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6345verbs in asyndeton

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  • Andrew Palmer
    Apr 23, 2014
      This is my first message to the members of the Hugoye list. Please let me introduce myself at some length on this one occasion! I am Andrew Palmer, British, aged 59, resident in the Netherlands. I first learned Syriac from Malfono Isa at Mor Gabriel monastery in 1977-8, when I stayed there for six months, and continued under Prof. Julius Assfalg at Munich in 1978 and Dr Sebastian Brock at Oxford from 1978 to 1982. My doctorate (Oxford 1983, supervised by Dr Brock) was on the sources for the early history of the monastery of Qartmin (Mor Gabriel); it developed into a monograph, published by Cambridge University Press and available (thanks to Jack Tannous and Mark Soileau) on archive.org: Monk and mason on the Tigris Frontier: the early history of Tur 'Abdin. I have written on many subjects, including the history of the Syrian Orthodox in Melitene and Jerusalem, Syriac chronicles and saints' Lives, Syriac inscriptions, the works of Ephrem of Nisibis and their reception, the Sitz im Leben of the successive versions of the Abgar legend and the monastic geography and oral history of Tur 'Abdin and the surrounding area. My work in progress, in order of priority, includes: 1) edition of the Life of Barsawmo of Samosata, for which I am contracted to the University of Muenster until the end of May, after which I shall probably be unemployed for a while (has anyone got temporary work for me?); 2) edition of the Greek and Syriac inscriptions of Dara for the Archaeological Museum of Mardin (to be translated into Turkish by Reyhan Durmaz); 3) edition of the Syriac and (with Prof. Robert Hoyland) Arabic inscriptions of M'arre (Eskihisar) and its monasteries, including that of Mar Awgin, near Nisibis (is anyone - e. g. with a family link to Mardin or M'arre - willing to promise me a sum of money greater than 200 euros, the likely cost of sending them complimentary copies of the published works, if I complete these two projects before 1 October 2014?). I am due to speak at Munich in May on Syriac monastic foundations of the seventh century; at Wuerzburg in October on the Greek Acts of the Apostle Thaddaeus and related texts; at Goettingen in November on the Sayfo of 1915 according to Israil Odo and Suleyman Henno.

      This should give an idea of the range of my interests up till now. Having introduced myself, my future messages will be as short as the question which now follows.

      My first question to the Huogoye list concerns Syriac syntax. Is anyone out there interested in, or working on, the rules governing the use of two or more verbs in asyndeton, that is, without Waw ('and') to join them? The transmission of the Life of Barsawmo suggests that scribes tended to add Waw in copying such verb-clusters, because they lived in a time when this aspect of Syriac syntax was no longer fully understood. I am particularly interested in clusters of three verbs without a copula and in clusters of two where the first modifies the second and can often best be translated by an adverb in English. Apart from Noeldeke, I have not read any analysis of this phenomenon. It would help editors if a full list of modifying verbs attested in asyndeton could be drawn up. To give one concrete example, I could then look up /'azzi/ and see if the sentence /kmo kay meshkaH (h)wo da-n'azze w-neT'an ulSono/ (under the seventeenth rubric of the text) might be emended to /da-n'azze neT'an/, translating: 'With what great fortitude (/n'azze/) he was able to endure (/neT'an/) suffering' on the basis of the attestation of the cluster /'azzi T'en/, preferably in a manuscript of the fifth or sixth century.
      Dr A. N. Palmer
      Bruininkhuizen 28
      4875 AG Etten-Leur
      Tel. +31768893600
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