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[PANEL] 0808 GENERAL PANEL "GEEZ LITERATURE"
HAGOS Abrha, Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, Mekelle University, Ethiopia
Michael KLEINER; AMSALU Tefera; Bogdan BURTEA; David SPIELMAN; Rafal ZARZECZNY;
HAILEYESUS Alebachew; Steffan A. SPENCER; Veronika SIX; TADDELE Gedlie; Dorothea REULE;
ALELIGN Aschale Wudie; GIDENA Mesfin Kebede
A FRESH LOOK AT THE KƏBRÄ NÄGÄŚT COLOPHON [Abstract ID: 0808-03]
The Kəbrä nägäśt (KN) likely is the most famous work of Gəˁəz literature. Despite its renown though, many aspects of its genesis remain unclear and debated. In its search for clues, scholarship has, next internal evidence, regularly also turned to the KN's colophon. Yet this short text is itself philologically intricate and thus has given rise to diverse and conflicting interpretations. Against this backdrop, my paper will take a fresh look at the KN's colophon, in the process suggesting some new understandings of its text and discussing their implications for our view of the KN's genesis as well as arrival in Ethiopia.
DATING THE HOMILY ON URIEL (DƎRSANÄ URA’EL) [Abstract ID: 0808-10]
Dǝrsanä Ura’el is an Ethiopic text on the homilies and miracles of Archangel Uriel. As recent studies show, two recensions are known, namely the “short” and the “long” (cf. Caqout 1955, Beylot 2012, Amsalu Tefera 2017). According to the colophon of the manuscript containing the short recension (EMML 1835, ff. 76r, 24v-247v), it was composed during the time of Emperor Zär’a Ya’ǝqob (1434-1468). Current knowledge regarding the date of the long recension focuses on the 19th cent., and scholars agree that it must have been composed no earlier than the time of Emperor Menilek II (1889-1913; cf. Caquot 1955, Lusini 2005, Getatchew 2011, Beylot 2012). I argue against this notion and propose that the date of the longer recension must be assigned to a time prior to the 19th cent. The homiliary (long recension) is a multilayered text so that it is not easy to conclude that it was, as a whole, composed during a specific time and situation. In this paper, I will list both internal and external textual evidence in support of my thesis. Firstly, there is a colophon (cf. EMML 1942, f.85r; EMML 7262, f.124v; EMDA 39, 69v) in the Dǝrsanä Ura’el which states that it was composed by Aqabe Sä‘at Yoḥannǝs during the time of Na‘od (1494 – 1508) and Lǝbnä Dǝngǝl (1508 – 1540). Secondly, other Ethiopic texts (dated 17–18 cent.) mention Dǝrsanä Ura’el that cast doubt on the 19th cent. as the date of composition. The third plausible argument is the claim of Emperor Menilek that he suppressed inaccurate versions of Dǝrsanä Ura’el and propagated the authentic form of the text (cf. EMML 6694, fol. 145r). This suggests that the document existed in a variety of textual traditions prior to and during his reign.
DISCOURSES ON ‘MAGIC’ IN ETHIOPIA [Abstract ID: 0808-11]
Following the research method of Bernd-Christian Otto, the author of the ground-breaking work Magic (German: Magie, Rezeptions- und Diskursgeschichtliche Analysen von der Antike bis zur Neuzeit, Berlin, de Gruyter, 2011), this paper analyses four discourses on magic in Ethiopia. The first one, the legitimizing discourse, is embodied by the Biblical reference to magic which was taken in Ethiopia with the translation of the Greek Bible into Gə‘əz starting in the middle of the 4th century. The normative discourse which implies the mentioned biblical discourse is based on the canonical and constitutional writings like Testamentum Domini, Senodos or the later Fətḥa-nägäśt. The codified norms of these writings aim to determine the social and religious live of the Christians in the Kingdom. According to these norms some occupations were excluded from the practice of the official religion. The hagiographical discourse on magic is documented in the lives of the saints of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (gädl) which reflect among others the conflict with the non-Christian cults during the evangelisation of Ethiopia. The most important and in some instant a synthesis of the previous ones is the authoritative discourse of the Emperor Zär’a Ya‘əqob (1399-1468). During his long reign (1434-1468) the Emperor reformed the theology and the religious practice of the church and combated the foreign rituals and their specialists. All these discourses influenced taxonomies and valuations on magic which are valid until now in Ethiopia.
