Archive for September 2014

“With the jawbone of an ass…”   Leave a comment

Many years ago I read F.F. Bruce’s In Retrospect, and among the anecdotes he relates that for some reason or other have remained in my memory is one about W.M. Edward of Leeds University. Bruce says (pp. 106-107),

My new chief, Professor W.M. Edwards of the Chair of Greek in Leeds, was an unusual man. He had been born into a military family and himself embarked on a military career, being an officer in the Royal Garrison Artillery until his later thirties. He then went to Oxford as an undergraduate, taking his B.A. at the age of forty and becoming a Fellow of Merton College the same year. Three years later he was appointed Professor of Greek in Leeds. He was an accomplished linguist, speaking Welsh, Gaelic, Russian and Hebrew as well as the commoner European languages. … On another occasion he came into my room to see me about something or other, and found me reading the Hebrew text of Judges. Immediately he threw back his head and recited in Hebrew, Samson’s song of victory, “With the jawbone of an ass…”

The Samson story is a good one, and well known. Students making their first forays into classical Hebrew prose rightly learn it thoroughly, and these two lines in verse 15:16 (בלחי החמור חמור חמרתים בלחי החמור הכיתי אלף איש), with the word play and the rhythm, make a good inhabitant of the memory’s palace. For fun, here they are in a few more languages, and some vocabulary in case students of any of these languages are reading.

Poster for Cecil B. DeMille's Samson and Delilah (1949). Source.

Poster for Cecil B. DeMille’s Samson and Delilah (1949). Source; cf. this one.

Aramaic (Targum) בלועא דחמרא רמיתנון דגורין דלועא דחמרא קטלית אלף גברא

  • לווּעָא jaw
  • חמָרָא ass
  • דְּגוֹר heap

Greek Ἐν σιαγόνι ὄνου ἐξαλείϕων ἐξήλειψα αὐτούς, ὅτι ἐν σιαγόνι ὄνου ἐπάταξα χιλίους ἄνδρας.

Syriac (Pesh.) ܒܦܟܐ ܕܚܡܪܐ ܟܫܝ̈ܬܐ ܟܫܝܬ ܡܢܗܘܢ. ܒܦܟܐ ܕܚܡܪܐ ܩܛܠܬ ܐܠܦ ܓܒܪ̈ܝܢ܀

  • pakkā jaw, cheek
  • ḥmārā ass
  • kšā to pile up, heap (both verb and pass. ptcp. here)

Armenian ծնօտի́ւ իշոյ ջնջելով ջնջեցի́ զն(ո)ս(ա), զի ծնօտիւ իշոյ կոտորեցի հազա́ր այր։

  • ծնօտ, -ից jaw, cheek
  • իշայր, -ոյ wild ass
  • ջնջեմ, -եցի to destroy, exterminate
  • կոտորեմ, -եցի to shatter, destroy, massacre
  • հազար thousand

Georgian (Gelati; only the first half translated, and no mention of the ass!) ღაწჳთა აღმოჴოცელმან აღვჴოცნე იგინი

  • ღაწუი cheek
  • აღჴოცა to kill off (participle აღმოჴოცელი and finite verb both in the sentence)

Arabic (from the London Polyglot; there are other versions)

judges_15_16_london_polyglot

  • ṭaraḥa (a) to drive away, repel
  • ʕaẓm bone
  • ḫadd cheek
  • ḥimār ass
  • tulūl is a pl. of tall hill, but here, heap
  • fakk jawbone (cf. Syriac above)

Gǝʕǝz በዐጽመ ፡ መንከሰ ፡ አድግ ፡ ደምስሶ ፡ ደምሰስክዎሙ ፡ እስመ ፡ በዐጽመ ፡ መንከሰ ፡ አድግ ፡ ቀተልኩ ፡ ዐሠርተ ፡ ምእተ ፡ ብእሴ ።

