Deuterobaruchian Pearls

For the youth of this world has passed away, and the power of creation is already exhausted, and the coming of the times is very near and has passed by. And the pitcher is near the well, and the ship to the harbor, and the journey to the city, and life to its end.

——2 Baruch 85.10

But now, the righteous have been assembled, and the prophets are sleeping. Also we have left our land, and Zion has been taken away from us, and we have nothing now apart from the Mighty One and his Law.

——2 Baruch 85.3

And it will happen at that time that those treasuries will be opened in which the number of the souls of the righteous were kept, and they will go out and the multitudes of the souls will appear together, in one assemblage, of one mind. And the first ones will enjoy themselves and the last ones will not be sad.

——2 Baruch 30.2

Adam is, therefore, not the cause, except only for himself, but each of us has become our own Adam.

——2 Baruch 54.19

Biblioblog versus Biblicablog

So, because Esteban brought up my suggestion made in Biblical Studies Carnival XXVI (search the page for “biblicablog”) for an alternative monicker for blogs devoted to Bible-related issues, namely “biblicablog” in preference to the unspecific and widely otherwise-used “biblioblog,” I myself have bitten the bullet to count usage. In a Google search of “biblioblog” I received 552 hits. I just looked at every single one of those hits and made a tally of whether “biblioblog” is used in reference to Bible-related blogs, or general book-related blogs, including book reviews, library sites, etc. The findings:

Biblical: 129
Book-related: 360
Uncertain/neither: 5

So, on usage alone, we should find in favor of my neologism biblicablog, which with its seven Google hits, 4 relate to Biblical Studies, and 3 are domain name lists, so uncertain or unclaimed. It is, however, quite certain that no one wishing to form a blog of book reviews or on library science would choose any of the biblicablog domains, simply because the root biblica- refers to the Bible exclusively.

Now, I understand there is a certain amount of inertia, if not stubbornness involved in sticking with “biblioblog” as a description blogs devoted to Biblical Studies. But the word does not mean that etymologically, and usage is likewise against it, not merely in English, but internationally. Take a look at biblioblog.de and biblioblog.fr, for instance, or go ahead and do the whole Google thing yourself and see how overwhelmingly, by a factor of 2 to 1, biblioblog is used in reference to book- or library-related blogs, thus hewing closer to the root meaning of biblio- as referring to books in general and not merely one specific subset of books (ta biblia) or one book (the Bible).

Sticking to “biblioblog” and maintaining that its referent is “Biblical Studies” or more widely the Bible is what I’ve always thought of as a Humpty-Dumptyism:

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean

International Septuagint Day!

On the LXX list, Bob Kraft reminds us (once and twice) that today is International Septuagint Day!

To quote the inestimably esteemed Professor Kraft: “Do something septuagintal today, from a septuaginarian.”

The date was established last year by the IOSCS in 2006, reflecting, as Kraft says, “the one date we know of from late antiquity on which LXX/OG/Aquila received special attention (in Justinian’s Novella 146).” This novella (or imperial rescript or command) permitted the Jews of the empire (which now included much of the just-recovered west) to read the Scriptures in their synagogues in Greek, Latin, or any language they choose. Previous laws had restricted their public readings to Hebrew. This novella was published 8 February 553 AD.

The Face of the Deep (1.7-8)

It’s been a long time since I’ve touched this. Herewith, I continue posting Christina Rossetti’s devotional commentary on the Apocalypse, The Face of the Deep, published in London in 1892 by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. This was, so far as is known, also the first verse-by-verse commentary on the entire Apocalypse by a woman. I recommend the first entries (Introduction, 1.1-2, 1.3, 1.4-6). I place this in the category “Poetry” rather than “Biblical Studies” because this work is rife with the poetry of Christina Rossetti, who is acknowledged today, finally, deservedly, as one of the finest poets of the English language in all ages.

7. Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen.

Once to Nicodemus our Lord said : “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen: and ye receive not our witness.” So now St. John, on the threshold of his revelation, cries to us: “Behold”—being about to make us see with his eyes and hear with his ears, if only we will understand with hearts akin to his own.

Dare we then aspire to become like St. John? Wherefore not, when we are bidden and invited to become like Christ?

Our likeness to St. John (if by God’s grace we assume any vestige of such glory) must include faith and love, but need not involve more than an elementary degree of knowledge.

Continue reading “The Face of the Deep (1.7-8)”

Is Yeats also among the prophets?

Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of Innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Who are “the best” but the boni of our day—the politicians like their forebears, ancient cynical senators jockeying for power, for the role of princeps. What conviction do they display, with their records of social and political policies changing with the wind of opinion? The courage of their conviction goes only so deep as their demagoguery finds necessary—in another day, a week, perhaps a month—never so long as a year!—all is changed. Is is not that “Power corrupts” or even “Power corrupts the corruptible” but that “Power is corruption.”

Who are “the worst . . . full of passionate intensity,” but the terrorists of these days and their enablers? Such coarse certitude, drawing lines that none may cross but themselves, they with an adolescent fixation on an imagined utopia of fairness—one founded on their own terms, and thus eminently “fair” to themselves!—a utopia as imaginary as every other ever imagined by minds both greater and lesser.

And yet Yeats wrote this so long ago, in 1921 or before, with very different referents in mind. Even so, do we not think, all of us, but for some very brief interludes when all is well with us, that in our generations each one of them is the time when some “rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born”? Is not every generation prone to see the coming of the man of sin, the lawless one, the antichrist, the beast, the great Satan, Beliar—and the end of the world is at hand?

Even so: Come, our Lord. Come.

From my journal. On the night of 1 February 2008, reflecting on Fr Andrew Louth’s quotation of Yeats (at the top of the post) in his Discerning the Mystery, p. 1

Apocalypse of Elijah Versification

I’ve just put up a web page which aligns the versification of Rosenstiehl’s translation of Apocalypse of Elijah with the Wintermute translation found in Charlesworth’s Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. Some may have noticed their differences already, 3 chapters in Rosenstiehl, 5 in Wintermute, etc. Several contributors to the OTP volumes seem to have introduced their own versification, likely related to their differing with earlier editors on readings, sentences and so on. As I run across more examples, I’ll very likely prepare similar tables in those cases as well. The difficulty comes in seeing that even within the OTP volumes themselves, some used one versification to insert comparanda in the margin or notes, while others used another. I’m in the process of straightening all those out.

Anyhow, this is another tool that I found necessary, and thought I’d share it with the wider world. Enjoy!