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Objectives

The project has two main objectives:

  1. Contributing to the scholarly quest for the first translations of the four gospels into Arabic. When and where was the earliest Arabic translation of the Gospels compiled? There have been some debates over the dating of this version, possibly because this question has been tackled from different angles. Historical accounts confirm the existence of an Arabic Christian community before the rise of Islam, but cannot confirm that Arabic was the scriptural and liturgical language that they used[1].
  2. Identifying the different families of the Arabic translations preserved in the manuscripts’ tradition.

Many attempts have been made to classify the textual traditions of the Arabic Gospels. They include the work of the following scholars: Ignazio Guidi (1888)[2], S. K. Samir (1992)[3], Jean Valentin (2003)[4] and Hikmat Kashouh (2012)[5]. These important studies highlight the complexity of this issue; but they were made on the basis of only a few test texts selected from a large number of manuscripts.. Their classifications were based mainly on verbal agreement. Our project intends to continue these efforts by extending the study to include a larger number of texts and manuscripts and by using new automated methods.



[1] H. Kashouh, The Arabic Versions of the Gospels: The Manuscripts and their Families (Arbeiten zur neutestamentlichen Textforschung, 42), Berlin/Boston, De Gruyter, 2012, pp. 34-35

[2] I. Guidi, Le traduzioni degli Evangelii in arabo e in etiopico, in Atti della Reale Accademia dei Lincei, 4 (1888).

[3] S. K. Samir, La version arabe des évangiles d'al-As’ad ibn al-‘Assāl, in Parole de l’Orient, 19 (1992) 156-190.

[4] J. Valentin, Les évangéliaires arabes de la bibliothèque du monastère Ste.-Catherine (Mont Sinaï): essai de classification d'après l'étude d'un chapitre (Matth. 28): traducteurs, réviseurs, types textuels in Le Muséon 116 (2003) 415-477.

[5] H. Kashouh,  The Arabic Versions of the Gospels: The Manuscripts and their Families (Arbeiten zur neutestamentlichen Textforschung, 42), Berlin/Boston, De Gruyter, 2012, xiv, 761 pages.

 

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