Today’s text comes from Gregory of Nyssa’s De opificio hominis (CPG 3154), ch. 22; for this specific part, the Greek is in PG 44, col. 204, and the Georgian version in Ilia Abuladze, უძველესი რედაკციები ბასილი კესარიელის «ექუსთა დღეთაჲსა» და გრიგოლ ნოსელის თარგმანებისა «კაცისა აგებულებისათჳს» (Tbilisi, 1964), 195.13-20. Of manuscripts available online, the Greek will be found in BL Harley 5576 (images online here), this passage at f. 67r, beginning about halfway down in line 18. Note, too, that part of this passage from Gregory is quoted (without attribution) in Pseudo-Zonaras, Lexicon (cf. Dickey, Ancient Greek Scholarship, § 3.2.19), s.v. Γήϊνον, following the definition Ἀδὰμ ἑρμηνεύεται.
Below I’ll give the Greek and Georgian version together, but first let’s look at 1 Cor 15:47 in Greek and Georgian, since this verse is the background to Gregory’s discussion. The Greek in Nestle-Aland reads ὁ πρῶτος ἄνθρωπος ἐκ γῆς χοϊκός, ὁ δεύτερος ἄνθρωπος ἐξ οὐρανοῦ. (NB χοϊκός derived from ὁ χοῦς soil, dust.) There are two notable readings:
- ἄνθρωπος πνευματικός in the famous P46, this part (f. 59r) in the Chester Beatty papyrus collection in Dublin: image here, line 7 from bottom)
- ἄνθρωπος ὁ κύριος, the nomen sacrum marked to be read in the margin in Sinaiticus, f. 273v, col. b., line 8; image here (there are a number of other witnesses, too)
Now for the Georgian. The Epistles of Paul are known in two recensions, referred to as AB and CD, and for this verse each reflects one of the above Greek variants. (Vocabulary: მიწაჲ earth, ground; ზეცაჲ heaven)
AB პირველი იგი კაცი ქუეყანისაგან მიწისაჲ, ხოლო მეორჱ იგი კაცი ზეცით გამო სულიერი. (სულიერი reflects πνευματικός)
CD პირველი იგი კაცი ქუეყანისაგან მიწისაჲ, ხოლო მეორე იგი კაცი უფალი ზეცით. (უფალი reflects κύριος)
Now we turn to Gregory’s text. I mentioned the Harley Greek manuscript above, and I urge you to have a look at the handwriting there, especially those who are less experienced reading Greek manuscripts: you can compare it to the text that Migne gives, in comparison with which there are just two differences, namely Ἀδὰμ λέγεται (PG transp.) and ἐκ χοϊκῆς (PG ἐκ γῆς), with θεός and ἄνθρωπος (including derivatives) abbreviated.
BL Harley 5576, f. 67r: οἱ τῆς Ἑβραίων φωνῆς ἐπίστορες
Here are three sentences from Gregory’s work, given separately in Greek and in Georgian, with a few notes for Georgian vocabulary and grammar. In addition to the apparent omission in the second sentence, I would especially point out with regard to the translation, “they say” in Greek is “we heard” in the Georgian version, and the former’s “those who know the language of the Hebrews” is rather “the Pharisees, the Jews” in the latter. The verse from 1 Cor 15 is explicitly quoted in the Georgian version. More might be said, of course!
Ἡ μὲν οὖν εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ, ἡ ἐν πάσῃ τῇ ἀνθρωπίνῃ φύσει θεωρουμένη, τὸ τέλος ἔσχεν.
ხოლო ხატებაჲ იგი ღმრთისაჲ, ხილული ყოველსა შინა ბუნებასა კაცობრივსა, განსრულებულ არს,
- ხატებაჲ similarity, likeness (cf. ხატი image)
- ხილული seen, visible (for this word, S-F 1569b has “geöffnet (Augen), sehend”, but the mng. here [and elsewhere] is clearly like that of ხილვული “gesehen”, S-F 1569a)
- ბუნებაჲ nature
- კაცობრივი human (adj.)
