Past, Present and Future of Editing Ethiopian Texts: Regional and Global Perspectives
20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20) – “Regional and Global Ethiopia – Interconnections and Identities”
Mekelle town, Tigray, Ethiopia - 1 to 5 October 2018
Oct. 3, 2018, Room 9 (IPHC Hall 4th floor)
Convenor: Alessandro Bausi (HLCES)
Alessandro BAUSI; Maija PRIESS; Nafisa VALIEVA; MERSHA Alehegne; Stefan WENINGER; Antonella BRITA; Daria ELAGINA; SOLOMON Gebreyes; Jonas KARLSSON; GETATCHEW Haile (in absentia)
Traditionally a branch of ‘classical Ethiopian studies’ and from the very beginning an essential component of the broader Ethiopian studies when the field was first established as a forum of international exchange (since the 1959 first International Conference of Ethiopian Studies in Rome)—editing Ethiopian texts has remained a practice largely determined by sectorial trends, with different practices and little common ground. This has remained true despite the increasing number of published editions. If in the last thirty years there have been attempts at a precise methodological reflection on editing Gǝʿǝz texts in printed form, one has to admit that
the scholarly control (typically, in the form of reviews) has been minimal and the field has not yet any established common ground for mutual understanding. Well beyond the traditional scope of paper printed editions of translated and original literary Gǝʿǝz texts—to which the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has given a huge, largely underestimated, and scholarly not yet assessed contribution—the last decades have marked an increasing interest towards documentary texts (feudal deeds as well minor historiographical texts), which pose questions of their own and require adequate editorial solutions. While a large number of literary Gǝʿǝz texts still await a first edition and linguistic questions (in terms of layers, standardization and normalization) are also posed, consideration is also due to oral texts, along with the written, and to the interaction of both. Also ‘modern classics’ of national or regional literatures in modern languages (starting from Amharic, and Tigrinya) require in turn adequate and authoritative editions. Against this background, the ‘manuscript cultures’ concept has contributed to a deeper understanding of manuscripts as a decisive factor in shaping transmission and cultural processes, besides and in connection with their role of text carriers: yet, the ‘manuscript cultures’ point of view does not provide any editorial solution ready at hand. The same is true for online, digital, and electronic editions, since every technical option depends upon and implies methodological decisions. The panel intends to open a forum for reflection on editing Ethiopian texts in a regional and global perspective.
EDITING ETHIOPIAN TEXTS: THE CASE OF THE MORE ANCIENT LAYER [Abstract ID: 0805-08]
Alessandro BAUSI, Universität Hamburg, Germany
If in the last thirty years there have been attempts at a precise methodological reflection on editing Gǝʿǝz texts in printed form, one has to admit that the scholarly control has been minimal and the field has not yet any established common ground for mutual understanding. Well beyond the traditional scope of paper printed editions of translated and original literary Gǝʿǝz texts, the last decades have marked an increasing interest towards documentary texts (feudal deeds as well as minor historiographical texts), which pose questions of their own and require adequate editorial solutions. Against this background, the ‘manuscript cultures’ concept has contributed to a deeper understanding of manuscripts as a decisive factor in shaping transmission and cultural processes, besides and in connection with their role of text carriers: yet, the ‘manuscript cultures’ point of view does not provide any editorial solution ready at hand. The same is true for online, digital, and electronic editions, since every technical option depends upon and implies methodological decisions. In this connection, a selection of case-studies from recent and less recent editions of Gǝʿǝz texts can be used to show the complexity of some of the issues at stake and contribute fruitfully to the more general debate in the panel. Among the most challenging aspects that have recently emerged calling for more consideration is that of the growing evidence for the pronounced ‘depth’ of some textual traditions, for which increasingly more ancient witnesses are attested. This evidence requires to some extent a re-examination of methods and assumptions and at the same time also suggests new working hypotheses.
CRITERIA FOR A CRITICAL EDITION OF ETHIOPIC AMOS [Abstract ID: 0805-15]
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.
EDITING THE GÄDLÄ LALIBÄLA [Abstract ID: 0805-06]
Nafisa VALIEVA, University of Hamburg, Germany
The Gädlä Lalibäla (GL) is the main source about the life and deeds of King Lalibäla, though, as with all hagiographic works, it is necessary to bear in mind the literary features of the genre. King Lalibäla is considered a saint, along with other kings of the so-called Zagwe dynasty, who ruled between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries CE. He is credited with the construction of the renowned rock-hewn churches in the city of Lalibäla, which is named after the king. The only scholarly, albeit partial, edition of this text, based on one single witness, was carried out by the French philologist Jules Perruchon in 1892. The results of a new PhD project, aiming to prepare a critical edition of the text, were first presented at the IES 19. Since October 2015, this project has been carried out in the SFB 950 Manuskriptkulturen in Asien, Afrika und Europa research centre of the University of Hamburg. The scope of the project has shifted from preparing a critical edition to a broader investigation of the manuscript culture of the codices that carry the GL, the amount of which has now reached the number 30.
