vendredi 12 novembre 2010

French scholars and Syriac culture

BnF, Manuscrits, (Syriaque 248 fol. 8v-9)

I - Syriac Manuscripts

The first collection, somewhat important, Syriac manuscripts gathered in the West was that of Colbert, minister of Louis XIV. Representatives were then sent to East, as the father Vansleb in 1671, buying manuscripts. On the death of the famous minister in 1683, the collection includes 112 volumes.

Colbert's collection was acquired in 1732 by the Royal Library, now the National Library. At the publication of its catalog, in 1874, it had 174 volumes Syriac. New acquisitions have subsequently increased that number to 288. In 1911, with copies to various purchases, the number of manuscripts amounted to 355 volumes. It has steadily increased, it is now 436 volumes, through purchases, bequests. These texts come from religious communities in the Christian East, Melkite, Maronite, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Eastern, and even India. Many documents are religious, but there are dictionaries, grammar books, books of philosophy and science.

The oldest manuscripts are written in estrangela. Other characters are written in Syriac, but in Arabic, the garshouni.

A manuscript Syriac 341, Paris BN, decorated with beautiful illuminations, is of great interest because it was used by the University of Leiden for editing the Peshitta. It dates as specialists from the sixth century iconography.

NF, Manuscrits orientaux (Syriaque 341)

Remarkable is also the manuscript 332, Collection Synods Nestorians, translated and edited by JB Chabot in 1902 in Paris.

The manuscript includes the 62 apostles and Didascalie the Doctrine of Addai.


I) The classical Syriac language :

Soon scholars, French Orientalist interest in Syriac rich heritage and began to study it and promote it.

Étienne Quatremère (1782-1857)

Quatremère Etienne was undoubtedly the most Orientalist scholar of his generation. The first in France and said he understood the importance of literature Aramaic for the knowledge of Eastern civilization. His memory on the Nabataeans published in 1835 in the Journal Asiatique, is a model of criticism and scholarship. The draft dictionary Syriac he had matured and prepared by an immense work, stripping many manuscripts and printed texts in their thinking responded to the need to facilitate the study of the language "which surely deserves, he said And, in particular, the attention of fans of Eastern literature. "

Payne Smith. He has made the draft dictionary Syriac, Thesaurus syriacus, and wanted to pay tribute to his predecessors Etienne Quatremère, using its cards and registering its name to frontispiece of this masterly publication, the fruit of thirty-six years of toil assiduous.

P. J. Brown. His Dictionarium syriaco-Latinum, published in 1895, is an abbreviated practice Thesaurus, which makes the greatest services to beginners and fitted today instruments that have been lacking in their elders.

Ernest Renan (1823-1892), who knew Syriac, was among the first to exploit the riches of the Syriac manuscripts from the British Museum. He noted the importance in his letter to Mr. Reinaud. Renan then completed his research on the philosophy of Averroes. An examination of his manuscripts revealed that philosophy carried Arabic works of Aristotle through Syriacs, and he developed the idea in his thesis De Philosophia peripathética apud Syros. It had the merit of highlighting the importance of Syriac translations of Greek works in the history of science.

Abbot Paulin Martin. (1840-1890). A man dedicated to studies Syriac were the abbot Paulin Martin. His perseverance was commendable. The Asian Journal it opened its pages, it published several works: Jacques d'Edessa and Syrian vowels; The mässor among Syrians (1869); test on the two main dialects Aramaic (1872), History of Punctuation (1875) The Hexaméron of Jacques d 'Edessa (1888). Father Martin Paulin presented by lack of means, a collection its foreign Chronicle Joshua Stylites (Leipzig, 1876) and Metric among Syrians (ibid., 1879). He was reduced to autographier the Letter of Jacques d 'Edessa on spelling (1869) and the important issue of grammatical Barhebraeus Works (1872).

Orientalists no longer meet this difficulty. The Patrologia Orientalis and especially the Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium published by the Universities of Washington and Louvain, offered the assurance of not preparing their publications in vain. Since 1903 the C.S.C.O. has published many volumes of texts or translations of Syriac, hundreds of tests, studies, dissertations.

Duval-Paul Rubens (1839-1911)
Of all the French Orientalist, Paul Rubens Duval has the largest contribution to the development of Syriac Aramaic studies. It was the tireless collaborator of the Asian Journal that it had become a member since 1879, then deputy secretary and librarian, manager and vice president in 1908.
He left many works. He wrote twenty articles and a hundred bibliographic records. Its editions of texts: Will of Saint Ephrem Epitres of Ishoyahb III Homéliae cathedrals of Severus of Antioch, 1908, Alchemy Syriac, the Treaty of Syriac Grammar, 1881, its treaties alchemy Syriac, 1893, and Syriac Literature , 1899 testify to its labor activities.

