորդ՝ օրէնս դնէ բնաւորականագոյն. զոր ոմանք յայնցանէ որ միանգամ իմաստասիրականքն եղեն՝ վտարեցին. And, in the second place, (Scripture) lays down a most natural law, which some of those who philosophize have rejected.
  • երկրորդ, -աց second(ly)
  • օրէն, օրինի law, rule, regulation, custom (later in pl.)
  • դնէ pres 3sg դնեմ, եդի to lay, put, establish
  • բնաւորականագոյն natural (Nor baṙgirk’ 498b)
  • ոմն indef. adj./pron.
  • յ-այնցանէ abl. pl. short form of այն that
  • որ միանգամ whoever
  • իմաստասիրական philosophical
  • եղեն aor 3pl եղանիմ to become
  • վտարեցին aor 3pl վտարեմ, -եցի to remove, expel, banish
Τῶν μὲν ἀφρόνων βασιλεὺς οὐδείς, καὶ ἂν τὸ πάσης γῆς καὶ θαλάσσης ἀνάψηται κράτος· μόνος δὲ ὁ ἀστεῖος καὶ θεοφίλης, καὶ ἂν τῶν παρασκευῶν καὶ τῶν χορηγιῶν ἀμοιρῇ, δι᾽ ὧν πολλοὶ κρατύνονται δυναστείας. եւ օրէնքն են, զի յանզգամացն թագաւոր ոչ ոք, թէպէտ զամենայն երկրի եւ զծովու զօրութիւն առցէ. բայց միայն իմաստունն եւ ա՟ծասէրն. եւ եթէ կազմածոցն եւ պատրաստութե՟ցն մասն իցէ, ի ձեռն որոց բազումք զօրանան բռնութեամբ զօրութեամբք։ This law is that no one of the foolish (is) a king, even though he should be master of all the land and sea, but only the wise and God-loving man, even if he is without the equipment and resources through which many obtain power with violence and force.
  • են pres 3pl եմ to be
  • անզգան, -աց knavish, wicked; foolish, mad
  • ոչ ոք no one, nobody
  • թէպէտ even if, although
  • զօրութիւն power, force
  • առցէ aor subj 3sg առնում, առի to take, occupy, carry off
  • միայն only, alone
  • իմաստուն, -տնոց wise, intelligent, prudent, skillful
  • աստուածասէր god-loving, pious
  • կազմած, -ոց apparatus, preparation, equipment
  • պատրաստութիւն preparation, disposition, attention
  • մասն, -սին, -սանց part, portion, share, lot (this and the following word for Greek ἀμοιρῇ)
  • իցէ pres subj 3sg եմ to be
  • ձեռն hand, power, strength, etc. ի ձեռն by, by means of, through
  • զօրանան pres 3pl զօրանամ to grow stronger, reign
  • բռնութիւն violence, tyranny
Ὥσπερ γὰρ τῷ κυβερνητικῆς ἢ ἰατρικῆς ἢ μουσικῆς ἀπείρῳ παρέλκον πρᾶγμα οἴακες καὶ φαρμάκων σύνθεσις καὶ αὐλοὶ καὶ κιθάραι, διότι μηδενὶ τούτων δύναται χρῆσθαι πρὸς ὃ πέφυκε, κυβερνήτῃ δὲ καὶ ἰατρῷ καὶ μουσικῷ λέγοιτο ἂν ἐφαρμόζειν δεόντως· Եւ քանզի որպէս նաւաստականին, կամ բժըշկականին, կամ երաժշտականին անփորձի՝ տարացոյց իրք են, քեղիք, եւ դեղոց եւ սպեղանեաց խառնուածք, եւ փողք, եւ քնարք. վասն զի ոչինչ յայսցանէ ի կիր առնուլ կարէ՝ առ որ բնաւորեցաւն. բայց նաւաստոյն եւ բժշկի եւ երաժշտականի ասասցի յարմարել եւ պատկանել։ For whereas the man ignorant of the art of the pilot or of the physician or of the musician has trouble with the rudders or with the compounding of drugs and ointments or with flutes and lyres, since he is unable to use any of them for its natural purpose, to the pilot, on the other hand, and the physician and the musician they may be said to be fitting and suitable.
