May 31, 2013

28: Decipher Text 5 - Gospel of Matthew

A few days ago, a private collector contacted me to identify for him the text on some vellum folios he acquired from Ethiopia. The pages are from a classical Ethiopic translation of the gospels - a bound codex at some point. Here’s an image from one of the folios -- the text is Matthew 17:1-3. The scribal hand is quite clear, but for greater clarity, I’ve transliterated and transcribed it below:

məʿərāf ((17)) waʾəmdəḫ-
-ra šellus mewāʿəl nešʾomu agziʾ
iyasus lapērosṭros lapeṭros wa-
-layaʿqob walayoḥannəs ʾəḫuhu waʾaʿra-
-gomu wasta dəbr nawāḫ ʾənta baḥəti-
-tomu watawallaṭa rāʿyu baqdumeho-
-mu waʾabraha gaṣṣu kama ḍaḥay waʾal-
-basihuni kona ḍaʿāy kama bərhān wa-
-nāhu ʾastarʾaywomu muse waʾe-
-lyās laʾənza yətnāgaru məslehu
ምዕራፍ ፲፯ ወእምድኅ
ሠሉስ መዋዕል ነሥኦሙ አግዚእ
ኢየሱስ ለጴሮስጥሮስ ለጴጥሮስ
ለያዕቆብ ወለዮሐንስ እኁሁ ወአዕረ
ጎሙ ወስተ ደብር ነዊኅ እንተ በሕቲ
ቶሙ ወተወለጠ ራዕዩ በቅዱሜሆ
ወአብርሀ ገጹ ከመ ፀሐይ ወአል
ባሲሁኒ ኮነ ፀዓይ ከመ ፡ብርሃን
ናሁ አስተርአይዎሙ ሙሴ ፡ወኤ
ልያስ ለእንዘ ይትናገሩ ምስሌሁ


  1. I am an Ethiopian

    I'm proud of you. Now a days Ge'ez is not working language in Ethiopia. But, Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church is using it for spiritual services. There are a lot of books in ge'ez, this generation should read. Your activity is very very helpful.

    keep it up.

  2. Dear Hamza,

    Thank you for your professional presentation and structured presentation of Geez. I do speak Amharic and I am an Ethiopian and I listened to Radio Program that teach Geez by Sertse Fresebeat in Ethiopia and I was always looking forward to get such type of printable information to learn geez at my pace and convenience. You really deserve thanks and recognized for your work.

    Mesfin Yilma

  3. Dear Sir,
    I'm trying to discover the name of the Milky Way in ge'ez. I have found two expressions: chaʃara tʃemangadu or pasare zamanegade. Could you please tell me if they are right or wrong? The transliteration is obsolete, I think.
    ML Rossi
    University of Genoa, Italy

    1. Hey, this is yonas. I live in Italy and I am a geez language speaker. Is there something you would like me to help you with?

  4. Dear who ever you are
    I would like you to show me a way to learn geeze considering me as an eleventh grade school boy and got ambitious to geeze at a speech one has made at a place. Please try to show me the way that I can follow not that I wish I could have followed.

  5. በቅድሜሆሙ ወ ኮነ ፀዓዳ አኮ ፀዓይ

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