State of the al-Makin project

Back 1971 Shlomo Pines published a strange version of the so-called Testimonium Flavianum of Josephus, where Josephus mentions Christ.   This came from the 10th century Arabic Christian writer Agapius, whose history I have translated and placed online.  But in fact the sole manuscript of part 2 of Agapius, which refers to Josephus, does NOT contain the text that Pines published.  This text is a reconstruction, using portions of text from the 13th century Arabic Christian historian al-Makin or Elmacinus, also known as ibn Amid.  Pines believed that these preserved portions of the text of Agapius lost in translation.

There are five big Arabic Christian histories; Agapius, Eutychius, Bar Hebraeus, al-Makin, and one which I can never remember [Yahya ibn Said al-Antaki].  But no edition or translation exists of al-Makin.  The second half — from the start of the Moslem period — was published and translated into Latin back in the 17th century.  The end portion of the chronicle, which deals with Saladin and his dynasty, was not present in the manuscript used then, but has been published recently with French translation.

An email this morning asked me the state of this project.  I’m not actively progressing it.  But I have obtained reproductions of two manuscripts, and the second half of a third.  I have a partial list of chapters of the first part from one of them.  And I have three translators, all of whom would be competent to work on the text.

As with so much in this life, all we need is money.  Maybe next year, when the downturn eases.


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