This volume brings together a set of contributions, many appearing in English for the first time, together with a new introduction, covering the history of the Ethiopian Christian civilization in its formative period (300-1500 AD). Rooted in the late antique kingdom of Aksum (present day Northern Ethiopia and Eritrea), and lying between Byzantium, Africa and the Near East, this civilization is presented in a series of case studies. At a time when philological and linguistic investigations are being challenged by new approaches in Ethiopian studies, this volume emphasizes the necessity of basic research, while avoiding the reduction of cultural questions to matters of fact and detail.
Contents: Introduction; Bibliography; Part 1 The Aksumite Period and the Christianization of Ethiopia: Perspectives on the history of Ethiopia, Enrico Cerulli; Ezana's conversion reconsidered, Steven Kaplan; Notes on the Royal Aksumite inscriptions, Roger Schneider; The dating of Ezana and Frumentius, Stuart Munro-Hay. Part 2 The Aksumite Literature: Historical and philological problems of the Axumitic literature (especially in the Qérellos), Bernd Manuel Weischer; The adventures of the Apocrypha in Ethiopia, Pierluigi Piovanelli; The Aksumite background of the Ethiopic 'corpus canonum', Alessandro Bausi. Part 3 The 'Judaic Component': Hebraic-Jewish elements in Abyssinian (monophysite) Christianity, Edward Ullendorff; Review of Edward Ullendorff, The Ethiopians, Maxime Rodinson; On the question of 'Jewish influences' in Ethiopia, Maxime Rodinson. Part 4 The 'Second Christianization' and the 'Syriac Influences': Aramaic, Syriac, and Ge'ez, Hans Jakob Polotsky; Syrian influences in Ethiopian culture, Witold Witakowski; Once again on the question of Syriac influences in the Aksumite period, Paolo Marrassini; 'Saintly shadows', Stuart Munro-Hay. Part 5 The Kebra Nagast: The Kebra Nagast in the light of recent research, Irfan ShahÃ®d; Dating the Kebra Nagast: another look, David W. Johnson; A 6th century Kebra Nagast?, Stuart Munro-Hay. Part 6 Saints, Monks and Kings: Ethiopian hagiography and the acts of Saint Yafqeranna-Egzi (14th century), Carlo Conti Rossini; Monasticism in Ethiopia, Enrico Cerulli; Hagiographies and the history of medieval Ethiopia, Steven Kaplan; A hagiographic text: the Royal Chronicle, Paolo Marrassini; Index.