The Testament of Solomon, Part 26

As stated last time, this would appear to be the end of the Testament. Is it?

Maybe.

The difficulty, as I’ve stated before, is that the edition of the Testament that scholars have reassembled doesn’t seem to really correspond with any particular manuscript we have. Each one is a different fragment, many of which overlap, but none gives us the entire book. This raises the question of whether this “entire book” exists at all, or is just a creation of modern scholarly sensibilities.

This is actually a common problem with manuscripts that differ: Is there any real way to tell which one represents the older text? You could argue that a shorter text is newer, as the transcriber could have abbreviated some sections or given up on the project due to lack of parchment. You could also argue that a longer text is newer, as a transcriber embroiders and works new material into a shorter piece. Add on top of that, in the case of the Testament, that most of the manuscripts are medieval and probably date back at least a thousand years before that, and unentangling the possibilities quickly becomes a hopeless mess.

Nonetheless, we’ll soldier forward with the composite edition. We have a few more demons to meet, an encounter with thirty-six astrological forces, a number of anecdotes about Solomon’s adventures, and the final appearance of the longawaited Red Sea demon, before wrapping it up.

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Published in: on February 28, 2008 at 4:26 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] Testament of Solomon, Part 27 You didn’t think this was coming back, did you?¬† Someone recalled the book at the library, and someone else misplaced his […]


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