Translating the Past, (Re-)shaping History?: Translation Issues in Late Antique and Medieval Christian Historiographical Sources in the Middle East

Conference organized by Dr. Perrine Pilette (ISAW)

Space is limited; RSVP required.

Conference program available here.

Open to the public.

Late antique and Medieval Christian historiographical corpuses often result from multi-step composition and transmission processes, accumulating successive layers of historical knowledge. Given the cultural diversity of the Middle East, those derive, in many cases, from older sources composed in a different linguistic (and sometimes religious) environment. In this perspective, this workshop intends to address the issue of the impact of the translation processes on the actual historical content of such corpuses, occurring whether in their composition or in their later transmission. Accordingly, the question of the edition of such multilingual textual traditions will also be addressed. Texts in the following languages will be taken into consideration: Arabic, Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopic, Georgian, Greek and Syriac.

This conference is organized by ISAW in collaboration with the Centre d'études orientales - Institut orientaliste de Louvain (CIOL) of the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium).


10:00am - Welcome & Introduction
Roger Bagnall (Leon Levy Director, ISAW)
Perrine Pilette (ISAW)

10:10am -  Lost in Translation: The Reconstruction of the Distant Past in Christian Syriac Historiography
Muriel Debié (EPHE/CNRS, Paris)

10:50am - Coffee Break

11:20am - The International Copto-Arabic Historiography Project (ICAHP):  How to Deal with the History of the Patriarchs of Alexandria as a Translated, Multi-layered, Fluid, and Open Text Tradition in Arabic
Johannes den Heijer (Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-La-Neuve)

12:00pm - The Independent Recension of the History of Patriarchs of Alexandria. Adaptation and Reception in the Syriac Milieu
Manhal Makhoul (Université catholique de Louvain / FNRS, Louvain-la-Neuve)

12:40pm - Lunch Break

1:40pm - Ecclesiastical History (in absentia): Eusebian Trajectories across Greek and Syriac Chronicles
Scott F. Johnson (Georgetown / Dumbarton Oaks)

2:20pm - The Syriac World History of Michael the Syrian in its Armenian Adaptation (13th c.): A Case Study of Acculturation and Transformation of Shared Christian History in the Near East
Andrea Schmidt (Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-La-Neuve)

3:00pm - Coffee Break

3:30pm - Greek to Arabic Translations from the Early Islamic Period
Robert Hoyland (ISAW)

4:10pm - Crossing Cultural Borders: The Multilingual Tradition of the Quaestiones ad Antiochum ducem
Ilse De Vos (King's College, London)