Die Hüter der etwas anderen Schätze: Digitalisierungszusammenarbeit im äthiopischen Hochland

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Major advancements in biblical studies and other historical disciplines over the past two centuries have arisen out of the discovery of new texts from Antiquity and subsequent periods in Ethiopic manuscripts, many of which have revolutionized our understanding of particular subjects. Yet, despite this tremendous impact, only a fraction of the more than 400,000 parchment codices in the libraries of Ethiopia’s approximately 36,000 churches and 1,500 monasteries have been studied.
These largely unexamined masses of manuscripts transmit numerous known historical, theological, and literary gems in Gəʿəz, the ancient south Semitic language in which the liturgy of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is still celebrated, while others lie waiting for discovery.
Local involvement is crucial for advancements with these manuscripts. Thus far, however, projects relating to this material and its digitization in Ethiopia have broadly avoided hands-on indigenous involvement, and training of Ethiopians in practical and broader matters in this area has been either non-existent or so cursory as to be of no real value. As a partial consequence, competence in Digital Humanities at universities in Ethiopia remains in its infancy, though interest within the faculties there to participate in a globally connected digital research world grows steadily.
To address this situation, I propose the “Digital Humanities in Ethiopia Education Program” (DHEEP). Through cooperation with local partners, this project will seek to establish an advanced understanding of the value of the Digital Humanities in one region of Ethiopia and teach a generation of researchers there to utilize such methods advantageously, especially with respect to the preservation and study of Ethiopic manuscripts.
Implementation of the DHEEP will facilitate two major goals. First, the training process will result in various ecclesiastical libraries in the Amhara Region being digitized, preserving and making accessible their precious contents to researchers both locally and globally. Second, the endeavor as a whole will foster Digital Humanities skills among Ethiopian scholars who will then be able to use them in researching their native culture and pass them along to their contemporary and future compatriots, thereby more fully integrating the keepers of this knowledge for the last millennium and a half into its study.
Translated title of the contributionThe guardians of the somewhat different treasures: Digitization cooperation in the Ethiopian highlands
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)11-13
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Theology - Ethiopia, Digital Humanities, Digital education, Manuscipt Studies

ID: 363352795