  • նաւաստական, -աց sailor (Nor baṙgirk’ 408b)
  • բժըշկական medical
  • երաժշտական musical; musician
  • անփորձ, -ից inexperienced, untried
  • տարացոյց example, model, idea, design, paradigm (Nor baṙgirk’ 855c)
  • իր, -ի, -աց thing, affair
  • քեղի, -ղւոյ, -ղեաց rudder
  • դեղ, -ոց/-ից remedy, medicine
  • սպեղանի poultice, salve, ointment
  • խառնուած, -ոց mixture, compounding
  • փող, -ոց trumpet, horn, reed, pipe
  • քնար, -աց/-ից lyre, harp (cf. Syr. kennārā, Geo. ქნარი)
  • ի կիր առնուլ to put to use
  • կարէ pres 3sg կարեմ, -րացի to be able
  • բնաւոր natural, innate
  • նաւաստ, -տւոյ, տեաց sailor
  • բժիշկ, բժշկի, բժշկաց physician
  • ասասցի aor subj m/p 3sg ասեմ to say
  • յարմարել inf յարնարեմ, -եցի to adapt, accommodate, arrange
  • պատկանել inf պատկանեմ to adapt, adjust, suit, apply
οὕτως, ἐπειδὴ τἐχνη τίς ἐστι βασιλικὴ καὶ τἐχνων ἀρίστη, τὸν μὲν ἀνεπιστήμονα χρήσεως ἀνθρώπων ἰδιώτην νομιστέον, βασιλέα δὲ μόνον τὸν ἐπιστήμονα. Յիրաւի այսպէս. վասն [305] զի արուեստ իմն է թագաւորականն, եւ արուեստից առաքինին. քանզի այն որ անգէտն է եւ անտեղեակ պիտոյից մարդկան, տգէտ համարելի է, եւ գեղջուկ. բայց թագաւոր՝ միայն զհմուտն եւ զտեղեակն։ And this is proper, since there is a certain kingly art, and it is the most noble of the arts. For he who is ignorant and unversed in the needs of men must be considered a layman, while only he (can be considered) a king who is knowing and experienced.
  • յիրաւի justly, deservedly, in truth
  • արուեստ, -ից art, trade, study
  • թագաւորական royal
  • առաքինի, -նւոյ, -նեաց virtuous, honest (also valiant, courageous)
  • անգէտ ignorant, unlearned, stupid
  • անտեղեակ ignorant, unlearned, unskillful
  • պէտք, պիտոյից needs, necessity, use, business
  • մարդիկ, մարդկան people, the human race
  • տգէտ ignorant, unlearned, untaught, illiterate
  • համարելի counted, considered (< համարեմ, -եցի to count, consider, reckon, esteem; on the adjectival form derived from the infinitive, see Meillet, Altarm. Elementarbuch, § 105e)
  • գեղջուկ, -ջկի, -ջկաց peasant, villager, rustic
  • միայն, -ոյ, -ով only, sole
  • հմուտ well-versed, learned, experienced, skillful
  • տեղեակ well informed, skilled, expert

