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Ulfilas and Gothic Christianity (from the commemoration of Niketas the Goth in Greek, Georgian, and Armenian)   Leave a comment

APIB 2, p. 127, rubric for Niketas the Goth, Hoṙi 6/September 15

APIB 2, p. 127, rubric for Niketas the Goth, Hoṙi 6/September 15

In the synaxarion for Sept 15, we find in the commemoration of Niketas the Goth (cf. BHG 1339-1340) a brief mention of the famous Ulfilas. As an exercise for students of Armenian, here is the passage from two 17th-century manuscripts, along with vocabulary, followed by some related excerpts from the metaphrastic version of the commemoration.

The knowledge of Ulfilas’ role in the spread of Christianity among the Goths, including the creation of a script for Gothic and the translation of the Bible into Gothic, is well known. Here is a brief statement from Sokrates’ Eccl. hist. (4.33.6, P. Maraval and P. Périchon, Socrate de Constantinople, Histoire ecclésiastique (Livres I-VII), Paris, 2004-2007):

Τότε {δὲ} καὶ Οὐλφίλας ὁ τῶν Γότθων ἐπίσκοπος γράμματα ἐφεῦρεν Γοτθικά, καὶ τὰς θείας γραφὰς εἰς τὴν Γότθων μεταβαλὼν τοὺς βαρβάρους μανθάνειν τὰ θεῖα λόγια παρεσκεύασεν.

See further these resources, some older, some newer, on Ulfilas and Gothic:

To return to our Armenian manuscripts, on APIB 1, dated 1637, see also this post. The similar manuscript APIB 2, with APIB 3 a large two-volume manuscript, is dated 1684.

APIB 1, p. 112

APIB 1, p. 112

Here are the texts from APIB 1 and, for comparison, Bayan’s ed. of a different text in PO (here):

APIB 1 Սո՛ւրբ նիկիտաս է՛ր ի խուժադուժ երկրէն գո՛թացւոց որէ յարեվմուտս ի հիւսիսային կողմն յայնկոյս գետոյն դանուբայ. յամս մեծին կոստանդիանոսի։

  • խուժադուժ, -ից barbarous, savage
  • արեւմուտք, -մտից the West
  • հիւսիսային northern
  • կողմն, -մանց side, quarter, region, land
  • յայնկոյս over, beyond, on the other side
  • գետ, -ոց, -ից river

B Սուրբ վկայն Քրիստոսի Նիկիտաս, էր ի խուժադուժ երկրէն Գոթացւոց, յայնկոյս գետոյն մեծի Դանուբայ, ի ժամանակս մեծի արքային սրբոյն Կոստանդիանոսի։

APIB 1 եւ էր հա՛ւատովն քրիստոնեայ խրատեալ ի մեծէն թէոփիլոսէ գա՛ւթացւոց ե(պիսկոպո)սէն։ Որ էր մի եւ նա. զճ՟ եւ ժը՟ հայրապետացն որ ի նիկիայ։

  • հաւատ, -ոյ, -ք, -ոց faith, belief, creed
  • խրատեմ, -եցի to admonish, instruct
  • NB the spelling of գա՛ւթացւոց for Գոթացոց, a kind of hypercorrection
  • զճ՟ եւ ժը՟ = 318, which is fully spelled out below

B Եւ էր խրատեալ եւ ուսեալ զուղղափառ հաւատս քրիստոնէութեան յերանելոյն Թէոփիլոսէ Գոթացոց եպիսկոպոսէն, որ էր մի ի յերեք հարիւր ութ եւ տասնիցն Նիկիոյ առաջին ժողովոյն։

  • ուսեալ ուսանիմ, ուսայ, ուսիր to learn, study, be instructed
  • ուղղափառ, -աց orthodox
  • երեք հարիւր ութ եւ տասնիցն 318 (Meillet, Altarm. Elementarbuch, § 78)
  • առաջին, առաջնում, -ջնոյ, -ջնմէ, -ջնոց first, ancient
  • ժողով, -ոց assembly, council, synod

And several lines later Ulfilas is mentioned. Here are images from APIB 1 and 2:

APIB 1, p. 112

APIB 1, p. 112

APIB 2, p. 127 (cont.)

APIB 2, p. 127 (cont.)

