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Author Topic: Georgian Orthodox Texts in Translation  (Read 2476 times) Average Rating: 0
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johng3110
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Alaverdi cathedral and monastery, in Georgia


« on: July 22, 2009, 05:00:01 AM »


Hello.  Can anyone recommend sources for translations into English of texts from the Georgian Orthodox Church?  The patriarchal website in English, http://www.patriarchate.ge/_en/, offers limited materials.  Thank you.
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« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2009, 06:01:30 AM »

Not quite on topic but I'd like to recommend a remarkable little book about a Georgian monastery

Pilgrimage To Dzhvari
A Woman's Journey of Spiritual Awakening


Written by Valeria Alfeyeva
   

ABOUT THIS BOOK
Pilgrimage to Dzhvari is set in the last days of the Communist regime when people from all levels of Soviet society are searching for ways to reconnect with their memories of goodness and truth. A writer leaves her work in Moscow and with her teenage son [the present Archbishop Hilarion Alfayev] sets out to visit the few remaining monasteries in the Georgian Caucasus in order to discover the mystical teachings of the Eastern Orthodox Church. In particular, they seek instruction in the Prayer of the Heart, the constant internal repetition of the words, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." For centuries this practice -- known in the West as the "Jesus Prayer" -- has been one of the principal disciplines of monks, priests, and elders of the Eastern rite.

There is a purity and clarity about this simple tale of devotion that is reminiscent of that earlier spiritual classic The Way of a Pilgrim. But this journey is undertaken by a woman at the end of the twentieth century. The eloquence and power of Valeria Alfeyeva's description of the eternal quest for the divine on earth will not easily be forgotten.

http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl/9780517883891.html
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johng3110
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Alaverdi cathedral and monastery, in Georgia


« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2009, 11:43:57 AM »

Thank you for that recommendation !  It looks good !
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ialmisry
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« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2009, 01:54:19 PM »


Hello.  Can anyone recommend sources for translations into English of texts from the Georgian Orthodox Church?  The patriarchal website in English, http://www.patriarchate.ge/_en/, offers limited materials.  Thank you.

What kind of texts are you looking for?

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20212.0.html
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,16969.0.html
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« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2009, 10:51:01 PM »

Dear Friends:

If you have a specific request, I can contact one of our friends, Nana, A SVOTS graduate, who has translated theological works INTO Georgian from English. There are very few Georgian texts translated into English at his time. Hopefully more will appear in time. There are two difficulties.

First, the Georigan Patriarchate is barely able to address the catastrophic wounds visited on the Georgian nation since independence. The three invasions by the Russian military and its North Caucasion allies, resulted in almost 50,000 deaths and over 400,000 refugees, (nowaday referred to by the euphemism: internally displaced persons). Thus 10% of the Georgian population are refugees!. The economy was wrecked by the Russian economic embargo, and there is still 30% unemployment. The church has all it can manage, just to deal with the on-going human crisis. There is little left for literary endeavors. The second issue is linguistic. Georgian is not an Indo-European language. Georgian syntax and grammar make it VERY difficult to translate into literary quality English. Most translations from Georgian into English sound very stilted and clumsy, because Georgian speakers have hard time including all the extra words you need to express an idea in English. A Georgian verb, for example can express an entire English sentence in one word. As more Georgian young people study English, hopefully there will be more translations into English.

Our friend, Nana, is writing a life of Father Gabriel of Mtskheta and his spiritual fathers, which we hope to have published one day, if God wills.
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johng3110
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Alaverdi cathedral and monastery, in Georgia


« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2009, 07:37:50 AM »

Thank you, Ialmisry and Frost, for your posts ! 

I will read them and respond later when I have more time.

