Baqadami gabra igzi'abher : a Beta Israel liturgical text
The major part of the thesis is a critical edition of a Beta Israel text known as Baqadami gabra igzi'abher, based on four manuscripts. In addition, there is a structural and thematic analysis of the text. My basic thesis is that this text should be viewed not only as a literary work, but as a liturgical text, and in relationship to the Beta Israel liturgy, in both oral and written aspects. I have argued against the assumption of any *direct* historical causal connection between the Beta Israel liturgy and the "mainstream" (rabbinic) Jewish liturgical tradition. The development of the Beta Israel liturgy has to be seen within the Ethiopian historical context. However, methodology used in "mainstream" Jewish liturgical research (in particular the form-critical method) can also be useful in analysing and understanding the Beta Israel liturgy. The dissertation falls into two parts. Part One comprises three introductory chapters: Chapter One gives the background to Baqadami gabrd igzi'abher: description of the manuscripts; critical review of previous research on this work (in particular an article by M. Wurmbrand); a general description of the work, its language, structure and content; my methodological approach to editing and analysing the work; and discusses its liturgical context within the Beta Israel liturgical cycle. Chapter Two has a general discussion on the relationship between written and oral liturgical traditions; earlier and current research on Beta Israel literature and liturgy; and suggested directions of future research. Chapter Three consists of a detailed analysis of the text: subdivision into sections, and comments on the contents, styles, themes and formal structures of the sections. Part Two includes the complete Ge'ez text of the work from one of these manuscripts (manuscript A), with footnotes noting textual variations in the other three manuscripts; and a translation into English.