Christian Arabic Versions of Daniel

A Comparative Study of Early MSS and Translation Techniques in MSS Sinai Ar. 1 and 2


In Christian Arabic Versions of Daniel, Miriam L. Hjälm provides an insight into the Arabic transmission of the biblical Book of Daniel. This book offers an inventory and a classification of extant manuscripts as well as a detailed account of the translation techniques employed in the early manuscripts. The use of the texts is discussed and the various versions are compared with liturgical Bible material.

Miriam L. Hjälm shows the importance of Arabic as a tool for understanding the development of the religious heritage of Christian communities under Muslim rule. Arabic became an indispensable part of the everyday life of many Near Eastern Christians and was increasingly used next to the established liturgical languages, which remained the standard measure of the biblical text.

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Biographical Note

Miriam L. Hjälm, Ph.D. (2015), Uppsala University, is currently engaged in the research project Biblia Arabica at Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich. She has published articles on Arabic Bible translations, including entries in The Textual History of the Bible (Brill, 2015).

Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Abbreviations and Text Critical Symbols

1. Texts and Contexts: The Linguistic Settings of Near Eastern Christian Communities
1.1 Near Eastern Christian Communities: A Background
1.2 Traditional Liturgical Languages and Arabic Translations
2 Previous Research
3 Description of the Early Manuscripts
3.1 Canonical Composition and Liturgical Books
3.2 Classification
3.2.1 ArabSyr1*
3.2.2 ArabHebr1
3.2.3 The Prophetologion
3.2.4 ArabSyr2
3.2.5 ArabSyr3
3.3 The Song of the Three Young Men
3.4 Physical Description and Content
3.4.1 MS Sinai Arabic 1
3.4.2 MS Sinai Arabic 2
3.4.3 MS Sinai Arabic 513
3.4.4 MS Sinai Arabic 597
3.4.5 MS Oxford, Bodl., Fraser (Or.) 257
3.5 Vorlage Dependence
3.5.1 The Textual Identity of Daniel in MS Sinai Arabic 1
3.5.2 The Textual Identity of Daniel in MS Sinai Arabic 2

4 The Bible in Translations
4.1 Method and Principles of the Present Work
4.1.1 The Arabic Texts and Their Vorlagen
4.1.2 Linguistic Register of the Arabic Texts
4.1.3 Transliteration and Translation Principles
5 Textual Additions
5.1 Semantic Additions
5.1.1 Cultural-Logical Adjusters
5.1.2 Referential Links
5.1.3 Temporal Links
5.1.4 Repeated Information
5.1.5 Explicative Additions
5.1.6 Specifications and Dramatic Elements
5.2 Syntactic Additions
5.2.1 Grammatical Complements
5.2.2 Resumable Additions
5.3 Summary of Textual Additions
6 Textual Omissions
6.1 Repeated Information
6.1.1 Omission and Abbreviation of Repeated Information
6.1.2 Paraphrasing of Repeated Information
6.2 Inferable Information
6.2.1 Omission of Clause Constituents
6.2.2 Substitution by Suffixed Pronouns
6.3 Inessential Information
6.3.1 Construct Chains
6.3.2 Similar Information
6.3.3 Omission in Lists
6.4 Specifications and Dramatic Elements
6.5 Miscellaneous Material
6.6 Summary of Textual Omissions
7 Textual Substitutions
7.1 Extra-Textual Adjusters
7.1.1 Extra-Textual Sources
7.1.2 Material Relating to the Godhead
7.2 Idiomatic Expressions
7.3 Paraphrastic Substitutions
7.4 Summary of Textual Substitutions
8 Lexicon 1
8.1 Sound-similar Roots
8.2 Transliteration
8.3 Lexical Consistency
8.4 Paraphrase
8.4.1 Adaptations and Concretization
8.4.2 Metonyms
8.5 Islamic Vocabulary
8.6 Alternate Renderings
8.6.1 Complementing Renderings
8.6.2 Synonymous Renderings
8.7 Proper Names
8.7.1 Arabicized Forms
8.7.2 Christianized Forms
8.7.3 Transliterated Forms
8.7.4 Names of God
8.7.5 Spelling Preferences
8.8 Summary of Lexicon
9 Syntax
9.1 Word Order
9.1.1 ST: Subject Verb (SV) - TT: Verb Subject (VS)
9.1.2 TT: Subject Verb (SV)
9.1.3 ST: Object Verb (OV) - TT: Verb Object (VO)
9.1.4 TT: Object Verb (OV)
9.1.5 ST: Indirect Object (iO) Preceded by lǝ
9.1.6 ST: Adverbial Verb - TT: Verb Adverbial
9.2 Clause Linkage
9.2.1 ST: Clauses Linked by wǝ/way
9.2.2 Asyndetic Clause - Syndetic Clause
9.2.3 ST: Temporal Adverbials and Concessive Conjunctions
9.2.4 Attributive Relative Clauses
9.2.5 Complement Clauses
9.2.6 Adverbial Clauses
9.2.7 Conditional Clauses
9.3 Impersonal Actions
9.4 Infinitive Constructs
9.5 Negations
9.5.1 ST: ʾēn/lāʾ-ʾītay/layt
9.5.2 ST: lōʾ /lāʾ (or ʾal) + Imperfect
9.5.3 ST: lōʾ/lāʾ+ Perfect
9.6 Participles
9.6.1 ST: Active Participle - TT: Imperfect
9.6.2 ST: (hăwāh/hăwāʾ +) Active Participle - TT: Perfect
9.6.3 STs: Active Participle - TTs: Active Participle
9.7 Moods of the Verb
9.7.1 The Subjunctive
9.7.2 The Jussive
9.7.3 The Imperative
9.8 Gender, Number and Case Endings
9.8.1 ST: Plural Verb - TT: Singular Verb
9.8.2 Case Endings
9.9 Summary of Syntax
10 Samples from Christian Arabic Old Testament Texts
10.1 Christian Arabic Translations of the Book of Daniel
10.1.1 Samples from ArabSyr1* (MSS Sinai Ar. 513 and 597)
10.1.2 Samples from the Prophetologion
10.1.3 Samples from ArabSyr2
10.1.4 Samples from ArabSyr3
10.2 Christian Arabic Old Testament Translations
10.2.1 The Prophets
10.2.2 The Pentateuch
10.2.3 Ruth
10.2.4 Chronicles
10.2.5 Proverbs
10.3 Preliminary Scheme of Common Techniques
11 Concluding Remarks
Primary Sources
Secondary Sources


All interested in the reception of the Bible and its use, and anyone concerned with early and Middle Arabic texts, Byzantine liturgy and Near Eastern Christian communities.