- განსრულებული completed, ended
Ὁ δὲ Ἀδὰμ οὔπω ἐγένετο· τὸ γὰρ γήϊνον πλάσμα κατά τινα ἐτυμολογικὴν ὀνομασίαν λέγεται Ἀδάμ, καθώς φασιν οἱ τῆς Ἑβραίων φωνῆς ἐπίστορες.
არამედ ადამი ჯერეთ არღა არს, რამეთუ ადამ გამოითარგმნების ქუეყანიერი, ვითარ-იგი გუესმა ფარისეველთა მათგან ჰურიათა,
[Geo. has nothing for τὸ … γήϊνον πλάσμα]
- ჯერეთ still, yet
- გამო-ი-თარგმნ-ებ-ი-ს 3sg pres. pass. გამოთარგმანება to translate (here seemingly for all of κατά τινα ἐτυμολογικὴν ὀνομασίαν λέγεται)
- ქუეყანიერი earthy, from the earth (< ქუეყანაჲ earth, ground)
- გუ-ე-სმ-ა 1pl aor სმენა to hear (conj. IV verb; see OGPS 13) (cf. Adishi Lk 4:23, 22:71; Jn 12:34 for ἠκούσαμεν)
- ფარისეველი Pharisee
- ჰურიაჲ Jew
Διὸ καὶ ὁ Ἀπόστολος διαφερόντως τὴν πάτριον τῶν Ἰσραηλιτῶν πεπαιδευμένος φωνήν, τὸν ἐκ γῆς ἄνθρωπον χοϊκὸν ὀνομάζει, οἱονεὶ μεταβαλὼν τὴν τοῦ Ἀδὰμ κλῆσιν εἰς τὴν Ἑλλάδα φωνήν.
და მოციქული, რამეთუ წურთილ იყო მოძღურებასა მას ჰურიაებრსა და მიწევნულ სიტყუასა მათსა ფრიად, ამისთჳს სახელ-სდვა კაცსა მას და თქუა: პირველი იგი კაცი ქუეყანისაგან მიწაჲ.
- მოციქული apostle
- წურთილი taught, instructed, experienced (participle adj. < წურთა to teach)
- მოძღურებაჲ doctrine, teaching
- ჰურიაებრი Jewish
- მიწევნული knowing
- სახელ-ს-დვ-ა 3s aor სახელის-დება to name (სახელი name + დება to lay, put). Cf. ხოლო მოგუნი ფედ სახელ სდებენ but the Magi call it “Ped” (Cave of Treasures § 27.20 [Kourcikidzé, La caverne des trésors. Version géorgienne (CSCO 527)]); სახელ-სდვა თჳსად he named them with his own name (Garitte, Narratio de rebus Armeniae (CSCO 132), p. 270).
At the end of one of the texts in SMMJ 183, which contains theological and hagiographic writings in Garšūnī, some later reader (or readers?) — the handwriting does not seem to be the same as the scribe’s — has recorded some intended wisdom. The two four-line sayings are in Arabic, but written in both Syriac and Arabic script.
SMMJ 183, f. 98v
This is not the prettiest handwriting, and the spelling might not be what is expected, but the meaning of both is relatively clear. (For the long vowels at line-end, cf. Wright, Grammar, vol. 2, § 224.) The sideways text in the center has its Arabic-script version is on the bottom.
O seeker of knowledge! Apply yourself to piety,
Forgo sleep and subdue satiety,
Continue studying and don’t leave it,
For knowledge consists and grows in study.
On the right we have four more lines in Garšūnī, with its Arabic-script version immediately below.
O child of Adam! You are ignorant!
There is no more awaiting the reckoning:
Look! Your life and your time have vanished.
Now you shall return to dust.
In line 2, al-ḥisābi (written -ī) must be genitive with the foregoing V maṣdar, tanaẓẓur; the latter word is written with ḍ in the Arabic text, but a derivative of “to blossom” doesn’t make much sense, and the Garšūnī writing of ṭ, even without a dot, is known well for ẓ. In the last word of these lines, the Garšūnī version lacks the preposition l-, but it’s present in the Arabic version and is needed for the sense in any case.
