Slavonic translations

Text or Paratext? The Synopsis Apostolorum of Dorotheus of Tyre

  • Summary/Abstract

    The article discusses the Synopsis Apostolorum attributed to Dorotheus of Tyre, which purports to be a list of the Seventy Apostles. It gives a brief overview of the history of the text in Greek and Slavonic. In contrast to the Greek tradition, where it may be found in miscellanies of various types and also in manuscripts of the Apostolos which are provided with relatively extensive apparatus, in Slavonic it is found exclusively in Apostolos manuscripts. The redaction of the Synopsis, moreover, corresponds to the redaction of the Apostolos; there are discernible differences between the texts in each of the three Slavonic redactions in which it is represented. This indicates that it was translated as part of the accompanying text each time that the Apostolos itself was translated. This means that the Slavonic version (unlike the Greek) exists exclusively as paratext, but that this paratextual status, being dependent on the version, is not intrinsic to the work but a function of its history. This in turn points to the necessity of taking the paratext into account in any study of the text of the Bible.

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The Fate of the Poetry and Prose in the Reception of Literature about Job

  • Summary/Abstract

    Translation, and in the broader sense, meditation are important concepts in the study of the development of legends and other text to do with the figure of Job. It has been argued that ancient Near Eastern (Babylonian, Sumerian and Egyptian) righteous sufferer motifs have been ‘translated’ into the figure of Job in the Hebrew Bible, and this figure then finds himself ‘translated’ again in the Hellenistic Jewish milieus of the Septuagint version of the Book of Job, and of a different composition about Job, the Testament of Job. This composition differs significantly from the earlier traditions, as it is a narrative rather than (mainly) a poetic philosophical treatise, and the theme of the righteous sufferer is almost absent. The Testament of Job is better viewed as an independent composition about Job, rather than as a ‘translation’ (commentary, interpretation) of the Book of Job. Being aware of these wider issues, this paper will zoom in on the Testament of Job as a text in translation. While earlier scholars advocated the view that there was a Semitic (Hebrew or Aramaic) original, this view has now been abandoned in favour of the thesis that this composition was composed in Greek, probably in a Hellenistic Jewish milieu. Later this story was adopted by Christians and translated first in Coptic and later in Slavonic, and the Greek text also continued to be copied and adjusted in Byzantine Christian contexts. This paper will examine some of the differences between these three translations and try to come to an understanding of the nature of each the existing versions of the Testament of Job as a translation from the now lost original.

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The Chronicle of Julius Africanus in Slavic Translation

  • Summary/Abstract

    The article is focused on the structure of the first part of the so-called Slavic version of the Chronicle of George Synkellos. Narrative refers to the years from the Creation to the Resurrection of Christ and is organized entirely according to the chronological and the Christological concept of early Christian writer and historian Julius Africanus. Dates are calculated according to the testimony of the Bible based on the so-called прэимьнаа лэта, i.e. the age of the Biblical patriarchs at the birth of their firstborn sons, and according to the years of managing various leaders of the Jewish people the so-called воеводами. Most of them, as well as relevant considerations coincide chronologically with preserved chronologies and fragments by Julius Africanus. Additional chronological axis by Olympic cycle that synchronizes the year of the first Olympiad of the reign of Ahaz, and input data for the Olympic history of the Hellenistic states and Ancient Rome, it takes us back again to Julius Africanus. Following A. Geltser the author assumes that the fragment of Julius Africanus chronicle was founded on Greek soil in the early ninth century and was used to create the historiography compilation preserved in Slavonic translation misidentified as a Chronicle of George Synkellos.

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Spiritually Beneficial Tales in Byzantine and Slavic Literature - Foreword

  • Summary/Abstract

    The term "hagiography" is deeply anachronistic, since it brings together on a non-literary basis a variety of literary genres. Byzantines were not familiar with this term. It was Paul of Monemvasia himself who introduced a special term for the pieces he was writing: "Diegeseis psychopheleis". Therefore we can suggest that Byzantines had a sense that this was a special genre. The word ‘Diegesis’ (Narrative) underlines the literary, conventional nature of a text, especially as opposed to the term "bios kai politeia", which stresses its "authenticity". A Vita as a whole is called "historia psychopheles" only once - the term is applied to an uncommon hagiographic text such as the novel of Barlaam and Ioasaph which lacked the characteristic features of a common Byzantine Vita Based on the contexts in which ‘diegesis’ occurs in hagiography we can figure out that it meant a precise piece of narrative, with a well-confined plot. The "tales" plots are commonly rich in twists and details that are redundant from the edification point of view, and this trait distinguishes "tales" from fables and parables. Apparently when "tales" spread beyond the monasteries’ quarters, when city dwellers emerged in their plots, and the actual stories grew more complicated, this modified the genre, emphasized the entertaining element and further diminished the tale’s edifying value. The articles of the following collection are published in chronological order. Our collection is a first attempt to trace the fate of a poorly studied yet extremely interesting genre, which may shatter some of the current preconceptions about Byzantine literature.

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