Twitter Is Not A Complete Garbage-fire

An illustration from twitter on how our interconnectivity can be useful and edifying.

This morning I was working on translating a bit of Biblical verse for a memorial service. This not in my typical range of activities. Because of the complex manuscript traditions, the strong modern feelings and attachments, and the myriad ways in which any translation of the Bible might be misconstrued, we tend to avoid it on this site. But when I was having trouble, I reached out to some friends on twitter and in like 30 minutes learned about tools online I didn’t know, the history of the translations of Ecclesiastes, Hebrew grammar, and had a great conversation along the way. So, here’s the record. Twitter may exist in part for potentates to light garbage fires, but it can work for good too…

Image result for Ancient Greek twitter

Euripides, fr. 910: A Lost Ode on the Virtue of an Inquiring Mind

“Happy is he who has learned from inquiry
Not because he searches for pain for his countrymen
Nor some other unjust deeds
But because he seeks out the ageless order
of immortal nature—where
it came together, where it came from
And how.
Such men never harbor
A love of shameful deeds.”


ὄλβιος ὅστις τῆς ἱστορίας
ἔσχε μάθησιν,
μήτε πολιτῶν ἐπὶ πημοσύνην
μήτ’ εἰς ἀδίκους πράξεις ὁρμῶν,
ἀλλ’ ἀθανάτου καθορῶν φύσεως
κόσμον ἀγήρων, πῇ τε συνέστη
καὶ ὅπῃ καὶ ὅπως.
τοῖς δὲ τοιούτοις οὐδέποτ’ αἰσχρῶν.


This great fragment is quoted in Clement’s Miscellanies and has been attributed to the plan Antiope (also fragmentary).  If this were post-Herodotean, I would dare translate the first line as “Happy is he who has learned from history…”