Dr. Arusyak Tamrazyan ist die zweite ZAZH-Stipendiatin. Sie wird im Herbstsemester 2021 in Zürich an ihrem Projekt zu „From creation to creativity: the transmission and transformation of Late Antique images in early Armenian literature“ arbeiten.
I had the opportunity to work for four months on my research at ZAZH ̶ Zentrum Altertumswissenschaften Zürich (Zurich Center for the Study of the Ancient World), and at the same time to be under the supervision of my research advisor, Prof. Dr. Jörg Frey, whose affiliation with the Faculty of Theology at the University of Zürich, enabled me to have the needed resources and human support for my work. I am also very appreciative to Anna Seres for her constant help at the Faculty.Mehr
The first fact that I can especially emphasize among the very rich and wide opportunities made available to me through this scholarship, of course, was the opportunity to use the vast resources of the Swiss libraries both in print and online, yet mostly unavailable in non-European institutions. They offered an opportunity to access and gather substantial sources for ongoing research, to be extended over a long period in scholarly work.
The second fact, of course, is the benefit of participation in the intense academic life of this University, where numerous weekly colloquia, conferences, discussions, especially at the ZAZH Center, gave the opportunity to become involved not only in lectures by local and invited scholars, but also in one whole academic course at the University. I consider it my duty to express my deep gratitude to the Vorsitzender of the ZAZH, Prof. Dr. Christoph Riedweg, for this opportunity. The warmest human expressions of thanks are insufficient to convey my appreciation of his kindness and helpfulness in tangible matters pertaining to academia, with tips for online resources, links, specific bibliographies, invitations to lectures, etc. I am also very grateful to Barbara Holler, the Center’s managing director, for her constant support throughout my stay in all aspects of my needs, providing me several opportunities and help to present my work. In this respect, I must note the highly organized human and scholarly life of the Center.
Finally, I would like to express my profound gratitude to Prof. Dr. Jörg Frey, especially for his interest in the Armenian medieval interpretive tradition and his readiness to give an opportunity to present it, which led to the organization of a day-long conference on Armenology on November 27. This conference, “Parabiblical Tradition and Spirituality in Early Armenian Literature,” with the participation of Armenian and foreign Armenologists, was one of the goals for these months, and was successfully realized thanks to his idea and organization. The purpose of the conference was to present the Armenian parabiblical tradition in its broader Christian context. The medieval Armenian literary heritage is rich in interpretive-exegetical, homiletic, apologetic, and doctrinal works, replete with mystic-symbolic tradition. The international conference offered a representative sample of these rich traditions, connected with non-canonical or parabiblical tradition, which are intertwined harmoniously in Armenian tradition with canonical texts.
My research at the Center carried the rubric “From Creation to Creativity: The Transmission and Transformation of Late Antique Images in Early Armenian Literature.” It focused on the transformation of the imagery of music in theological anthropology, mysticism, the notion of prayer in liturgical environment, generally within the Armenian interpretive tradition, with its Middle- and Neo-Platonic reception history. During my stay at the Center, I had the opportunity to present these different aspects of musical symbolism in a lecture, a colloquium, and a conference, for which I will not fail to thank again Prof. Christoph Riedweg, Prof. Jörg Frey and Prof. Andreas Victor Walser. In separate papers about this topic, I tried to expound the allegorization of musical instruments in the interpretations of the medieval Armenian Psalter (Basel, Forschungskolloquium Seminar für Griechische und Lateinische Philologie, October 15, “Psalmody as Rational Sacrifice: Resounding the Instruments of the Psalter in Early Armenian Commentaries”); The symbolic images of music in Armenian as well as translated hymnic and exegetical sources (e.g., Ephrem Syrus) (presentation at the Althistorische Forschungskolloquium zur aktuellen Forschung: “From Creation to Creativity: The Transmission and Transformation of Music Symbolism in Early Armenian Literature”); and finally, at the above-mentioned conference, I tried to present music imageries in paracanonical and related Armenian medieval literature. Thus, as a result of these presentations, I tried to convey the symbolism of music within the spiritual milieu of liturgical sacramentalism, its perception and transformation in commentaries and paracanonical narratives. For me, some of the most important upshots of this work are the translations of Armenian medieval sources unfamiliar to European readers.
I must try to collate all these studies as well as the translations in a compilation to form a monograph, hopefully to be completed in a year: “The Symbolism of Music in the Medieval Armenian Spiritual Heritage: From Paradise Lost to Rational Sacrifice”. At the ZAZH Center, I was able to complete what would be the second section of the envisaged monograph, two chapters in the first section, and about a dozen translations to form the appendix.
Finally, one of the additional opportunities provided by the funding of this scholarship was a one-time visit to the Armenian Mekhitarist Congregation in Venice to study some of the musical and interpretative Armenian manuscripts kept there in their collection.
And of course, in addition to the above-mentioned material opportunities, this program has given me many additional opportunities in general, such as scholarly contacts, meeting with dear colleagues at the conference, symposia, discussions, precious acquaintances with new friends, for which I am grateful.
In conclusion, I would like to express my very best wishes for the endeavors of the Center, which is the soul-child of Prof. Dr. Christoph Riedweg, wishing it to remain a perpetual place for cultural and humanistic pursuits.Ausblenden
Arusyak Tamrazyan studied musicology (2003) and organ performance (2005) at the Komitas State Conservatory in Yerevan, gave organ recitals, published essays on aesthetics and philosophy (2003-2008), and a volume of fairy-tales (2009), emanating from her experience as an art teacher in a special program for children.
Since 2005 she works at the Matenadaran: Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, where she is a Senior Researcher in two departments (Department of Art and Scribal Centers, Department of Armenian Medieval Philology and Literature). In 2016 she defended her doctoral dissertation, „The Perception of Music in Medieval Armenian Interpretative Tradition“. She has authored a series of articles specializing in Neoplatonic aesthetics, focusing on the Armenian mediaeval theory of art, the symbolism and theory of music, and more recently on the Armenian mediaeval exegetical and symbolic tradition (currently working on a critical text of Nersēs of Lambron’s [d. 1198] Commentary on the Psalms). Her study „The metamorphosis of the theory of the human constitution in the Armenian mediaeval exegetical tradition“ was published in 2013. In the last several years her research has been focused on Gregory of Narek’s (d. 1003) works, his systematic use of symbols, especially in the odes; and the neumes of medieval Armenian hymnal manuscripts, preparing a critical/comparative edition of the canticles. Her study „Commentary on ‘Who is This (Job 38:2-39:30)’ Ascribed to Gregory of Narek“ was published in 2019 (including the restoration of the text, and other commentaries on these chapters of Job’s book).
Work at ZAZH
„From creation to creativity: the transmission and transformation of Late Antique images in early Armenian literature“.
October, 15, 2021
Presentation at the Forschungskolloquium SGLP: „Psalmody as Rational Sacrifice: Resounding the Instruments of the Psalter in Early Armenian Commentaries“.
November 10, 2021, 18:00
Presentation at the althistorisches Forschungskolloquium zur aktuellen Forschung: From Creation to Creativity: The Transmission and Transformation of Music Symbolism in early Armenian Literature (PDF, 85 KB).
November 27, 2021, 9:30–17
International Workshop on Armenian Studies: Parabiblical Tradition and Spirituality in Early Armenian Literature