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orion-list Pliny Qumran analysis: palmarum / kaf.pe - kope (was Baumgarten)

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Hello Sigrid, friends,

always happy to read your posts, though I must say these last ones made
my mind "bent" a wee bit much, enough anyway to get me out of my ..
pithos. So here, but tell you the truth, I suspect that (to use a familiar
term to you, Sigrid, from your previous professional incarnation) you are
rather projecting {"bent" on, off dissertation and all that).

To St. Goranson's inquiring:

>> 1) Are there indications that Pliny used Syriac sources?

you responded (17 Aug 1999)

>Not that I know of. I am using Syriac as a philological example of the
>development of meaning of the root, which in Hebrew and Aramaic
>is kaf.pe.pe. and variants, and in Syriac is the equivalent of
>kaf.pe.alef., with the basic meaning of `bend' or `bow.'

Now, it would have rather been, I think, altogether non-explicable your
bringing, applying to this context of "socia palmarum" a "bending" concept,
were it not that the term has evidently been in your "dissertatious" mind
of late considerably, thus "spilling over" now onto otherwise unrelated
territory. By the same token, you shouldn't try to make "martyrs" for it,
too :-) out of us. For, as you know, not everything applies to every case.

I think that kaf.pe.alef. have nothing to do being behind our "palm" case,
first, because nothing in the Pliny Latin passage betrays in any way
that there is any semitism here at play. The passage - that I think has
been translated poorly, not to say it has been maltreated - is common
Latin, and but for a bit of a sloppy syntactical composing in the beginning,
and a Laconic poetic formulating toward the end, it betrays not any special
linguistic peculiarities that would suggest an inadvertent "play" in any
behind the scenes translating-- if there was any translation involved here
-- which, from the text, I have no cause to think that there was. Likely,
information extracted from a source was worked into text rather ordinarily
and freely. Below, or separately, depending on this post's length and
developing organization, I will give my own rendering of Pliny.

A second, and more specific to your case, philological objection is that
-- past the (significant, nonetheless) fact that 'kaf.pe.alef' is a rare
occurrence for "priest"-- it is not the originally basic meaning for this
form, and if it has come to bear on informing the term of a special
"priestly" characteristic of "piety", and so further possibly of "bowing"
or "bending," that is a meaning that has been taken on, has been acquired.

Third, related to the above, and mentioned here mainly for the sake of
covering as wide a scope of a scientific inquiry :-) is a case to include
within your expanded mind's testing parameters that, kaf.pe.alef might as
well be a semitic loan of the Greek _kup(t)w_, I bend, I bow -- as also
"bent to look", inquire, bent on searching-- though not perhaps so far as
to a point of _koptein_, or bent in working oneself outrightly insanely ;-)
to the "break", let's say, of, finally, _kopein_, 'cutting', the noun being
_kope_, "cut"  _kop-iazein_ to "mean" 'laboring', 'tiring').

I don't think kaf.pe.alef or _kope_ is behind the "palm" of Pliny's
passage, but if there could had been any Syriac-Aramaic-Hebrew "behind"
this word here at play, it might as well, and not unlikely, had been an
earlier form of it in Greek. And this not necessarily due to the Greek's
greater antiquity (than "any Qumran Aramaic text" could lend, or 'bend" to,
--that was SG's no. 2 concern) but due to the fact that Pliny worked
essentially with Greek sources.  [kup-, kup(t)w, BTW, one should be sure
to find in Homer-- well developed to have come out of use from at least
a late Paleolithic or early Bronze Age linguistic context.]

Further to this, primary meaning then of your "priest(ly)" nun.kaf.pe.alef
("priest/scribe/sage/ancient martyr")  Kaf.Pe., is ... sCriBe: CrB < cb, kb,
kp .. kope : "cutter", "CuTter", "(en-)GraV-er", "KoP(i)-er"!  (1)

So, even if the response to Goranson's 3rd question -- can the "Syriac
meaning you raise" be with any certainty "attested early enough to have
been used by a source from the time of Herod the Great?" -- could had in
any way been in the affirmative [which, btw, would had meant deictically
next to ... anything :-) since the parameters associated in relating the
word (with .. "palm") are so much .. absent, remote, indirect that any
effort to seriously connecting them would amount practically to an
infinity of possibilities in rendering "significance" to the .. impossible]
the primary of the Greek ("cutter-scribe") reveals not only the secondary
ascription to the word-form of "priest", but even clarifies further that
the epithetal characterization to "priest" as "pious" is itself removed and
tertiary-- even if within its newly adopted context it has risen to appear,
as you wrote, as "basic"). Thus, the "bending" and "bowing" of kaf.pepe and
of kaf.pe.alef may not be associated even directly with the Greek _kuptw_,
as cognate to the "priestly" _koptw_, and as jested earlier, but may have
rather come about as "fallen" "chips" off a _kope_ of the "(letter)cutting-
-scribe-priest", and as the final suffixes, <pe> (in Hebrew) and <alef> (in
Syriac), are likely telling us.

Now, Sigrid went on to had said after Goranson's "3rd" asking:

>Well, we're in the same boat in trying to establish the age and date of a
>source. The word is used in line 125 of the Syriac Jewish Poem of the
>Maccabaean Martyrdoms that is the subject of my dissertation in the form
>nun.kaf.pe.  alef., where it is a description for the
>priest/scribe/sage/ancient martyr named Eleazar. He is the Head or Chief
>of the 'chaste ones' or `pious ones.'

Right. But, Eleazer as the "nun.kaf.pe. alef description for the 'priest/scribe/
sage/ancient martyr named" is (himself, IMO, an adjectival title-aspect) of
the cultural "One-and-Primus" original side-aspectal-characterization as
"scribe", as the First of a line (sic) of 'Holy-Letter-utters", so named in
onomatopoiein after his primary exoteric activity-- the "priestly" (as
'divine intervention) being "ascribed" (sic) secondarily, while the 'bending'
and 'bowing' (and most of the "pieting") done mostly by the "many".

But, enough on this; for even if I should want to go on now and look at
some "palm" leaves, or on to "reading" some "palms" :-) think I will stop
here now and give a chance to response. Only-- to amuse(?) dear Rochelle
(and maybe enlighten, who knows, some?) -- I 'll add that, while a "scribe-
-priest" was originally outwardly a 'kopi-(er)", he was not a "copi-er" (2)
at all, or at least not in the beginning-- and not at all until after the
time where the "two-in-one" split into two "offices": the so called
PhaRiSee, PRS ("PRieSt") and the GRaMmatea, the (holy) letter-enGRaVer,
or just "plain" "sCRiBe". The division holds well to our days: Priesthood
being of the conservative side, the O(l)d ParadiGM; the Newer being
the Academics-- no longer stone-cutting, or stone-cutting-telling,
or even stylus or brush "bending", but (alas, still !) "type-ing." Well,
it won't be long now when _they_ ...

Thanks Sigrid- for the .. tester.  (Hopefully I made some sense?)
Greetings to all,

Isidoros, Athens

(1, 2) "Copper", too, which came to become known later as 'bronze', was so
recognized and properly used by the same "cutters" as material appropriate
for KoPein, and so was as 'copper', "cutter" was so branded in the evolving
technology, by the "KoPers".

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