Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Greek inscription Quiz: Text?

15

15 comments :

  1. Looks to me like it's on the same construction as the Hebrew inscription.

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  2. Tze-Ming Quek7/19/2006 3:59 pm

    Great... I've just spent the past hour on this, which I could have used on my "real" work. And I still can't work it out...

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  3. There's too much glare to the right. Enlarging didn't help at all.

    Photoshop might clear it up enough to read.

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  4. well, can't pass up a puzzle, but don't have time either.
    The Hebrew one took about 1.5 seconds, about the time for the image to come into focus. But that was a known text. I feel like I've seen it before somewhere.

    The greek one looks like a misspelled "...they were able to remain single"
    ... [η]δυναντω μοναζειν.
    This would not be from the NT.

    Maybe this will let tze-ming check LXX or other sources for a quote.

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  5. on second thought, looking at the nice line up of letters on the left,
    perhaps the dun- word is

    δυναμεθα
    μοναζειν

    we are able
    to be alone

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  6. δυσκολον
    ομον
    επικινειν
    δυναμεθα
    μοναζειν

    difficult
    together
    to go forward
    we are able
    to remain alone

    a strange proverb, if correct.

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  7. Randall,
    I'll accept your take on the second and fifth word, and even on the second vowel of the fourth, but I don't see through the glare quite like you seem to.
    I get:
    duskwXXX
    omon
    epikwXX
    dunanXXd
    monazein

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  8. δυοκ[...]
    ομου[...]
    επικω̣[..]
    δυναντο
    μον.ζειν

    ??

    I like using Google's free tool "Picasa". Try opening this image with it. Go to effects and hit sharpen a couple of times.

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  9. Two points: the white area is not glare from a flash but corrosion.
    There are also some letters, a name perhaps, to the left of the scroll.

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  10. OK. I searched MONAZEIN on TLG and came up with a match:

    DUSKOLON
    OMOU KAI
    EPIKIN
    DUNON TO
    MONAZEIN

    This might be a better proverb than the brilliant one that Randall Buth came up with: 'It is difficult and dangerous to be alone.'


    Basil of Caesarea quotes this twice:

    Basilius Caesariensis Theol., Asceticon magnum sive Quaestiones (regulae fusius tractatae). {2040.048} Volume 31 page 901 line 19. and Volume 31 page 928 line 27t.

    There is no other plausible match in TLG (assuming MONAZEIN).

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  11. Now how about some paleography?
    This is not your typical minuscule script. Rare enough it is to find such curved strokes in an inscription, but to find them lower-case and unattached--this doesn't leave us much to go on for dating purposes, does it?

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  12. Shalom Peter,
    Thank you for the TLG reading.
    DUSKOLON
    OMOU KAI
    EPIKIN
    DUNON TO
    MONAZEIN
    that's close enough for me without seeing the stone. On translation, without a context, I would be inclined to read a little differently:

    "difficult together,
    and dangerous to be alone"

    That is, it is difficult to live or work together with someone, but it is dangerous to be alone.

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  13. Given that translation, I'd expect this inscription to grace the walls of a monastery somewhere.

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  14. Thanks Randall,

    There is a usage of OMOU KAI meaning 'in like manner as, just like, as' (LSJ). This would suggest continuity rather than discontinuity. But I shall try to find some context!

    P

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  15. So what's the answer to the quiz?

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