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Towards the Reconstruction of the Text of The Twelve Dreams of King Shahaisha

Anna A. Pichkhadze


In this paper, the attempt is made to define principles for the reconstruction of the primary Slavonic version of The Twelve Dreams of King Shahaisha. The original of the tale is unknown; it is supposed to be of Oriental provenance. The Twelve Dreams has survived in Russian and South Slavonic copies from the 14th–19th cc.; the discrepancies between single manuscripts are very significant. For the present study, six South Slavonic and three East Slavonic manuscripts have been used. The paper interprets some obscure fragments of The Twelve Dreams, examines the differences between the oldest Russian redaction and the text of the South Slavonic manuscripts and argues that the lexical Russisms of the Russian redaction are secondary and the lexemes characteristic of South Slavonic dialects, on the contrary, are primary. Certain grammatical peculiarities (conservation of the archaic vowel alternations in the presence / infinitive verb stems) are regarded as an argument for the early (before the end of the 13th c.) emergence of the Russian redaction which is a result of the revision of the original Slavonic text. At the same time, some facts are adduced confirming that the Russian manuscripts preserve a range of authentic readings and that their evidence is of value for the reconstruction of the original text, especially since the South Slavonic manuscripts often contain abridged or corrupted text and diverge essentially. The author claims that the reconstruction of the primary Slavonic text of The Twelve Dreams may be rather reliable in the places where the readings of at least one of the two earliest Russian manuscripts coincide with the readings of at least one South Slavonic manuscript because of the early split of the textual tradition into an East Slavonic and a South Slavonic branch.


DOI: 10.31168/2305-6754.2021.10.1.3


Medieval Slavonic writings; Textual Criticism; Church Slavonic language


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