Among his other works, mention his political history, religious and literary Edessa until the first crusade, and especially his 1892 edition of Lexicon Auctore Syriacum hassano Bar Bahloul 1888-1900.
Remember, however, that its Syriac Literature went through three editions in seven years: evidence of progress that these studies were done in France; studies that obtained then, rightly, a place in formal education. A chair of Languages and Literatures Aramaic was founded at the College de France in 1895, and occupied by Duval with distinction until 1907.

René Léger Graffin (1858-1941)
Another prominent teacher, Graffin, born in Ste-Radegonde-en-Touraine (Indre-et-Loire.). He went to study in French seminar in Rome. Ordained in 1884, he received a doctorate in theology the following year. He went to Innsbruck University to study oriental languages. Revenue in Paris, he was charged in 1886 the price of the Syriac Catholic Institute, then taught Hebrew in 1893. In 1926, he reorganized the section of Eastern Languages.

Named Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 1897, Director of the Journal of the Christian East. It is known to have issued from 1894 to 1927 the Patrologia Syriac (3 vols.) And from 1903, the Patrologia Orientalis (25 vol.), A collection of texts relating to Eastern Christian literature.
His nephew François Graffin followed in his footsteps and published several books and articles on culture Syriac.

Jean-Baptiste Chabot (1860 - 1949)

He was born in Vouvray (Indre-et-Loire) on 16 February 1860, a family of winemakers. He studied at the seminar Tours, learned Greek. Ordained in 1885, he left in 1887 for the University of Louvain in Belgium, where he finished his studies. In 1992 he received a doctorate and master of theology for its study on Isaac of Nineveh.

Chabot returned to Paris, Syriac studied at the Ecole des Hautes-Research. He assured on several occasions at the request of Rubens Duval, for replacement of the chair of language and literature Aramaic at the College de France. He prepared under the direction of the old master, the publication of the Chronicle Denys de Tell Mahr, and was named graduate student of the School of High Studies. He collaborated assiduously Journal Asia, the archaeological journal.

Chabot traveled to Palestine. He was sent on mission in East, and made a breakthrough in the Syriac Orthodox church of Urfa (Edessa): Chronicle of Michael the Syrian, text of the twelfth century. He published in 1899-1904 and then translated into French.

Chabot worked for more than half a century to his scientific work. In addition to the Chronicle of Michael the Syrian, he left many works, like the History of Mar Yabalaha III and the monk Rabban Cauma, the Eastern Synodicon of the Church of the East, Syriac Literature, and Languages Aramaic literatures, the Hexaméron of Jacques of Edessa, the Legend of Mar Bassus.

Chabot died at the age of 89 years. He had made a huge culture Syriac, by making available the great French texts of these people.

François-Nicolas NAU (1864-1931)
François-Nicolas NAU, mathematician, a great orientalist, syriacisant, born in Thil (Moselle), 13 May 1864, he was the eldest of five children. After attending primary school Longwy until 1878, he entered the minor seminary Notre-Dame des Champs in Paris, then to the Major Seminary of St. Sulpice in 1882. He obtained his Bachelor of Theology of Canon Law. On 17 December 1887, he was ordained a priest in the diocese of Paris.

F.N. Nau then studied mathematics and natural sciences, then, from 1889 Syriac. In 1895 he obtained a diploma from the School of High Studies in Paris Publishing (Syriac text and English translation) treaty astronomy Hebraeus Bar (1279). In 1897 he was elevated to the rank of Doctor-ès Science .

In 1899 he founded with René Graffin (1858-1941) the series' Patrologia Orientalis ", which was designed to complement the Greek and Latin Patrologie Migne.

Starting in 1890, Nau taught for nearly 40 years of mathematics and astronomy at the Catholic Institute of Paris.

In 1927 he obtained a teaching of Syriac at the School of High Studies.

