Eastern European Karaims are the sole representatives of Karaite Judaism in Europe. Their native tongue is a severely endangered Turkic vernacular listed on the UNESCO Atlas of the Worlds’ Languages in Danger. Due to many historical events, including World War II and the Soviet era, the cultural heritage of this intriguing ethnic minority suffered great losses. At the same time, since its investigation requires a rare combination of unique linguistic and palaeographic skills merely a fraction of its surviving written heritage has entered scholarly circulation. In particular, no comprehensive edition of the Karaim Hebrew Bible exists, even though nearly 100 Karaim Biblical texts have been discovered to date.
The project will construct a digital edition of the entire Karaim Bible, almost exclusively based on unedited texts in Hebrew script (15th–20th cc). It will be used as a tool to deliver the first linguistic and palaeographic descriptions of the oldest, still unedited records of Karaim as well as reconstruct the way in which the Karaim Bible was created. Combining traditional and computer-aided research methods will provide essential data on the early history of the Karaim language and ethnicity. The edition will be a highly complex instrument interconnected with a dictionary, which is an absolute novelty in the field.
The edition will contain the first ever comprehensive Karaim translation intelligible to present-day native-speakers. The texts will be treated according to the principles of textual criticism and translated into English. If permitted, facsimiles will be provided. One exciting aspect of the enterprise is that it will offer a virtual unification of the Karaim translations of one of the most important and influential works in world literature. Such a task is of fundamental importance and is crucial to sustaining an endangered culture, given that an awareness of the oldest Bible translations is an important component of European national identities.
Fields of science
Funding SchemeERC-STG - Starting Grant
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751 05 Uppsala
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