Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Ester Petrosyan: The Revelation of Gregory the Illuminator (Gregory of Edessa) in the Armenian, Syriac and Arabic traditions

  The proposed research topic intends to scrutinize one of the little explored examples of apocalyptic literature in the Christian tradition, The Revelation of Saint Gregory the Illuminator/of Edessa in Armenian, Syriac and Arabic.  The story was quite popular in the Middle Ages. According to Georg Graf, it was originally written in Syriac, and later was translated into Arabic and Amharic. The original Syriac version, unfortunately, is lost. The recent survey of the Indian Syriac manuscript collections has revealed the existence of a modern Syriac version made in India in 1689, based on an otherwise unknown Arabic original. Simultaneously, a great number of Arabic and Arabic Garshuni texts of the revelation are preserved.  In the Armenian manuscripts (the oldest dates back to 1208 AD) the Revelation is explicitly attributed to Saint Gregory the Illuminator or Grigor Lusavorits’, the patron saint and first official head of the Armenian Apostolic Church.  My aim is to discuss and reveal similarities and differences of the Revelation in all three languages, attempting to discover the source of the Revelation, approximate time of its creation and endeavoring to understand who originally the Saint Gregory of the Revelation was and why in later stages the vision was attributed to various saints, such as Gregory the Illuminator and Gregory of Nazianzus (in the Arabic versions). The questions of when and where the translations were made and what changes have taken place in the text in different traditions will be raised.

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