Finally, the three Garšūnī lines on the far left read, “Our trust is in God, the quickener of our souls. To him be glory forever.”
Manuscript № 181 of Saint Mark’s Monastery in Jerusalem (SMMJ) is an East Syriac manuscript, written, it seems, by a scribe named ʿAbdišoʿ of Ātēl. The main content of the manuscript is the First Part of Isaac of Bēt Qaṭrāyē, bishop of Nineveh’s famous monastic work (see GEDSH 213-214).
SMMJ 181, f. 1v
The text is complete, but between chapters 34 and 35 (acc. to Bedjan‘s numbering; the chapters are mostly unnumbered in this manuscript) there is another text, the beginning of which is unfortunately missing. After a little searching — thanks to Luk Van Rompay for the tip to check the Synodicon orientale! — I found that this intervening text is a Letter on Proper Conduct, especially on marriage, by Catholicos Aba I (d. 552; GEDSH 1), the text of which was published by Bedjan and Chabot; as it survives in this manuscript, the text corresponds to Bedjan, Histoire de Mar-Jabalaha, 282.3-287.12, and Chabot, Synodicon orientale, 83.6-85.9.
After the First Part, at the end of the manuscript, there are two more notes I would like to share. First, a note that seems to be in the same hand as the copied text of the manuscript:
SMMJ 181, f. 358v, scribal (?), note
Bless, sirs! Pray in the love of Christ for the sinner ʿAbdišoʿ of Ātēl, worn out, who came to Jerusalem in the year 1955 AG [=1643/4 CE].
He wrote these lines.
And again in the year 1962 AG [=1650/1 CE] the sinner came to Jerusalem. Pray for me. Amen.
Second, there is a short Syriac verse in the seven-syllable meter (with rhyme-end in -ṭē):
SMMJ 181, f. 358v
At the end of doomed times,
Let rulers be cursed,
Along with all idlers and slackers,
Foolish people and idiots!
Finally, the manuscript has pastedowns and endpapers in Syriac and Arabic. Here are two examples:
SMMJ 181, endpaper in Arabic
SMMJ 181, endpaper from a Syriac lectionary
I’ve not identified the Arabic text, but the Syriac endpaper above is from a lectionary, here with Ex 34:34-35 and Isa 58:1.
Today’s selection is actually not Old Georgian, but later, belonging to the corpus of Middle Georgian. In this period, beginning in the 11th and 12th centuries, religious literature continued to be copied and composed, but there is a flowering of secular literature alongside it, in terms of both poetry and prose, very much influenced by Persian literature, with even more than one version of parts of the Šāh-nāma. The most famous product of the period, of course, is Shota Rustaveli‘s (შოთა რუსთაველი) Knight in the Panther’s Skin (ვეფხისტყაოსანი). (On Persian-Georgian contacts see here and here from the Encyclopaedia Iranica.) Students of Georgian language and literature, and well as students of comparative literature generally, would benefit by more accessible studies of these texts and the language used in them. Complete English translations, published alongside Georgian texts, are an obvious need, but a lexicon specifically based on this corpus of literature would be of great value.
The text below comes from the Amirandarejaniani, ascribed to Mose Khoneli (12th cent.). Thankfully, along with a number of other Middle Georgian texts, the edition of I. Lolašvili (1960) is available at TITUS, and there is even an English rendering by R.H. Stevenson: Amiran-Darejaniani: A Cycle of Medieval Georgian Tales traditionally ascribed to Mose Khoneli (Oxford, 1958).
The excerpt below comes from Ch. 3 (the numbering is not the same in the ET), p. 303 of Lolašvili’s edition, lines 30-33:
გამოჴდა პატარა ხანი, მოვიდა ნოსარ და კაცი ჰყვა შეპყრობილი. ოდეს მოიყვანა, საკვირველი კაცი იყო: ორი პირი ჰქონდა, ერთი შავი და ერთი — ვითა სისხლი. მით შავითა პირითა სპარსულად უბნობდა და წითლისა ვერა გავიგონეთ რა.
