“Black Book of Saint Genghis Khan”– Mongolian political prophecy from the 19th century

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Our series entitled Orientalists in NSZL will be continued by Ágnes Birtalan’s lecture entitled “Black Book of Saint Genghis Khan”– Mongolian political prophecy from the 19th century.

A unique oral source, the “Black Book of Saint Genghis Khan” was written down in 1873, in the then Mongolian capital Urga, by Gábor Bálint of Szentkatolna, a researcher of controversial legacy, but whose collections are of outstanding importance in Mongolian studies. Bálint was the first to record a sizable spoken language text corpus among the Kalmyks of the Volga region and the Mongolian Halhas. Although he did not publish his collection of materials in its entirety, now, more than 100 years later, its release is a true scientific sensation both in content and in language.

The title work can be found in the Halha language material; no other version has been known so far. As the title suggests, it must have had a written antecedent, the Bálint manuscript, however, contains the recording of an oral version.

Based on the source, the lecture will present the survival of Genghis tradition in the 19th century, the judgement of Buddhist and Shamanic religions, the identity consciousness and political prophecies of Mongolians living within the frames of the Manchurian Empire.


Birtalan Ágnes egyetemi tanár, az ELTE BTK Mongol- és Belső-ázsiai Tanszékének, Mongolisztikai Kutatóközpontjának és Mongolisztikai Doktori Programjának vezetője. ELTE videó


Ágnes Birtalan graduated from the Faculty of Humanities of Eötvös Loránd University in 1985, where she was majoring in Mongolian philology, Russian language and literature, and history. Then she studied at the State University of Mongolia for a year, and also participated in part-time language training in Russian and Mongolian at Leningrad State University im. Zhdanov. From 1991, she was engaged in Manchu studies under the guidance of Professor Michael Weiers, Seminar für Zentralasiatische Studien und Sprachwissenschaft, University of Bonn (1991), and in Budapest, where she was instructed by Katalin U. Kőhalmi.

In 1991, she took her PhD in linguistics with her dissertation entitled Genres and Language of an Oirat Folk Song Collection from the Beginning of the Century, and in 2001, she habilitated (Studies on Mongolian Shamanism and Folk Religion).

Source: Wikipédia

Date: May 23, 2018, 5 p.m.
Venue: National Széchényi Library, Ceremonial Hall (Floor 6)
Entrance is free.

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Ágnes Birtalan’s website (in Hungarian)