The Ethiopian Biblical Canon in its Earliest Literary Attestation: An Assessment of the Evidence

Aside from textual evidence of documentary character, like inventory lists attested as early as from the thirteenth century, that have recently attracted more attentively the attention of scholars, Ethiopian literary texts have transmitted a certain number of ‘biblical canons’. These ‘biblical canons’ are attested in prescriptive works and have received attention since August Dillmann’s time, in a series of contributions by Ignazio Guidi, Anton Baumstark, Marius Chaîne, just to quote a few, and more recently other scholars as well. This evidence however, was rarely considered from the essential point of view of the dynamics of (1) origin and context of production, (2) provenance in relation to the Ethiopian context, and (3) within the actual state of the Ethiopian manuscript and literary tradition. In my paper I intend to deal with the earliest retrievable evidence for a literary ‘biblical canon’ and provide some details on the context of its transmission and reception.