-- John
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ialmisry
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« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2009, 08:37:33 AM »

If it is any consolation, the hallowed halls of academia also bemoan the lack of Georgian translations.  In a work in my field, "Seeing Islam As Others Saw It: A Survey and Evaluation of Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian Writings on Early Islam," the scholar Hoyland has to depend on a summary from a Georgian scholar for the contemporary Georgian sources at the rise of Islam.
http://books.google.com/books?id=uJwOAAAACAAJ&dq=seeing+islam+as+others+saw+it

The difficulty is, as Frost points out, is the difficulty of the language (Armenian benefits from its Indo-European connections.  I mention this because much of Georgian history and culture is bound up with the Armenians for some time, but the Armenian sources can be condensending to the Georgians before Chalcedon, and hostile afterwards.  Nonetheless, much Georgian culture, including the alphabet, comes from the Armenians) coupled with geographical isolation (the Caucausus are often looked at as the backwaters of the three neighboring empires), and few numbers.  But like the Armenians, they preserve a lot that others have lost: an article in some academic journal on music (a reference I've lost and have been desperately trying to find ever since) showed that the Georgian Church preserves the chants and liturgics of the Church of Jerusalem before Constantinople's rite was imposed on the Mother See.  In that connection, one might remember that in much of the medieval period, the King of Georgia (of Armenian Davidic descent btw) paid the taxes on the holy places and therefore had control of them.
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« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2009, 07:40:49 PM »

Just a note.

The origins of the Georgain alphabet are somwhat obscure, and not agreed upon even by Georgian scholars. Some attribute it to St Mesrob of Armenia; but that is dsiputed. While the modern Georgian alphabet stylistically resembles the Armenian Alphabet, the origian alphabet is quite different. The modern, mkhedruli (civic) alphabet is only a few centuroes old. Prior to that there was the khutsusuri (clerical or hieratic) alphabet. But the oldest alphabet is the Asomtrvaruli, found mostly in ancient manuscripts and inscriptions. Very few native Georgians can read this script, for the letters are completely different form the modern script. The Georgian alphabet (at least the first third) has some homology with the Greek; but has many more letters as there are many more sounds in the Georgian language. Some have suggested connection to the Syriac or Aramaic scripts. Higher learning was first brought to Georgia by the 13 Holy Syrian Fathers(6th century) who founded the first monasteries and schools, and Georgian has some loan words from Aramaic -Syriac.

By the way, if you have a particular request, please let me know. One of our friends is spending the summer in Georgia, and will be returning in mid-August. She might be able to bring a particular book you are interested in. Shipping from Georgia can be difficult, at the best of times.

FF
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johng3110
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Alaverdi cathedral and monastery, in Georgia


« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2009, 06:30:05 AM »



Both of you, Ialmisry and Frost, have been so thoughtful with your responses, and I thank you !

I am interested to learn more about Georgia because it seems to have a unique perspective in history and Orthodoxy. 

Georgia was at the periphery of the Byzantine hegemony.  In my understanding, it is at the periphery of empire that the most is archaeologically preserved (because the center changes over time or is conquered).  Hence, Armenia and Ethiopia have rich collections of historical documents and archaeological remains that are otherwise unknown and that shed important light on history and Christianity.  I hope that the same holds true for the even more remote and less known country of Georgia.

Georgia is ethnically and linguistically unique.  Most of Orthodoxy's people are Slavic, Greek or Arabic.  But Georgia is not Slavic, nor Greek, nor Arabic.  Georgia is its own ethnic and linguistic entity (like the Basques).  That would mean, potentially, that Georgia has a unique experience and expression of Orthodoxy through its unique culture and language. 

Georgia's architecture and art are unique.  The architecture of Georgian churches is unlike anything I have seen (except for photos of Armenia).  The standard cross shape of churches that is formed from two intersecting basilicas has been made into almost a square, and the base for the central dome (at the point of intersection) has been made into a tower to support a cone.  This is unique in my experience (except for Armenian churches).  It tells me that the people who made such buildings are themselves unique, and they are shaped by these buildings psychologically in a unique way too.  Likewise is true for Georgian iconography: with its striking use of bold color and, especially, for its use of cloisonné as a medium. 

All of this tells me that here is Orthodoxy, but it is a testimony of Orthodoxy that is unlike anything I have yet encountered.  It is not Greek.  It is not Slavic.  It is not Semitic.  Georgia seems to have a truly different experience and expression of Orthodoxy, and I would like to learn what these Georgians are saying. 

Specifically, I would like three things.

I would like a recommendation on a general reference to Georgian cultural life, in order to learn the context for Georgian spirituality.

