HumaReC blogposts archive (24 months SNSF project 2016-2018)

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Galatians completed and two "Greek words" in Arabic

I am happy to publish today the last folios of the letter to the Galatians! In these pages, two details have raised my attention in Gal 4:24 and Gal 6:16.

I have hightlighted before that the Arabic translation was made from a Latin Vorlage – an element that was already raised up for the manuscripts Vat. Lat. 12900 and Madrid BN 4971 (see chapter 9.4 The Arabic text). On the other side, I have also started to point mutual influences between the three languages (see for example my previous post about Gal 1:21).

Evidences of this kind are accumulating. To give another example, here is a preview of an unpublished folio. In Rm 11:6 (folio 145r), we can observe this:

I will discuss this spot more precisely in due time but here, the Greek has a reading that is not present in the Latin text. The Arabic translation, even though it was made from the Latin, contains a translation of the Greek excerpt. My point is to show that the translator or maybe the later revisor (the scribe?) that produced the Arabic text found in the trilingual manuscript is not unaware of the Greek text. This is also the case in Gal 4:24 and Gal 6:16.

In Gal 4:24 (folio 213v), we find:

ἅτινά ἐστιν ἀλληγορούμενα αὔται γάρ εἰσι δύο διαθήκαι μία μὲν ἀπὸ ὅρους σινᾶ εἰς δουλεῖαν γεννῶσα ἥτις ἐστὶν ἀγάρ

que sunt per allegoriam dicta haec enim sunt duo testamenta unum quidem in monte sẏna in servitutem generans quae est agar

الذى قبل[1] على وجه اللغورومنا لانهما الوصيتان الواحده منجبل سينا الذي ولد ڡى العبديه التى هي هاجر

"Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar" (KJVS)

اللغورومنا (allaġūrūminā) is the transcription into Arabic of ἀλληγορούμενα.[2] The ending -ūminā makes clear that the transcription is based on the Greek word ἀλληγορούμενα, which is actually a plural participle form, and not on the Latin noun allegoriam. However, it seems here that allaġūrūminā is understood as a noun: it follows  على وجه with the prepositional function "in the manner of" and it makes the wording much closer to the Latin text: per allegoriam. In this sense, the Arabic translation takes here both from the Greek and the Latin!

In Gal 6:16 (folio 216r):

καὶ ὄσοι τῶ κανώνι τοῦτω στοιχήσουσιν εἰρήνη ἐπ αὐτοὺς καὶ ἔλεος καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν ἰσραὴλ τοῦ θεοῦ

et quicumque hanc regulam secuti fuerint pax super illos et misericordia et super israel dei

فمن اتبع هذا القانون كان السلم عليهم و الرّحمه التامّه و على اسرايل اللّه

"And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God" (KJVS)

القانون (al-qānūn) is also a term coming directly from the Greek. Unlike allaġūrūminā, this is an attested word in (Christian) Arabic text (see Graf, Verzeichnis arabischer kirchlicher Termini, Louvain,19542, p. 86). However, many other options were here possible.[3] The choice of qānūn could reflect the will to echo the Greek text.


Any remarks regarding these two "Greek words" in the Arabic translation? Doe not hesitate to comment below the article!!



[1] Should we read قيل instead of قبل ? It may correspond better to sunt ... dicta.
[2] In Sin. Ar. 151 and Sin. Ar. 155, we find other translation strategies. In Sin. Ar. 151: و انما هذا امثال ميثاقَين , in Sin. Ar. 155: الذين لم يكونا يتشابهان
[3] In Sin. Ar. 151: هذا السبيل , in Sin. Ar. 155: في هذه السُنة