  • መንከስ፡jaw, jawbone (√näkäsä to bite, like näsäkä, with cognates in many Semitic languages)
  • አድግ፡ ass
  • ደምሰሰ፡ to abolish, wipe out, destroy

NB: In Islamic tradition, it is not the jawbone of an ass, but that of a camel (laḥy baʕīr), that Samson employs:

وكان اذا لقيهم لقيهم بلحي بعير

(J. Barth & Th. Nöldeke, Annales quos scripsit Abu Djafar Mohammed Ibn Djarir At-Tabari, 1.II.794.7-8 [1881-1882]; available here) [More broadly, see Andrew Rippin, “The Muslim Samson: Medieval, Modern and Scholarly Interpretations,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 71 (2008): 239-253.]

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Aga Khan Museum: Highlights of the highlights   Leave a comment

This week were announced some highlights of the remarkable collection of the newly opened Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. From this long list, I’ve made a short list of my own favorites. You cannot view entire manuscripts, but the individual images presented are of very high quality, so those interested in paleography, codicology, &c. have plenty to feast their eyes and minds on. I’ve included a few non-manuscripts in the list, too.

Books & leaves

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/letter-crown-prince-%E2%80%98abbas-mirza-napoleon-i

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/sayings-pythagoras

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/quran-leaf

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/quran-folio-2

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/young-man-carried-simurgh

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/manuscript-mia-layla-wa-layla

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/quran-folio

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/tashrih-e-mansuri-anatomy-mansur

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/quran-folio-0

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/quran-leaf-0

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/qanun-fi%E2%80%99l-tibb-canon-medicine-volume-5

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/sea-serpent-swallows-royal-fleet

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/al-khashkhash-poppy

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/qur%E2%80%99-leaf

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/manuscript-mathnavi-rumi

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/school-courtyard-boys-reading-and-writing

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/rostam-pursues-akvan-onager-div

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/quatrain-al-faqir-ali-al-katib-mir-ali

Non-books

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/funerary-stele

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/scribal-implements

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/inkwell

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/bow

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/portrait-safavid-noblewoman

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/portrait-sultan-selim-ii

https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/collection/artifact/portrait-safavid-nobleman

 

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 36 (Bas. Hex., on dogs and speechlessness)   1 comment

I stumbled upon the sentence below in Sarjveladze and Fähnrich’s Altgeorgisch-Deutsches Wörterbuch, 1213a. (I’m told that it’s National Dog Week. If so, this is a fitting sentence to read!) It comes from Basil’s Hexaemeron, homily 9.

The Greek (ed. Giet, SC 26, 2d ed., Hom. 9.4.43) is as follows:

Λόγου μὲν ἄμοιρος ὁ κύων, ἰσοδυναμοῦσαν δὲ ὅμως τῷ λόγῳ αἴσθησιν ἔχει.

And the Georgian text (ed. Abuladze, 129.28-29) is:

ძაღლი უსიტუელ არს, არამედ აქუს მას გრძნობაჲ, რომელი შეეტყუების ძალსა სიტყჳსასა.

Vocabulary

  • ძაღლი dog
  • უსიტყუელი without speech, unable to speak
  • აქუს to have (see previously in OGPS here and here)
  • გრძნობაჲ sense, feeling
  • შე-ე-ტყუებ-ი-ს 3sg pres შეტყუება to correspond to
  • ძალი power, force
  • სიტყუაჲ speech, language, words

Sarjveladze and Fähnrich translate, “Der Hund ist nicht fähig zu sprechen, doch er besitzt Gefühl, das der Kraft des Wortes entspricht.” In English we might say,

A dog is without the capacity to speak, but it has a faculty of perception that corresponds to the power of speech.

