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The Ethiopic Bible


The Bible was translated into Classical Ethiopic (Ge’ez) – mainly from the Greek Septuagint – from the 5th century CE onwards (see Knibb 1999).  In addition to the Old and New Testament known in other churches, the Ethiopic bible includes a significant number of apocryphal books, some of them preserved only in their Ethiopic version.  In fact, the precise scope of the Ethiopic biblical canon is not quite clear; see this list, and consult Cowley’s article for more information.


On this website you can find digital versions of many Ethiopic books of the Old Testament as well as the entire New Testament.  All these versions are critical editions of the books, that is, editions prepared by scholars and based on a comparison of several manuscripts for each book. An image-edition of Dillmann's authoritative Ethiopic-Latin Lexicon Linguae Aethiopicae is also available here (based on a scanned copy from the Internet Archive).


In the left-hand column there is a digitized version of the Ethiopic Octateuch and Book of Psalms. In the right-hand column there are mostly scanned copies of many other Ethiopic Old Testament books (some of them are digitized too).  Click the pertinent Information-Button to learn more.


Several Old Testament books are missing.  For some of them (like Jeremiah or Ezechiel), the reason is simply that no critical edition exists.  For other books, the critical edition is protected by copyright and cannot be placed here. For some of the latter books, an older critical edition is available here; such editions – supplanted by newer ones that cannot be placed here – are coloured grey.


Copyright Issues

1. Respecting others' copyright: All the works on this website are either in public domain or licensed to be displayed here by their copyright owners. For EU countries, Directive 2006/116/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights, Article 5, states that:

Member States may protect critical and scientific publications of works which have come into the public domain. The maximum term of protection of such rights shall be 30 years from the time when the publication was first lawfully published.

Since the Ethiopic Bible itself is in public domain, its European critical editions are protected for 30 years from the time of publication. Nevertheless, works of living authors are not displayed here without the author's permission. As for non-European editions, the pertinent copyright laws are respected (e.g. 70 years after the death of the author).

2. Respecting this site's copyright: For the digitized Ethiopic texts, permission to use, copy, and distribute for any NONCOMMERCIAL purpose is granted without fee, provided that the copyright notice – © Ran HaCohen – and this permission notice appear in all copies of the text.  For other uses, please contact the copyright owner.


Ran HaCohen

November, 2009

Updated: October, 2015