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Gibson, Nathan P.; Hjälm, Miriam L.; Tarras, Peter; Vollandt, Ronny ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1702-2981 and Zaki, Vevian (2018): The Bible in Arabic. An Update on the State of Research. In: Paša, Željko (ed.) : Between the Cross and the Crescent: Studies in Honor of Samir Khalil Samir, S.J. on the Occasion of His Eightieth Birthday. Orientalia Christiana Analecta, Vol. 304. Rome: Pontifical Oriental Institute. pp. 57-84 [PDF, 1MB]

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The aim of this contribution is to review some of the major areas of current research on the Arabic Bible, along with the factors and trends contributing to them. Also we present some of the tools that are currently under development in the Biblia Arabica team, Munich. We provide here a very condensed survey of the transmission of traditions, as well as ways that biblical manuscripts in Arabic have been analysed and classified, covering both Old Testament/ Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. Overall, the lack of critical editions for Arabic biblical texts in general reflects not just the overwhelming number of versions and manuscripts, but also the fundamental challenge these translations present on the level of textuality. Standard paradigms of authorship and transmission break down in the face of the complex reuse, revision, and layering of paratexts seen in these texts. It is the careful study of manuscripts, not simply as texts but also as physical objects, which holds promise for reconstructing the practices of producers and consumers of the Arabic Bible. A union catalogue of Arabic Bible manuscripts will gather the paleographic and codicological information necessary for further research. Moreover, it will link manuscripts, translators, and scribes to the online Bibliography of the Arabic Bible, which is intended to be a comprehensive, classified, and searchable reference tool for secondary literature. In conclusion, scholarship of the Arabic Bible now has considerable momentum, but must continue to keep its fundamental resource – that of manuscripts – in the foreground of research.

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