Archive for the ‘John the Baptist’ Tag

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.)

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 56 (Lk 1:15)   1 comment

In the foretelling of John the Baptist’s birth, the archangel Gabriel tells John’s father-to-be, Zacharias, that John should abstain from drinking alcohol (Luke 1:15):

ἔσται γὰρ μέγας ἐνώπιον [τοῦ] κυρίου,
καὶ οἶνον καὶ σίκερα οὐ μὴ πίῃ,
καὶ πνεύματος ἁγίου πλησθήσεται
ἔτι ἐκ κοιλίας μητρὸς αὐτοῦ

This is all seemingly simple enough, but I was surprised to find an interesting reading here in one of the Old Georgian versions of the text. Here it is in the Adishi, Pre-Athonite, and Athonite texts (this verse not extant in ms A-89 or Vind. georg. 2):

Adishi რამეთუ იყოს დიდ წინაშე უფლისა და ღჳნოჲ და სათრობელი და იყი არა სუას და სულითა წმიდითა სავსე იყოს მიერვე მუცლით დედისა თჳსისაჲთ.

  • ღჳნოჲ wine
  • სათრობელი intoxicating drink
  • იყი strong drink
  • სუას aor conj 3s სუმა to drink
  • სავსეჲ full
  • მუცელი belly

PA რამეთუ იყოს დიდ წინაშე უფლისა და ღჳნოჲ და თაფლუჭი არა სუას და სულითა წმიდითა აღივსოს მიერვე დედისმუცლით მისითგან.

  • თაფლუჭი mead (cf. თაფლი honey; see excursus below)
  • აღ-ი-ვს-ოს aor conj 3s აღვსება to fill (NB the CV -ი- > to be filled)

At რამეთუ იყოს დიდ წინაშე უფლისა და ღჳნოჲ და თაფლუჭი არა სუას და სულითა წმიდითა აღივსოს მიერვე დედისმუცლით მისითგან.

In addition, here is an image from the Gospel manuscript BnF géo. 28, f. 111v, col. b., ll. 14-20, which is a 13th-cent. witness to the Athonite version:

bnf_geo_28_f111v_lk1_15

Here is the text from transcribed from nusxuri into mxedruli and with abbreviations resolved:

რ(ამეთუ) იყოს დიდ წ(ინაშ)ე ო(ჳფლ)ისა და ღჳნოჲ და თაფლოჳჭი არა სუას და ს(უ)ლითა წ(მიდ)ითა აღივსოს მიერვე დედისმოჳცლით მისითგ(ა)ნ.

The Adishi text, then, has three in the list of prohibited drinks, while the Pre-Athonite and Athonite have two, just like the Greek. Furthermore, neither the second nor the third in the Adishi list is თაფლუჭი, which we find elsewhere paired with ღჳნოჲ in the “wine and strong drink” passages of the Bible (e.g. Lev 10:9, Num 6:3). (Of the same root as the second word in the Adishi list, სათრობელი, we see დამათრობელი in Jdg 13:4, which also has ძმარი “vinegar” and ყურძენი “grape”.)

Since, alongside Greek, both Armenian and Syriac enter into discussions of the textual lineage of the Georgian Gospels, I’ll give them both here, too. For Syriac, the Old Syriac (Sinaiticus), the Peshitta, and the Ḥarqlean all have simply ḥamrā w-šakrā lā neštē. In Armenian, this part of the verse reads, գինի եւ աւղի մի́ արբցէ. So the witnesses for this verse in both of these languages give simply a bipartite prohibition, just like the two later Georgian versions, not a tripartite one like that of the Adishi text.

********************

On honey-water, or mead

As pointed out above, the word that stands sometimes in the Georgian versions for σίκερα (traditionally “strong drink”, but probably better, “beer”) is თაფლუჭი “mead”, derived from the word თაფლი “honey”. As is well known, mead is a thing and a word with a long history in at least some Indo-European societies (see Pokorny; Buck, Synonyms, §§ 5.84, 5.91). The modern English “mead” goes back to medu in Old English, where there are many derivatives appearing in Beowulf and elsewhere (all of these in Bosworth-Toller), e.g.

  • medoærn banquet-house, place to drink mead
  • medubenc mead-bench
  • medoburg city of mead-drinkers
  • medudrēam mead-revelry
  • medoful mead-cup
  • medoheal mead-hall
  • meoduscenc mead-draft
  • meodosetl mead-seat
  • medostīg path to the mead-hall