APIB 2, p. 128

APIB 2, p. 128

The texts, then, from APIB 1 and Bayan are:

APIB 1 Եւ յետ մահուանն թէոփիլոսի. եղեւ եպ(իսկոպո)ս ուրփիլոս յայնմ աշխարհին գո՛թացւոց. եւ գիր եւս արար այնմ լեզուին։ եւ բազմացոյց զքրիստոնեայսն՝ յորոց մի էր եւս ս(ուր)բն նիկիտաս։

  • յետ after
  • մահ, -ու/-ուան, -ուց death
  • եւս also, still, more
  • բազմացուցանեմ, -ուցի to enlarge, increase, multiply

B Եւ յետ մահուանն Թէոփիլոսի եղեւ Ուրփիլոս եպիսկոպոս Գոթացւոց, եւ գիրս եւս երեւեցոյց այնմ բարբառոյն եւ ընդարձակագոյն ուսոյց զխուժադուժ ազգն եւ բազմացոյց զքրիստոնէութիւնն, յորոց էր եւ սուրբն Նիկիտաս։

  • երեւեցոյց երեւեցուցանեմ, -ուցի to cause to appear, show, produce
  • բարբառ, -ոյ speech, language, dialect
  • ընդարձակագոյն larger, vast, very long, lengthy
  • ուսուցանեմ, ուսուցի to teach, instruct (cf. above ուսանիմ)

Now here are some selections from the metaphrastic version of the hagiography in Greek and Georgian. These texts, rather more detailed than the Armenian above, line up closely, but differ a bit in vocabulary (cf. φίλτρον სარწმუნოებაჲ). The Greek is from PG 115, cols. 705, 708, §§ 1 and 3 (see beginning here) and the Georgian is from Nargiza Goguaże, ძველი ქართული მეტაფრასული კრებულები სექტემბრის საკითხავები, ძველი ქართული მწერლობის ძეგლები 7 (Tbilisi, 1986), this part beginning here at TITUS. Due to the length of these extracts added to the Armenian above, I have been more sparing than usual in the amount of lexical help I have supplied.

From § 1

Ἴσασι πάντες τὸν ποταμὸν Ἴστρον μεγέθει καὶ εὐθηνίᾳ, ὅσα φέρουσι, τὸ περιβόητον ἔχοντα, ὃν καὶ Δανούβιον ἡ ἐπιχώριος οἴδε γλῶττα καλεῖν.

უწყიან ყოველთა მდინარე ისტროჲ სიდიდითა და იეფობითა, რაოდენი მოაქუს მდინარეთა მქონებელი საჩინოებისაჲ, რომლისაჲ დანუბ წოდებაჲ იცის მსოფლიომან ენამან.

  • იეფობაჲ abundance
  • საჩინოებაჲ distinction, brightness

Οὗτος οὖν ὁ θαυμαστὸς Νικήτας, Γοτθικῶν σπερμάτων ἐκφὺς καὶ τιμὴν τὴν πρώτην παρ᾽ ἐκεῖνοις λαχὼν

ამათ გუთთა თესლისაგან საკჳრველი ესე ნიკიტა აღმოეცენა და პირველობისა პატივი ხუდა მათ მიერ.

  • თესლი seed
  • საკჳრველი wondrous
  • აღმოცენება to sprout, grow, come up
  • ხუდომა to be bestowed

διά τε τὸ περιφανὲς τοῦ γένους καὶ τὴν ἄλλην τοῦ σώματός τε καὶ τῆς ψυχῆς εὐφυῖαν ὅσην καὶ δεξιότητα, οὐ Γότθου ἦν τὸν βίον, οὐ τοὺς τρόπους, οὐδὲ τὴν πίστιν.

ხოლო ტომთა საჩინოებისათჳსცა და სხჳსა სულისა და ჴორცთა აზნაურებისა და სიმარჯჳსა არა გუთ იყო ცხორებითა, არცა სახითა, არცა სარწმუნოებითა;

  • აზნაურებაჲ honor, nobility
  • სიმარჯუეჲ goodness, kindness; proficiency

Ἐνίκα γὰρ ἡ μὲν γνώμη τὸ γένος, τὸ δὲ εἰς Χριστὸν φίλτρον τὴν βάρβαρον δόξαν, ὁ δὲ τῶν ἀρετῶν ἔρως τὴν Γότθικὴν ἀκρασίαν καὶ ἀγριότητα.