EVIDENCE OF THE FETHA NÄGÄST'S BROADER SOCIAL IMPACT ON EARLY MODERN ETHIOPIAN SOCIETY [Abstract ID: 0808-12]
This study explores the practical use of the Fetha Nägäst (Law of Kings) in early modern Ethiopian society. It does so by drawing upon evidence contained in Portuguese Jesuit travel accounts, composed between the early 16th and mid 17th centuries. While the analysis draws upon only a few examples, the evidence contests previous scholarship that claims adherence and application of the legal principles and doctrines contained in the Fetha Nägäst were confined to the courts of the Kings, and impact on the broader society was meager. Further, this analysis suggests that the legal doctrines and principles of the Fetha Nägäst held a considerable amount of influence over a wider gamut of the Ethiopian population than previous scholarship has revealed.
ON ETHIOPIC HOMILIES ATTRIBUTED TO ST JOHN CHRYSOSTOM [Abstract ID: 0808-13]
It has long been known that many texts attributed to St John Chrysostom are inauthentic or at least their authorship is doubtful (see dubia et spuria in the Clavis Patrum Graecorum). This may apply both to the Greek texts and to their oriental translations or adaptations. It is also true for a large Pseudo-Chrysostomic dossier we have in the classical Ethiopian language. Many such texts have been already published. Some are still waiting for their edition. Others require a scientific re-editing and study. In this paper, one of the homilies included in an ancient collection of homilies for the main feasts of the Lord will be discussed, specifically the homily on Wedding at Cana in Galilee, which is quite an interesting case from the editorial, literary and doctrinal point of view.
RECEPTION OF ETHIOPIC ENOCH IN GƎ‘ƎZ LITERATURE: ANNOTATED TRANSLATION AND TEXTUAL ANALYSIS OF SELECTED ETHIOPIC PROSE AND POETIC TEXTS [Abstract ID: 0808-01]
Scholars of philology, ancient history, and Second Temple Judaism, and the Origins of Christianity are very interested in studying the book of Enoch, aiming to enhance their knowledge of Jewish folklore and to seek information on the religious ideas of Judaism, especially concerning the Messiah. However, most of the scholars do not pay attention to the reception of the Ethiopic book of Enoch in Ethiopic literature. This means that there is a huge gap, an untouched area of inquiries regarding the reception of this book in Ethiopic literatures. Very little is studied as for the Ethiopian socio-religious context in which the text has been transmitted and used for more than three millenniums. This hinders the possibility of appreciating the influence of the book of Enoch. It indirectly limits our study of 1 Enoch. Here, many questions can be raised concerning this problem. How can we interpret the lack of interest for Ethiopic prose and poetic literature by scholars who study the book of Enoch? How can we explain the ignorance of its influence in Ethiopic literature? Does that mean the influence of the Ethiopic Book of Enoch on Ethiopian literature is not relevant to the study of the Book of Enoch? After all, to affirm its relevance or to deny its importance, do we not first need to verify the existence or the absence of such prose and poetic material inspired by the book of Enoch? The objective of this panel, therefore, is to explore the reception of the Ethiopic Enoch in Gǝ‘ǝz Literatures and to make annotated translation and textual analysis on some selected Ethiopic prose and poetic texts dated from 14th -18th centuries. The result shows that the contents of 1 Enoch are repeatedly used as sources of prose and poetic genres of Gǝ‘ǝz literatures, and they are analyzed from different perspectives such as theological, philological, historical, cosmological, moral, and others.
