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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Oral Traditions as Historical Sources in Ethiopia: The Case of the Beta Israel (Falasha)
Author:Quirin, James
Year:1993
Periodical:History in Africa
Volume:20
Pages:297-312
Language:English
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Subjects:Falasha
oral traditions
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
Religion and Witchcraft
Education and Oral Traditions
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3171976
Abstract:Oral and local written traditions from the various peoples now included in Ethiopia can provide a partial corrective to the centrist biases of royal written sources. This case study compares Beta Israel (Falasha) traditions with Ethiopian and external written sources. It compares such traditions concerning four episodes in three different historical periods. In the early fifteenth-century conflict with King Yeshaq, the Beta Israel traditions are essentially congruent with the written sources; in the mid-fifteenth century the traditions add information not found in written documents, but are basically similar. During the seventeenth/eighteenth-century Gondar era, the oral traditions contain a great deal of information not available in the royal chronicles, which essentially ignore the Beta Israel after they were conquered in the 1620s. Finally, in a mid-nineteenth-century religious conflict involving the Beta Israel, some converts to Protestantism, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the oral traditions are useful mainly to help provide an internal interpretation of the events from the Beta Israel perspective. Notes, ref.
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