A Tale about Job in Manuscript 747 of the National Library of Sofia
This article introduces manuscript 747 of the National Library of Sofia and focuses especially on the Tale about Job in this codex, the text of which has also been published. The physical description of the manuscript and the examination of its contents supplement the information provided in Conev’s catalogue. Manuscript 747 contains the end of the Life of Alexius (1a-1b), a Tale about Job (complete; 1b-4b), part of the Passion of Charalampius (4b-12b), half a page of a narrative about Alexander the Great (13a), the Life of Alexius (complete; 13a-25b) and Rites and Prayers for the Liturgy (incomplete; 27a-34b). After the introduction of the codex as a whole, this article provides a preliminary study of the Tale about Job. This Tale has been compared with the prose frame of the Book of Job in the witnesses presented verse by verse by Hristova-Šomova. It seems closest to the text of the Ostrog Bible. Divergences of the Tale about Job from the prose frame of the Book of Job include the title, part of the first line, a few words throughout the composition and (especially) frequent omissions. This raises the issue of how much divergence is needed for a composition to be recognised as a different creation, rather than as a version of an existing composition. It has been proposed that the Tale of Job can still be described as a version of the prose frame of the Book of Job. The suggestion can be made that it represents a fifth way in which (part of) the Book of Job circulated in the Slavonic Middle Ages. Besides the versions mentioned by Hristova-Šomova (Paramejnik lessons, and four different versions of the full biblical Book (with and without commentaries)), this article has developed the argument that the Tale about Job from manuscript 747 of the National Library of Sofia represents a version of the prose frame of the Book of Job which circulated as a didactic story.