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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GIDENA Mesfin Kebede, Postdoctoral researcher at the Technical University of Berlin, Germany

This paper tries to examine the structure and function of the so called gäbir ‘effectuation’ in what is usually called Ethiopic ‘magic’ literature. The gäbir, which is usually a continuum between the oral and written, is an important part of individual ‘magical’ texts. Though is usually believed that this part is learned by heart to keep the secrecy of the texts, its textual presentation is not uncommon. Yet, when it is explicitly presented it is done in such a way that important parts are deliberately hidden, left out or even written in cryptographic form. The structural presentation which is an important aspect to research can be used as a clue towards the classification of the texts within the genre itself and to set the genre apart from other genres of Ethiopic literature.