After some time, however, Nosar Nisreli came up: with him he brought a captive — and truly a strange man it was we now beheld! For he had two faces, one black and one blood-red. With the black he spoke Persian and with the red [in some tongue] we could not understand. (ET Stevenson, p. 28)
Vocabulary and grammar notes
- გამო-ჴდ-ა [typo at TITUS გამოჴთა] aor 3s გამოჴდომა to pass, go by
- პატარა a little, short
- ხანი time
- მოვიდა aor 3s მოსლვა to come
- ჰ-ყვ-ა aor 3s ყვება to accompany, follow
- შეპყრობილი captured, captive
- ოდეს when
- მო-ი-ყვან-ა aor 3s მოყვანება to bring (here)
- საკვირველი (საკჳრველი) wonderful, amazing
- ორი პირი numerals with the counted thing in the singular are regular (also the norm in Modern Georgian, see Aronson § 6.6). For an example in Old Georgian: Mt 14:19 Adishi და მოიღო ხუთი იგი პური და ორი თევზი (λαβὼν τοὺς πέντε ἄρτους καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας)
- ჰ-ქონ-და impf 3s ქონება, to have, with the possessor marked by the ჰ- and the thing possessed is the grammatical subject (the vowel in the root, when fully present, is -ო- in Middle and Modern Georgian, but -უ- in earlier Georgian [Old აქუს, Modern აქვს he has (Rayfield et al. 118; cf. Marr-Brière 688 s.v. ქუნ)], although the v.n. ქონებაჲ is in Old Georgian, too: S-F 1279)
- შავი black
- ვითა = ვითარ
- სისხლი blood
- სპარსულად in Persian
- უბნობ-და impf 3s უბნობა to speak
- ვერა = ვერ
- გა-ვ-ი-გონ-ე-თ aor 1pl გაგონება to grasp, recognize
I have previously discussed a passage from another Middle Georgian text, the Visramiani, and there is, I hope, more to come!
At some points in the history of lexicography, the acceptable fodder for lexicographers has been restricted, investigations into non-literary and purely colloquial words being eschewed. In the course of the last few centuries, at least, in more than one lexicographic arena, this custom has fortunately fallen into disuse, with the study of slang, etc. finding able word-hunters such as John S. Farmer (on whom see here, with numerous works here, with his French-English Vocabula Amatoria elsewhere), Allen Walker Read (Lexical Evidence from Folk Epigraphy in Western North America: A Glossarial Study of the Low Element in the English Vocabulary [Paris, 1935], reprinted by Maledicta Press in 1977 as Classical American Graffiti), and more recently Eric Partridge, Jonathon Green, and others. It is not only the vocabulary of languages of Europe that have been studied on this more earthy level. Yona Sabar’s Jewish Neo-Aramaic Dictionary (Harrassowitz, 2002), for example, includes in its store euphemisms, taboo words, and metaphors as such, as well as the vocabulary of women’s speech and baby talk (see pp. 59-64).
The tenth-century scholar Ḥasan bar Bahlul (see GEDSH, p. 54) compiled a large Syriac lexicon, which contains many terms that are quite rare — indeed some words we know only thanks to his lexicon — and he also gives evidence of Aramaic dialects as spoken in his own time. One colloquial word, yet a word that he came across, he says, in reading, not necessarily in speech, is kušukušu:
Bar Bahlul’s lexicon, ed. Duval, col. 883
Kušukušu. I found it in the Proverbs [or tales] of the Arameans. [It is a term for] coaxing a dog, putting a dog at ease.
This is just the kind of dog-speech one might use with the animal as described by T.S. Eliot:
The usual Dog about the Town
Is much inclined to play the clown,
And far from showing too much pride
Is frequently undignified.
He’s very easily taken in —
Just chuck him underneath the chin
Or slap his back or shake his paw,
And he will gambol and guffaw.
He’s such an easy-going lout,
He’ll answer any hail or shout.