THE ETHIOPIAN ORTHODOX BOOK OF THE TRINITY: A HOMILY FROM THE MONASTIC ORDER OF DAQIQA ESTIFANOS [Abstract ID: 0808-06]
The Ethiopian Orthodox Book of the Trinity: A Homily from the Monastic Order of Daqiqa Estifanos, is an analysis of an fifteenth century Trinitarian treatise composed of stories elaborating upon biblical narratives, and rules for certain religious and cultural observances. Upon digitizing and producing a translation of the homily from Ge’ez (or Classical Ethiopic) into English, it is apparent that this compilation reflects both canonically held beliefs in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and a particularly localized Ethiopian sensibility. The stories expounded upon throughout the manuscript will be familiar to anyone acquainted with the Bible. These include the creation of the heavens and the earth, humanity’s origin in Paradise and Original Sin, the jealousy of Cain towards Abel, the trials of Christ and his Apostles, and Christ’s effort to save the souls of the Children of Adam in the Underworld, to mention a few of the narratives. It is also important that all of the sections of the manuscript begin and end by praising the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – One God, for this is the essential articulation of the Nicene Creed established in the early fourth century, and today remains at the heart of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo faith. Certain cultural practices are also highlighted in sections dealing with proper rules for servants and slaves, and in discussions of the proper rules for the two Orthodox Sabbaths, and the giving of alms. The Book of the Trinity often urges the reader to praise and call upon the Holy Trinity – alone, while critiquing the widespread adoration of the angels, saints and martyrs, because according to this particular text, only the Holy Trinity is able to save souls. Many of the ideas are firmly within the traditions of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, yet, the firm adherence to worship of the Holy Trinity, among other ideas, suggest the authors of the manuscript are from a unique tradition within the canonical Orthodox faith, that of the Monastic Order of Daqiqa Estifanos (The Children of Estifanos).
THE LATEST ACQUISITIONS OF ETHIOPIAN MANUSCRIPTS OF THE BAVARIAN STATE LIBRARY (MUNICH, GERMANY) [Abstract ID: 0808-04]
After the publication of the description of the Ethiopian section of the Oriental manuscript collection in VOHD (= Verzeichnis der orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland) Vol. XX 3, 6 and 5, the Library acquired the total number of twenty-one more Ethiopian manuscripts from various sources. The reason why I use the term Ethiopian is, because there is one manuscript about Ethiopian and Islamic historiography that has the main text written in Amharic and few lines in Arabic. The main part of the manuscripts is written in GeŸez. Though there is a relatively great number – compared to the total number of manuscripts – of Mazmura Dawit (= 4), parchment scrolls (= 7) and two Leporello folded manuscripts (which are of the same literary genre as the scrolls) and at first sight does not seem to be exceptional. Nevertheless, most of the manuscripts have special features and represent the written heritage of manuscript culture. Moreover, there is a group obviously produced for non-Ethiopians but recalls the style of the tradition. Not unusual are insertions of illuminations that are not part of the actual content. I would like to show the essential points that distinguish this collection from an ordinary monastic inventory.
THE RELATION OF GƎʾƎZ QƎNE TO ETHIOPIC TEXTUAL CULTURE [Abstract ID: 0808-05]
The purpose of this article is to examine the relation of Gǝʾǝz Qǝne to Ethiopic textual culture. The data were collected from unpublished manuscripts and published texts, using library reading and interview. This study employed qualitative analysis methods and surveyed Qǝne collections of both Ethiopian and foreign scholars that are both published and unpublished. In addition to this, the researcher used a semi-structured interview to collect the data from key informants. In this regard, based on the clues and indicators, the multifarious relationships between Qəne and medieval literature of Ethiopia are treated in relation to different compositions. This study has taken twenty (20) Gǝʾǝz Qəneyat, which are based on medieval literature. In addition, the Qǝne as an oral art form that helps to study the written records of the past was identified. Furthermore the written texts that the Qǝne composers used and the similarities and differences of Gǝʾǝz Qəneyat of the same source were investigated. Thus, the finding shows that the attachment of Gǝʾǝz Qǝne with the Ethiopic textual culture is strong.
THE TRANSLATION LANGUAGE OF THE ETHIOPIC SƏNKƏSSĀR [Abstract ID: 0808-07]
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?
TRANSDISCIPLINARY CRITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS (TCDA) AS A NEW PERSPECTIVE IN ETHIOPIAN STUDIES [Abstract ID: 0808-08]
Critical Discourse Analysis has become a breakthrough in many global “textual” studies. In such a time of theoretical and methodological dearth and counterfeiting, Trans-disciplinary Discourse Analysis presents ample options of “textual” research in which Ethiopia has a rich “textual” data and history. The main intention of the researcher in this article is to show how Trans-disciplinary Critical Discourse Analysis (TCDA) can be the best alternative research paradigm. It discussed the paradigms, epistemological roots and the ontologies of TCDA. Besides, it shows the theoretical, conceptual and methodological frameworks of TCDA together with few key tools on how to do TCDA.
WHAT THE GÄBIR 'EFFECTUATION' CAN TELL. [Abstract ID: 0808-09]
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.