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Title: Falasha version of the Testaments of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob : a critical study of five unpublished Ethiopic manuscripts
Author: Gaguine, M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2693 0273
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 1965
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When I undertook a critical study of the Falasha Version of the Testaments of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the initial objective I set myself was the collation of the texts of five unpublished Falasha MSS. -one from the Cambridge University Library and four from the Faitlovitch Library, Tel-Aviv. The published work already done in this field, viz., the texts and translations of the d'Abbadie fragment by Conti Rossini, Aeffooly and Leslau, had also to be taken into account. In the second year of my study., two further Ethiopic MSS., from Addis Ababa, became available and were consulted at points of special difficulty. The procedure I adopted was to use the Cambridge MS. as my 'master' text, noting in my apparatus the variants between it and the other four MSS. as well as the printed texts of Conti Rossini and Aeäooly. The basis of my translation was the Cambridge text, . -but emended from the Ethiopic variants according as the sense or grammar seemed to demand. These emendations I appended to the translation in the form of critical notes which included such OT, rabbinic, NT and Islamic sources or similarities as I was able to trace and seemed relevant. As the work prooeeded, examples of Arabic-style syntactical phenomena were encountered that seemed to substantiate the theory (formed by Conti Rossini, Aeäcoly and Leslau successively) that the Ethiopic version was a translation of the Arabic, and it thug became evident that a detailed comparison of the two versions might yield valuable results. Accordingly I obtained from Paris'a microfilm of the d'Abbadie Arabic MS. of the Testaments. On inspection it offered evidence consistent with the above theory, but it also disclosed discrepancies and variants suggesting that if indeed Arabic was the immediate source of the Ethiopic version, (a) it may in places have been misread by the Ethiopian translator(s), or (b) the d'Abbadie Arabic MS. may itself be corrupt in parts. This led me to subject the Arabic text to a much closer analysis than I had expected would be necessary, but the task proved exceptionally rewarding, both historically and philologically. The corresponding Arabic reading was therefore noted in the apparatus wherever the Ethiopic MSS. differed, in order to assess whether or not it supported the Ge-ez reading finally adopted. Additionally, in the case of Isaac and Jacob, the Coptic version (using Gaselee's translation) was similarly considered. In my Introduction, I attempt to evaluate the interrelation of the Ge-ez MSS.; to trace the sequence of transmission of the versions; to ascertain the date of the Ethiopic text; and to assess the dependence of the latter on the Arabic. I then turn to the earliest extant versions (i. e. Greek and Coptic), to investigate in some detail the findings of M. R. James, K. Kohler and Z. Ginzberg with regard to the sources of Abraham, and to consider the internal evidence of Isaac and Jacob. for clues as to their origin. Asia result, I put forward a case for a Jewish-Christian authorship for the. Testaments. f In my Conclusions, I consider the light which the Ethiopic version sheds on the origins of Falasha Judaism and suggest that the books lend no substance to the claim for an ethnical link between the Palashas and ancient Israel. Finally I propose that the Testaments, in conjunction with other historical evidence, support the view that the Palashas are descendants of those sections of the Aksumite Kingdom that resisted conversion to Christianity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available