Aucher’s LT of the Armenian:

Secundo vero legem statuit nimis naturalem, quam nonnulli philosophorum sibi conciliarunt. Lex autem est, ut ex insipientibus nullus sit rex, quamvis terrae et maris totam vim subiugarit, sed solus sapiens et dei amans, praeter partes apparatuum armorumque, quibus multi proficiunt per vim violentam. Etenim sicut nauticae vel medicinae vel musicae si quis imperitus sit, pro argumento sunt ei clavus et medicaminum commixtura et tibia et lyra (nullum enim istorum usurpare potest ad usum destinatum, at nauarcho et medico ac musico dicatur omnino convenire) ita profecto, siquidem ars est quaedam regium hoc munus et artifex homo virtute praeditus. Nam qui imperitus est et nescius rerum homines iuvantium, rudis atque rusticus est censendus, rex autem dicendus solus peritus gnarusque.

More bibliography

On Philo in Armenian generally, see R.W. Thomson, Bibliography of Classical Armenian Literature to 1500 AD, pp. 75-76; and “Supplement to A Bibliography of Classical Armenian Literature to AD 1500: Publications 1993–2005″, Le Muséon, 120 (2007), 163–223, here, p. 177. More recently, several important studies appeared in:

Lombardi, Sara Mancini and Paola Pontani, eds. 2011. Studies on the Ancient Armenian Version of Philo’s Works, Studies in Philo of Alexandria 6. Leiden: Brill.

Earlier work by Marcus remains important. These are available at Bedrosian’s site mentioned above.

Marcus, Ralph. 1930. “The Armenian Translation of Philo’s Quaestiones in Genesim et Exodum.Journal of Biblical Literature 49: 61-64.

Marcus, Ralph. 1933. “An Armenian-Greek Index to Philo’s Quaestiones and De Vita Contemplativa.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 53: 251-282.

Marcus, Ralph. 1948. “Notes on the Armenian Text of Philo’s Quaestiones in Genesin, Books I-III.” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 7: 111-115.

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 43 (on natural transformations)   1 comment

I was first led to a sentence in the passage below thanks to a citation in the Georgian dictionary of Sarjveladze and Fähnrich (2005), 632, s.v. მბუვარეჲ, “Insekt”, the sentence coming from the Georgian version of Basil’s nine homilies on the Hexaemeron, ed. Ilia Abuladze — უძველესი რედაკციები ბასილი კესარიელის «ექუსთა დღეთაჲსა» და გრიგოლ ნოსელის თარგმანებისა «კაცისა აგებულებისათჳს» X-XIII სს-ის ხელნაწერთა მიხედვით / Древнейшие Редакции «Шестоднева» Василия Кесарийского и Толкования «Об Устроении Человека» Григория Нисского по Рукописям X-XIII вв. (The Oldest [Georgian] Versions of the Hexaemeron of Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa’s De Natura Hominis in 10th-13th -century Manuscripts) — p. 121.3-7. (S. & F. translate the sentence in question, “Man berichtet uns über den Wurm Indiens, der Hörner hat, daß sie zuerst Würmer sind und dann Insekten werden.”) Here now is that sentence with its fuller context, together with the Greek text, and, as usual, Georgian lexical and grammatical aids. The Greek (§ 8.8.12-25) is from S. Giet, Basile de Césarée. Homélies sur l’hexaéméron, 2nd edn., Sources chrétiennes 26 bis (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1968), the 19th-cent. ET of which will be found here and elsewhere online. The Georgian text, from which here p. 121.1-11, is available at TITUS here. (NB a typo in the first two lines there: განცხადები. სათჳს > განცხადებისათჳს.)

Τί φατε, οἱ ἀπιστοῦντες τῷ Παύλῳ περὶ τῆς κατὰ τὴν ἀνάστασιν ἀλλοιώσεως, ὁρῶντες πολλὰ τῶν ἀερίων τὰς μορφὰς μεταβάλλοντα;

რასა იტყჳთ, რომელნი-ეგე უარ-ჰყოფთ პავლეს განცხადებისათჳს აღდგომისა, რაჟამს იხილნეთ განახლებად მრავალნი ცხოველნი ჰაერისანი?

  • ი-ტყუ-ი-თ pres 2pl სიტყუა to say, speak
  • უარ-ჰ-ყოფ-თ pres 2pl უარ-ყოფა to deny, disbelieve
  • განცხადებაჲ revelation (also Epiphany)
  • აღდგომაჲ resurrection
  • ი-ხილ-ნ-ეთ aor 2pl N ხილვა to see
  • განახლება to renew
  • ცხოველი living
  • ჰაერი air

Ὁποῖα καὶ περὶ τοῦ Ἰνδικοῦ σκώληκος ἱστορεῖται τοῦ κερασφόρου· ὃς εἰς κάμπην τὰ πρῶτα μεταβαλὼν, εἶτα προϊὼν βομβυλιὸς γίνεται,

