Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Version at BMCR home site
Véronique Somers, Bastien Kindt (ed.), Thesaurus Iosephi Genesii aliarumque chronographiarum anonymarum. Corpus Christianorum. Thesaurus patrum Graecorum. Turnhout: Brepols, 2009. Pp. xxxv, 284. ISBN 9782503531267. €210.00.
Reviewed by Eirini Afentoulidou, Universität Wien

[Authors and titles are listed at the end of the review.]

The present book is the 22nd volume of the series Thesaurus Patrum Graecorum, which is published in course of the Projet de Recherche en Lexicologie Grecque of the Université Catholique de Louvain.

The series aims to provide scholars with a detailed description of the word usage of Greek Patristic and Byzantine authors. The Thesauri are complementary both to the existing lexica and the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG) of the University of California, Irvine: unlike a lexicon, which gives the "ideal" form of a word (lemma), the Thesauri provide an exhaustive list of the actual usages of every lemma -- B. Kindt speaks of the saussurean dichotomy between langue and discours.1 What differentiates the Thesauri Patrum Graecorum from the TLG is a comprehensive lemmatisation, i.e. the classification of the actual forms used in the text under a lemma. The lemmatisation presupposes interpretation of the text, for example in the case of homonyms. Orthographic variations are listed under one and the same lemma; this is especially important in Byzantine philology, where the orthography of the manuscripts, previously dismissed as a product of error or ignorance, is often preserved in modern editions.

In the present Thesaurus the vocabulary of four historiographic / chronographic works is analysed. These are the Regum Libri, transmitted under the name of Joseph Genesios, as well as three minor chronicles known under the conventional names of "Chronicle of 811 / Chronique de l'année 811", "Scriptor Incertus de Leone Armenio" and "Chronicon Bruxellense / Chronique de Bruxelles" respectively. For the first three texts the authors of the Thesaurus could use reliable critical editions; the edition of the "Chronicon Bruxellense" is inadequate, so that the authors had to make several corrections (listed on pp. XVIII-XX).

The main part of the book consists of the enumeratio lemmatum et formarum. The lemmas are listed alphabetically; every lemma is followed by the forms and the frequency with which these appear in each of the four texts. The juxtaposition of four texts of different levels of style shows the tendencies in Byzantine (literary) language: for example, εἰσέρχομαι appears only twice in the Regum Libri but five, sixteen and four times respectively in the much shorter chronicles; its synonym εἴσειμι appears sixteen times only in the Regum Libri.

Further information is given in the microfiches (see below). In the indices and in the tabula frequentiarum the four works are not treated separately -- which is unfortunate, considering the differences between them.

The book under review is a valuable tool for the lexicographical analysis of the four texts in particular and Byzantine literature in general. The choice of the printed book instead of a digital medium is in accordance with the approach of the project director B. Coulie: "L'utilisateur ne doit pas seulement consulter la concordance, mais aussi la 'lire'".2 Still, the microfiches that accompany the book could have been easily replaced by a much reader-friendlier CD-ROM.

Table of Contents

Introduction (XIII-XXI)
1. Textes de référence et préparation des données (XIII-XIV)
2. Système de lemmatisation (XIV-XVIII)
3. Corrections apportées aux éditions (XVIII-XX)
4. Instruments de travail (XX-XXI)

Abréviations bibliographiques (XXIII-XXVII)
Appendice : index des anthroponymes homonymes (XXIX-XXXIII)
Données statistiques (XXXV)
Enumeratio lemmatum et formarum (1-284)

Index formarum et lemmatum (microfiche 1)
Index formarum a tergo ordinatarum (microfiche 2)
Index lemmatum a tergo ordinatorum (microfiche 2)
Tabula frequentiarum lemmatum (microfiche 2)
Concordantia lemmatum et formarum (microfiches 3-7)


1.   B. Kindt, Avancées dans le traitement automatique du grec ancien à l'U.C.L. L'analyse des textes au service d'une description lexicale de la langue. Une description lexicale de la langue au service de l'analyse des textes. Lexicometrica, numéro spécial "Autour de la lemmatisation" (2003), here p. 3; http://www.cavi.univ-paris3.fr/lexicometrica/thema/thema1/spec1-texte3.pdf.
[[2]]B. Coulie, La lemmatisation des textes grecs et byzantins : une approche particulière de la langue et des auteurs. Byzantion 66 (1996), 35-54, here p. 52.

1 comment:

  1. An outstanding sample of what reviews should NOT be, viz. a bare advertisement of the book written in an impersonal style and with nothing in the way of scholarly evaluation. A pupil could have done that.

    Shame on you, BMCR board, for accepting such a piece !


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