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RE: orion-list Verse & Prose in CD and 1 Enoch

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: David C. Hindley [mailto:dhindley@compuserve.com]
> Sent: Thursday, November 11, 1999 1:20 AM
> To: orion@mscc.huji.ac.il
> Subject: orion-list Verse & Prose in CD and 1 Enoch
> List,
> I am curious to learn why R. H. Charles' translations of CD 
> and 1 Enoch
> (APOT vol. 2) clearly render materials clearly as prose or 
> verse, while
> more recent translations (such as E. Isaac's translation of 1 Enoch in
> Charlesworth's _Old Testament Pseudepigrapha_, or any 
> translation of CD by
> Vermes, Garcia or even Gaster) do not.

The examples from 1 Enoch are obviously verse -- one can see that even
without looking at the Aramaic given the use of parallel couplets and the
use of sense rhyme following the pattern of Semitic (or Biblical) poetry.
On the other hand, the original Aramaic manuscript that covers the passage
that you quote does not appear to me to set the text in poetry following the
modern style of one line of verse per line of text -- that would appear to
be a more modern convention.  One has to hear the poetry rather than see it
(although I would be interested to see if Rochelle Altman could find
indications of poetic meter encoded into the mode of writing the letters in
the Enoch manuscripts).  There are things to be gleaned from the style of
presentation of the texts in the Aramaic Enoch manuscripts, but to read them
properly one must avoid assuming an identity with modern conventions of the
presentation of texts.  

Why Isaac does not set the passage as poetry is a good question, but I had
already noted that as one limitation among several in that translation (I
suppose one could argue that not printing the translation of the poetic
passages as lines of poetry more accurately reflects the nature of the
original and leaves it up to the reader to decide where there is poetry and
where not).  My translation of preference is the one by Matthew Black, The
Book of Enoch or 1 Enoch:  A New English Edition, published by EJ Brill in
1985, and it does set the poetic passages as poetry, although I notice that
Knibb's translation of the Ethiopic does not.  The recognition of the
presence of Semitic poetic patterns does make a difference in understanding
the text.  Milik wants to argue that the Parables of Enoch (chapters 37-71)
are late, Christian compositions, apparently in Greek, but the use of
Semitic parallelism suggests to me that is not the case.  There must be
either a Hebrew or Aramaic original for the Similitudes, given the style of
its poetic passages.

As to CD, the examples you give could be poetic, but in that case the lines
seem longer than usual (almost Whitmanesque ;-), and the parallelism seems
less distinct.  Does Charles give a discussion of his treatment of those
lines as poetic?

David Suter
Saint Martin's College
For private reply, e-mail to "Suter, David" <dsuter@stmartin.edu>
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