Archives par mot-clé : Jérôme

“Translating the Father of translation. Linguistic and Cultural Transfers in Byzantium” (TRANSFA)

Marie Curie IF Horizon 2020

Greek hagiographical texts translated from Latin help to better understand contacts between West and East during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, reversing the traditional perspective represented by the basic flow of translations made from Greek into Latin.

The project aims to contribute to a better understanding of this process through the examination of the dossier of the Greek versions of the Vita Sancti Hilarionis (hereinafter VH) (Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina, hereinafter BHL 3879). This Latin hagiographical text was composed by Saint Jerome, considered as the “Father of Translation”, at the end of the 4th century, in Bethlehem. Born around 291, the monk Hilarion is known as the founder of Gazan monasticism. At the age of fifteen, Hilarion settled in a small cell, situated seven miles from Gaza’s anchorage, where he later founded his monastery. Due to a premonition of the imminent destruction of his monastery by the emperor Julian, Hilarion left Palestine. He withdrew to Sicily, later to Dalmatia, and finally to Cyprus, where he died in 371. Although the importance of the VH as a major source for the development of Gazan monasticism has often been stressed, very little critical attention has been devoted to its translations into Greek.

Domenico Ghirlandaio, Saint Jérôme dans son étude

 

The Greek dossier of the VH constitutes an extremely rare case of hagiographical translations from Latin into Greek, a phenomenon not as well documented as the opposite flow of translations, from Greek into Latin, as it includes different Greek translations. At least one Greek translation circulated during the years following the original composition of the VH in Latin: Jerome is referring to the VH as one of his writings that has been translated into Greek[1]. In 1888, Athanasios Papadopoulos-Kerameus[2] edited a Greek translation of the VH, on the basis of a single manuscript (Sabaïticus 27, 10th c.). The work of Ruth Strout (1943)[3] remains up to now the most complete study of the Greek dossier of the VH: having access to a larger number of manuscripts transmitting Greek translations of the VH, she was able to notice that the text transmitted by the Sabaïticus and edited by Papadopoulos-Kerameus was actually a “hybrid”, representing two different Greek translations. The first five chapters correspond to the Life Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca (hereinafter BHG 752), a faithful translation of the Latin original, and the remaining text belongs to the Life BHG 753, a free translation. Strout also identified a third Greek translation of the VH, the “Samos translation” (Life BHG 751z). Modern scholars have often failed to distinguish between these different Greek versions of the VH and the dossier has been in disarray for a long time[4].


[1] Jerome, De viris illustribus, 134 (ed. Ceresa-Gastaldo, 1988).

[2] A. Papadopoulos-Kerameus (1963), “Βίος τοῦ ὁσίου πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ἱλαρίωνος”, Ἀνάλεκτα Ἱεροσολυμιτικῆς Σταχυολογίας 5.

[3] R. Strout (1943), “The Greek versions of Jerome’s Vita Sancti Hilarionis”, in W.A. Oldfather, ed., Studies in the text tradition of St. Jerome’s Vitae Patrum, Urbana.

[4] For example, E. Fischer (1982), “Greek Translations of Latin Literature in the Fourth Century A.D.”, Yale Classical Studies 27.

Saint Hilarion, monastère de Hosios Loukas

 

The TRANSFA project will therefore pursue three objectives:

  • 1. The first critical edition of a mostly unknown Greek translation of the VH (Life BHG 752)
  • 2. The “Samos translation” (Life BHG 751z) of the VH revisited
  • 3. An interdisciplinary history of cultural exchanges between Byzantium and the West

This project takes place in the National Hellenic Research Foundation (EIE, Athens), in collaboration with the Bollandist Society (Brussels).

Transferts linguistiques et culturels à Byzance

Le présent carnet de recherche est un lieu d’échange et de partage qui se propose de repenser les échanges linguistiques et culturels entre l’Occident latin et l’Orient grec durant l’Antiquité tardive et le Moyen Âge. Il ne sera pas question du flux textuel depuis l’Orient grec vers l’Occident latin, un phénomène bien étudié, mais du mouvement inverse, encore mal connu : c’est-à-dire des textes latins traduits et disséminés dans un monde de langue grecque.
Ce carnet hébergera divers projets de recherche autour de cette thématique et sera adressé à des spécialistes de Byzance et du Moyen Âge occidental, mais aussi à tout lecteur intéressé par les questions relatives aux transferts culturels, notamment par la problématique de la traduction.
Dans un premier temps, le carnet accompagnera un projet de recherche financé par l’Union Européenne (Marie Curie Individual Fellowship) : Translating the Father of Translation. Linguistic and Cultural Transfers in Byzantium (TRANSFA, Horizon 2020 no 892782). Ce projet porte sur les traductions grecques d’un texte hagiographique latin, la Vie de saint Hilarion. Rédigé à la fin du 4e siècle par Jérôme, connu comme le “Père des traducteurs”, ce texte fut traduit en grec du vivant de son auteur en donnant lieu à bon nombre de versions grecques. De par sa richesse et son caractère inédit, ce dossier constitue un bon point de départ pour aborder la question des transferts linguistiques et culturels entre Occident latin et Orient grec durant l’Antiquité tardive et le Moyen Âge.

Rutilio Manetti, Saint Jérôme écrivant