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Re: orion-list Pliny Qumran analysis (A. Baumgarten question)
According to Stephen Goranson:
> Hello, Sigrid,
> Thanks for your response. I'm not familiar with your text. It
> sounds quite interesting, though IMO unlikely to be a source for Pliny or
> Pliny's source Agrippa.
It is not necessarily a *source* for Pliny, and you assume you have proved
that Pliny's source (for the passage on Essenes) was Agrippa. Of course
it's possible that some of the material was *known* to Pliny's source,
though probably not to Pliny. I am not making a point about *sources,
other than the search for, demonstration of, and identification of,
sources is a task that engages you with respect to proving "essenes" and
me with respect to elucidating the text I'm working on, the following.
The text is given as the second of two anonymous memrae in THE FOURTH BOOK
OF MACCABEES AND KINDRED DOCUMENTS IN SYRIAC, First Edited on Manuscript
Authority by the Late R. L. Bensly.
There are a couple of places on my home page to read about it, at the
which is the first chapter of my dissertation on the central character of
the poem, Martha Shamuni, later known as Hannah, the mother of seven sons.
> Pliny the Younger described his uncle's books and work habits in
> his epistle 3. Perhaps this is the description you recalled. It mentions a
> reader who was interrupted by a friend, whereupon Pliny the Elder
> complained that he was holding up progress. But the interruption was
> because of a complaint about a mispronunciation. In other words, I'm not
> sure this involved translation.
Again, you mistake my intent, if not my meaning. I am remembering a
description of Pliny's way of working that Rackham (translator of Loeb
Edition, and of excerpt in Menachem Stern) has at the end of the Loeb
edition of the Natural History. It is not necessarily a description of
working with a translator; it is rather the way he worked, day in day out,
using a reader, not tolerating interruptions.
The point is that Pliny worked very rapidly, and a translator would
essentially have had to translate as rapidly as a simultaneous translator
for the UN does now. The reader would have read silently in one language
and spoken the Latin equivalent, for Pliny to record. Pliny's intolerance
of any interruption in the flow would not allow for refining the
translation. Therefore, the translator could well have come up with "socia
palmarum" reflecting the binary palm tree/palm of the hand meaning that
was also part of the meaning of the word in Greek (?), Aramaic, and
Hebrew. The intended meaning of the underlying words, however, was
`society of bowing/bending ones, or society of the pious'--in my
I offered the Syriac text as an example of the development of the semantic
field of the underlying word, not as a source. It is also offered as a way
of broadening the tight circle you are in when you prove at the end what
you assert at the outset of your paper on the Orion list, that Agrippa is
the source for Pliny's passage on the Essenes.
My comment does this by noting that your assumption that the passage is
from a source that is originally in Latin may be erroneous.
The challenge becomes, can you demonstrate that Pliny's passage on the
Essenes is in idiomatic Latin, likely to be from a Latin source?
> Stephen Goranson, firstname.lastname@example.org
All the best,
Sigrid Peterson email@example.com
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