[b-greek] Dragons in Paradise (was Lexical Fallacies)

From: c stirling bartholomew (cc.constantine@worldnet.att.net)
Date: Thu Feb 07 2002 - 16:26:37 EST

What are Dragons doing in Paradise?

Spent most of the morning researching the primary sources on the problem
DRAKWN in 1Enoch 20:7. The chain of reasoning that brought Matthew Black to
tentatively suggest Seraphim as the referent for DRAKWN in this context
involves a number of stages of inference none of which looks very convincing
under close scrutiny. This is undoubtedly why M. Black left it tentative.

What is the problem to begin with?

20:7 Gabrihl, o eis twn agiwn aggelwn o epi tou paradeisou kai twn drakontwn
kai ceroubein.

The combining of Cherubim & Dragons in Paradise under the authority of
Gabriel. That's the problem. Sounds like DRAKWN is being used here with an
unusual referent.

I have attempted to reconstruct some of the logic behind the suggestion of
Seraphim in this context, but keep in mind these are my thoughts not
necessarily those of M. Black.

What might lead one to suggest Seraphim? DRAKWN and OFIS have some
semantic overlap. Both are used of serpents. Both are used in mythological
contexts. Occasionally the two words are used in the same immediate context.
OFIS is used in a few places to translate SRF (Hebrew/Aramaic). SRF is used
in Isa. 6:2 to describe "beings" in the court of heaven which are
traditionally called Seraphim. However, note that SRF is not translated with
OFIS in Isa. 6:2 LXX. Seraphim and Cherubim make a more sensible reading in
1En. 20:7 than Dragons and Cherubim.

These are some observations which might lead one to suggest Seraphim in this
context. As lexical evidence each of these observations is open to critique.
Since we never find DRAKWN used for SRF in the LXX, and OFIS isn't used in
Isa. 6:2, it seems that the links in this chain are not strong enough to
withstand hostile criticism.

But then of course we are left with a difficult reading in 1En. 20:7.
Matthew Black has taken the correct course, IMHO, he has left the word
"serpents" in his translation and provided notes to explain the problem.
This is a good compromise.

In most cases where a known word is used with a sense or referent which
isn't attested elsewhere the solution will not need to be nearly as drastic
as the one used here. This is an extreme case.



on 2/7/02 2:15 AM, c stirling bartholomew wrote:

> Lets illustrate the point from 1Enoch 20:7 (and context) :
> 20:1 Aggeloi twn dunamewn. 20:2 Ourihl, o eis twn agiwn aggelwn o epi tou
> kosmou kai tou tartarou. 20:3 Rafahl, o eis twn agiwn aggelwn o epi twn
> pneumatwn twn anqrwpwn. 20:4 Ragouhl, o eis twn agiwn aggelwn o ekdikwn ton
> kosmon twn fwsthrwn. 20: Micahl, o eis twn agiwn aggelwn o epi twn tou laou
> agaqwn tetagmenos kai epi tw caw. 20:6 Sarihl, o eis twn agiwn aggelwn o epi
> twn pneumatwn oitines epi tw pneumati amartanousin. 20:7 Gabrihl, o eis twn
> agiwn aggelwn o epi tou paradeisou kai twn drakontwn kai ceroubein. 20:8
> Remihl, o eis twn agiwn aggelwn on etaxen o qeos epi twn anistamenwn.
> Onomata z arcaggelwn.
> Take a look a 20:7. What is a dragon/serpent doing here? DRAKWN is a very
> well known word but it doesn't fit in this context next to CEROUBEIN
> (Cherubim). So what does Matthew Black* have to say about this? Well he
> isn't real please with trying to fit a dragon into this context but the
> textual evidence doesn't give him much choice the dragon is there. If the
> word had be OFEIS things would have been easier, but the word is DRAKWN.
> M. Black solves the problem by not solving the problem. This is ok in a
> commentary on 1Enoch intended for use by scholars. Black's translation
> reads:
> " . . . serpents (Seraphim?) and the Cherubim. "
> This is an extreme example of a common problem.

> *The Book of Enoch, or, I Enoch : a new English edition with commentary and
> textual notes by Matthew Black; in consultation with James C. Vanderkam.
> With an appendix on the 'Astronomical' chapters (72-82) by Otto Neugebauer"
> Includes indexes. Leiden : E.J. Brill, 1985_ ISBN: 9004071008

Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

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