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

David Suter said:

>>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.<<

True, but I would expect a translation to reflect any versification
contained in the text, just like we do with biblical 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).<<

Yes, Isaac's translation has drawbacks. In spite of his explanation for
his decision to base his translation on a single manuscript ("A" = Kebran
9/II, see _OTP_, vol. 1, pg. 6), it does not seem to make sense to me in
light of the fact that comparison with the Aramaic fragments published in
Milik's _The Books of Enoch_ (1974) clearly show that the manuscript he
used was defective! He relegates the omissions to footnotes rather than
emend the text. In fact, Charles' eclectic text(1898/1912), based on late
19th/early 20th century scholarship, is much closer to the Aramaic of the
DSS than was Isaac's ms A.

Diverging a little from the topic, though, in my opinion the relative
value of the translations in _OTP_ varied quite a bit. I got the
impression that Isaac and B. M. Metzger, for instance, both wanted to
de-emphasize the influence 1 Enoch and the Apocalypse of Ezra may have had
on early Christian thought by producing dry, uninspiring translations of
these works with few interpretive footnotes. On the other hand, I found P.
Alexander's translation of 3 Enoch, and D. C. Duling's translation of the
Testament of Solomon to be very informative, especially the footnotes and
introductions, as they tried to illuminate rather than downplay the
correlations. I appreciate that.

>>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.<<

I have read Black's translation, but that was many years ago. I did not
recall seeing any of it set in verse, though. I wonder if it is still in
print? Looks as though I will have to see if I can check it out again.

>>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.<<

Milik, I think, has his own agenda, but it is hard for me to pin down. I
do think he wants to keep as much space as possible between the type of
Judaism reflected in the Parables of Enoch and early Christian thought.
However, there is no reason to think that the Qumran community (or
communities) made use of every book known in the period. I am inclined to
think that it may reflect texts carried into Ethiopia by refugees from the
 war of 66-74 or possibly the crushed Jewish uprisings in Africa of the
second decade of the 2nd century CE.

>>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?<<

Unfortunately, no. The only version I have of Charles' translation of CD
(his Zadokite Work) is in APOT. He does not say why he versified the
passages. He only had Solomon Schecter's 1910 transcriptions of mss A & B
to work from, as Schecter had prohibited anyone from seeing the original
text until five years after his publication of the editio princeps (which
angered Charles no end, and seems to have set a precedent for studies of
sectarian Jewish texts). Schecter did include an English translation in
his edition, but I doubt that Charles would have reproduced it since he
was critical of it in general. I have not seen Schecter's edition, in any
event, so I do not know if he rendered passages in verse. However, Charles
does include a paragraph in APOT on the reasons why he extensively
expanded the amount of versification in his 1912 edition of 1 Enoch over
that portrayed in his initial 1898 edition, and this may have influenced
his 1913 translation of CD published in APOT.


Dave Hindley
Cleveland, Ohio, USA

PS: Apologies for the length of post

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