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Re: [XTalk] Translating Agapius' Arabic title

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... Well, Kitab is book (my memory is confirmed below); Kitab al- Unwan is apparently the short version of the title, the longer being Kitab Al-Unwan
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 27, 2005
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      At 02:44 AM 6/27/2005, Bob Webb wrote:
      >I'm doing a little work on Josephus' Testimonium Flavianum. As many of you
      >well know, Agapius, a 10th century Arabic bishop cites a different version
      >of it in his work Arabic work titled Kitab al-'Unwan.
      >
      >This reference is often cited as coming from "Book of the Title" but other
      >references are to "Universal History".
      >
      >So, two questions:
      >
      >(1) Does anyone know enough Arabic to be able to translate Kitab al-'Unwan?

      Well, Kitab is "book" (my memory is confirmed below); Kitab al-'Unwan is
      apparently the short version of the title, the longer being

      "Kitab Al-Unwan Al-Mukallal Bi-Fadail Al-Hikma Al-Mutawwaj Bi-Anwa
      Al-Falsafa Al-Manduh Bi-Haqaq Al-Marifa." The approximate translation would
      be: "Book of History Guided by All the Virtues of Wisdom. Crowned with
      Various Philosophies and Blessed by the Truth of Knowledge."
      http://www.greatcom.org/resources/areadydefense/ch18/default.htm

      Arabic manuscripts have a 'title page' or cover with an "Illuminated opening,"
      A decorated panel above the start of a treatise (called an unwan) in
      Islamic
      <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/arabic/glossary.html#manuscript>manuscripts.
      The intricate painted design incorporated geometrical and floral motifs,
      and they could include a lozenge in which the title of the treatise would
      be written, for example, or the
      <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/arabic/glossary.html#basmalah>Basmalah would be
      inscribed.

      On Arabic books of the middle ages, see
      http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ei/kitab.htm


      >(2) Does anyone know why there are the two different titles? Is perhaps
      >"Book of the Title" a reference to a single volume within the multi-volume
      >"Universal History" or something else?

      I think "Book of the Title" is a literal translation, while "Universal
      History" is a characterization of the contents or a "free translation".

      Bob



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Bob Webb
      Thanks Bob. This was most helpful. If Unwan is a reference to the title page, so to speak, I m wondering if the Al-Unwan is a reference to this title page
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 28, 2005
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        Thanks Bob. This was most helpful.

        If "Unwan" is a reference to the title page, so to speak, I'm wondering if
        the "Al-Unwan" is a reference to this title page and it is normally left
        untranslated in a full title, and the rest of the title is actually the more
        literal "Book of the History..."

        What I suspect might have happened is that most people shortened the title
        arbitrarily to "Kitab Al-Unwan" from the longer title, and then this
        resulted in a strange mechanical translation of "Book of the Title." This
        then has simply been repeated from one footnote to the next (and one
        web-page to the next).

        Your thoughts?

        Bob Webb.


        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
        > [mailto:crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Bob Schacht
        > Sent: Monday, June 27, 2005 12:22 PM
        > To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: Re: [XTalk] Translating Agapius' Arabic title
        >
        >
        > At 02:44 AM 6/27/2005, Bob Webb wrote:
        > >I'm doing a little work on Josephus' Testimonium Flavianum.
        > As many of
        > >you well know, Agapius, a 10th century Arabic bishop cites a
        > different
        > >version of it in his work Arabic work titled Kitab al-'Unwan.
        > >
        > >This reference is often cited as coming from "Book of the Title" but
        > >other references are to "Universal History".
        > >
        > >So, two questions:
        > >
        > >(1) Does anyone know enough Arabic to be able to translate Kitab
        > >al-'Unwan?
        >
        > Well, Kitab is "book" (my memory is confirmed below); Kitab
        > al-'Unwan is
        > apparently the short version of the title, the longer being
        >
        > "Kitab Al-Unwan Al-Mukallal Bi-Fadail Al-Hikma Al-Mutawwaj Bi-Anwa
        > Al-Falsafa Al-Manduh Bi-Haqaq Al-Marifa." The approximate
        > translation would
        > be: "Book of History Guided by All the Virtues of Wisdom.
        > Crowned with
        > Various Philosophies and Blessed by the Truth of Knowledge."
        > http://www.greatcom.org/resources/areadydefense/ch18/default.htm
        >
        > Arabic manuscripts have a 'title page' or cover with an
        > "Illuminated opening," A decorated panel above the start of a
        > treatise (called an unwan) in
        > Islamic
        > <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/arabic/glossary.html#manuscript>ma
        > nuscripts.
        > The intricate painted design incorporated geometrical and
        > floral motifs,
        > and they could include a lozenge in which the title of the
        > treatise would
        > be written, for example, or the
        > <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/arabic/glossary.html#basmalah>Basm
        > alah would be
        > inscribed.
        >
        > On Arabic books of the middle ages, see
        > http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ei/kitab.htm
        >
        >
        > >(2) Does anyone know why there are the two different titles?
        > Is perhaps
        > >"Book of the Title" a reference to a single volume within the
        > >multi-volume "Universal History" or something else?
        >
        > I think "Book of the Title" is a literal translation, while
        > "Universal
        > History" is a characterization of the contents or a "free
        > translation".
        >
        > Bob
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >
        > The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
        >
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      • Bob Schacht
        ... Yep; that s pretty much exactly what I think. If someone s really interested in this literary tradition, then find the first known work in English that
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 28, 2005
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          At 09:30 AM 6/28/2005, Bob Webb wrote:
          >Thanks Bob. This was most helpful.
          >
          >If "Unwan" is a reference to the title page, so to speak, I'm wondering if
          >the "Al-Unwan" is a reference to this title page and it is normally left
          >untranslated in a full title, and the rest of the title is actually the more
          >literal "Book of the History..."
          >
          >What I suspect might have happened is that most people shortened the title
          >arbitrarily to "Kitab Al-Unwan" from the longer title, and then this
          >resulted in a strange mechanical translation of "Book of the Title." This
          >then has simply been repeated from one footnote to the next (and one
          >web-page to the next).
          >
          >Your thoughts?

