Saturday, September 24, 2011

The historian Artapanus (2-3 cent. BCE)
& the magical incantation of the Tetragrammaton
by Moses /

Ο ιστορικός Αρτάπανος (2-3 αι. ΠΚΧ)
& η μαγική επίκληση του Τετραγράμματου
από τον Μωυσή

Τὸν δὲ βασιλέα τῶν Αἰγυπτίων πυθόμενον τὴν τοῦ Μωΰσου παρουσίαν καλέσαι πρὸς αὑτὸν καὶ πυνθάνεσθαι ἐφ’ ὅ τι ἥκοι· τὸν δὲ φάναι, διότι προστάσσειν αὐτῷ τὸν τῆς οἰκουμένης δεσπότην ἀπολῦσαι τοὺς Ἰουδαίους. τὸν δὲ πυθόμενον εἰς φυλακὴν αὐτὸν καθεῖρξαι· νυκτὸς δὲ ἐπιγενομένης τάς τε θύρας πάσας αὐτομάτως ἀνοιχθῆναι τοῦ δεσμωτηρίου καὶ τῶν φυλάκων οὓς μὲν τελευτῆσαι, τινὰς δὲ ὑπὸ τοῦ ὕπνου παρεθῆναι τά τε ὅπλα κατεαγῆναι. ἐξελθόντα δὲ τὸν Μώϋσον ἐπὶ τὰ βασίλεια ἐλθεῖν· εὑρόντα δὲ ἀνεῳγμένας τὰς θύρας εἰσελθεῖν καὶ ἐνθάδε τῶν φυλάκων παρειμένων τὸν βασιλέα ἐξεγεῖραι. τὸν δὲ ἐκπλαγέντα ἐπὶ τῷ γεγονότι κελεῦσαι τῷ Μωΰσῳ τὸ τοῦ πέμψαντος αὐτὸν θεοῦ εἰπεῖν ὄνομα, διαχλευάσαντα αὐτόν· τὸν δὲ προσκύψαντα πρὸς τὸ οὖς εἰπεῖν, ἀκούσαντα δὲ τὸν βασιλέα πεσεῖν ἄφωνον, διακρατηθέντα δὲ ὑπὸ τοῦ Μωΰσου πάλιν ἀναβιῶσαι· γράψαντα δὲ τοὔνομα εἰς δέλτον κατασφραγίσασθαι τῶν τε ἱερέων τὸν φαυλίσαντα ἐν τῇ πινακίδι τὰ γεγραμμένα μετὰ σπασμοῦ τὸν βίον ἐκλιμπάνειν· εἰπεῖν τε τὸν βασιλέα σημεῖόν τι αὐτῷ ποιῆσαι· τὸν δὲ Μώϋσον ἣν εἶχε ῥάβδον ἐκβαλόντα ὄφιν ποιῆσαι· πτοηθέντων δὲ πάντων ἐπιλαβόμενον τῆς οὐρᾶς ἀνελέσθαι καὶ πάλιν ῥάβδον ποιῆσαι· προελθόντα δὲ μικρὸν τὸν Νεῖλον τῇ ῥάβδῳ πατάξαι, τὸν δὲ ποταμὸν πολύχουν γενόμενον κατακλύζειν ὅλην τὴν Αἴγυπτον· ἀπὸ τότε δὲ καὶ τὴν κατάβασιν αὐτοῦ γίνεσθαι· συναγαγὸν δὲ τὸ ὕδωρ ἐποζέσαι καὶ τὰ ποτάμια διαφθεῖραι ζῷα τούς τε λαοὺς διὰ τὴν δίψαν φθείρεσθαι.

And when the king of Egypt heard of the arrival of Moses, he called him before him, and asked what he had come for: and he said, Because the Lord of the world commanded him to deliver the Jews. And when the king heard this, he shut him up in prison. But when it was night, all the doors of the prison-house opened of their own accord, and of the guards some died, and some were sunk in sleep, and their weapons broken in pieces. So Moses passed out and came to the palace; and finding the doors opened he went in, and the guards here also being sunk in sleep he woke up the king. And he being dismayed at what had happened bade Moses tell him the name of the God who sent him, scoffing at him: but Moses bent down and whispered in his ear, and when the king heard it he fell speechless, but was held fast by Moses and came to life again. And he wrote the name in a tablet and sealed it up; and one of the priests who made light of what was written in the tablet was seized with a convulsion and died. Also the king told him to work some sign for him, and Moses threw down the rod which he held and turned it into a serpent; and when they were all frightened, he seized it by the tail and took it up, and made it a rod again. Then he went forth a little, and smote the Nile with the rod, and the river became flooded and deluged the whole of Egypt, and it was from that time its inundation began: and the water became stagnant, and stank, and killed all living things in the river, and the people were perishing of thirst.

* Ευσέβιος Καισαρείας / Eusebius of Caesarea,
Ευαγγελική Προπαρασκευή / Præparatio Evangelica 9.22b-28.

Greek text: / Ελληνικό κείμενο:
K. Mras,
Eusebius Werke, Band 8: Die Praeparatio evangelica,
Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1956.

English text / Αγγλικό κείμενο:
Transl.. E.H. Gifford (1903).

Artapanus. Historian; lived in Alexandria in the second century B.C. He wrote a history of the Jews, parts of which have been preserved in the writings of the church-fathers Eusebius ("Præparatio Evangelica," ix. 18, 23) and Clement of Alexandria ("Stromata," i. 23, 154), as well as in those of some later authors. Freudenthal shows that both Alexander Polyhistor and Josephus made use of Artapanus' work. The fragments that have survived enable one to form an opinion—not a very flattering one—as to the merits of their author. Artapanus evidently belonged to that narrowminded circle of Hellenizing Jews that were unable to grasp what was truly great in Judaism, and, therefore, in their mistaken apologetic zeal—for even in those early days Judaism had its opponents among the Hellenes—set about glorifying Judaism to the outer world by inventing all manner of fables concerning the Jews.

* Jewish Encyclopedia, "Artapanus".

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