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Early Christian Arabic Versions of Daniel: A Comparative Study of Early Manuscripts (9th–13th centuries) with a Focus on Translation Techniques in MS Sinai Ar. 1 and MS Sinai Ar. 2
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Linguistics and Philology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9647-7430#sthash.5GLTOmIY.dpuf
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Book of Daniel was translated into Arabic by and for Near Eastern Christians around the ninth century, as evident from extant manuscript sources. Approximately a dozen early (9th–13th centuries) Christian Arabic translations of this book have survived until today. With a few exceptions, these manuscripts contain independent translations. In the present study I aim at classifying the early translations and describing salient translation features attested in two of these manuscripts, MSS Sinai 1 and 2, in depth. A less detailed survey of translation techniques in all early Daniel translations and samples from various other Christian Arabic Old Testament translations will also be included. 

The survey indicates that the early Christian Arabic Daniel translations were not standardized and shows that they are characterized by many non-literal techniques. We may therefore surmise that they were not composed in order to replace the Greek and Syriac Bible texts but to explain them and make the main events of the biblical narrative available to the Arabic-speaking audience while the traditional texts were still in use and served as the measuring-standard. The supplementing function played by these translations explains their extensive omission of repetitive information and explication of elliptic material extant in the source texts. The Arabic translated texts are further subjected to an adjusting process wherein source units are sporadically altered in the target texts and brought in line with liturgical material, Bible commentaries, and wider cultural settings. They are written in clear and idiomatic Arabic, exhibit some Middle Arabic traits, and the vocabulary has an ‘Islamic cast’ to it. The student of Judaeo-Arabic translations immediately recognizes many of the translational features identified in these texts. Especially interesting is the relation between these Christian-Arabic versions and Saadiah Gaon’s tafsīr on Daniel. Just like Saadiah, the Christian Arabic translators aimed at producing translations that were suitable for an audience acquainted with the norms of Classical Arabic and their interpretational framework was not confined to the biblical corpus itself but took into consideration the larger scope of the Christian Orthodox and Oriental traditions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Department of Linguistics and Philology , 2015. , 330 p.
Keyword [ar]
Christian Arabic
National Category
Research subject
Semitic Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-238996OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-238996DiVA: diva2:777053
Public defence
2015-02-21, Geijersalen, Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3H, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2015-01-28 Created: 2014-12-17 Last updated: 2015-01-28

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Lindgren Hjälm, Mirjam
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