I also would like to acquire spiritual writings from Orthodox Georgian saints.  Does Georgia have an equivalent to the Philokalia?  (Does it have a "Little Georgian Philokalia" that is comparable to Russia's "Little Russian Philokalia"?)  Obviously, I would prefer if these documents were translated into English.  But I am even willing to consider documents in Georgian. 

Finally, I would also like to make contact with others who are likewise interested in Georgian Orthodoxy.  If you prefer, please feel free to send me a private message.   

Take care, and Be well.

-- John
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« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2009, 07:28:44 PM »

Hello, I like Georgia very well and used to be in a Georgian parish in France before I left for several reasons. I think you can start reading a history of Georgia. If you make a research on Amazon, you may find several books about Georgia.   By the way, which languages do you know? Material in Georgian are scarce and few foreigners know the language. I tried to learn modern language but stopped due to lack of time, laziness and other priorities. Moreover, the interest in Georgia may be to tiny to be an incentive leading Georgians to translate their texts in other languages...
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ativan
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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2011, 03:55:18 AM »

ialmisry
Quote
Nonetheless, much Georgian culture, including the alphabet, comes from the Armenians)
Another Armenian propaganda based on empty argument. Only in one source of Armenian historian Koryun is mentioned that version. Besides, it is proved that earlier source of Koryun did not contain anything like that and this information appeared in only very late copy of Koryun. And what is most important is this: whoever altered original Koryun did not have enough fantasy to come up with better story than the one he came up with. Based on the altered document Mashtots, who did not even know Georgian language, created our alphabet using the help of a Georgian translator. Such an absurd statement! Besides, it took Mashtots years to devise an alphabet for his own native language but came up with Georgian alphabet, an alphabet of the language he did not know at all, in a very short time. Now how could this be? Do you know any other source which states otherwise? When you state such a thing you must have at least some grounding in this. Please educate us.

Besides, there are other arguments that unequivocally disprove Armenian version. Of course we have our own version of its origin which states that Georgian alphabet was designed long before Christianity become state religion by King Pharnavaz.

Quote
In that connection, one might remember that in much of the medieval period, the King of Georgia (of Armenian Davidic descent btw) paid the taxes on the holy places and therefore had control of them.
Please, show me one single source where Georgian kings (Bagrationis or others) ever referred themselves as Armenians or kings of Armenia. On the other hand I can tell you multiple examples Georgian Bagrationis referring themselves as Georgians (Kartvelians). That story, as the story of Georgian alphabet's Armenian origin, is the Armenian false propaganda that has no base. One georgian source (historian Sumbat_Davitis-Dze) does say they (Armenian Bagratunis and Georgian Bagrationis) have common root, but they are not of Armenian root (based on this source)  rather Philistinian (Palestinian). And even though there's diversity of opinions among Georgian Historians they still agree on Bagrationis' Georgian (not Armenian) origin. Georgian kings of Bagrationi dynasty considered themselves as descendants of great Biblical king David which I believe is true (Considering how great Saints Georgian Kings were I can't imagine they were saying this just to promote themselves as kings  [to say otherwise, they were lying] as some Georgian and non-Georgian historians think).
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ialmisry
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« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2011, 01:51:57 PM »

ialmisry
Quote
Nonetheless, much Georgian culture, including the alphabet, comes from the Armenians)
Another Armenian propaganda based on empty argument. Only in one source of Armenian historian Koryun is mentioned that version. Besides, it is proved that earlier source of Koryun did not contain anything like that and this information appeared in only very late copy of Koryun.
I've read the critical edition of Koriwn, and IIRC, it was there.

And what is most important is this: whoever altered original Koryun did not have enough fantasy to come up with better story than the one he came up with. Based on the altered document Mashtots, who did not even know Georgian language, created our alphabet using the help of a Georgian translator. Such an absurd statement! Besides, it took Mashtots years to devise an alphabet for his own native language but came up with Georgian alphabet, an alphabet of the language he did not know at all, in a very short time. Now how could this be? Do you know any other source which states otherwise? When you state such a thing you must have at least some grounding in this. Please educate us.
It's common enough a phenomena: foreignors, having to learn the language from scratch, have to ask questions on things that native speakers take for granted.  Nearly all the great grammarians of Arabic, for example, were Persian speakers.  In turn, most Persian grammars were written for the Turkish ruling elite who had to learn Persian.