ვითარცა-იგი გუაუწყებენ ჩუენ მატლისა მისთჳს ჰინდოეთისა, რომელსა-იგი ასხენ რქანი, რომელი-იგი პირველ არიან მატლ, და შემდგომად მისა იქმნის იგი მბუვარე,

  • გუ-ა-უწყებ-ენ pres 3pl O1pl(inclusive) უწყება to tell, inform
  • მატლი worm. In this sentence the word serves both for Greek σκώληξ “worm” and κάμπη “caterpillar”.
  • ჰინდოჲ Indian, Ethiopian
  • ა-სხ-ენ pres 3pl (ind. vb.) სხმა to have
  • რქაჲ horn
  • არ-ი-ან pres 3pl ყოფა to be. I am not sure why this should be plural. Note that the A ms (see the apparatus) here has არ-ნ iter pres 3sg after მატლი.
  • ი-ქმნ-ი-ს iter aor 3sg ქმნა to make
  • მბუვარეჲ (buzzing) insect (cf. Rayfield, et al., Dictionary, vol. 2, 873a)

καὶ οὐδὲ ἐπὶ ταύτης ἵσταται τῆς μορφῆς, ἀλλὰ χαύνοις καὶ πλατέσι πετάλοις ὑποπτεροῦται.

და არცაღა ამას სახესა ზედა დაადგრის, არამედ ფრინავნ იგი ფრთითა ლბილითა და ვრცელითა.

  • სახეჲ nature, circumstance, thing
  • და-ა-დგრ-ის pres 3sg დადრომა to remain, stay
  • ფრინ-ავ-ნ iter pres 3sg ფრინვა to fly
  • ფრთეჲ/ფრთაჲ wing
  • ლბილი smooth, soft
  • ვრცელი wide, broad (as adj); muscle (as noun)

Ὅταν οὖν καθέζησθε τὴν τούτων ἐργασίαν ἀναπηνιζόμεναι, αἱ γυναῖκες, τὰ νήματα λέγω ἃ πέμπουσιν ὑμῖν οἱ Σῆρες πρὸς τὴν τῶν μαλακῶν ἐνδυμάτων κατασκευὴν,

ჵ დედანო, რაჟამს დასხდეთ რცხად სთულისა მის თქუენისა, რომელი-იგი გიქმნის თქუენ ჭიამან ყაჭისამან საქუსლად სამოსლისა ლბილისა,

  • და-სხდ-ე-თ aor 2pl დასხდომა to sit
  • რცხა to wash, clean. Greek ἀναπηνίζεσθαι means “to unwind”. Did the Georgian translator read a form of ἀπονίζειν instead (ἀπονιζόμεναι)?
  • სთული thread, string
  • გ-ი-ქმნ-ი-ს iter aor 3sg O2 ქმნა to make
  • ჭიაჲ worm. Greek Σῆρες may either be “Chinese (people)” or “silkworms”; the Georgian translator took it to be the former here, and with a generic singular rather than a plural.
  • ყაჭი silk
  • საქუსალი The lexicon in Abuladze’s edition, p. 252, cites from Orbeliani the definition ქსელი საქსოვი warp (for weaving); the form საქსუსალი (with additional -ს-) is in Rayfield, et al., Dictionary, vol. 2, p. 1166, “web, weft, woof”. Cf. also the verb ქუსვა to braid, weave. It must function here almost like a v.n. for “to weave”.
  • სამოსელი garment, clothing

μεμνημέναι τῆς κατὰ τὸ ζῷον τοῦτο μεταβολῆς, ἐναργῆ λαμβάνετε τῆς ἀναστάσεως ἔννοιαν, καὶ μὴ ἀπιστεῖτε τῇ ἀλλαγῇ ἣν Παῦλος ἅπασι κατεπαγγέλλεται.

