Presentations and New Results in Nubian Studies

Last weekend, the first public presentation of the new discoveries made through the study of the textual finds unearthed at the monastery of Qasr el Wizz in Lower Nubia took place in the frame of the 7th Annual Meeting of the Norwegian Egyptological Society.

Nye koptiske tekster fra det nubiske klosteret Qasr el Wizz

Since the 24th of January, another Wizz-related activity has been initiated in Bergen: professor Einar Thomassen, Christian Bull, Lloyd Abercrombie, and Alexandros Tsakos started reading and discussing the so-called Qasr el Wizz codex. The only complete Coptic codex found in Nubia has already been published by Peter Hubai – first in Hungarian and then in German – while these days, Paul Dilley is preparing the first English translation of the text. This will in fact be the first English translation to be published, because already late George Hughes of the Oriental Institute of Chicago had prepared a draft of a translation to the same text – that he wished, however, that it remained unpublished, obviously because he did not see it as a complete work. Alexandros has not decided yet how to treat the existing translations when preparing the final publication of the finds from Wizz in the frame of the project lead by Dr. Obluski from Warsaw. It is sure, though, that he will profit a lot of the discussions with the reading group led by Thomassen.

Qasr Wizz Codex page-1

During this week again, some more news regarding Nubian Studies reached us in Bergen:

First, the abstracts of all the participants in the panel on Old Nubian in the frame of the next Nilo-Saharan Linguistics’ Colloquium to be hosted by the University of Cologne between the 22nd and the 24th of May 2013. The panel will take place on the first day of the Colloquium and the organizers, Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei and Giovanni Ruffini, have invited professor Adam Lajtar and Dr. Grzegorz Ochala from Warsaw, Joost Hagen from Leiden, Kerstin Weber and Petra Weschenfelder from Berlin, and Alexandros, to contribute with their latest finds and help with the establishment of  “a central online database containing all texts, published and unpublished, including metadata on location, dating, etc.“. A very noble aim indeed, and one that may turn the attention to unknown collections of texts in Old Nubian and bring to the working groups local researchers from the University of Khartoum, the local Nubian communities or elsewhere around the world.

Second, professors Jacques van der Vliet and Adam Lajtar, and Dr. Grzegorz Ochala invited a larger group of students and researchers to contribute to the second volume of “Nubian Voices“, published under the auspices of the Journal of Juristic Papyrology of the University of Warsaw, with the “conviction that such a focused collection will ultimately serve to restore medieval Nubian culture to its legitimate place within the wider Eastern Christian and African contexts in a much more effective way than scattered articles in journals with no particular interest in Nubia can ever do.” The opinion that the gathering of papers in such focused publications helps the specialized researcher is true; but that such strategies help Nubian Studies to assume a more worthy position among related disciplines is debatable. In any case, Alexandros will surely submit a paper to the editors and will be looking very much forward to the publication in 2014.

Third, Elena Vezzadini, post-doctoral researcher at the University of Bergen, forwarded to us a circular for contributions to a special issue in the Canadian Journal of African Studies, with the goal “to rethink Sudan Studies after the independence of South Sudan on July 9, 2011“. We quote the most practical of infos from this circular:

Please submit proposals in either French or English consisting of 1) Curriculum Vitae; and 2) a one-page abstract, explaining the topic, argument, and source base as well as its engagement with the agenda of “Rethinking Sudan Studies”.  Send these materials to the editors of this special issue, Heather Sharkey:, Elena Vezzadini:, Iris Seri-Hersch: . The deadline for receipt of proposals is February 28, 2013.

We are already contemplating the idea of seeing Nubian Studies in the frame of Sudan Studies after the separation of July 9, 2011. To what degree did the new financial situation affect the issues related to cultural heritage in the Middle Nile, like for example with the plans for further dams and even more acutely with the immense problem of gold mining in Nubia and in the area of the Rubatab tribe?

Let’s return to the date today: the second of February is the feast of the Presentation of Jesus to the Temple, one of the twelve most important feasts in the Eastern Orthodox Church (=Dodekaorton). Interestingly enough, the feast is not commemorated in Nubia, either in texts or in the mural decoration of the churches.


Why is it lacking in Nubian art and literature?

If there was ever such a feast in Nubia would it have been called

indicating the presence of Jesus in the temple, or perhaps

indicating the offering of Jesus at the temple?

Perhaps it is impossible to translate in Old Nubian the Greek term ΠΑΡΟΥΣΙΑΣΙΣ precisely because this custom was not practiced in Christian Nubia?

This entry was posted in Nubia, Old Nubian and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Presentations and New Results in Nubian Studies

  1. Thanks for the post, Alexandros, and glad to hear about the reading group!

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