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Van Elverdinghe, Emmanuel (2021): “A Child in Zion”: The Scriptural Fabric of Armenian Colophons. In: Ceulemans, Reinhart and Crostini, Barbara (eds.) : Receptions of the Bible in Byzantium: Texts, Manuscripts, and their Readers. Studia Byzantina Upsaliensia, Vol. 20. Uppsala: Uppsala Universitet. pp. 141-162 [PDF, 996kB]


A unique witness to the dynamism of a mediaeval Christian literature, the literary genre of the colophon in Armenia is notable for its reliance on biblical quotations, themes, and references. This essay provides a global overview of biblical materials found in Armenian colophons, emphasizing their significance as part of the Wirkungsgeschichte of the Bible in Armenia. Different levels of reception can be distinguished, from straightforward quotations to pervasive echoes and imitatio of biblical language. It is also shown that colophon authors did not refer to the Bible merely because it was customary to do so: they often used the Bible purposefully to stress salient points of their texts, and they eagerly related their personal experiences to biblical episodes. Translated excerpts of colophons illustrate each argument. As a whole, the paper casts a new light on the collective reception of the Bible in Armenian culture, particularly among lower-rank clerics, monastics, and literate laymen, who authored a majority of colophons.

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