რამეთუ ცნობაჲ სძლევდა თჳთებასა, ხოლო ქრისტეს მიმართი სარწმუნოებაჲ ბარბაროზებრსა ნებასა და სათნოებათა ტრფიალებაჲ გუთებრივსა უზავ-ველურებასა.

  • ძლევა to conquer
  • ნებაჲ will, wish
  • სათნოებაჲ goodness, virtue
  • ტრფიალებაჲ love
  • უზავ-ველურებაჲ irreconcilability, unruliness, implacability

From § 3

Οὔρφιλος δὲ διάδοχος μὲν τῶν ἀρχιερατικῶν θεσμῶν ἐχρημάτιζε Θεοφίλου, συμπαρὼν δὲ αὐτῷ πάλαι κατὰ τὴν Νίκαιαν καὶ τὰ ἴσα φρονῶν,

ხოლო ურფილოს იყო მონაცვალე მღდელთმთავრობისა შჯულთა თეოფილესთა, ვითარცა ძუელვე მის თანა ყოფილი ნიკეას და სწორ მზრახვალი მისი,

  • მონაცვალეჲ inheriting, inheritor
  • სწორი similar, like
  • მზრახვალი counseling, advising, speaking

συνήδρευσεν ὕστερον καὶ οἷς ὅτ᾽ ἐν Κωνσταντινουπόλει ἁγία καὶ οἰκουμενικὴ δευτέρα συνεκροτήθη σύνοδος.

რომელი თანა-მოდასე იქმნა უკუანაჲსკნელ კრებასა მას წმიდასა მსოფლიოდ მეორესა კოსტანტინოპოლის შეკრებულსა.

  • თანა-მოდასეჲ similar, like
  • უკუანაჲსკნელი last

Οὗτος ἀνὴρ λόγιός τε καὶ νουνεχὴς ὢν, τύπους γραμμάτων καὶ ἀπηχήσεις αὐτῶν τῇ Γότθικῇ συμβαίνοντας ἐξεῦρε φωνῇ·

ამან კაცმან ვითარცა გონიერმან და სიტყჳერმან სახენი ასოთანი და ჴმიანობანი მათნი შესატყჳსად მოუპოვნა გუთთა ენასა,

  • ასოჲ letter
  • ჴმიანობაჲ pronunciation, sound
  • შესატყჳსი corresponding
  • მოპოვნება to invent (also, to win, earn)

τούτοις τε τὴν ἱερὰν ἡμῶν Γραφὴν καὶ θεόπνευστον ἀπὸ τῆς Ἑλλάδος εἰς τὴν Γότθικὴν γλῶσσαν μεταβαλὼν τοὺς ὁμοφίλους ἐκμανθάνειν πάσῃ σπουδῇ παρεσκεύασε.

რომლითა წმიდანი და ღმრთივ სულიერნი წერილნი ჩუენნი ელადელთაგან გუთთა ენად მიცვალებითა ყოველთა თანა-მეტომეთა მისთა მოსწრაფებით სწავლად მოუმზადნა.

  • მიცვალებაჲ death (?!)
  • თანა-მეტომაჲ compatriot
  • მოსწრაფებაჲ effort, striving
  • მომზადება to prepare

An Armenian saint-loving saint for August 13: Grigor Vkayasēr (Martyrophile)   Leave a comment

Celebrated on 3 Navasard/13 August is Grigor Vkayasēr/Martyrophile/Martyr-lover, so here are a few lines on him from Bayan’s edition of the synaxarion, along with vocabulary and grammar notes and an English translation. This Grigor was consecrated Catholicos in 1065, but held the office only briefly, preferring to dedicate his life instead to study, travel, and translation. For a few works on Grigor, see R.W. Thomson, A Bibliography of Classical Armenian Literature to 1500 AD, Corpus Christianorum (Turnhout, 1995), p. 136, and the “Supplement,” Le Muséon 120 (2007): 190.

Bayan’s Armenian text and French translation are in PO 5. The page numbers from which these lines come are indicated below.

page 364

Գրիգորիոս Վկայասէրն որդի էր Գրիգորի Մագիստրոսի եւ էր անուն նորա ի ծնողացն Վահրամ որ է անձրեւ։

  • ծնող, -աց parent, father, mother
  • անձրեւ, -ի, -ոյ, -աց rain
  • Վահրամ On this common name, see F. Justi, Iranisches Namenbuch (Marburg, 1895), 361-365. For what it’s worth, “rain” in Middle Persian is wārān (NP bārān). (Generally on Iranian names in Armenian, see R. Schmitt in Encyclopaedia Iranica here.)

