The Textual Background of the Gospel of Matthew in Ge‘ez

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Zuurmond, Rochus (2013)
  • Publisher: Universität Hamburg, Hiob Ludolf Centre for Ethiopian Studies
  • Journal: Aethiopica (issn: 2194-4024, eissn: 1430-1938)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.15460/aethiopica.4.1.489
  • Subject: Ethiopian Studies | Gospel of Matthew; Bible; Christianity; Edition; Greek; Ge'ez; Gǝʿǝz; | ddc:230 | ddc:220 | ddc:400 | ddc:490 | ddc:800 | ddc:890

The Gospel of Matthew in Ge‘ez has been handed down in two ancient Versions: A-text and B-text. The A-text is the earlier one, translated from the Greek and completed not later than the 6th century. It is a very ‘free’ translation, adapting the text not only to a Semitic vernacular but also to a new cultural background. The Vorlage of the A-text was rather close to the Byzantine type of text, but it has more readings in common with Greek manuscripts such as ﬡ, W and B, than those commonly understood as ‘Byzantine.’ The B-text, although strongly influenced by the A-text, removes practically all translational liberties of the A-text. It contains readings that seem to have originated from Syriac or Coptic Gospels and therefore is probably a medieval revision of the A-text on the basis of Arabic Gospels. Existing European editions of the Gospel of Matthew by and large exhibit a B-text.