Anatomy of the Mongolian Colophons in the Translations of the Word of the Buddha

Research output

Abstract

The article brings into focus the structure and typology of the colophons in the Mongolian translations of texts whose authorship is ascribed to the Buddha himself. Such texts were repeatedly translated into the Mongolian language and highly
venerated by believers. As old as Mongolian literature itself, colophons or “concluding words” accompanied the nation’s literary canon over a period running from the late thirteenth to the early twentieth century. They are the blocks of textual information that the creator of a text or book, be it a translator, a scribe, or a publisher, regarded as being an important addition to the main text. Despite the diversity of such informative blocks, which include praying formulas, panegyrics, benedictions, cosmological, historical, and quasi-historical accounts, didactic fragments, and so on, the colophons followed a settled template and established quite fixed information and expression spheres, i.e., they only narrate about certain things and use a certain language. This inflexibility of the colophons is explained by their main function – they represent a certain type of paratext forming part of the complex mediation between the book and the reader aimed at ensuring the reception of the translated text as an authoritative and legitimate source of Buddhist wisdom.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-331
JournalArchiv Orientalni
Volume87
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2019

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language
translator
didactics
wisdom
mediation
typology
twentieth century
Buddha
Language
literature
Authorship
Mediation
Didactic
Panegyric
Believer
Translator
Buddhist
Reader
Creator
Benediction

Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • Religious studies

Cite this

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title = "Anatomy of the Mongolian Colophons in the Translations of the Word of the Buddha",
abstract = "The article brings into focus the structure and typology of the colophons in the Mongolian translations of texts whose authorship is ascribed to the Buddha himself. Such texts were repeatedly translated into the Mongolian language and highlyvenerated by believers. As old as Mongolian literature itself, colophons or “concluding words” accompanied the nation’s literary canon over a period running from the late thirteenth to the early twentieth century. They are the blocks of textual information that the creator of a text or book, be it a translator, a scribe, or a publisher, regarded as being an important addition to the main text. Despite the diversity of such informative blocks, which include praying formulas, panegyrics, benedictions, cosmological, historical, and quasi-historical accounts, didactic fragments, and so on, the colophons followed a settled template and established quite fixed information and expression spheres, i.e., they only narrate about certain things and use a certain language. This inflexibility of the colophons is explained by their main function – they represent a certain type of paratext forming part of the complex mediation between the book and the reader aimed at ensuring the reception of the translated text as an authoritative and legitimate source of Buddhist wisdom.",
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