Thursday, 9 July 2015

Donna Rizk: The Different Armenian Versions of Aristides’ Apology

The Apology of Aristides of Athens was written by an Athenian philosopher, Aristides,
although the dating of it is problematic (either in the times of Hadrian or rather of Antoninus Pius). The Apology was originally written in Greek (of which just a few fragments are extant), and has been translated into Syriac, Armenian and Latin. I will discuss the different manuscripts found of the Armenian version of The Apology along with the variant versions of this text found and embedded in a medieval folklore entitled The Life of Baralam and Joasaphat. I will attempt to demonstrate the importance of the different Armenian versions that are extant and discuss how these manuscripts have impacted early (and later) Christian Armenia. I will also briefly discuss how the Armenian version of the Apology can be dated as early as the fifth century. As it is the only known apologetical text throughout early Christian Armenian literature, the Apology interestingly has parallel themes and style to a fifth century Armenian Christian philosopher and translater, Eznik, the author of De Deo, the only other Armenian literature that is considered to be apologetic by some scholars.

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