Ethiopian Books of Maccabees

The Ethiopian Orthodox canon of the Bible (see here for a list of the OT books) includes several works unknown to other traditions, including three Books of Maccabees. They lack translations of each of the four books of Maccabees known to other traditions. An email correspondent, John Plummer, has found online translations of these Ethiopian Maccabees books in the Rastafarian dialect called Iyaric, done by someone named Ras Feqade Tebbaqiw:

1 Meqabyan

2 Meqabyan

3 Meqabyan

A list of all the translations into Iyaric that he has done directly from the Amharic Bible of 1948 EC (1955 AD), promulgated by the late Emperor Haile Selassie, is available here.

I might take a swing at bringing these into standard English, but don’t hold your breath. I don’t know Iyaric, and the glossary is not extensive enough to cover all the unusual words I’ve already seen. Perhaps reading them with some Bob Marley playing will help set the mood, and make the Iyaric more easily understood. Focus on Marley’s accent, and most of the rest will follow.

The very important thing to note is that this translation of these books is the first ever published in a modern language. Though the books have been summarized and described before, they have never been translated in full.

I do believe I’m equally as excited to read these as I am the last Harry Potter book, being released at midnight tonight. (I have a copy reserved at our local science fiction/fantasy/mystery bookstore, The Other Change of Hobbit. ALWAYS support your local booksellers!)

Thank you Ras Feqade Tebbaqiw!