მოიჴსენეთ თქუენ განახლებაჲ ცხოველისაჲ მის და მოიპოვეთ ჭეშმარიტი განზრახვაჲ განახლებისათჳს აღდგომისა და გრწმენინ განახლებაჲ იგი, რომელ თქუა პავლე.

  • მო-ი-ჴსენ-ე-თ aor imv 2pl მოჴსენება to remember
  • მო-ი-პოვ-ე-თ aor imv 2pl მოპოვნება to get, acquire, earn
  • ჭეშმარიტი true. Greek ἐναργής means “clear, manifest, distinct”.
  • განზრახვაჲ thinking, reasoning (v.n.)
  • გ-რწმენ-ინ aor imv 3sg O2 (ind. vb.) რწმენა to believe, trust
  • თქუა aor 3sg თქუმა to speak, say

Finally, for what it’s worth, here is an ET of the Georgian text:

What do you say, you who deny Paul concerning the revealing of the resurrection, when you see many living things of the air being renewed? As they tell us about that worm of the Indians [or Ethiopians] that has horns, the one which at first is a worm and afterward becomes a buzzing insect. And it does not remain in this shape, but flies with soft and broad wings. O women, when you sit to wash your thread, which the silk worm makes for you to weave soft garments, remember the renewal of that which is living, acquire the true conception concerning the renewal of the resurrection, and believe in that renewal that Paul speaks of!

A meeting of three languages in the CPA version of Cyril of Jerusalem’s Catechetical Lectures   Leave a comment

Among the texts surviving in Christian Palestinian Aramaic (CPA) that were translated from Greek is a fair amount of Cyril of Jerusalem’s Catechetical Lectures (CPG 3585), translations of which also survive in several other languages. In one place (§ 6.14),* Cyril is discussing Simon Magus and says that the emperor Claudius set up a statue to him in Rome, so much did the traditional arch-heretic lead the city of Rome astray. (The story appears in other patristic texts, too.)

Καὶ ἐπλάνησέ τε οὕτω τὴν Ῥωμαίων πόλιν, ὥστε Κλαύδιον ἀνδριάντα αὐτου στῆσαι, ὑπογράψαντα τῇ Ῥωμαίων γλώττῃ, ΣΙΜΟΝΙ ΔΕΟ ΣΑΓΚΤΩ, ὅπερ ἑρμηνευόμενον δηλοῖ, Σίμωνι Θεῷ ἁγίῳ.

So Cyril gives the Latin of this inscription as Simoni Deo Sancto: “To Simon, the holy god.” Turning to the CPA text, we have:

ܘܟܠ ܕܢ ܐܛܥܝ ܪܘܡܐ ܡܕܝܢܬܐ܃ ܠܡܠܘ ܕܐܩܝܡ ܠܗ ܩܠܘܕܝ ܨܠܡ ܘܟܬܒ ܥܠܘܝ ܒܠܝܫܢܐ ܪܘܡܝܐ ܣܝܡܘܢ ܕܐܝܘܣ ܙܢܩܛܘ܃ ܡܐ ܕܗܘ ܡܬܪܓܡ ܘܡܘܕܥ ܣܝܡܘܢ ܐܠܗ ܩܕܝܫ

wkl d<y>n ʔṭʕy rwmʔ mdyntʔ lmlw dʔqym lh qlwdy ṣlm wktb ʕlwy blyšnʔ rwmyʔ symwn dʔyw{s} znqṭw mʔ dhw mtrgm wmwdʕ symwn ʔlh qdyš

The translation is straightforward and makes sense, but the appearance of the Latin inscription, which the CPA translator would have seen in Greek letters, is a bit mangled, not surprisingly. There is no indication of the dative -i in symwn, the -s of dʔyws should be deleted, and the znqṭw, while reflecting the right pronunciation of -γκτ-/-nct-, is a little odd for having a z- at the beginning. In addition, in the CPA version of the Greek translation of the Latin inscription, we really expect the preposition l- to mark the dedication, but there is not one.