Perhaps especially a hail or shout “Kušukušu!” If we’re to believe the rest of Eliot’s poem (thanks to my children for keeping it so often in my ears), it’s not so with cats!
Bar Bahul’s complete lexicon, ed. R. Duval, is available online, and the CAL project provides links from individual lemmas to the appropriate pages. The work is hardly a mere glossary, with just close equivalents for Syriac-Syriac or Syriac-Arabic. Some entries are long and give much more than simple definitions (e.g. philosophy on cols. 1548-1554). A full-scale study of the work would yield us a fuller picture of intellectual work and knowledge around Baghdad in the tenth century, especially in Christian circles, so hopefully some able scholar will undertake such a project before long, and a complete digital edition, fully searchable, would be a good foundational start.
The fact that texts of the Bible exist in so many languages makes it a fascinating arena in which to study all sorts of philological phenomena. Research on these texts, in whatever language, may include the attempt to pinpoint when the biblical text comes into this or that language, by whom, &c. With much less specificity and altogether different concerns, in his second homily on the Gospel of John, on Jn 1:1 (text in PG 59: 29-38), John Chrysostom has a remark that touches on some of the languages within the purview of hmmlorientalia. At this place, the homilist is making the point that the apostle John, unlettered as he was, uttered teachings grander, more glorious, and more useful than those the learned Greeks might appreciate, including Pythagoras — who “set in motion ten thousand kinds of magic” (col. 32, γοητείας κινήσας εἴδη μυρία) — and Plato, the doctrines of them all, he says implausibly, being “extinguished and vanished” (col. 31, ἔσβεσται ἅπαντα καὶ ἠφάνισται)! The teaching of the unlearned John, however, has been spreading.
ἀλλὰ καὶ Σύροι καὶ Αἰγύπτιοι καὶ Ἰνδοὶ καὶ Πέρσαι καὶ Αἰθίοπες καὶ μυρία ἕτερα ἔθνη εἰς τὴν αὐτῶν μεταβαλόντες γλῶτταν τὰ παρὰ τούτου δόγματα εἰσαχθέντα ἔμαθον ἄνθρωποι βάρβαροι φιλοσοφεῖν. (col. 32)
But Syrians, Egyptians, Indians, Persians, Ethiopians, and ten thousand other peoples, translating into their own languages the doctrines introduced by him [John], barbarians learned to philosophize.
While we have and still use all of these gentilics, the identity of the peoples Chrysostom had in mind is not necessarily certain. Given his hyperbolic reference to “ten thousand other peoples,” he is not, in any case, aiming to be very specific. Whatever their identity, they’re still barbarians! (John, even without much learning, was not really a barbarian for Chrysostom because he used Greek.) Chrysostom is not being specific about the parts of the Bible he has in mind, either, but minimally he is thinking of the Gospel of John. One result of this vaguely mentioned translation activity is that hitherto non-philosophizing peoples have now learned to do just that. Combined with Chrysostom’s previous remarks in this homily, we come to his conclusion that the teachings of Plato and (especially) Pythagoras constitute bad philosophy, justly withering, while the simple, unlettered, and little-thought-of John the apostle is one means through which a higher and better philosophy, one that even non-Greeks can study and practice, has spread.
Avid Syriac readers will know about the appearance last year of the first part of the Syriac version of Chrysostom’s homilies on John (homilies 1-43) in CSCO 651/ScrSyr 250 by Jeff Childers. The Syriac part corresponding to the Greek text above is on p. 14, ll. 16-18. (Since the appearance of Syriac is still not always reliable on different machines, I’ve also given a transliteration. The accompanying ET in CSCO 652 is not immediately available to me, so the translation below is mine):
ܐܠܐ ܐܦ ܣܘܪ̈ܝܝܐ ܘܡܨܪ̈ܝܐ ܘܗܢܕ̈ܘܝܐ ܘܦܪ̈ܣܝܐ ܘܟܘܫ̈ܝܐ ܘܪ̈ܒܘܬܐ ܕܥܡ̈ܡܐ ܐܚܪ̈ܢܐ. ܝܘܠܦܢܗ ܕܗܢܐ ܒܠܫܢܝ̈ܗܘܢ ܦܫܩܘ. ܘܐܝܠܦܘ ܚܟܡܬܗ܀
ellā āp suryāyē w-meṣrāyē w-hendwāyē w-pārsāyē w-kušāyē w-rebbwātā d-ʕammē (ʔ)ḥrānē yulpānēh d-hānā b-leššānayhon paššeq(w) w-ilep(w) ḥekmtēh
But Syrians, Egyptians, Indians, Persians, Ethiopians (Cushites), and myriads of other peoples have translated this man’s doctrine into their own languages and have learned his wisdom.