Gregory the Martyr-lover was the son of Gregory Magistros, and his name [as given] by his parents was Vahram, which means [lit. is] rain.

Grégoire le Martyrophile était le fils de Grégoire Magistros, le nom que ses parents lui avait donné était Vahram, c’est-à-dire pluie.

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

Եւ իբրեւ ձեռնադրեցաւ կաթողիկոս անուանեցաւ Գրիգորիս որ է հսկող եւ արթուն…

  • ձեռնադրեցաւ aor m/p 3sg ձեռնադրեմ, -եցի to ordain
  • անուանեցաւ aor m/p 3sg անուանեմ, -եցի to name, call
  • հսկող nomen agentis (Meillet, Altarm. Elementarbuch, § 31b) հսկեմ, -եցի to watch, stay awake, keep vigil
  • արթուն, -թնոց watchful, vigilant

And when he was ordained Catholicos, he was called Gregory, which meant [lit. was] vigilant and watcher…

Lorsqu’il fut sacré Catholicos, il prit le nom de Grigoris, qui signifie éveillé, vigilant…

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

page 365

եւ զի էր սիրող վկայից Քրիստոսի, մեծարէր եւ առնէր զյիշատակս նոցա անխափան

  • սիրող nomen agentis սիրեմ, -եցի to love
  • մեծարէր impf 3sg մեծարեմ, -եցի to respect, honor, venerate
  • առնէր impf 3sg առբեմ, արարի to make, do
  • անխափան without ceasing, continually

And since he was a lover of the martyrs of Christ, he would honor and commemorate them continually,

Comme il aimait les martyrs du Christ, il les honorait et célébrait incessamment leur mémoire;

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

եւ կարգէր տօնից նոցա գիրս մարգարէականս եւ առաքելականս եւ աւետարանս խորհրդաւորս։

  • կարգէր impf 3sg կարգեմ, -եցի to arrange, fix, assign, establish, institute
  • տօն, -ից feast, celebration
  • գիր, գրոց writing, letter(s), book, literature
  • մարգարէական prophetic (մարգարէ, -ից prophet)
  • առաքելական apostolic (առաքել, -ելոց apostle, emissary)
  • աւետարան, -աց Gospel
  • խորհրդաւոր mysterious, symbolic (խորհուրդ, -հրդեան/-դի, -հրդոց mystery, symbol, sacrament, thought, imagination, idea, counsel)

and he would arrange the [readings of] the mystery-laden prophetic, apostolic, and Gospel writings for their feast-days.

il institua pour leurs jours de fête, des lectures des prophètes, des apôtres et de l’évangile, bien appropriés.

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

Կամեցաւ գնալ ի Կոստանտդինուպօլիս զի թարգմանեսցէ զպատմութիւնս սրբոցն եւ զճառս ներբողականս, որ ոչ գտանիւր առ մեզ հայ լեզուով եւ գրով։

  • կամեցաւ aor 3sg կամիմ, -եցայ to will, intend
  • գնալ inf գնամ, -ացի to go
  • թարգմանեսցէ aor subj 3sg թարգմանեմ, -եցի to translate
  • պատմութիւն history, tale, account, narration
  • ճառ, -ից discourse, sermon, treatise, homily
  • ներբողական panegyric, eulogistic (ներբողեմ, -եցի to eulogize, praise)
  • գտանիւր impf p 3sg (post-classical: see Meillet, §105b) գտանեմ, գտի (aor 3sg եգիտ) to find
  • լեզու, -ի/-ոյ, -աց language, tongue

He wished to go to Constantinople that he might translate the stories of the saints and eulogistic discourses which were not found among us in Armenian language and writing.

Il voulut se rendre à Constantinople pour y traduire les des saints et les homélies qui ne se trouvaient point chez nous en langue et caractères arméniens.

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 55 (Thalassius 1.12)   Leave a comment

This time we turn to the Περί ἀγάπης και ἐγκρατείας — Four Centuries (400 Chapters) on Love and Self-control — of Abba Thalassius (CPG 7848), a contemporary of Maximus the Confessor. The work is made up of 400 sentences on the spiritual life and practice. Given the work’s character as apophthegmatic, it will serve as an excellent text for language learners, whether in Greek, Georgian, or Arabic (on which see GCAL I 406): the whole work is not long, many of the sentences are short and grammatically simple, and there is frequent repetition of certain lexical items.

