The variation and adaptation of Kalīla and Dimna was not limited to the Arabic tradition, but it also crossed linguistic and cultural boundaries. The first Syriac translation, from the sixth century CE, even predates the Arabic; it was based on the Middle Persian text collection, which forms the starting point for all later branches of the tradition.
A second Syriac translation was made in the tenth or eleventh century and was derived from an early Arabic version. It reflects—like other early translations in various languages—a nascent phase of the diversification within the Arabic tradition, which is not fully reflected in the surviving Arabic manuscripts. This text also has unique features, based on the cultural environment in which it was produced, and it is highly Christianized.
In the proposed chapter, the similarities and differences between the two versions will be analyzed on the basis of a self-contained part of Kalīla and Dimna, the chapter of “The Cat and the Mouse.” In our analysis, different translation techniques and diverse cultural and linguistic influences will be highlighted. However, the remarkable closeness (at some points) of the two translations, which are four centuries and many cultural changes apart, deserves further discussion. In addition, the structure of the text demonstrates certain shifts, which, in turn, could help us to understand the development and transmission of this work in various traditions. At times, Arabic versions—usually relying on the close English translation by Michael Fishbein (London Or. 4044)—will be referred to, in order to provide context for the detailed analysis.
Kalila and Dimna
mirrors of princes
800 Literatur::890 Andere Literaturen::892 Afroasiatische Literaturen, semitische Literaturen
What Makes a Good Friend? Analysis of the Two Syriac Translations of “The Cat and the Mouse”
An Unruly Classic: Kalīla and Dimna and Its Syriac, Arabic, and Early Persian Versions
Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften
Seminar für Semitistik und Arabistik, Arabistik