Here are some of the Greek-Syriac correspondences with comments:
- εἰς τὴν αὐτῶν … γλῶτταν b-leššānayhon. The pronominal elements are plural in both languages, but “language” is singular in Greek, plural in Syriac.
- μεταβαλόντες paššeq(w). Greek aorist participle rendered by a Syriac perfect, a very common phenomenon in Greek-Syriac translations.
- τὰ παρὰ τούτου δόγματα εἰσαχθέντα yulpānēh d-hānā. The noun is plural in Greek, singular in Syriac, and where the Greek has a participle (“introduced”) with prepositional phrase (“by him”), the Syriac merely has a pronominal element (“his”): the near demonstrative pronoun with an anticipatory pronominal suffix on the noun.
- ἔμαθον w-ilep(w). The Greek μεταβαλόντες and ἔμαθον are in Syriac put as past verbs joined by a conjunction.
- ἄνθρωποι βάρβαροι ∅. In the Greek text, μεταβαλόντες and ἔμαθον have distinct agents: for the participle it is the named nations, and for ἔμαθον it is ἄνθρωποι βάρβαροι. The latter noun and adjective indeed refer to those same nations, but they are grammatically separate. The Syriac has nothing to correspond to ἄνθρωποι βάρβαροι — perhaps to avoid calling their own people barbarians! — and thus the two verbs paššeq(w) w-ilep(w) have as their agent the list of peoples at the beginning of the sentence.
- φιλοσοφεῖν ḥekmtēh. A notable translation, the Greek infinitive has become a noun, and one with a pronominal suffix referring to the apostle. Syriac has words derived from Greek φιλοσοφία, but here a native Aramaic word is used.
Notula on some Greek terminology for “translate”
The expression μεταβάλλειν εἰς γλῶτταν is used in the passage above for “translate”. Josephus also uses this verb in the same meaning:
Ant. Jud. 1.10
Εὗρον τοίνυν, ὅτι Πτολεμαίων μὲν ὁ δεύτερος μάλιστα δὴ βασιλεὺς περὶ παιδείαν καὶ βιβλίων συναγωγὴν σπουδάσας ἐξαιρέτως ἐφιλοτιμήθη τὸν ἡμέτερον νόμον καὶ τὴν κατ᾽ αὐτὸν διάταξιν τῆς πολιτείας εἰς τὴν Ἑλλάδα φωνὴν μεταβαλεῖν
Ant. Jud. 12.14-15
μεμηνῦσθαι δ᾽ ἔλεγεν αὐτῷ πολλὰ εἶναι καὶ παρὰ Ἰουδαίοις τῶν παρ᾽ αὐτοῖς νομίμων συγγράμματα σπουδῆς ἄξια καὶ τῆς βασιλέως βιβλιοθήκης, ἃ τοῖς ἐκείνων χαρακτῆρσιν καὶ τῇ διαλέκτῳ γεγραμμένα πόνον αὐτοῖς οὐκ ὀλίγον παρέξειν εἰς τὴν Ἑλληνικὴν μεταβαλλόμενα γλῶτταν. … οὐδὲν οὖν ἔλεγεν κωλύειν καὶ ταῦτα μεταβαλόντα, δύνασθαι γὰρ τῆς εἰς αὐτὸ χορηγίας εὐποροῦντα, ἔχειν ἐν τῇ βιβλιοθήκῃ καὶ τὰ παρ᾽ ἐκείνοις.