(“Honey” itself in OE is unrelated: hunig; see PIE *kₑnəkó- “golden” in Pokorny.) Here are a few other words of the same origin as this word medu in other IE languages (PIE *médhu-). Sanskrit madhu- was used for sweet drinks, including soma, and in line with Avestan maδu- is the Middle and later Persian may “wine” (Mackenzie 55, Steingass 1357). Greek μέθυ (> μεθύω to be drunk > μεθύσκω to make drunk) is a poetic word for wine; it does not mean “mead”. (The latter is μελίτειον, as in Plut. Quaest. Conv. 672b: καὶ μέχρι νῦν τῶν τε βαρβάρων οἱ μὴ ποιοῦντες οἶνον μελίτειον πίνουσιν. Mod. Gr. has ὑδρόμελι like Latin hydromeli, with derivatives in the Romance languages). In Russian, “honey” is мёд (for the color, cf. медь “copper”). The Slavic words for “bear” derive partly from this root, e.g. Russian медведь (honey-eater; cf. Buck, § 3.73). (In Old Georgian, “bear” is დაფჳ [modern დაფვი], as in 1Sam 17:34 JerLect. The word does not sound dissimilar to თაფლი “honey”: should we posit a direct etymological link?) Note that Chubinov/ჩუბინაშვილი (Грузинско-Русско-Французскій Словаръ/Dictionnaire géorgien-russe-français [Saint Petersburg, 1840], 220) defines თაფლუჭი with “сикера” — σίκερα! — and “медовика”.

Lastly, for one more (non-mead) term for drinks, to return to Lk 1:15, Gothic has

jah wein jah leiþu ni drigkid

The first noun is, of course, “wine”, and the second is cognate with OE līþ, “strong drink” (cf. the first element in German Leithaus).

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 53 (Brood of vipers; with Armenian)   Leave a comment

As an unsavory address to one’s interlocutors, γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν “brood of vipers”, which both John the Baptist and Jesus use, is one of the more memorable in the New Testament. (For Strack & Billerbeck on γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν, see their Kommentar, vol. 1, p. 114.) Here are verses (Mt 3:7, Mt 12:34, Mt 23:33) where it occurs in Greek, Armenian (Künzle), and various Georgian versions with, as usual, vocabulary lists and grammatical notes. (A-89/A-844 is given in both asomtavruli and mxedruli.)

Mt 3:7

Ἰδὼν δὲ πολλοὺς τῶν Φαρισαίων καὶ Σαδδουκαίων ἐρχομένους ἐπὶ τὸ βάπτισμα αὐτοῦ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν, τίς ὑπέδειξεν ὑμῖν φυγεῖν ἀπὸ τῆς μελλούσης ὀργῆς;

Եւ տեսեալ զբազումս ի սադուկեցւոցն եւ ի փարիսեցւոց եկեալս ի մկրտութիւնն նորա, ասէ ցնոսա· ծնունդք իժից, ո՞ ցոյց ձեզ փախչել ի բարկութենէն որ գալոցն է։.

  • [the order of “Pharisees and Sadducees” is flipped]
  • մկրտութիւն baptism
  • ծնունդ, ծննդեան, -դոց generation, offspring (also nativity, birth, as in ծնունդ Քրիստոսի = Xmas)
  • իժ, -ից viper
  • ցոյց aor 3sg ցուցանեմ, ցուցի to show, indicate, point out
  • փախչել inf of փախչիմ, -եայ to flee
  • բարկութիւն anger, wrath
  • գալոց (inf >) ptcp գամ, եկի to come (see Meillet, Altarm. Elementarbuch § 105e for this kind of ptcp)

3:7 Adishi

[და] ვითარცა იხილნა ფა[რ]ისეველნი და ს[ად]უკეველნი, მომავალნი ნათლის-ღებად მისგან, ჰრქუა მათ: ნაშობნო იქედნეთანო, ვინ გიჩუენა თქუენ სივლტოლაჲ მერმისა მისგან მომავალისა რისხვისა?

  • [Nothing for πολλούς. An apparent doublet: მერმისა…მომავალისა for μελλούσης.]
  • ი-ხილ-ნ-ა aor 3sg N ხილვა to see
  • მომავალი coming, to come (adj), future
  • ნათლის-ღებაჲ baptism (lit. receiving, taking [ღება] the light [ნათელი]; the active counterpart is ნათლის-ცემაჲ, giving the light > to baptize)
  • ნაშობი born, child
  • იქედნეჲ snake (< ἔχιδνα)
  • გ-ი-ჩუენ-ა aor 3sg O2 ჩუენება to show
  • სივლტოლაჲ running, flight (v.n.)
  • მერმეჲ following, next, future
  • რისხვაჲ wrath, anger

3:7 Athonite

და ვითარცა იხილნა მრავალნი ფარისეველნი და სადუკეველნი, მომავალნი ნათლის-ღებად მისგან, ჰრქუა მათ: ნაშობნო იქედნეთანო, ვინ გიჩუენა თქუენ სივლტოლაჲ მერმისა მისგან რისხვისა?

Mt 12:34

γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν, πῶς δύνασθε ἀγαθὰ λαλεῖν πονηροὶ ὄντες; ἐκ γὰρ τοῦ περισσεύματος τῆς καρδίας τὸ στόμα λαλεῖ.

Ծնունդք իժից· զիա՞րդ կարիցէք բարիս խաւսել որ չարքդ էք· քանզի ի յաւելուածո́յ սրտի խաւսի բերան։.։.

