Saturday, March 05, 2016

A new fragment of Ezekiel the Tragedian's "Exagoge"

THE OXYRHYNCHUS PAPYRI: Ancient Egypt: Citizen scientists reveal tales of tragedy unearthed from centuries-old rubbish dump.Papyrus scraps tossed on a rubbish tip thousands of years ago are finally giving up their secrets (Adam Lusher, The Independent).
Tales of tragedy written on papyrus that lay hidden for centuries in an Ancient Egyptian rubbish dump have been revealed after being pieced together with the help of a small army of citizen scientists.

There's more on the Ancient Lives Project here and links.
The Ancient Lives volunteers also helped discover a fragment of a long-lost rendition of the Book of Exodus, written in the style of a Greek tragedy, by a little-known author called Ezekiel, in the Second Century BC, in Alexandria.

“Before, we had only known about this work because it had been quoted by the [4th Century AD] Church Father Eusebius,” said Professor Obbink. “We didn’t know for certain that a text existed: Eusebius might have made it up or misremembered it.

“Now we have a real copy, a long speech by Moses, in iambic trimeters, telling the history of his life and how he was discovered as a baby in the bulrushes.

“We can put some flesh and bones on a lost work of literature, one that was presumably performed long before Charlton Heston.

“It’s amazing what gets thrown out in the rubbish.”

Indeed. The article includes a translation of the fragment:
Newly discovered fragment of Ezekiel’s Exagoge, spoken by Moses:

Then the princess with her maidservants came down to bathe.

When she saw me, she took me up and recognised that I was a Hebrew.

My sister Mariam then ran up to her and spoke,

‘Shall I get a nursemaid for this child from the Hebrews?’ The princess urged her on.

Mariam went to fetch our mother who presently appeared and took me in her arms.

The princess said to her, ‘Woman, nurse this child and I shall pay your wages.’

She then named me Moses, because she had taken me from the watery river-bank.

HT AJR. This story broke in August of 2010 and I noted it here with comments and a caveat, all of which, as far as I can tell, still apply. Cross-file under Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Watch and An Army of Papyrologists.