Every translation naturally deals with at least two languages, but sometimes, as here, another language also makes an appearance, and, also as here, that appearance may offer an opportunity for some confusion, yet it also grants us an opportunity to have a glimpse at translators and/or scribes with their feet in a more or less complicated labyrinth of more than two languages.

*Greek and CPA published side-by-side in Christa Müller-Kessler and Michael Sokoloff, The Catechism of Cyril of Jerusalem in the Christian Palestinian Aramaic Version, A Corpus of Christian Palestinian Aramaic Version 5 (Groningen, 1999), here pp. 60-61.

 

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 27 (The blood moon: Joel 2:31 and its echoes)   Leave a comment

Given last night’s total lunar eclipse, mostly viewable in the Americas, the biblical references of the moon appearing blood-like are a great place to turn to now for some brief reading practice in Georgian. For good measure, I’ve included the Greek and Armenian verses, too.

First, here are the three verses in the venerable KJV:

  • Joel 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
  • Acts 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
  • Rev. 6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

Joel 2:31

Greek (where it is numbered 3:4) and Armenian:

ὁ ἥλιος μεταστραφήσεται εἰς σκότος καὶ ἡ σελήνη εἰς αἷμα πρὶν ἐλθεῖν ἡμέραν κυρίου τὴν μεγάλην καὶ ἐπιφανῆ.

արեգակն դարձցի ՛ի խաւա́ր եւ լուսին յարիւն, մինչչեւ եկեալ իցէ օր տ(եառ)ն մեծն եւ երեւելին։

  • արեգակն sun
  • դարձցի aor. subj. mid./pas. 3s դառնամ, դարձաւ to turn
  • խաւար, -ի, -աւ dark(ness)
  • լուսին, -սնի/-սնոյ moon
  • արիւն, արեանց blood
  • եկեալ ptcp. գամ to come
  • իցէ pres. subj. 3s եմ to be
  • երեւելի glorious, splendid

Oshki/Jer.:

მზჱ გარდაიქცეს ბნელად, და მთოვარჱ სისხლად ვიდრე მოსლვადმდე დღისა მის უფლისა დიდისა და განჩინებულისა.

  • მზეჲ sun
  • გარდა-ი-ქცე-ს aor. conj. 3s გარდაქცევა to change (NB version with -ი-)
  • ბნელი dark(ness)
  • მთოვარეჲ moon
  • სისხლი blood
  • მოსლვაჲ coming
  • განჩინებული fixed, determined, appointed, set

Acts 2:20

ὁ ἥλιος μεταστραφήσεται εἰς σκότος καὶ ἡ σελήνη εἰς αἷμα, πρὶν ἐλθεῖν ἡμέραν κυρίου τὴν μεγάλην καὶ ἐπιφανῆ.

արեգակն դարձցի ՛ի խաւա́ր՝ եւ լուսին յարիւն, մինչչե́ւ եկեալ իցէ օր տ(եառ)ն մեծ եւ երեւելի։

Both the Sinai (ed. Garitte) and AB (ed. Abuladze) redactions read in agreement:

მზჱ გარდაიქცეს ბნელად და მთოვარჱ სისხლად პირველ მოსლვადმდე დღისა მის უფლისაჲსა დიდისა და განჩინებულისა.

The differences between Acts 2:20 and Joel 2:31 are only two:

  1. პირველ instead of ვიდრე (i.e. “before” in Acts, “until” in Joel)
  2. უფლისაჲსა (gen. + gen.) instead of უფლისა (gen.)

Rev. 6:12

Καὶ εἶδον ὅτε ἤνοιξεν τὴν σφραγῖδα τὴν ἕκτην, καὶ σεισμὸς μέγας ἐγένετο καὶ ὁ ἥλιος ἐγένετο μέλας ὡς σάκκος τρίχινος καὶ ἡ σελήνη ὅλη ἐγένετο ὡς αἷμα

Եւ տեսի յորժամ եբաց զկնիքն վեցերորդ՝ եղեւ շարժումն մեծ, եւ արեգակն եղեւ սեա́ւ իբրեւ զկապերտ այծեայ, եւ լուսինն բոլորովին եղեւ արիւն։