Two witnesses to the Apocalypse of Paul in Syriac from Tehran   Leave a comment

The Apocalypse of Paul (BHG 1460, CANT 325) is one of the more well known New Testament apocrypha in Syriac, with an edition and with translations into Latin, German, and English available (see bibliography below). The collection of Syriac manuscripts at the Chaldean Church of St. Joseph in Tehran, which I recently mentioned in another post, has two witnesses to the Apocalypse of Paul, one of which has been known, but the other, as far as I know, has escaped the notice of scholars who might be interested in the text.

The known copy is in manuscript № 8, a manuscript to which Alain Desreumaux (1995) has devoted an article with a detailed catalog of the texts in the manuscript. In this manuscript, the preface to the Apocalypse of Paul is on ff. 136r-140r, and the Apocalypse itself on ff. 140r-171v. (The foliation given here, based on the file names of the photographs, differs slightly from Desreumaux’s. The manuscript is not physically foliated.)  Here is a folio spread from this copy (ff. 162-163r).

Tehran, St. Jos., 8, ff. 162-163r

Tehran, St. Jos., 8, ff. 162-163r

…a servant from among the angels, and he had in his hand a pitch-fork that had three tines, and [with it] he was pulling the old man’s guts out through his mouth. … (f. 162v, lines 1-3)

The other witness, manuscript № 17, is fragmentary, consisting only of two loose and torn folios, but they are contiguous. The page numbers were marked out of order and should be read as follows: 2, 1, 4, 3. This fragment corresponds to parts of §§ 32-34 (pp. 132, 134) in the edition of Ricciotti (cf. Perkins, pp. 203-204 / Zingerle pp. 164-165 / ≈ Tischendorf pp. 57-58). In this order, then, here are the images:

p. 2 corr. to Ricciotti 132.2-132.10

tehr_st_jos_17_p2

p. 1 corr. to Ricciotti 132.10-132.18

tehr_st_jos_17_p1

p. 4 corr. to Ricciotti 132.18-132.25

tehr_st_jos_17_p4

p. 3 corr. to Ricciotti 132.26-29, 134.1-6

tehr_st_jos_17_p3

A cursory comparison with Ricciotti’s text reveals very few differences between them.

Bibliography

(see further the Comprehensive Bib. on Syriac Christianity here)

Desreumaux, Alain. “Des symboles à la réalite: la préface à l’Apocalypse de Paul dans la tradition syriaque.” Apocrypha 4 (1993): 65-82.

Desreumaux, Alain. “Un manuscrit syriaque de Téhéran contenant des apocryphes.” Apocrypha 5 (1994): 137-164.

Desreumaux, Alain. “Le prologue apologétique de l’Apocalypse de Paul syriaque: un débat théologique chez les Syriaques orientaux.” Pages 125-134 in Entrer en matière. Les prologues. Edited by Dubois, Jean-Daniel and Roussel, Bernard. Patrimoines: Religions du Livre. Paris: Cerf, 1998.

Desreumaux, Alain. “L’environnement de l’Apocalypse de Paul. À propos d’un nouveau manuscrit syriaque de la Caverne des trésors.” Pages 185-192 in Pensée grecque et sagesse d’Orient. Hommage à Michel Tardieu. Edited by Amir-Moezzi, Mohammed-Ali and Dubois, Jean-Daniel and Jullien, Christelle and Jullien, Florence. Bibliothèque de l’École des Hautes Études, Sciences religieuses 142. Turnhout: Brepols, 2010.

Perkins, Justin. “The Revelation of the Blessed Apostle Paul Translated from an Ancient Syriac Manuscript.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 8 (1866): 183-212. (available here)

Ricciotti, Giuseppe. “Apocalypsis Pauli syriace.” Orientalia NS 2 (1933): 1-25, 120-149. [ed. of Vat. Syr. 180 and Vat. Borg. Syr. 39, with facing LT]

Zingerle, Pius. “Die Apocalypse des Apostels Paulus, aus einer syrischen Handschrift des Vaticans übersetzt.” Vierteljahrsschrift für deutsch- und englisch-theologische Forschung und Kritik 4 (1871): 139-183. [tr. on the basis of Vat. Syr. 180] (available here)