  • զիա՞րդ how?
  • կարիցէք pres subj 2pl կարեմ, կարացի to be able
  • չար, -աց bad, wicked
  • խաւսի pres 3sg խաւսիմ, -եցայ to speak
  • յաւելուած, -ոց surplus, increase

12:34 (A-89/A-844)

ႬႠႸႭႡႬႭ ႨႵႤႣႬႤႧႠႬႭ ႥႤႰ ჄႤႪ ႢႤႼႨႴႤႡႨႱ ႩႤႧႨႪႨႱႠ ႱႨႲႷႭჃႠႣ Ⴐ~ ႧႵ~Ⴌ ႭჃႩႤႧႭჃႰႬႨ ႾႠႰႧ Ⴐ~ ႬႠႫႤႲႠႥႨႱႠႢႠႬ ႢႭჃႪႨႱႠ ႮႨႰႨ ႾႨႲႷჃႱ

ნაშობნო იქედნეთანო ვერ ჴელ-გეწიფების [კე]თილისა სიტყოჳად რ(ამეთოჳ) თქ(ოჳე)ნ ოჳკეთოჳრნი ხართ რ(ამეთოჳ) ნამეტავისაგან გოჳლისა პირი ხიტყჳს

  • ჴელ-გ-ე-წიფებ-ი-ს pres 3sg O2 (indir. vb) ჴელ-წიფება to be able
  • უკეთური bad, evil
  • ხ-არ-თ pres 2pl ყოფა to be
  • ნამეტავი excessive, extra
  • პირი mouth
  • ხ-ი-ტყუ-ი-ს pres 3sg სიტყუა to speak

12:34 Adishi

ნაშობნო იქედნეთანო, ვითარ უძლოთ კეთილისა სიტყუად? რამეთუ თქუენ უკეთურნი ხართ, რამეთუ ნამეტავისაგან გულისა პირი იტყჳს.

  • უ-ძლ-ო-თ aor 2pl ძლება to be able
  • იტყჳს as above, only w/o ხ-

12:34 Athonite

ნაშობნო იქედნეთანო, ვითარ ჴელ-გეწიფების კეთილისა სიტყუად, რამეთუ თქუენ უკეთურნი ხართ? რამეთუ ნამეტავისაგან გულისა პირი იტყჳნ.

  • as Adishi, except with the verb ჴელ-გეწიფების as in A-89/A-844

Mt 23:33

ὄφεις, γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν, πῶς φύγητε ἀπὸ τῆς κρίσεως τῆς γεέννης;

Աւձք, ծնունդք իժից զիա՞րդ փախնուցուք ի դատաստանէ գեհենին։.

  • աւձ, -ից snake, serpent
  • փախնուցուք pres subj 2pl փախնում, -խեայ to flee
  • դատաստան, -աց judgement

23:33 (A-89/A-844)

ႫႠႧႠ ႧႵ~ႬႧႠჂ ႢႭჃႤႪႬႭ ႣႠ ႬႠႸႭႡႬႭ ႨႵႤႣႬႤႧႠႬႭ Ⴅ~ႰႫႤ ႢႠႬႾႤႰႬႤႧ ႱႠႸႿႤႪႱႠ ႢႤჀႤႬႨႠჂႱႠႱႠ

თქ(ოჳე)ნთაჲ გოჳელნო და ნაშობნო იქედნეთანო ვ(ითა)რმე განხერნეთ საშჯელსა გეჰენიაჲსასა

  • [თქ(ოჳე)ნთაჲ is a plus, as is the და between გოჳელნო and ნაშობნო]
  • გუელი snake
  • გან-ხ-ე-რ-ნ-ე-თ aor conj 2pl (form also aor) განრომა to survive, be saved
  • საშჯელი judgement

23:33 Adishi

გუელნო, ნაშობნო იქედნეთანო, ვითარმე განერნეთ სასჯელსა გეჰენიაჲსასა?

  • განერნეთ as above, only w/o ხ-

23:33 Athonite
გუელნო და ნაშობნო იქედნეთანო, ვითარმე განერნეთ საშჯელსა მას გეჰენიისასა?

  • [და is a plus, as in A-89/A-844]

A simple colophon in Gǝʿǝz   Leave a comment

I have often enough here referred to colophons in Syriac and Arabic, but here is a simple example of one in Gǝʿǝz, from The Beheading of John the Baptist in EMML 2514 (written in the 1380s CE), f. 43r.

EMML 2514, f. 43r

EMML 2514, f. 43r

In English:

Finished is the Combat [gädl] of the holy and elect John. May his prayer and blessing protect us forever and ever, amen!

May Christ have mercy in the kingdom of heaven on the one who has copied it, the one who has commissioned its copying, the one who has read it, and the one who has heard its words, through the prayer of the holy virgin, Mary, John the Baptist, and all the saints and martyrs, forever and ever, amen.

The operative vocabulary here is:

  • täfäṣṣämä to be completed
  • ṣäafä to write
  • aṣḥafä to have someone write
  • anbäbä to read
  • sämʿa to hear

And, as usual, there is a wish that this or that saint’s prayer (ṣälot) and blessing (bäräkät) protect (ʿaqäbä) the scribe, etc.

A typological study of colophons in eastern Christian manuscripts from all the languages has, as far as I know, yet to be written, but it would be a worthwhile topic of investigation.

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