Date of Award

Summer 4-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS)



First Advisor

Steve Delamarter


In Ethiopia, the Song of Hana has been transmitted in two types of manuscripts—biblical manuscripts and Psalters. This thesis compares the textual histories of this song within both manuscript types and shows that these are actually two separate traditions, not one tradition as previously assumed. Chapter one starts with descriptions of what these two manuscript types are and what the Song of Hana is. In chapter two, we briefly discuss some background issues—the scholarly efforts that have taken place in the Ethiopic Old Testament so far and the history of the Judeo-­‐Christian religion in Ethiopia which has shaped these two traditions. Chapter three is devoted to describing the manuscripts and methodology that we used in this study. In chapter four we begin discussing the results. Specifically, we examine the overall uniformity and differences within the two traditions. With the aid of statistical analysis, we then group manuscripts into families and reveal the best representative manuscripts for each family. Following this, we discuss the significance of the textual variants, including the most interesting part of the story—a gender struggle that reveals itself in the Psalters. To conclude this chapter, we provide an analysis of the different forms of the biblical texts and a theory for why the Psalters are so much more uniform than the biblical manuscripts. Chapter five provides a conclusion and an important acknowledgement of the next steps to be taken. Compared to similar biblical research that has been done with Greek and Hebrew manuscripts in the past, academic research into Ethiopic manuscripts has been far too little. Where scholarship has taken place, much of it has been within the context of ascertaining how the Ethiopic might aid in the further understanding of the Greek and Hebrew traditions. However, the textual history of the Ethiopic biblical texts is a story worth telling in its own right. And tracking that history can provide an important glimpse into the textual history of biblical texts in general.