The Greek text is readily available in (at least) two editions:

An edition of the Georgian translation, based chiefly on Athos 49, but with reference to the other two known copies, was published by my friend, Fr. Andrew Boroda (ა. ბოროდა) as an addendum to the Annual Calendar of the Georgian Orthodox Church, 1992 (Tbilisi), pp. 414-483: წმიდა აბბა თალასე „სიყვარულის, მარხვის და სულიერი მოქალაქობის შესახებ‟. The Georgian translation is thought to be the work of George the Hagiorite. At least three manuscripts are known: Athos 49 (early 11th cent.), A55 (11th/12th cent.), and the much later A66 (1710). According to Blake, who cataloged the Georgian Athos manuscripts, the Athos manuscript is the work of George the Hagiorite himself.

Before turning to the Georgian again, note that there is an accessible digitized manuscript of the Greek text in BL Add. 24375, with the saying below (1.12) on ff. 79r-v. It does not differ from the PG and Philokalia editions.

Add MS 24375, f. 79r, bottom

Add MS 24375, f. 79r, bottom

Add MS 24375, f. 79v, top

Add MS 24375, f. 79v, top

The PG and Philokalia editions for this sentence read as follows:

δυνατὸς ἀνὴρ ἐκεῖνος ὑπάρχει, ὁ πράξει καὶ γνώσει τὴν κακίαν ἀπελαύνων.

Georgian tr.

ძლიერი კაცი იგი არს, რომელი საქმით და ცნობით და სიტყჳთ და გონებით უკეთურებასა სდევნიდეს.

  • ძლიერი strong, able, capable
  • საქმეჲ deed, doing; thing
  • ცნობაჲ understanding, grasping, recognition, perception
  • სიტყუაჲ speech, talking, word(s)
  • გონებაჲ thought(s), thinking
  • უკეთურებაჲ evil
  • ს-დევნ-იდ-ეს pres conj 3sg O3 დევნა to drive out, displace, persecute, chase

An ET of the Georgian:

Able is the man who shall by deed, by knowledge, by word, and by thought drive out evil.

The Georgian version, then, compared with the Greek text of the PG and Phil. editions, has two additional nouns. Note also the Georgian pres conj for Greek pres ptcp.

More to come, I hope, in Old Georgian phrases and sentences from this text, but for now, let this sentence suffice!

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.

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.

 

Chrysostom’s reference to translations of the Bible   2 comments

The fact that texts of the Bible exist in so many languages makes it a fascinating arena in which to study all sorts of philological phenomena. Research on these texts, in whatever language, may include the attempt to pinpoint when the biblical text comes into this or that language, by whom, &c. With much less specificity and altogether different concerns, in his second homily on the Gospel of John, on Jn 1:1 (text in PG 59: 29-38), John Chrysostom has a remark that touches on some of the languages within the purview of hmmlorientalia. At this place, the homilist is making the point that the apostle John, unlettered as he was, uttered teachings grander, more glorious, and more useful than those the learned Greeks might appreciate, including Pythagoras — who “set in motion ten thousand kinds of magic” (col. 32, γοητείας κινήσας εἴδη μυρία) — and Plato, the doctrines of them all, he says implausibly, being “extinguished and vanished” (col. 31, ἔσβεσται ἅπαντα καὶ ἠφάνισται)! The teaching of the unlearned John, however, has been spreading.

ἀλλὰ καὶ Σύροι καὶ Αἰγύπτιοι καὶ Ἰνδοὶ καὶ Πέρσαι καὶ Αἰθίοπες καὶ μυρία ἕτερα ἔθνη εἰς τὴν αὐτῶν μεταβαλόντες γλῶτταν τὰ παρὰ τούτου δόγματα εἰσαχθέντα ἔμαθον ἄνθρωποι βάρβαροι φιλοσοφεῖν. (col. 32)

But Syrians, Egyptians, Indians, Persians, Ethiopians, and ten thousand other peoples, translating into their own languages the doctrines introduced by him [John], barbarians learned to philosophize.