Besides, there are other arguments that unequivocally disprove Armenian version.
Such as?
Of course we have our own version of its origin which states that Georgian alphabet was designed long before Christianity become state religion by King Pharnavaz.

Any objective proof, like inscritptions, coins, etc?

Quote
In that connection, one might remember that in much of the medieval period, the King of Georgia (of Armenian Davidic descent btw) paid the taxes on the holy places and therefore had control of them.
Please, show me one single source where Georgian kings (Bagrationis or others) ever referred themselves as Armenians or kings of Armenia. On the other hand I can tell you multiple examples Georgian Bagrationis referring themselves as Georgians (Kartvelians). That story, as the story of Georgian alphabet's Armenian origin, is the Armenian false propaganda that has no base. One georgian source (historian Sumbat_Davitis-Dze) does say they (Armenian Bagratunis and Georgian Bagrationis) have common root, but they are not of Armenian root (based on this source)  rather Philistinian (Palestinian). And even though there's diversity of opinions among Georgian Historians they still agree on Bagrationis' Georgian (not Armenian) origin. Georgian kings of Bagrationi dynasty considered themselves as descendants of great Biblical king David which I believe is true (Considering how great Saints Georgian Kings were I can't imagine they were saying this just to promote themselves as kings  [to say otherwise, they were lying] as some Georgian and non-Georgian historians think).

The Armenians sources all indicate that the Bagratunis claimed descent from King David, and earlier than any Georgian source.  Since the Armenian King Tigranes ruled both Palestine and Georgia

as attested by numerous, non-Armenian sources, it makes more sense for the David line to make it to the Caucasus under Armenian auspices.
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« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2011, 06:48:46 PM »

ialmisry
Quote
I've read the critical edition of Koriwn, and IIRC, it was there.
It was there because it was added later and that has been proven. Ramaz Pataridze (Georgian Scholar) has done great job on writing a monograph "Georgian Asomtravruli" where he mentions famous Georgian Historians (Ivane Javakhishvili and Zaza Alexidze) showing this fact. Zaza Alexidze points that the legend of Mashtots creating Georgian and Albanian alphabet was not probably known in XIII century. Armenian Historian Mkhitar Airavanetsi (XIII century) wrote a historical treatise "Chronographical History" and in its second book he does not even mention about Mashtots creating Georgian Alphabet. On the other hand he clearly states that Georgian alphabet was created by Georgian king Pharnavaz. He (Armenian Historian) says Первый царь Грузинский, Фарнаваз, из шести языков составил Грузинский язык, и изобрел письмена для этого народа which translates "first King of Georgia created Georgian language from 6 different languages and created script for this people".

Another Armenian historian of 5th-6th century wrote history chronicles "History of the Armenians". He based his book on the Koryun's writings (Koryun was one of the main source). He mentions Mashtots contribution to Armenian alphabet but is mute about Georgian and Albanian alphabet. Here's a quote:
Quote
So it was that after fortuitously receiving the discovered letters, the venerable Mashtoc' set to work adapting [the alphabet] to [the recommendations of] the blessed patriarch of Armenia, Sahak, putting the letters in an easily accessible order and correct syllabic pronunciation. [Sahak] gave him assistants and other learned and scholarly men from among the Armenian priests who, as the venerable Mashtoc', were only slightly familiar with Greek syllabification. Among them were, first, Yohan from Ekegheac' district; second, Yovsep' from Paghanakan Tun [Yovsep' i Paghanakan tanen]; third, Ter from Xorjean, and fourth, Mushe from Taron who aided and [28] strengthened the venerable Mashtoc', who put the Armenian [g15] alphabet in the same order as the Greek, frequently asking and learning from the blessed kat'oghikos Sahak information about the alphabet, based on the infallible Greek alphabet. For [this group] was not able to unerringly deal with modifications without the guidance of the blessed patriarch Sahak. Sahak was quite competent, having studied with many learned Byzantines. He was fully versed in musical notation, exhortatory rhetoric, and especially philosophy.

