Jeffrey (Kapali) Lyon, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Department Chair
Office: Sakamaki Hall A307
Office Hours: Tuesdays 2pm-3pm and Wednesdays 11am-12pm.
Phone: (808) 956-6848
Background and Research Interests
After receiving my PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Literature at UCLA, I worked for over 25 years outside of academia as a software engineer, although I remained active in scholarship, particularly in Hawaiian language and literature. In 2010 I accepted a tenure track position at the University of Hawaiʻi (Mānoa) where I teach biblical literature (Old Testament, New Testament, Life of Jesus, apocalyptic literature), Hawaiian religion and literature, and offer courses and tutorials in various languages (Ancient Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Classical Arabic, and Hawaiian). My earlier research focused on the Gospels in Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic once used throughout much of the ancient Near East, but now work primarily in 19th century Hawaiian language and literature, particularly in connection to the coming of Christianity to Hawaiʻi and the Pacific. The collision of two radically different cultures and world views (Polynesian and Euro-American) produced a remarkable and vibrant society that poured forth a voluminous literature, largely unknown to the outside world. My work in this literature focuses on the translation of the Bible from the biblical languages into Hawaiian) and Native writers who grew up under the traditional, pre-Christian culture (prior to 1820), and then, having received a western education, wrote extensively about the life of kānaka both before and after the adoption of Christianity.
- MA – 2013, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, Hawaiian Language and Literature
- PhD – 1991, UCLA, Near Eastern Languages and Literature (under Professor Stanislav Segert)
- MA – 1979, UCLA, Classical and Semitic Languages
- BA – 1975, Biola University, Humanities (Ancient Greek and biblical literature)
Journal Founder and Editor
|Palapala – He puke pai no ka ʻōlelo me ka moʻolelo Hawaiʻi (a journal for Hawaiian language and literature). University of Hawaiʻi Press. Volume I, January 2016.|
The Moʻolelo Hawaiʻi of Davida Malo (vol. I) – Ka ʻŌlelo Kumu o kā Davida Malo Moʻolelo Hawaiʻi
University of Hawaiʻi Press (in press) Expected late 2016 or early 2017.
This is the first volume written entirely in Hawaiian to be published by the University of Hawaiʻi Press. It is an attempt to apply the methodologies of classical philology to an early and important Hawaiian text, Davida Malo’s ethnographic work on classical Hawaiian civilization, Ka Moʻolelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian Ethnography). Following an extensive introduction to the textual sources, their histories, and inner relationships, each page of Bishop museum manuscript HI.L.18, partially in Malo’s own hand, is presented with a facing line-by-line transcription in the left column, a critical Hawaiian text in the right column, and an apparatus critcus underneath.
The Moʻolelo Hawaiʻi of Davida Malo (vol. II) – Text and Translation
by Charles Langlas and Jeffrey Lyon, with a biography of Malo by Noelani Arista
University of Hawaiʻi Press (in press) Expected late 2016 or early 2017.
This volume presents a detailed introduction to Malo’s life and work, focusing on the goals and character of his Moʻolelo Hawaiʻi, perhaps the single most important witness to Hawaiian civilization before Christianity. The bulk of the volume contains the complete critical text of Malo’s original Hawaiian with a new, annotated side-by-side English translation. This volume is the fruit of twelve years of collaborative labor and one which, we hope, will set a new standard for the publication of important Hawaiian language texts.
Syriac Gospel Translations : A Comparison of the Language and Translation Methods used in the Old Syriac, Diatessaron, and Peshitto
Volume 88 from the series Corpus Scriptorum Christianorm Orientaliium (CSCO), Subsidia
Published by E. Peeters, Louvain, 1994
In this work the three oldest translations of the Gospels into Syriac are minutely compared in five passages, one from each Gospel and one common to the Synoptics, in order to ascertain their translation methods and linguistic differences. In the conclusion, guidelines are set forth for their use in the Greek textual apparatus and the linguistic data is applied to four questions: 1) what are the sources of the linguistic anomalies in the Old Syriac, 2) when was the Old Syriac translated, 3) who translated it, 4) what is its relation to the Diatessaron (Peeters 1994).
- The Making of the Baibala Hemolele (Palapala, January 2016).
Palapala is a new journal from the University of Hawaiʻi Press focusing on Hawaiian language and literature of which I am the editor. It is scheduled to go on-line in January of 2016, with print volume to follow in summer of 2016.A history and analysis of the Bible translation in Hawaiian from the original languages produced by a teams of American scholars trained in biblical languages and an elite group of Hawaiian chiefs and advisers.
- Obookiah (from Scribner’s Dictionary of Americans in the World, 1776 to the Present [in press])
- Review of John Demos’ The Heathen School (Hawaiian Journal of History, 2015)
- Malo’s Moʻolelo Hawaiʻi: The Lost Translation (Hawaiian Journal of History, 2013) The identification and analysis of a hitherto anonymous and unpublished translation of the Moʻolelo Hawaiʻi
- Davida Malo, Nathaniel Emerson, and the “Sins” of Hawaiians: An Analysis of Emerson’s Hawaiian Antiquities as a Guide to Malo’s Moʻolelo Hawaiʻi (Hulili, 2011) A detailed examination of Nathaniel Emerson’s Hawaiian Antiquities. Emerson’s work has been widely accepted as the standard edition of Malo’s eye-witness ethnographical account of pre-Christian Hawaiian society. This article attempts to point out some of the dangers inherent in using Emerson’s edition.
- Davida Malo’s Unpublished Account of Keōpūolani (Hawaiian Journal of History, 2008, in conjunction with Dr. Charles Langlas) Images, modernized transcription, translation, and analysis of a hitherto unpublished work on the life of the kapu wife of Kamehameha, Keōpūolani, the mother of Liholiho (Kamehameha II) and Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III), and one of the primary movers in bringing about the end of some of the most important features of traditional Hawaiian religion.
- Nā Nūpepa o ka Makahiki 1892, 6 = The 1892 Newspapers, Part 6 (Ka Hoʻoilina, 2006) The great majority of Hawaiian literature was published in Hawaiian language newspapers, most of which have never been translated. This series of articles presents interesting texts, annotations, and translations from the Hawaiian newspapers that appeared just prior to the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.
- Nā Nūpepa o ka Makahiki 1834, 6 = The 1834 Newspapers, Part 6 (Ka Hoʻoilina, 2006) Selections, annotations, and translations from the first published Hawaiian newspaper, Ka Lama Hawaii.
Academic Software Development
A complete Latin course (level one and level two) on DVD for Mac or PC, equivalent to roughly two years of college Latin, but intended for home study by high school and college level students. Version one was published in 1995 and version 2.0 in 2007 by the leading publisher of classical texts in the USA, Bolchazy-Carducci publishers. To view a demo, click here.
Courses Regularly Taught
- REL 200 – Understanding the Old Testament / Hebrew Bible
- REL 201 – Understanding the New Testament
- REL 210 – Understanding Christianity
- REL 300 – The Study of Religion
- REL 371 – Prophecies of the Last Days
- REL 409 – Life and Teachings of Jesus
- REL 600 – History and Theory of the Study of Religion
- REL 663C – Graduate Seminar in Hawaiian Religion
For complete course descriptions see UH Mānoa Course Catalog.