Vadim Wittkovsky

Humboldt-Universität Berlin, Germany

Литературный феномен «переписывания» (‘rewriting’) в Исторической Палее и Авраамовом цикле славянских сборников

The Literary Phenomenon of ‘Rewriting’ in the Palaea Historica and the Cycle About Abraham in Slavic Collections

  • Summary/Abstract
    In 1961, Geza Vermes coined the term “rewritten Bible,” which originally was meant as a designation for antique and medieval Jewish legends about the patriarch Abraham in different ways transforming the text of chapters 11 to 25 of Genesis. Later this term was assigned to a broader circle of Jewish texts and more recently it is often in use in scholarly works on Early Christian literature. At the same time, there is no doubt that the legends about Abraham are still one of the best examples of the rewriting method. This is true especially for Abrahamic texts which were in use since 9th century in Byzantium and among Southern (partly also Eastern) Slavic peoples. The paper deals with rewriting methods used in the Palaea Historica (including its Slavonic translations) and in the texts of Abraham’s cycle contained in many Slavic miscellanies (sborniki), which probably also had Greek origins.

Апокрифический цикл об Аврааме в славянских сборниках смешанного содержания и в поэме Георгиоса Хумноса. (К вопросу о рецепции Исторической Палеи) Scripta & e-Scripta vol. 18, 2018 floyd Thu, 12/27/2018 - 07:08
The Apocryphal Abraham’s Cycle in the Slavic Miscellanies and in the Poem of Georgios Choumnos (A Contribution to the Reception of the Palaea Historica)

The Historical Palaea was composed in Greek (approximately in the 9th century) and found a broad reception in the Slavic world. The text was not only translated more than one time into Slavonic but also reworked in such texts as the apocryphal cycle of Abraham contained in many Southern Slavonic miscellanies. The reception in the Byzantine realm was probably more limited but there is at least one important exception: a poem written in the 2nd half of the 15th century by a Cretan Georgios Chumnos. A comparison between the cycle of Abraham and the relevant part of this poem (verses 579 to 1348) shows that there are many agreements between the cycle of Abraham and Chumnos against the text of the Historical Palaea as their common Vorlage (story of Melchizedek told through direct speech; omission of circumcision of Isaac and death of Sarah; inclusion of death of Abraham omitted in the Palaea; omission of several allusions to the New Testament and many other affinities). The article deals with the question about possible explanations of some of these – partly astonishing – similarities between the texts of two different traditions.

Language and Literature Studies // Georgios Choumnos // Slavonic apocrypha // Palaea Historica // Series about Abraham //
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