Ahiqar - Project details

The Story of Ahiqar in its Syriac and Arabic Tradition


The Story of Ahiqar in its Syriac and Arabic Tradition is a project of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Göttingen in cooperation with the Göttingen State and University Library, funded by the German Research Foundation.

The aim of the project is the new edition and motif-historical study of the Syriac and Arabic manuscripts of the Ahiqar tradition as a historical-critical online edition.

The story of Ahiqar became widespread even beyond the Middle East. The oldest source is an Aramaic papyrus from the 5th century BCE, in which it seems clear that several earlier materials (stories and proverbs) are interwoven. Moreover, there are many other versions of Ahiqar’s story, not only in Aramaic, but also in Syriac, Arabic, and many other ancient and modern languages.

The extensive Syriac and Arabic versions played a central role in the transmission of the (originally Aramaic) material into other languages and literary traditions. The last attempt so far to compile a reasonably comprehensive account of the Ahiqar’s story tradition was made more than a hundred year ago by F. C. Conybeare et al. in 1913, but the study does not include all known textual witnesses. As for the Aramaic version, several publications have since appeared, which makes them well accessible. Despite the fundamental importance of the Syriac and Arabic versions, reliable text editions are still lacking. The aim of the project is to fill this gap and provide a textual and literary analysis of the Syriac and Arabic versions of the Ahiqar tradition in digital form to establish the material and technical basis for further research on the other versions.

Therefore, the main text witnesses of the Syriac and Arabic versions have been identified, transcribed, and translated. Furthermore, the names of people, places, motifs, and biblical references have been tagged. Furthermore, stemmata were identified and a collation of the textual witnesses was created. A short description of the manuscripts has been appended, with a list of relevant publications.

The texts were encoded by the researchers using the TextGrid Lab. The SUB Technical Team developed and provided a TEI schema and advised on encoding. For the technical implementation of this Digital Edition, a generic TextAPI was developed to provide the data and the TIDO Viewer to display the data. The TIDO Viewer source code is available under GNU Affero General Public Licence (AGPL) on GitLab. More detailed information is available on the Ahiqar website under Technical Documentation and Edition Guidelines.


Project board at the SUB Göttingen

Project staff at the SUB Göttingen

SUB Göttingen departments / units involved in the project

Former project staff of the SUB Göttingen

Manikanth Dindigala, Frank Schneider, Nils Windisch