The dearness of home: Arabic verse attributed to Maysūn bint Baḥdal al-Kalbiyya   1 comment

The poem below is one of Heimweh. The poetess credited with the poem, whether rightly or wrongly, is Maysūn bint Baḥdal b. Unayf al-Kalbiyya, the mother of Yazīd I and wife of Muʿāwiya, and she is said to have sung these lines after her husband brought her to Syria (al-Šām) from the desert home of her family. She came from a tribe predominantly Christian. (See the brief article about her by Lammens in EI² 6: 924. On her father, Baḥdal, see EI² 1: 919-920.) After the Arabic text, an English translation follows, together with a list of some vocabulary.

The poem’s rhyme-letter (rawī) is f, which is preceded by ī or ū, these two vowels being considered as rhyming (Wright, Grammar of the Arabic Language, vol. 2, § 196b). The text of the poem is given in Nöldeke-Müller, Delectus veterum carminum arabicorum, Porta Linguarum Orientalium 13 (Berlin, 1890), p. 25, and in Heinrich Thorbecke’s edition of Al-Ḥarīrī’s (EI² 3: 221-222) Durrat al-ġawwāṣ fī awhām al-ḫawwāṣ (Leipzig, 1871), pp. 41-42. (Nöldeke and Müller dedicated their Delectus to the memory of the recently departed Thorbecke.) The images below are from the latter book.

al-hariri_durrat_p41al-hariri_durrat_p42

English’d:

Aye, dearer to me is a tent where the winds roar than a lofty palace.
Dearer to me is a rough woolen cloak with a happy heart than clothes of well-spun wool.
Dearer to me is a morsel of food at the side of the tent than a cake to eat.
Dearer to me are the sounds of winds in every mountain path than the tap of the tambourine.
Dearer to me is a dog barking at my night visitors than a familiar cat.
Dearer to me is a young, unyielding camel following a litter than an active mule.
And dearer to me is a thin generous man from among my cousins than a strong lavishly fed man.

Vocabulary and notes:

  • ḫafaqa i to beat; (of wind) to roar
  • qaṣr citadel, palace (on which see Jeffery, Foreign Vocabulary of the Qurʾān, 240)
  • munīf lofty, sublime, projecting
  • ʿabāʾa cloak made of coarse wool
  • qarra a i to be cool; with ʿayn eye, to be joyful, happy (Lane 2499c)
  • šaff a garment of fine wool
  • kusayra (dimin.) a small piece of something
  • kisr side (of a tent). Note in this line the jinās, the use of two words of the same root but different meaning (see Arberry, Arabic Poetry, 21-23).
  • raġīf cake
  • faǧǧ wide path in the mountains
  • naqr beat, crack, tap
  • duff tambourine
  • ṭāriq, pl. ṭurrāq someone who comes at night
  • dūn here, before, opposite (Lane 938c)
  • alūf familiar, sociable
  • bakr young camel
  • ṣaʿb difficult, unyielding
  • baġl mule
  • zafūf agile, active, quick
  • ẓaʿīna a woman’s litter carried by camels
  • ḫirq liberal, generous, bountiful
  • naḥīf thin, slight, meager
  • ʿilǧ “strong, sturdy man” (Lane)
  • ʿalīf fatted, stuffed, fed

Dried meat in Bar Bahlul   Leave a comment

In a recent post, I mentioned Bar Bahlul’s source “the Proverbs [or tales] of the Arameans”. Among other entries in his lexicon where he cites that source, here is another:

Bar Bahlul, Lexicon, ed. Duval, col. 2072

Bar Bahlul, Lexicon, ed. Duval, col. 2072

English’d:

Tmirā I found it in the Proverbs [or tales] of the Arameans. I think it is tatmīr, that is, seasoned, salted meat.

