Translation Strategies in the Old Bulgarian Translation of Athanasius of Alexandria’s Orations against the Arians

Summary: 

The article discusses translation strategies and techniques in the Old Bulgarian text of Athanasius of Alexandria’s Orations Against the Arians, translated by Konstantin of Preslav in 906. The exploration draws upon all ten Russian manuscripts ranging from the 15th to 18th centuries: RNB Pogodin № 968, year 1489; RGB, f. 113, № 437, year 1488; RGB, f. 209, № 791, 15th c.; RGB, f. 199, № 59, 15th–16th c.; GIM Sin. № 20, years 1480–1490;  GIM Sin. № 994, 16th c.; RNB Sofijsk. № 1321, 16th c.; GIM Sin. № 180, 16th c.; RNB Sol. № 63, 16th c.; RGB, F. 209, № 99, 18th. Following his Greek model, Konstantin of Preslav renders the binary opposition divine vs. non-divine by using the paradigm of the verb быти “to be”. Out of the present forms for the 3rd person singular and plural –  есмь “is” and сонтъ “they are”, respectively – he creates key theological terms such as естование tu einai, сонтьство fisis, бышьнъ gennitos. He uses the latter together with the word естьство usia, already established in the language, in accordance with a previously designed linguistic concept that corresponds to St. Athanasius of Alexandria’s anti-arian views. The neologisms and terminological oppositions under discussion in the article testify to the highly developed linguistic sensitivity of bishop Konstantin of Preslav and his skills to draw upon the creative and expressive power of the Old Bulgarian literary language, still young and in the making at the time.

Tatyana Slavova (Sofia, Bulgaria)
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