ἅπανθ᾽ ὁ μακρὸς κἀναρίθμητος χρόνος
φύει τ᾽ ἄδηλα καὶ φανέντα κρύπτεται —Sophocles, Ajax 646-647 (Ajax speaking)
Just over a year ago a colleague wrote me asking about a certain Syriac manuscript to which he had seen a reference as belonging at Dayr Al-Zaˤfarān. I was cataloging the collection of this monastery at the time and the shelfmark in the reference he had found did not match at all anything I could find there, so after some further searching I gave him the news that for the present I was unsure about the manuscript’s whereabouts or even its survival. I knew, though, that a large number of the Dayr Al-Zaˤfarān manuscripts had made the short migration to the Church of the Forty Martyrs, in which collection the referenced shelfmark still did not match. I reported to my colleague that I would keep a close eye out for his manuscript when I started going through this large latter collection. Well, yesterday, one year and eleven days after my friend’s enquiry, my eyes fell upon the very manuscript he was looking for! I have happily reported the news to him.
Ajax says time both discloses and reveals: in this instance, at least, we can be glad of time’s revelatory march, and not it’s concealing power.