  • տեսի aor. 1s տեսանեմ, տեսի, տես to see
  • եբաց aor 3s բանամ, բացի to open. For this kind of verb, see Meillet, Altarmenisches Elementarbuch, § 113; for the augment, attached to consonant-initial (at least in early Arm.) forms in the aor that would otherwise be monosyllabic (3s), see Godel, Intro. Class. Arm., §§ 2.213, 2.31, 3.233, 5.3.
  • կնիք, կնիքոց seal
  • վեցերորդ six (“six” is վեց)
  • եղեւ aor 3s եղանիմ to be(come)
  • շարժումն (movement >) earthquake
  • սեաւ black (cf. Georgian შავი)
  • կապերտ, -ից linen, cloth, sackcloth
  • այծեայ, -ծէից made of goat-hair
  • բոլորովին totally, completely, entirely

Ed. I. Imnaišvili, 1961:

და ვიხილე, რაჟამს აღაღო მეექუსჱ ბეჭედი, და ძრვაჲ იქმნა დიდი, და მზჱ შავ იქმნა, ვითარცა ძაძაჲ ბალნისაჲ, და მთოვარჱ ყოვლითურთ იქმნა, ვითარცა სისხლი.

  • ვ-ი-ხილ-ე aor 1s ხილვა to see (cf. ხილვით ვიხილე Acts 7:34 [Sinai] for ἰδὼν εἶδον!)
  • აღ-ა-ღ-ო aor 3s აღღება to open
  • მეექუსეჲ sixth (“six” is ექუსი)
  • ბეჭედი seal (also “ring”)
  • ძრვაჲ (movement >) earthquake
  • შავი black (cf. Armenian սեաւ)
  • ძაძაჲ rough garment, mourning garment, sack
  • ბალანი skin, pelt, animal hair
  • ყოვლითურთ totally, completely, entirely

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It was too cloudy here last night to see it, but hopefully some of you got to view the eclipse!

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 25   Leave a comment

Lexica are only as strong as the properly analyzed corpus on which they are based, and the best lexica give examples for lemmata and sublemmata. One advantage among many of electronic lexica is the possibility of pointing to an almost unlimited number of examples from the corpus to illustrate the meaning in question. Due to size, printed dictionaries must limit the number of examples they give, but, of course, well-chosen examples, even if few, may still serve their purpose well. The large (and expensive) Georgian dictionary of Sarjveladze and Fähnrich (Altgeorgisch-Deutsches Wörterbuch, HdO 8.12 [Leiden: Brill, 2005]) might be even better with more examples, but it already strains the limits of maneuverability for a 8º with more than 1600 pages, and that’s with very minimal margins, something unfortunate for a printed dictionary (or printed books of other kinds, too). Still, the examples, all of which are translated into German, are well chosen: while it may not be your choice for a desert-island book, the examples are instructive and at times, depending on the present mixture of your humors, entertaining. Below is an example I recently stumbled upon while hunting for another word. The line is cited from S-1463 264v and appears in the dictionary on 259b, s.v. გარდმოქართულება “to translate into Georgian”.

ბერძულისაგან გარდმოუქართულებიან ესე თავნი, სომეხთა განმაქიქებელნი

From Greek he has translated into Georgian these chapters brought to light by the Armenians.

[S-F translate it “Er hat diese Werke, die die Armenier entlarven, aus dem Griechischen ins Georgische übersetzt.”]

Vocabulary and remarks

ბერძული Greek

გარდმო-უ-ქართულ-ებ-იან perf. 3p, the CV -უ- marking a 3rd pers. IO (the logical agent from the perspective of some languages), with the usual structure of Old Georgian Series III verbs.

სომეხი Armenian

განმაქიქებელი revealed, brought to light (The word is a participle from განქიქება “to expose, shame, dispraise”; the sense of the verb seems often to be a negative one, and the participle, too, can have a negative meaning. Not having any more context than this sentence, we cannot say with certainty, but the participle here probably means more fully “brought to light [as something bad]”.)

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