Frantsouzoff Serge

Three monks on the edge of the Earth (an Arabic version of the Tale about Macarius the Roman)

Frantsouzoff Serge (2017) "Three monks on the edge of the Earth (an Arabic version of the Tale about Macarius the Roman) ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia III : Filologiia, 2017, vol. 53, pp. 94-100 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturIII201753.94-100


This article examines an Arabic version of the Tale on Macarius the Roman, the well-known apocryphal writing which belongs, according to its contents, not only to hagiographic literature, but also to the genre of itineraries. It was identifi ed for the fi rst time in the manuscript collection of lives of saints, kept in the Library of the Academia Romana in Bucharest under the shelf-mark B.A.R. Mss orientale 365 and dated from the late 18th century AD. A possibility of existence of one more copy of that work in the Monastery of Balamand is pointed out, but the details of its description given in the relevant catalogue are not enough for a well-founded conclusion on that matter. The article makes a comparison of the Arabic version with the Greek original and the Slavonic version and demonstrated some specifi c features of the translation from Greek into Arabic, in particular frequent transitions from literal rendering to free retelling of the contents. An assumption is made that the scene of the appearance of Christ in glory to the saint, which occupies the central place in the text, was composed under the infl uence of the tendency towards exaggerations, proper to the Orient, which was revealed by Boris A. Turayev in Coptic and Ethiopian literatures. In its fi nal part the article gives a brief survey of spelling peculiarities, typical of Middle Arabic (in the first instance, Christian Arabic) texts. They are connected with some changes both in phonology, fi rst of all with the disappearance of interdental consonants, and in morphology (the loss of case endings).


East Christian apocryphs, Arab Orthodox hagiography, genre of itineraries, St. Macarius the Roman, Greek original, Slavonic and Arabic versions of his Life, Theophilus, Sergius and Hygieinos Eugenius as characters of his Life, peculiarities of Middle Arabic spelling


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Information about the author

Frantsouzoff Serge

Academic Degree: Doctor of Sciences* in History;
Place of work: Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, Russian Academy of Sciences; 18 Dvortsovaya nab., St. Petersburg, 191186, Russian Federation;
Email: serge.frantsouzoff@yahoo.fr.

*According to ISCED 2011, a post-doctoral degree called Doctor of Sciences (D.Sc.) is given to reflect second advanced research qualifications or higher doctorates.