In Ant. Jud. 1.7 he uses μεταφέρειν:
ὄκνος μοι καὶ μέλλησις ἐγίνετο τηλικαύτην μετενεγκεῖν ὑπόθεσιν εἰς ἀλλοδαπὴν ἡμῖν καὶ ξένην διαλέκτου συνήθειαν.
Now for a few other terms (but this is certainly not a complete list!). In a famous part of the Prol. to Ben Sira, we see μετάγειν used for translation: μεταχθῇ εἰς ἑτέραν γλῶσσαν. One Greek text that often refers to translation is, of course, the Letter of Aristeas (ET here; see recent discussion in T.M. Law, When God Spoke Greek, 35-39). Here are the places (probably not exhaustive) that I quickly picked out where translation, either as a noun or a verb, is mentioned. Words built on herm- are the favorite, and it does not seem that μεταβάλλειν appears there with reference to translation.
- 11 Ἑρμηνείας προσδεῖται
- 15 ἣν [sc. τὴν τῶν Ἰουδαίων νομοθεσίαν] ἡμεῖς οὐ μόνον μεταγράψαι ἐπινοοῦμεν, ἀλλὰ καὶ διερμηνεῦσαι (“…not only to copy, but also to translate” — μεταγράφειν can mean both “copy” and “translate”; cf. μεταγραφή in §§ 45 and 46)
- 32 τὸ κατὰ τὴν ἑρμηνείαν ἀκριβές
- 38 τὸν νόμον ὑμῶν μεθερμηνευθῆναι γράμμασιν Ἑλληνικοῖς ἐκ τῶν παρ᾽ ὑμῶν λεγομένων Ἑβραϊκῶν γραμμάτων
- 45 ἡ τοῦ ἁγίου νόμου μεταγραφή (again in § 46)
- 120 τὰ δὲ τῆς ἑρμηνείας (similarly again in § 308; cf. from § 307 below)
- 301 παρεκάλει τοὺς ἄνδρας τὰ τῆς ἑρμηνείας ἐπιτελεῖν
- 305 ἐτρέποντο πρὸς τὴν ἀνάγνωσιν καὶ τὴν ἑκάστου διασάφησιν (διασάφησις here might mean “translation”, but it could also be “explanation”, i.e. each person’s explanation of what had had been read. For another place where the word occurs, twice, certainly not meaning “translation”, see Acta Petri et Andreae § 15, p. 124.5, 124.7 in the ed. of Bonnet and Lipsius.)
- 307 τὰ τῆς μεταγραφῆς (“the work of the translation”)
- 308 παρόντων καὶ τῶν διερμηνευσάντων (the translators); in 310 we find τῶν ἑρμηνέων οἱ πρεσβύτεροι, and in 318 τοὺς ἑρμηνεῖς
- 310 Ἐπεὶ καλῶς καὶ ὁσίως διηρμήνευται καὶ κατὰ πᾶν ἠκριβωμένος
- 314 τινὰ τῶν προηρμηνευμένων ἐπισφαλέστερον ἐκ τοῦ νόμου προσιστορεῖν (“to tell in addition some parts from the earlier, less reliable, translations of the law”)
In my Twitter feed appeared one of the images of Sisoes, who is commemorated on July 6, over the tomb of Alexander the Great, such as this one or this one. At the end of the inscription you can see his address and question to death: αἴ, αἴ, θάνατε, τὶϲ δύναται φυγεῖν ϲε; “Ah! Death, who can escape you?”
I was thus reminded a short fragment (SMMJ 166, f. 95v) I cataloged recently that is tucked in among other texts not related to this saint. This particular fragment names the saint SWSYWS, and he is called Abba; despite the W in the first syllable, instead of Y, unless other evidence comes to contradict the assumption, I’m assuming that Sisoes is the saint that is intended in this little anecdote.
SMMJ 166, f. 95v
They said about Abba Sisoes that when the church service would end, he would quickly flee to his cell. They said that he had a demon, but he was really doing the work of God.
Does anyone know of this anecdote, whether associated with Sisoes or another saint?