In 1928 he became dean of the School of Sciences. He published many scientific articles and books, and unpublished texts Syriac. The list of his publications (Asian Journal No. 233) includes more than 250 books. Here are some:

-A new biography of the Bardesane astrologer (154-222), from the history of Michael the Great, Patriarch of Antioch (1126-1199), 1897;
Astrologer-Bardesane. The Book of Acts countries. Syriac text and French translation, 1899.
-The Book of the ascent of the spirit over the form of heaven and earth. Astronomy course drafted in 1279 by Gregory Aboulfarag, said Hebraeus Bar, Part I: Text Syriac, 1899, Part II: English translation, 1900 (BEHEER 121);
-European studies. I. Stories Açoudemmeh and Marouta, metropolitan of Tagrit Jacobites and the East (sixth and seventh centuries), followed by the Treaty of Açoudemmeh in humans. Syriac texts published novel, translated and annotated, in: PO 3, 1905, 1-120; Selected Letters of Edessa Jacques, published and translated, 1906; Old Syriac literature canon, fasc. II. The guns and resolutions of canonical Rabboula, Jean de Tella, Cyriaque of Amid, Jacques d'Edessa, Georges Arabs, Cyriaque of Antioch, John III, Theodosius of Antioch and Persians, translated for the first time in French , 1906;
Briefcase for Bible study. History and Wisdom of the Assyrian Açikar (son of Anaël, nephew of Tobit). Translation of the Syriac versions with key differences in Arabic, Armenian, Greek, neo-Syriac, Slavic and Romanian, 1909;
Old-Syriac literature canon, fasc. I. Didascalie the twelve apostles, translated from Syriac for the first time. Second revised and expanded edition of the translation of the Didache of the twelve apostles, the Didascalie of the apostle Adaï and impediments to marriage (pseudo-) apostolic, 1912 (1. Aufl. 1902);
Briefcase to serve in the history of the Nestorian Church. The first part of the History of Barçadbešabba `Arbaïa. Syriac text edited and translated, in: PO 23, 1932, 177-343.

2) The Soureth (modern Syriac)

The Vincentians
The communities who spoke Syriac, during their history, gave birth to a new dialect, the soureth. The French are Orientalistes intéressèrent. Missionaries Lazaristes French Ourmiah published in 1877 the New Testament into Syriac
It should be noted that Rubens Duval was published in 1883 notes on the dialect Salma (Persia) in 1896 and other notes. Dialects neo-Aramaic.

The French Dominicans installed in Mosul interest in soureth Christians who lived in the Nineveh Plain and north of the country. The best known was the father Jacques Rhetoric (1841-1921).
He was born in 1841 in Charity Sur-Loire, his father was a modest clog. He entered the seminary in 1859, became a Dominican, and in 1874 joined the mission in Mosul. He was attached to the monastery of Mar Yaco between Dohuk and Alqoche. There, he began to study the Aramaic and soureth. Around 1902 he moved to Achitha, large Nestorian village of Hakkari, for converting the Nestorians. In 1915, during the First World War, he was taken hostage in Mosul by the Turks and deported in Mardin where he witnessed the massacre of Christians. He died in Mosul on March 12 1921.

The father had taught Rhetoric easily Oriental languages, Aramaic the soureth, Armenian, Turkish. He had taught at the School of biblical Jerusalem from 1893 to 1897. He had published books in soureth, folk songs, religious texts, poetry, and the Book of fables inspired by La Fontaine, published in 1896 ...
The songs he composed are still sung today. His book is its capital in soureth Grammar, published in 1912.
Also on soureth in 2008, two Frenchmen, Georges Bohas and Florence Hellot-Bellier, published a book, The Assyrians of Hakkari to Khabour. The book has two poems, a story in soureth and an interview with Yosep Zaya Tell Goran, describing the tragic events that struck Christians during the First World War.

Recently, a manual for teaching soureth was published by Professor Bruno Poissat, who teaches Eastern Languages Paris VIII.

III Studies and Research Syriacs
Scientists and researchers, attracted by the richness of Syriac Christianity, wanted to convey to the West this glorious past. Among the best known:

Jerome Labourt (1874-1957)
He was born in Paris, entered the seminary of Saint-Sulpice in 1890 and was ordained a priest in 1897. He obtained a doctorate in theology. He was appointed canon holder of Notre Dame de Paris in 1947. Jerome Labourt left many works. He published in Paris in 1904 thesis "Christianity in the Persian Empire under the Sasanian dynasty (224-632). This was the first book written in French on the Church of the East under Sasanians. In 1911 he published The odes of Solomon, a work of Christian 100-120 years., Translation in collaboration with P. Battiffol and historical introduction.