Although the project now has a broader scope, its main aim still remains to prepare a critical edition of the GL. So far the following methodological decisions, resulting one from another, were made:
• use CollateX, the software for automatic collation, which allows to use a ‘baseless’ comparison method to produce a collated text
• use CTE for the critical edition
• use the frame work of Beta maṣāḥǝft project for cataloguing manuscripts, including the encoding of each individual manuscript as xml
• dedicate entire articles for some of the manuscripts which are remarkable and therefore do not fit the general schema
This is an ongoing project, which will last till September 2018. The paper will present the project’s methodological decisions and results which have been obtained so far.
TOWARDS A COMPREHENSIVE STUDY OF THE INDIGENOUS TEXT-CRITICAL METHODS OF ETHIOPIA: A FOCUS ON RECENTLY PRINTED GƎʾƎZ NEW TESTAMENT [Abstract ID: 0805-07]
MERSHA Alehegne, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
Gǝʾǝz texts have received their fair share of academic editorial treatment since the establishment of Ethiopian Studies as a local and international discipline. Throughout this rigorous academic production, text critical methodology has been appearing to be a topic that has sparked off considerable “sectorial” debate which is evident in different publications including editorial notes of editions and reviews made on them. In the course of the segmental debates on the editorial methodologies and approaches called to be employed in editing the Gǝʾǝz texts, the examination of the ‘indigenous’ methodological orientations and approaches of scholars who were engaged in copying and editing the original enormous body of the literature seems to have long been ignored externally. Now thankfully however, there is a move towards the study of printed editions of Gǝʾǝz texts produced in Ethiopia-by-Ethiopians as a source for information regarding indigenous methods and attitudes, which undoubtedly have been transferred from manuscript to print, it seems that this has started to become a subject of interest for academic exploration, externally or internationally at least, with the help of Alessandro Bausi. The purpose of this study, therefore, is to present two significant introductory texts with annotated translations that are printed as preface and introduction to the recently printed Gǝʾǝz New Testament (Ḥaddis Kidan 2009 AM = 2017 CE). The printed edition which contains the 27 Gǝʾǝz books of the New Testament, is prepared and printed by the Scholars’ Council of the Ethiopian Orthodox Täwaḥǝdo Church and the Bible Society of Ethiopia respectively. The two introductory texts (a preface by HH Abunä Matǝyas, the Patriarch, and an introduction by [possibly] the Scholars’ Council of the EOTC) detail significant information like the selected witnesses used for the edition and the rationale considered to select them, the methodological approaches employed in the preparation of the edition, etc. As a background to the text and its annotated translation, a concise discussion of the history of biblical editions carried out by the EOTC with an inventory of editions will also be presented. The presentation and annotated translation of these texts is supposed therefore to have a positive contribution in initiating further explorative works on the subject.
THE RELEVANCE OF NEW GƏʿƏZ TEXT EDITIONS FOR GRAMMAR AND LEXICOGRAPHY [Abstract ID: 0805-05]
Stefan WENINGER, Philipps-Universität Marburg
Grammar and lexicography of historical languages have to be based on reliable texts, usually in the form of critical editions. However, existing editions vary greatly in their usefulness for grammatical and lexicographical studies. While many editors have theologians and historians in mind while preparing their editions, they often neglect the needs of historical linguists who are interested in details of grammar and lexis. This paper provides a review of editions of Aksumite and Post-Aksumite texts with the question how and how easy these editions can facilitate future studies in grammar and lexicography. Finally, a set of guidelines is presented that can be helpful for future editors in preparing their critical editions for publication.
EDITING HAGIOGRAPHIC TEXTS TRANSMITTED IN MULTIPLE-TEXT MANUSCRIPTS: A METHODOLOGICAL REFLECTION [Abstract ID: 0805-13]
Antonella BRITA, CSMC, Universität Hamburg, Germany
The general aim of the paper is to propose a methodological reflection on the edition of texts which are part of large hagiographic collections transmitted in Multiple-Text Manuscripts (MTM). The main focus will be the edition of the texts of the Gadla Samāʿtāt (Acts of the Martyrs), an archaic canonico-liturgical collection attested in Ethiopia since the end of the 13th century and used in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church for the daily commemoration of both Martyrs and Saints. Only a small number of these hagiographies have been edited. The main questions that will be addressed are as follows: (a) what does it mean, from a methodological point of view, editing texts transmitted in MTM as Corpus Organisers (definition by Alessandro Bausi); (b) what the study of the textual transmission can tell us about the transmission of the whole collection? (c) does the transmission of the individual texts develop independently from the rest of the collection or only as part of the collection? (d) how the textual transmission reflects the material circulation of the manuscripts and, consequently, the scribal practices? (e) what can we learn about the veneration of the saints and about the birth of the local hagiography from the philological study of the texts?
