Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wisdom of Solomon 7:1-2

ΕΙΜΙ μὲν κἀγὼ θνητὸς ἄνθρωπος ἴσος ἅπασι
καὶ γηγενοῦς ἀπόγονος πρωτοπλάστου·
καὶ ἐν κοιλίᾳ μητρὸς ἐγλύφην σὰρξ

I also am a mortal human being like everyone else
and a descendant of the first formed earthborn,
and in a mother's belly carved into flesh

2 δεκαμηνιαίῳ χρόνῳ
παγεὶς ἐν αἵματι
ἐκ σπέρματος ἀνδρὸς
καὶ ἡδονῆς ὕπνῳ συνελθούσης.

For the time of ten months
fit together in blood
out of the seed of a man
and the pleasure
which comes together with sleep

I thought I would work through a bit of chapter 7 and 8 of the Wisdom of Solomon. I find it especially intriguing since it is one of the texts which both the gospel of John and the Sefer Yetsira appear to make allusions to.

In the first part of this chapter, King Solomon (or the author) is taking pains to describe how he is like all other mortals in the circumstances of his birth. While I have played up the language a little, I think it is worth translating the Greek ἐγλύφην accurately as "carved" since the Hebrew word for "carved" figures prominently in the Sefer Yetsira, The Book of Formation.

There is no point in taking the anatomical terms too literally. The baby is formed in the belly or abdomen of the mother, and from the seed of the father. However, the word σπέρμα can just as easily mean "offspring." This word features as the seed of Eve in Gen. 3:15.

King James
Liddel Scott Lexicon

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