Here is an image from a manuscript of the Lexicon, SMMJ 229 (dated 2101 AG = 1789/90 CE), f. 311v:

SMMJ 229, f. 311v

SMMJ 229, f. 311v

This is not a particularly special copy of the Lexicon; it’s just one I had immediately at hand. It is, not surprisingly, slightly different from Duval’s text, including the variants he gives. Note that the Persian word at the end is misspelled in this copy.

Payne Smith (col. 4461) defines tmirā as caro dactylis condita (“meat seasoned with dates”), with Bar Bahlul cited, along with some variation in another manuscript, including alongside tatmīr the word تنجمير. I don’t know anything certain about this additional word (rel. to Persian tanjidan, “to twist together, squeeze, press”?).

The word tatmīr is a II maṣdar of the root t-m-r, which has to do with dates. The Arabic noun is tamr (dried) dates (do not confuse with ṯamar fruit), and probably from Arabic Gǝʿǝz has ተምር፡; cf. Heb. tāmār, JPA t(w)mrh, Syr. tmartā, pl. tamrē. (Another Aramaic word for date-palm is deqlā.) The Arabic D-stem/II verb tammara means “to dry” (dates, meat) (Lane 317). While the noun tamr means “dates”, the verb tammara does not necessarily have to do with drying dates, but can also refer to cutting meat into strips and drying it. Words for tatmīr in the dictionary Lisān al-ʿarab are taqdīd, taybīs, taǧfīf, tanšīf; we find the description taqṭīʿu ‘l-laḥmi ṣiġāran ka-‘l-tamri wa-taǧfīfuhu wa-tanšīfuhu (“cutting meat into small pieces like dates, drying it, and drying it out”) and further, an yaqṭaʿa al-laḥma ṣiġāran wa-yuǧaffifa (“he cuts meat into small pieces and dries it”).  All this makes it doubtful that the word above in Bar Bahlul’s lexicon really has anything to do with dates. Why not simply “dried, seasoned meat”?

As for the passive participle mubazzar, b-z-r is often “to sow”, but may also be used for the “sowing” of seeds, spices, etc. in cooking, so: “to season” (Lane 199). Finally, the last word is Persian namak-sud “salted” (Persian [< Middle Persian] namak salt + sudan to rub [also in Mid.Pers.)

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 35 (Lk 12:27)   Leave a comment

Below is Lk 12:27 in the Adishi text. A comparison with this verse as it appears in the xanmeti manuscript A-844, the Pre-Athonite version, and the Athonite version reveals only minor differences, two of which are mentioned below.

κατανοήσατε τὰ κρίνα πῶς αὐξάνει· οὐ κοπιᾷ οὐδὲ νήθει· λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν, οὐδὲ Σολομὼν ἐν πάσῃ τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ περιεβάλετο ὡς ἓν τούτων.

განიცადენით შროშანნი, ვითარ-იგი აღორძნდის: არცა შურებინ, არცა სთავნ. ხოლო გეტყჳ თქუენ, რამეთუ არცა სოლომონ ყოველსა დიდებასა მისსა შეიმოსა, ვითარცა ერთი ამათგანი.

  • გან-ი-ცად-ენ-ი-თ aor impv 2pl განცდა to see, look at
  • შროშანი lily (cf. Armenian շուշան [this verse begins Հայեցարուք ընդ շուշանն], Syr. šuša(n)tā, etc.)
  • აღორძნ-დ-ი-ს aor iter 3sg აღორძინება to grow
  • შურ-ებ-ი-ნ pres iter 3sg შურება to hurry; suffer (the other versions have შურების pres 3sg)
  • სთავ-ნ pres iter 3sg სთვა to spin (the other versions have სთავს pres 3sg)
  • გ-ე-ტყ-ჳ pres 1sg O2 სიტყუა to say
  • შე-ი-მოს-ა aor 3sg შემოსა to clothe, put on
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