While we have and still use all of these gentilics, the identity of the peoples Chrysostom had in mind is not necessarily certain. Given his hyperbolic reference to “ten thousand other peoples,” he is not, in any case, aiming to be very specific. Whatever their identity, they’re still barbarians! (John, even without much learning, was not really a barbarian for Chrysostom because he used Greek.) Chrysostom is not being specific about the parts of the Bible he has in mind, either, but minimally he is thinking of the Gospel of John. One result of this vaguely mentioned translation activity is that hitherto non-philosophizing peoples have now learned to do just that. Combined with Chrysostom’s previous remarks in this homily, we come to his conclusion that the teachings of Plato and (especially) Pythagoras constitute bad philosophy, justly withering, while the simple, unlettered, and little-thought-of John the apostle is one means through which a higher and better philosophy, one that even non-Greeks can study and practice, has spread.

Avid Syriac readers will know about the appearance last year of the first part of the Syriac version of Chrysostom’s homilies on John (homilies 1-43) in CSCO 651/ScrSyr 250 by Jeff Childers. The Syriac part corresponding to the Greek text above is on p. 14, ll. 16-18. (Since the appearance of Syriac is still not always reliable on different machines, I’ve also given a transliteration. The accompanying ET in CSCO 652 is not immediately available to me, so the translation below is mine):

ܐܠܐ ܐܦ ܣܘܪ̈ܝܝܐ ܘܡܨܪ̈ܝܐ ܘܗܢܕ̈ܘܝܐ ܘܦܪ̈ܣܝܐ ܘܟܘܫ̈ܝܐ ܘܪ̈ܒܘܬܐ ܕܥܡ̈ܡܐ ܐܚܪ̈ܢܐ. ܝܘܠܦܢܗ ܕܗܢܐ ܒܠܫܢܝ̈ܗܘܢ ܦܫܩܘ. ܘܐܝܠܦܘ ܚܟܡܬܗ܀

ellā āp suryāyē w-meṣrāyē w-hendwāyē w-pārsāyē w-kušāyē w-rebbwātā d-ʕammē (ʔ)ḥrānē yulpānēh d-hānā b-leššānayhon paššeq(w) w-ilep(w) ḥekmtēh

But Syrians, Egyptians, Indians, Persians, Ethiopians (Cushites), and myriads of other peoples have translated this man’s doctrine into their own languages and have learned his wisdom.

Here are some of the Greek-Syriac correspondences with comments:

  • εἰς τὴν αὐτῶν … γλῶτταν b-leššānayhon. The pronominal elements are plural in both languages, but “language” is singular in Greek, plural in Syriac.
  • μεταβαλόντες paššeq(w). Greek aorist participle rendered by a Syriac perfect, a very common phenomenon in Greek-Syriac translations.
  • τὰ παρὰ τούτου δόγματα εἰσαχθέντα yulpānēh d-hānā. The noun is plural in Greek, singular in Syriac, and where the Greek has a participle (“introduced”) with prepositional phrase (“by him”), the Syriac merely has a pronominal element (“his”): the near demonstrative pronoun with an anticipatory pronominal suffix on the noun.
  • ἔμαθον w-ilep(w). The Greek μεταβαλόντες and ἔμαθον are in Syriac put as past verbs joined by a conjunction.
  • ἄνθρωποι βάρβαροι ∅. In the Greek text, μεταβαλόντες and ἔμαθον have distinct agents: for the participle it is the named nations, and for ἔμαθον it is ἄνθρωποι βάρβαροι. The latter noun and adjective indeed refer to those same nations, but they are grammatically separate. The Syriac has nothing to correspond to ἄνθρωποι βάρβαροι — perhaps to avoid calling their own people barbarians! — and thus the two verbs paššeq(w) w-ilep(w) have as their agent the list of peoples at the beginning of the sentence.
  • φιλοσοφεῖν ḥekmtēh. A notable translation, the Greek infinitive has become a noun, and one with a pronominal suffix referring to the apostle. Syriac has words derived from Greek φιλοσοφία, but here a native Aramaic word is used.

