Field and river

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

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

ICES20 logo

Use the "back" button of your browser to return to the list of abstracts.


Dorothea REULE, Universität Hamburg, Hiob Ludolf Centre for Ethiopian Studies and Philipps-Universität Marburg (Germany)

The Sənkəssār is a collection of saints’ lives for the entire year, arranged mostly according to their date of death. After its first, generally literal, translation from the Arabic synaxarion in the 14th century, it was repeatedly revised and enhanced with the biographies of saints not present in the Arabic Vorlage. Due to its use in the daily liturgy, it is one of the most widespread Ethiopic texts.
This paper presents an ongoing PhD project begun in 2017 at the Philipps-Universität Marburg, whose main objective is an in-depth study of the Sənkəssār’s translation language. The language of Gəʿəz translations from Arabic has been the object of several studies, which have shown that while similar translation techniques can be recognized for all translations from Arabic to Gəʿəz, the level of linguistic variation between individual works is still high. This paper will focus on the main objectives of the PhD project and its current challenges. How do the general desire of literality of the translation and the inherent differences between source and target language interplay? Which features characterize this particular translation and how does it compare to other Gəʿəz texts translated from Arabic? Which expressions and structures were most often subject to changes during the process of later revisions, and might therefore indicate the limits of literality of translation?