Once they had arranged the letters of the Armenian alphabet, adapted from the Greek copy—guided by the Savior—they wanted to establish schools and teach the multitude of clerics. For everyone enthusiastically wanted to study Armenian and were delighted that they had been freed from the torments of Syriac as if escaping from darkness to light. But they hesitated when it came to [translating] the holy Bible. For as yet there was no Armenian translation of the holy testaments for the Church. The venerable Mashtoc' and the honorable priests who were with him lacked the strength to attempt such an intense and important labor, as translating the books [of the Bible] from Greek into [29] Armenian, because they were not so very adept at Greek.

Quote
And what is most important is this: whoever altered original Koryun did not have enough fantasy to come up with better story than the one he came up with. Based on the altered document Mashtots, who did not even know Georgian language, created our alphabet using the help of a Georgian translator. Such an absurd statement! Besides, it took Mashtots years to devise an alphabet for his own native language but came up with Georgian alphabet, an alphabet of the language he did not know at all, in a very short time. Now how could this be? Do you know any other source which states otherwise? When you state such a thing you must have at least some grounding in this. Please educate us.
It's common enough a phenomena: foreignors, having to learn the language from scratch, have to ask questions on things that native speakers take for granted.  Nearly all the great grammarians of Arabic, for example, were Persian speakers.  In turn, most Persian grammars were written for the Turkish ruling elite who had to learn Persian.
This is a straw man. What does that have to do with what I said? The question is how in the world can somebody create an alphabet for a language not knowing that language, namely its phonetics, very well (not to mention that Mashtots did not know Georgian at all)? And, besides, how it would take for this person to create an alphabet for his own native language in a prolonged time period while at the same time it took him supposedly very short period of time? Your answer has nothing to do with this questions.

Quote
Besides, there are other arguments that unequivocally disprove Armenian version.
Such as?
Such as above and below mentioned arguments.


Quote
Of course we have our own version of its origin which states that Georgian alphabet was designed long before Christianity become state religion by King Pharnavaz.

Any objective proof, like inscritptions, coins, etc?
Firstly, I did not say there was an objective proof for that. Secondly, Armenian source I mentioned above confirms and corroborates to Georgian story given in "Georgian Chronicles". Thirdly, there are couple findings which per Georgian paleographers point to earlier origin of Georgian alphabet. This findings are Davati stella (that is dated around 367, the time when Mashtots was 6 years old) and Nekresi inscription which, per Georgian paleographer Chilashvili, dates back to pre-Christian or early Christian (I-II century) period. I must say though that some Foreign and Georgian authors do not agree with his conclusion. I have read that article: I think he (Chilashvili) has good points and what Stephen H. Rapp says in his footnote here is IMHO not correct. Chilashvili's argument could be not suggesting the oldness of this inscription but what Rapp says in here I see nothing like that in Chilashvili's article (or resume I've read).


Quote
The Armenians sources all indicate that the Bagratunis claimed descent from King David, and earlier than any Georgian source.  Since the Armenian King Tigranes ruled both Palestine and Georgia

as attested by numerous, non-Armenian sources, it makes more sense for the David line to make it to the Caucasus under Armenian auspices.
Which sources? And why one should rely on Armenian sources and why not rely on Georgian sources? Why one should mistrust Georgian Kings themselves who were great Saints (like King David or king Tamara)?

That map is but forgery and nothing else. Just because some Armenian put a "map" and article on wiki does not mean it was true. On what sources is that map based? When did Armenians have Mtskheta under their rule? When did they have Kolcheti under their rule? Point to the sources (historical sources not wikipedia) of this blatant misleading info, please.
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« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2012, 10:45:41 PM »

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« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2012, 09:05:51 PM »

This well-produced book http://www.amazon.com/Lives-Georgian-Saints-Zakaria-Machitadze/product-reviews/1887904107/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1 has been published since the original enquiry and is good reading. Arranged by date each saint is celebrated so gives a rather dizzy perspective in chronological terms, leaping across the centuries from one day to the next. Wonderful illustrations - both photographs of places and icons of the saints.
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