La datation du Barlaam français du Mont Athos (à propos d’un article recent)

Vladimir Agrigoroaei

This article regards the dating of the Old French version of the Barlaam and Josaphat found in the Athos manuscript from Iviron, 4583 (II, 149), which contains the Greek text of the Barlaam and Josaphat legend, as well as its French translation, and is the only known medieval translation from Old Greek to Old French. This paper follows on from two previous articles published by the same author analysing the historical context of the French translation, and is written in response to a study implying that the Athos context and its dating to the beginning of thirteenth century should be rejected and replaced with an earlier dating, namely to the eleventh century, and a Constantinople context. The present article examines this new hypothesis from a linguistic and historical point of view, and argues that the scripta and the vocabulary do not point towards such early stages of medieval French literature. Moreover, the manuscript scripta has a series of Picard features hinting at the dawn of the thirteenth century. Regarding the proposed Constantinople context, the author observes that the starting point of this hypothesis can be traced to speculative interpretation in the footnotes of old studies.

Barlaam and Josaphat; Old French literature; medieval translations; Mount Athos; Byzantine manuscripts.