Cardinal Eugene Tisserant (1884-1972)
He was born in Nancy on 24 March 1884. In 1900 he entered the seminary in the city. Then he went to study at The School of Biblical Jerusalem, he learned the oriental languages. In 1936 he was appointed cardinal and became responsible for Eastern Churches. He wrote the great article titled "The Nestorian Church, 1931. Another article on the Syro-Malabar Church, and an article on the patriarch I Timothy.

Dauvillier Jean (Early twentieth century)
He was a law professor at Toulouse. He wrote an article to publicize the law of the Church of the East, the Chaldean Right in the Dictionary of Canon Law, 1942.
He also wrote a long article, Ebedjésus of Nisibis, 1944, which serve as a reference.
He wrote another article on the provinces of the Church of the East in the Middle Ages, under the title The Chaldean provinces outside of the Middle Ages, 1948.

Jean Maurice Fiey (1914-1995)
He was born in Armentieres. He entered the Dominican order and quickly, was sent on mission in Mosul (Iraq). There remained more than 35 years, using his time to study, write and publish on Christianity in Mesopotamia. It had the merit to discover the history, culture, the heritage of Syriacs to all Francophones. His books are numerous and high quality. Among the best known: Christian Mosul, Beirut, 1959; Assyrian Christian, 3 vols. Beirut, 1965 and 1968; Milestones for a history of the Church in Iraq, Louvain, 1970; Syriac Christians under the Mongols, Leuven, 1975; Directory dioceses Syriac eastern and western Beirut, 1993.

IV-The places of study in France

Some places in France welcome teachers and students wishing to study the language and Syriac heritage.
The College de France, rue des Ecoles, Paris, 75005.

A chair of Languages and Literatures Aramaic was created at the College de France in 1895, and occupied by Duval with distinction until 1907.

The pulpit, which was occupied by Javier Teixidor from 1996 to 2001, is now deleted.

The Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE), 45 rue des Ecoles, Paris, 75005.

In 1927, François Nau obtained a teaching of Syriac at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes.

H. Hugonnard-Roche now teaches literature and philosophy Syriac.

The Catholic Institute of Paris, School of Oriental Languages old (ELOA), 21 rue d'Assas, 750,006.
Starting in 1890, François-Nicolas Nau taught for nearly 40 years of mathematics and astronomy at the Catholic Institute of Paris.

R. Graffin was commissioned in 1886 the price of the Syriac Catholic Institute, then taught Hebrew in 1893. In 1926, he reorganized the section of Eastern Languages.

Oriental languages Paris VIII, Asnieres sur Seine, 92.
The soureth is taught since 2007 by Professor Bruno Poissat.

The Society of Syriac studies
It was founded at the College de France in 2004. It has 120 members, orientalists, scholars and supporters of the Syriac culture. A symposium is held every year on a theme Syriac. Already four volumes were published: The Syriac inscriptions, The apocryphal Syriac, the liturgical Syriac, Greek Fathers in the Syriac tradition.

V-Researchers and specialists modern and contemporary

Can be estimated at around 231 quantities editions of Syriac texts and translations published to date in the Corpus Christianorum Sciptorum Orientalium, collection, which began in 1903, and several hundred the number of tests, studies, which these essays publications have resulted.

At the end of the nineteenth century and the first part of the twentieth century, it was men who discovered the church Syriac branch of the Church of the East, with its language, its heritage. Since then, the zeal of scholars, rather secular, often teachers or financed by the CNRS, has slowed point. Among them, many French. Here are their names:

F. Briquel Chatonnet, F. Cassingena-Trévedy, D. Cerbelaud, S. Courtois, Mr. Debie, A. Desreumaux, R. Draguet, D. Gonnet, F. Hellot-Bellier, R. Hespel, H. Hugonnard-Roche, F. and C. Jullien, L. Lenoir, J. Pierre, Tardieu, J. Teixidor, RM barrel, G. Flock, I. M. Vosti.

The French original Syriac took over: Joseph Jacob and Joseph Alichoran. As for me, Ephrem-Isa Yousif, for over 15 years, I tried to make available to the public francophone literary speaking of the Syriac culture. . My books: Perfume Sanate childhood, a Christian village in Kurdistan, Mesopotamia, a paradise of days old, the epic of the Tigris and the Euphrates, a chronic Mesopotamian. I have also published books of study: The Flowers philosophers Syriac, Syriac columnists, The Crusades told by the Syriacs, the vision of man in two Syriac philosophers.

In France, as can be seen, interest in Syriac culture is every day stronger and more important. The past thirty years of a community of Syriacs exceeding several thousand people belonging to commutates Assyrian-Chaldean, Syriac and Maronite added to this interest.

Mardin, October 2008