NEW TEXT-CRITICAL EDITION OF THE CHRONICLE OF JOHN OF NIKIU: METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES [Abstract ID: 0805-10]
Daria ELAGINA, University of Hamburg, Germany
The Chronicle of John of Nikiu was first completely edited, published and translated in 1883 by H. Zotenberg on the basis of two Old-Ethiopic Mss. Since that three more Mss containing Old-Ethiopic version became available for research; so, the need of a new critical edition of the text became evident. Using the so-called genealogical-reconstructive method, also known as the common-error or (Neo-) Lachmannian method I proposed a Stemma Codicum for all five known Mss of Old-Ethiopic version. Based on Stemma, and on relative “weight” of each witness – so, on calculus of probability, - a proposal for reconstruction of substance as well as form is probable. I would like to discuss on possibilities and restrictions of genealogical reconstructive method on example of a new edition of the Chronicle of John of Nikiu.
A ROYAL COURT ORDER LISTING THE TITLES AND RANKS OF OFFICE HOLDERS IN THE CHRISTIAN KINGDOM OF ETHIOPIA: EDITION AND HISTORICAL COMMENTARY [Abstract ID: 0805-12]
SOLOMON Gebreyes, Universität Hamburg, Germany
It is true that we often read various titles of office holders under civil administration of Christian kingdom of Ethiopia in the royal chronicles and other historical texts. What we lack so far, however, is a text at our disposal that clearly describes the hierarchical structure of titles and ranks of office holders, ranging from a king at the top to the lowest office holders. A short royal court order written in Gǝʿǝz on two folios, entiled ወግ፡ ዘመዓርግ፡ ወምክር that is now available from a manuscript of Dǝrsanä Mikaʾel, housed at the monastery of Tara Gädam, provides now crucial new information on this point. The names of the titles of the whole office holders under the civil administration of the medieval Christian kingdom from the lowest title የሻለቃ to the top ንጉሥ are listed there. The colophon states that the text was composed by Azzaž Wäldä Tǝnsaʾe, a royal court judge or counselor probably during the time of Iyasu I (1682–1706). The text also appears included, with minor modifications, in the royal chronicle of Iyasu I (1682–1706) and the chronicle of Bäkaffa (1721–1730). In this regard, this paper attempts to examine the textual tradition of this text and edit it critically by collating it with the other witnesses that appear in the chronicles, and present it with an annotated English translation.
EDITING THE DƏGGʷĀ: REFLECTIONS ON AN ONGOING PROJECT. [Abstract ID: 0805-09]
Jonas KARLSSON, University of Hamburg, Germany
Traditionally attributed to St. Yāred (6th c.), the Dəggʷā is the main antiphonary of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. It is of great importance for its liturgical life and is widely attested in the manuscript material. Nevertheless, it has never been the subject of a comprehensive, diachronic study. Within the framework of an ongoing PhD project at the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures (University of Hamburg), this paper discusses the specific problems attached to the task of producing a scholarly edition the Dəggʷā. (A sample edition of a portion of the Dəggʷā is to be included in the dissertation.) A multilayered text, the Dəggʷā consists of antiphons for various liturgical feasts, structured according to a complex system of metatexts (generally abbreviated) and furnished with musical notation. How can this complexity be reflected in an edition? How can the great number of manuscript witnesses, at times only poorly catalogued, be handled? In addition, there are various versions of the Dəggʷā (abbreviations, collections structured according to different systems, as well as what appears to be earlier, pre-Dəggʷā collections of liturgical chant), which raises yet other questions regarding how to approach such a text from an editorial point of view.
THE VOICE OF THE GWAŇŇ ABOUT THE “MONASTERY” OF DIMA GIYORGIS [Abstract ID: 0805-18]
GETATCHEW Haile, Hill Museum &Manuscript Library, Saint John's University, Minnesota, USA (in absentia)
The Monastery of Dima Giyorgis in Bǝčäna, Goǧǧam, was founded by Abba Täkäśtä Bǝrhan, a disciple of Abba Anoreyos, the Elder. It was an important national center of spiritual life and higher education for a very long time. Its significance as such waned gradually beginning with the nationwide assault on Ethiopian Christianity by the forces of Aḥmad ibn Ibrāhīm al-Ġazī (Graňň) in the 16th century, and by Italian Facists in the 1930s. It is now a commune with a peculiar system of self-rule of the indigenous people, the center becoming a district or a settlement in which native clergy and laity live as a community supported by the monastery’s land grants. According to tradition, the change was triggered by the devastating assault of Aḥmad ibn Ibrāhīm al-Ġazī (Graňň). It is recorded that when the era of Graňň was over, and the monks came back from exile, they decide the life of coenobitism be abandoned. The article reviews the history of the monastery and presents the Amharic text of its new constitution.