On the Dating of the Ethiopian Dynastic Treatise Kǝbra nagaśt: New Evidence
In the present article the textual distortion of the Biblical verse Lev. 18.8 cited in
the Ethiopian dynastic treatise Kǝbrä nägäśt is considered as an intentional allusion to
the conflict between the king of Ethiopia ‘Amdä Ṣǝyon I (1314–1344) and the Däbrä
Libanos monastic congregation. The second half of that verse was changed in such a
way that the marriage to a wife of the father became equal with the mother–son incest.
At the same time it is generally known that some clergymen accused that king, who
married a concubine of his father for political reasons, of cohabiting his mother. That
conflict came into being in the 27th year of the reign of ‘Amdä Ṣǝyon I and on the
basis of the above-mentioned allusion to it in the text of the Kǝbrä nägäśt the treatise
should be dated rather precisely from the beginning of the 40ies of the 14th century
The idea of nafs (literally arab. soul; self) is on the list of the key Sufi concepts; the term assumed importance both in doctrine and in the stories of the saints or the “God’s friends” (awliyā), who were always in struggle with their carnal souls and never persevered in attempts to tame the recalcitrant nafs. The first part of the paper gives a brief overview of the meaning of the term nafs (from the Quran to Sufi teachings) and traces the stage by stage development of the “carnal soul” connotation; the variety of the translations is also under discussion. The second part centres around the uses of the term in ʻAttar’s compendium Taẕkirat al awliyā (Memorial of God’s Friends). The narrative there is permeated with episodes of self-restraint; the descriptions of a Saint’s struggle with his own self (nafs) or his carnal soul (nafs) constitute a specific theme cluster of the hagiographic narration. ʻAttar mostly translated the stories from the Arab sources, however he arranged them following the Iranian didactic tradition. Under his pen nafs has become a narrative personage, a devious and perfidious character more powerful than Iblis himself.
An introduction to the current Byzantine hagiographical studies and projects
In recent years Byzantine hagiography has attracted renewed interest of the international community of Byzantine scholars and not only thanks to studies dedicated to this subject and critical editions of individual texts, but also because hagiography has been the main focus of numerous major research projects: databases, new repertories, a new version of the Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca and some very useful handbooks dedicated to this literary genre during the Byzantine Empire. These researches have analysed Byzantine hagiography in relation to the hagiographic writings composed in neighbouring areas, the West, the Syriac and Arabic Middle East, the Southern Slavs, etc. but also the relations between the hagiographical texts and other literary genres.
This volume introduces the current developments of hagiographical studies and on-going projects on the subject, and investigates a variety of texts and authors from the Patristic period to the end of Byzantium.
Antonio Rigo is Professor of Byzantine Philology and Christianity at Ca' Foscari - University of Venice. His research focuses on religious life in Byzantium, with special emphasis on ascetical and mystical literature, heresiology, and theology during the Paleologan period.
Memorial to Sevir Chernetsov, outstandinf africcan and Ethiopic scholar
This article discusses one of the most peculiar elements of the Diocletianic tradition in Coptic hagiographical texts which is unattested in any other historical sources — namely, the special connection between Diocletian and his favourite god, Apollo. It appears that the authors of Coptic texts used for re-creating the historical setting of the events of the Great Persecution not only the material provided in the works of Christian historiographers, such as Eusebius, Lactantius and John Malalas, but also homiletic and hymnographic material found in other sources. The descriptions of the Diocletian’s connection with Apollo in the Coptic texts contradict the historical evidence (Diocletian’s tutelary deity was Zeus, not Apollo); however, they evince their authors’ knowledge of the references to the cult of Apollo at Antioch in the works of the two most popular Antiochian authors of later period — John Chrysostom and Severus of Antioch. Their homilies in honour of St Babylas of Antioch have been known in Egypt from the relatively early stage and have obviously influenced the Coptic perception of Antioch as a centre of the cult of Apollo; one might also see the how these later episodes — the story of Julian the Apostate and the relics of St Babylas — were re-imagined and re-introduced by Coptic hagiographers into the martyr passions of the Diocletianic period.
This book examines the function and development of the cult of saints in Coptic Egypt, focusing primarily on the material provided by the texts forming the Coptic hagiographical tradition of the early Christian martyr Philotheus of Antioch, and more specifically, the Martyrdom of St Philotheus of Antioch (Pierpont Morgan M583). This Martyrdom is a reflection of a once flourishing cult which is attested in Egypt by rich textual and material evidence. This text enjoyed great popularity not only in Egypt, but also in other countries of the Christian East, since his dossier includes texts in Coptic, Georgian, Ethiopic, and Arabic.
This article discusses a process that could be defined as ‘exchange of saints’ between Egypt and Syria in the second half of the first millennium. Coptic synaxaria and liturgical books contain commemorations not only of the local martyrs who were born and suffered in Egypt, but also a great number of commemorations of foreign saints who later became appropriated by the Coptic Church, such as a group of the so-called Antiochene saints whose relics were claimed to belong to Egypt either because these saints were martyred in Egypt or because the relics had been transferred to Egypt at some point. The presence of these saints in early hymnographic collections preserved in two manuscripts of the ninth century (M574 and M575 of the Pierpont Morgan Library) provides ample evidence of the continuing and lasting interest of the Egyptian Christians in Antiochene saints. Such enthusiasm could probably be explained by the work of Severus of Antioch (465-538) who did a great deal to promote the exchange of saints between the two communities. The article also examines the seeming absence of reciprocity on the Syrian side and reviews the evidence provided by the early material, such as the hymns attributed to Severus of Antioch, which came down to us in Syriac translation revised by James of Edessa in the seventh century. One of these texts, a hymn dedicated to the Egyptian martyrs, is of particular interest in regard to the ‘exchange of saints’ and shows that the process was in fact reciprocal.
Cosmas and Damianos, encyclopedia enty. Description of the hagiographic dossier
The Martyrdom of St Philotheus of Antioch has come down to us in two main versions – Coptic and Georgian – of which the Coptic is much longer due to the addition of some extra episodes mainly dedicated to different miraculous events in the martyr’s story: there are magi, dragons, demons and even walking statues, and the account, relatively sober in Georgian, has a much more fantastic character in Coptic. One of the most interesting parts of the narrative is the episode which relates the events that led to the repentance and conversion of Philotheus’ parents, Antiochian pagans of noble birth and great wealth. The following chain of events can be derived from all different versions of the Martyrdom: the boy is brought to offer a sacrifice to the mysterious calf which his parents worship; the calf has a conversation with Philotheus and then receives permission from Philotheus to kill his parents; it attacks them and gores them to death; the parents are left to lie dead and unburied for three days until Philotheus finally revives them. They repent of their previous idolatry and receive baptism from a Christian priest. Since this episode appears to be one of the focal points of the Coptic liturgical hymns in honour of St Philotheus and is clearly very important for the construction of the Martyrdom of St Philotheus and further development of his cult in the Coptic Church, it deserves a closer attention, as it provides yet another opportunity for dating and placing the Martyrdom of St Philotheus in a broader context of contemporary Coptic literature.
Onomastic of the Life of Gäbrä Krestos, famous champion of the Ethiopic hagiography. He was Syriabn and his name turns to be most enigmatic in the Syro-Ethiopic hagiography.
The article is concerned with the notions of technology in essays of Ernst and Friedrich Georg Jünger. The special problem of the connection between technology and freedom is discussed in the broader context of the criticism of culture and technocracy discussion in the German intellectual history of the first half of the 20th century.