          Yep; that's pretty much exactly what I think. If someone's really
          interested in this "literary tradition," then find the first known work in
          English that used this translation of the title (the original "strange
          mechanical translation"), and watch to see everyone else copying that
          English translation instead of actually looking at the full Arabic title.
          In fact, I would suspect that 2-word book titles were just not part of the
          gestalt of the era in which this mss was written.

          I wonder what an Arabist familiar with manuscripts of this period would say?

          Bob Schacht
          University of Hawaii


          >Bob Webb.
          >
          >
          > > -----Original Message-----
          > > From: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
          > > [mailto:crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Bob Schacht
          > > Sent: Monday, June 27, 2005 12:22 PM
          > > To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
          > > Subject: Re: [XTalk] Translating Agapius' Arabic title
          > >
          > >
          > > At 02:44 AM 6/27/2005, Bob Webb wrote:
          > > >I'm doing a little work on Josephus' Testimonium Flavianum.
          > > As many of
          > > >you well know, Agapius, a 10th century Arabic bishop cites a
          > > different
          > > >version of it in his work Arabic work titled Kitab al-'Unwan.
          > > >
          > > >This reference is often cited as coming from "Book of the Title" but
          > > >other references are to "Universal History".
          > > >
          > > >So, two questions:
          > > >
          > > >(1) Does anyone know enough Arabic to be able to translate Kitab
          > > >al-'Unwan?
          > >
          > > Well, Kitab is "book" (my memory is confirmed below); Kitab
          > > al-'Unwan is
          > > apparently the short version of the title, the longer being
          > >
          > > "Kitab Al-Unwan Al-Mukallal Bi-Fadail Al-Hikma Al-Mutawwaj Bi-Anwa
          > > Al-Falsafa Al-Manduh Bi-Haqaq Al-Marifa." The approximate
          > > translation would
          > > be: "Book of History Guided by All the Virtues of Wisdom.
          > > Crowned with
          > > Various Philosophies and Blessed by the Truth of Knowledge."
          > >
          > <http://www.greatcom.org/resources/areadydefense/ch18/default.htm>http://www.greatcom.org/resources/areadydefense/ch18/default.htm
          > >
          > > Arabic manuscripts have a 'title page' or cover with an
          > > "Illuminated opening," A decorated panel above the start of a
          > > treatise (called an unwan) in
          > > Islamic
          > >
          > <<http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/arabic/glossary.html#manuscript>http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/arabic/glossary.html#manuscript>ma
          > > nuscripts.
          > > The intricate painted design incorporated geometrical and
          > > floral motifs,
          > > and they could include a lozenge in which the title of the
          > > treatise would
          > > be written, for example, or the
          > >
          > <<http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/arabic/glossary.html#basmalah>http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/arabic/glossary.html#basmalah>Basm
          > > alah would be
          > > inscribed.
          > >
          > > On Arabic books of the middle ages, see
          > >
          > <http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ei/kitab.htm>http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ei/kitab.htm
          > >
          > >
          > > >(2) Does anyone know why there are the two different titles?
          > > Is perhaps
          > > >"Book of the Title" a reference to a single volume within the
          > > >multi-volume "Universal History" or something else?
          > >
          > > I think "Book of the Title" is a literal translation, while
          > > "Universal
          > > History" is a characterization of the contents or a "free
          > > translation".
          > >
          > > Bob
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > The XTalk Home Page is
          > <http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/>http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
          > >
          > > To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to:
          > > crosstalk2-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
          > >
          > > To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to:
          > > crosstalk2-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          > >
          > > List managers may be contacted directly at:
          > > crosstalk2-owners@yahoogroups.com
          > >
          > >
          > > Yahoo! Groups Links
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
          >
          >
          >The XTalk Home Page is
          ><http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/>http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
          >
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