***********

Notula on some Greek terminology for “translate”

The expression μεταβάλλειν εἰς γλῶτταν is used in the passage above for “translate”. Josephus also uses this verb in the same meaning:

Ant. Jud. 1.10
Εὗρον τοίνυν, ὅτι Πτολεμαίων μὲν ὁ δεύτερος μάλιστα δὴ βασιλεὺς περὶ παιδείαν καὶ βιβλίων συναγωγὴν σπουδάσας ἐξαιρέτως ἐφιλοτιμήθη τὸν ἡμέτερον νόμον καὶ τὴν κατ᾽ αὐτὸν διάταξιν τῆς πολιτείας εἰς τὴν Ἑλλάδα φωνὴν μεταβαλεῖν

Ant. Jud. 12.14-15
μεμηνῦσθαι δ᾽ ἔλεγεν αὐτῷ πολλὰ εἶναι καὶ παρὰ Ἰουδαίοις τῶν παρ᾽ αὐτοῖς νομίμων συγγράμματα σπουδῆς ἄξια καὶ τῆς βασιλέως βιβλιοθήκης, ἃ τοῖς ἐκείνων χαρακτῆρσιν καὶ τῇ διαλέκτῳ γεγραμμένα πόνον αὐτοῖς οὐκ ὀλίγον παρέξειν εἰς τὴν Ἑλληνικὴν μεταβαλλόμενα γλῶτταν. …  οὐδὲν οὖν ἔλεγεν κωλύειν καὶ ταῦτα μεταβαλόντα, δύνασθαι γὰρ τῆς εἰς αὐτὸ χορηγίας εὐποροῦντα, ἔχειν ἐν τῇ βιβλιοθήκῃ καὶ τὰ παρ᾽ ἐκείνοις.

In Ant. Jud. 1.7 he uses μεταφέρειν:

ὄκνος μοι καὶ μέλλησις ἐγίνετο τηλικαύτην μετενεγκεῖν ὑπόθεσιν εἰς ἀλλοδαπὴν ἡμῖν καὶ ξένην διαλέκτου συνήθειαν.

Now for a few other terms (but this is certainly not a complete list!). In a famous part of the Prol. to Ben Sira, we see μετάγειν used for translation: μεταχθῇ εἰς ἑτέραν γλῶσσαν. One Greek text that often refers to translation is, of course, the Letter of Aristeas (ET here; see recent discussion in T.M. Law, When God Spoke Greek, 35-39). Here are the places (probably not exhaustive) that I quickly picked out where translation, either as a noun or a verb, is mentioned. Words built on herm- are the favorite, and it does not seem that μεταβάλλειν appears there with reference to translation.

  • 11 Ἑρμηνείας προσδεῖται
  • 15 ἣν [sc. τὴν τῶν Ἰουδαίων νομοθεσίαν] ἡμεῖς οὐ μόνον μεταγράψαι ἐπινοοῦμεν, ἀλλὰ καὶ διερμηνεῦσαι (“…not only to copy, but also to translate” — μεταγράφειν can mean both “copy” and “translate”; cf. μεταγραφή in §§ 45 and 46)
  • 32 τὸ κατὰ τὴν ἑρμηνείαν ἀκριβές
  • 38 τὸν νόμον ὑμῶν μεθερμηνευθῆναι γράμμασιν Ἑλληνικοῖς ἐκ τῶν παρ᾽ ὑμῶν λεγομένων Ἑβραϊκῶν γραμμάτων
  • 45 ἡ τοῦ ἁγίου νόμου μεταγραφή (again in § 46)
  • 120 τὰ δὲ τῆς ἑρμηνείας (similarly again in § 308; cf. from § 307 below)
  • 301 παρεκάλει τοὺς ἄνδρας τὰ τῆς ἑρμηνείας ἐπιτελεῖν
  • 305 ἐτρέποντο πρὸς τὴν ἀνάγνωσιν καὶ τὴν ἑκάστου διασάφησιν (διασάφησις here might mean “translation”, but it could also be “explanation”, i.e. each person’s explanation of what had had been read. For another place where the word occurs, twice, certainly not meaning “translation”, see Acta Petri et Andreae § 15, p. 124.5, 124.7 in the ed. of Bonnet and Lipsius.)
  • 307 τὰ τῆς μεταγραφῆς (“the work of the translation”)
  • 308 παρόντων καὶ τῶν διερμηνευσάντων (the translators); in 310 we find τῶν ἑρμηνέων οἱ πρεσβύτεροι, and in 318 τοὺς ἑρμηνεῖς
  • 310 Ἐπεὶ καλῶς καὶ ὁσίως διηρμήνευται καὶ κατὰ πᾶν ἠκριβωμένος
  • 314 τινὰ τῶν προηρμηνευμένων ἐπισφαλέστερον ἐκ τοῦ νόμου προσιστορεῖν (“to tell in addition some parts from the earlier, less reliable, translations of the law”)

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