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Author Topic: Preserving the African Archive, March 27, 2012 at Princeton University  (Read 535 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 23, 2012, 01:36:45 PM »

Preserving the African Archive: Field Research on Early Manuscripts and Monasteries in Northern Ethiopia
Denis Nosnitsin, University of Hamburg
March 27, 2012 4:30 pm
127 East Pyne, Princeton University

Ethiopia has one Africa’s largest archives, with tens of thousands of written sources held in around 600 monasteries and 20,000 churches, some of which date to the early Middle Ages. Very little from these archives has received scholarly evaluation, with less than ten percent having been microfilmed or digitized and far fewer being researched or translated. A great part of this unique heritage is on the verge of extinction and urgent action needs to be taken to save it from complete disappearance.

In this talk, Dr. Nosnitsin will present information about his innovative project Ethio-Spare based at Hamburg University, funded by a European Research Council Starting Grant, and focused on digitizing the most important monastic libraries and archives in Ethiopia and creating searchable databases that will allow quantitative and qualitative research into Ethiopian literature. He will then present his own historical and philological research on two of the more important Ethiopian hagiographies. For more information, contact Wendy Laura Belcher wbelcher@princeton.edu.

Dr. Denis Nosnitsin, a research fellow at Hamburg University, is an expert in African literatures, especially that in Ge`ez (Ethiopic), Amharic, and Tigrigna, as well as in the pre-modern history of the region. He is the principal investigator of the project Ethio-SPARE. His current research is on Ethiopian hagiography and historiography, monastic manuscript collections and Ethiopian Christian manuscript culture, and historical analysis of marginal notes and documents in Ethiopian manuscripts. His  degree in African (Ethiopian) philology is from St. Petersburg State University. He has published in Aethiopica, Orientalia Christiana Periodica, Scrinium, and Africana Bulletin.

For more information, see
http://www1.uni-hamburg.de/ethiostudies/ETHIOSPARE/ethiospare.html


Found Via

http://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/?p=8262
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2012, 01:38:07 PM »

Wow, I would love to see more documents available online or as e-books. I only wish we had always had these means... it's like time travel.  Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2012, 01:44:56 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Preserving the African Archive: Field Research on Early Manuscripts and Monasteries in Northern Ethiopia
Denis Nosnitsin, University of Hamburg
March 27, 2012 4:30 pm
127 East Pyne, Princeton University

Ethiopia has one Africa’s largest archives, with tens of thousands of written sources held in around 600 monasteries and 20,000 churches, some of which date to the early Middle Ages. Very little from these archives has received scholarly evaluation, with less than ten percent having been microfilmed or digitized and far fewer being researched or translated. A great part of this unique heritage is on the verge of extinction and urgent action needs to be taken to save it from complete disappearance.


This is not surprising, Ethiopia has long possessed the only indigenous alphabet and literature in all of Africa, the rest borrowed from the Latins or the Arabs.  If folks think this is impressive, what if they could only imagine all that has been lost, burned, looted, or destroyed in the past 1500 odd years..

HIM Haile Selassie donated a collection of thousands of Ge'ez manuscripts, some from the 17th century, to the UCLA library, and since nobody there could read them they were sitting in vaults until a librarian was working on an unrelated project with my priests when she found out that they could read them, so she took them upstairs and now my clergy are helping at least to title, identify and catalog.

Plus, hey, British Museum, last time I checked you're not a parish or church, so could you kindly return our sacred Tabotat which were stolen after the fiasco against Emperor Theodore II (rest his soul)

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2012, 12:09:22 AM »

This sounds very interesting actually. However, I am not really sure how the Ethiopian community feels about these holy books being handled by secular members of the society....hmmmmm
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« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2012, 12:46:38 AM »

This is not surprising, Ethiopia has long possessed the only indigenous alphabet and literature in all of Africa, the rest borrowed from the Latins or the Arabs.  

Not to discount the tremendous place of Ethiopia in Africa and world culture, but this isn't exactly true. The indigenous Tamazight ("Berber" is pejorative) languages of North Africa have their own script of great antiquity, known as Tifinagh, which has long suppressed by the Arabs and Arabizing regimes but is now being taught in schools in Morocco, and are also used in Mali to write the Tamasheq/Tamajak/Tuareg language. This was not borrowed from the Latins or the Arabs, but like the Latin and Arabic alphabets, ultimately descends from the Phoenician.

It is however probably more correct to say that these two, the Tifinagh and the Ge'ez, are two of the only indigenous (in the sense of being neither Roman nor Greek) precolonial writing systems in the region. Indigenous scripts have been developed (by indigenous people) for other languages after the time of European contact, famously Osmanya for Somali (used in the 1970s before the English orthography became standard), the Vai syllabary (Liberia), and the N'ko alphabet.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2012, 12:47:34 AM by dzheremi » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2012, 01:47:04 AM »

This is not surprising, Ethiopia has long possessed the only indigenous alphabet and literature in all of Africa, the rest borrowed from the Latins or the Arabs.  

Not to discount the tremendous place of Ethiopia in Africa and world culture, but this isn't exactly true. The indigenous Tamazight ("Berber" is pejorative) languages of North Africa have their own script of great antiquity, known as Tifinagh, which has long suppressed by the Arabs and Arabizing regimes but is now being taught in schools in Morocco, and are also used in Mali to write the Tamasheq/Tamajak/Tuareg language. This was not borrowed from the Latins or the Arabs, but like the Latin and Arabic alphabets, ultimately descends from the Phoenician.

It is however probably more correct to say that these two, the Tifinagh and the Ge'ez, are two of the only indigenous (in the sense of being neither Roman nor Greek) precolonial writing systems in the region. Indigenous scripts have been developed (by indigenous people) for other languages after the time of European contact, famously Osmanya for Somali (used in the 1970s before the English orthography became standard), the Vai syllabary (Liberia), and the N'ko alphabet.
Btw, Ethiopic writing is a syllabary, not an alphabet. It derives from the writing of Yemen, which, btw, the Arabs used in Syria before Islam.
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« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2012, 03:05:19 AM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

This is not surprising, Ethiopia has long possessed the only indigenous alphabet and literature in all of Africa, the rest borrowed from the Latins or the Arabs.  

Not to discount the tremendous place of Ethiopia in Africa and world culture, but this isn't exactly true. The indigenous Tamazight ("Berber" is pejorative) languages of North Africa have their own script of great antiquity, known as Tifinagh, which has long suppressed by the Arabs and Arabizing regimes but is now being taught in schools in Morocco, and are also used in Mali to write the Tamasheq/Tamajak/Tuareg language. This was not borrowed from the Latins or the Arabs, but like the Latin and Arabic alphabets, ultimately descends from the Phoenician.
Vai syllabary (Liberia), and the N'ko alphabet.

I was not aware of those folks, I will add them to the indigenous African script list Smiley

Of course, I did imply pre-colonial as you mentioned.



Btw, Ethiopic writing is a syllabary, not an alphabet. It derives from the writing of Yemen, which, btw, the Arabs used in Syria before Islam.
Isn't the Ethiopian Fidel a Syllabic Alphabet more so than a syllabary?

Quote
A syllabary is a phonetic writing system consisting of symbols representing syllables. A syllable is often made up of a consonant plus a vowel or a single vowel.

Quote
Syllabic alphabets, alphasyllabaries or abugidas consist of symbols for consonants and vowels. The consonants each have an inherent vowel which can be changed to another vowel or muted by means of diacritics. Vowels can also be written with separate letters when they occur at the beginning of a word or on their own.

To be sure, I'm into history not linguistics, which is why I am asking Wink

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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