Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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Maija PRIESS, Universität Hamburg, Asien-Afrika-Institut, Germany

The THEOT team (‘Textual History of the Old Testament’ led by Steve Delamarter) has selected passages from 37 manuscripts (14th-20th centuries) of Ethiopic Amos and arranged them into text variation units in the years 2013 and 2014. The 15 relevant passages within each manuscript were then transcribed and compared. The close association to the Christian history and culture, especially the theological aspects, influenced already the translation of the Septuagint (LXX) from Hebrew/Aramaic thus changing many place-names. Furthermore, it seems that the geography was not so well known to the translators, copyists and readers. In this comparison it became an obvious task to make research concerning toponomastics of Ethiopic Amos which meant a historical and diachronic analysis leading to reconstruction of the place names. There seemed to be, besides linguistic derivations, etymological, cultural and theological aspects for these variations as why place-names do not always correspond to the Hebrew or Greek Vorlage of LXX. For the Ethiopic Amos, the LXX was decisive only to some extent, and several unknown names have been substituted with known ones by choosing another name or, taking something similar, e.g. Hebrew Awon > Greek Ōn > Ethiopic Am(m)on. Have there been fashions or preferences in theological purposes during different centuries or localities in Ethiopia?
Combining these methods will allow us to select the most relevant manuscripts of the Ethiopic Amos for the preparation of a critical edition and translation.