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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Magnalia Dei: Biblical History in Epic Verse by Grigor Magistros
Terian, Abraham, translator

Leuven: Peeters, 2012 pp. xii + 197. 49 €
Introduction by Abraham Terian

Series Information
Hebrew University Armenian Studies, 14


Description: Composed by Grigor Magistros, an 11th-century Armenian princely savant and friend of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX Monomachus (reigned 1042–55), the Magnalia Dei is a summation of the Bible in epic verse. Written on one of the author’s visits to Constantinople, it resulted from an encounter there with a Moslem intellectual by the name of Manazi — none other than Abu Nasr al-Manazi, vizier and emissary of the Abbasid Caliphate, theologian and poet, who frequently visited Constantinople in quest of Greek scientific manuscripts. During their discussion on the Bible and the Qur’an, a stock Islamic argument emerged: that the Qur’an is superior to the Christian Scriptures on account of its beautiful, inimitable verse. The epic is Magistros’s response.

The Magnalia Dei is the earliest literary epic in medieval Armenian, and one of the most informative compositions within the genre of biblically inspired verse narratives in Christian literature.

Subjects: Early Christian Literature, Literature, Methods, Linguistics, Translation and Translation Theory

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Review by Adam Carter McCollum
Published 3/20/2015
Citation: Adam Carter McCollum, review of Abraham Terian, trans., Magnalia Dei: Biblical History in Epic Verse by Grigor Magistros, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2015).


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