The Armenian Platonic Dossier: a Multidisciplinary Approach

CEU Community + Invited Guests
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 11:00am
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 11:00am to 12:30pm

Five Platonic dialogues survive in anonymous and undated ancient Armenian translations, namely, the Timaeus, the Euthyphro, the Apology of Socrates, the Laws, and the Minos (spurious); this is especially significant since no Platonic versions are extant in geographically and culturally close traditions such as the Syriac and Georgian ones. However, despite the great interest these versions have stirred among scholars, several major points still need to be thoroughly addressed. All the dialogues need to be critically edited according to modern criteria, because the existing editions (Sowkcrean, 1877; Zarbhanalean, 1890) do not faithfully reproduce the wording of the only complete manuscript (ms. 1123 from Venice) nor do they take into account a few shorter extracts which have been discovered more recently. Furthermore, a complete and comparative linguistic and traductological analysis of all the dialogues must be conducted. Finally, no convincing chronology or attribution has yet been proposed.The talk aims at describing the author’s contribution to this general picture, as a historical linguist and as a philologist. It will relate the major points of a critical review conducted on the previous scholarly literature, taking into consideration several old and new leads which involve linguistic, philological, historical and cultural data, in order to shed some light on the matter of the versions’ authorship and propose at least a terminus ante quem. It will also detail some results of an ongoing research project concerning the language and translation technique of the Timaeus, and especially its Hellenised features, showing how the linguistic analysis itself could lay the basis for a more precise evaluation of the dating of this version. Such an enquiry has been conducted on the text as preserved in the manuscript and in an edited fragment (Vardanyan, 1979), given the necessary emendations.

Irene Tinti received her Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Pisa (December, 2011) and her B.A. and M.A. in Classics from the University of Milan. Her main research interests include special languages, translation studies, and contact linguistics with reference to ancient languages. She has published several articles in the field of Historical Linguistics; her Ph.D. thesis, devoted to the verbs of ‘being’ and ‘becoming’ within the Greek and Armenian Timaeus, has been accepted for publication in the series Studi Linguistici Pisani (Pisa). She is currently a research fellow at the Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies at CEU and an affiliated fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies.