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Interview with Dr. Richard Pankhurst


Senamirmir: Your work on the history of printing in Ethiopia appeared on "Ethiopia Observer" and now is featured in "Dr. Richard Pankhurst Virtual Library". Is there a new discovery since then on the history of printing in Ethiopia?

Dr. Pankhurst: Knowledge is constantly advancing, and whatever we write today will be superseded tomorrow. On my side, however, I have for the moment nothing to add to the article in question, but you have the writings on education by Dr Haile Gabriel Dagne for example which greatly deepen our knowledge of traditional Ethiopian learning. Also the writings of Father Kevin O'Mahone ("The Ebulient Phoenix, three volumes, 1982, 1987, 1992) and Pastor Gustav Aren ("Evangelical Pioneers in Ethiopia", "Envoys of the Gospel in Ethiopia. In the Steps of the Evangelical Pioneers" two volumes, 1966, 1999) which contribute no less greatly to that of Catholic and Lutheran missionary teaching.

Senamirmir: Were there Ethiopian type cutters/designers (typographers) in the early days of modern printing?

Dr. Pankhurst: Yes, of course. This needs a study in itself!

Consider Potken in Germany; the writings of Ludolf, also in Germany; the early nineteenth century publications in France, associated with the work of Antoine d'Abbadie; the publications of the Vatican; the British and Foreign Bible Society, in London; the St Chrischona Mission, near Basle, Switzerland, etc. - all these. and others, have to be put in their proper historical and scholarly place. This would be a most interesting subject for research!

Senamirmir: Who were the type cutters/designers of the Ethiopic typeface?

Dr. Pankhurst: I don't know!

This needs further research! I trust this will soon be accomplished!
Senamirmir Project, 2001