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RE: [XTalk] Translating Agapius' Arabic title

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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 1 of 3 , Jun 28, 2005
      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]
      > >
      > >
      > >
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