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orion Epiphanius' language knowledge

The extent of language knowledge Epiphanius had is a matter on which
scholars have made differing conclusions. Epiphanius was born and raised in
Judaea, but was not a Jew, despite some later confusion on that point.
Jerome wrote (Against Rufinus 2.22): "Must he be charged with a crime for
knowing Greek, Syrian, Hebrew, Egyptian, and in part measure, also Latin?"
	He was apparently right about one meaning of "Pharisee"
(separation, though the same Hebrew root also allows
discrimination/specification), but that proves little about language
knowledge. The confusion about a quotation from the book of Elxai--which,
after all, was transcribed backwards in Greek--is also not sufficient to
settle the matter. That quote was reasonably translated only in 1858, by
two scholars. The book of Elxai presents complex source critical issues, as
discussed by G. Luttikhuizen, and by F. Stanley Jones (in the Luedemann
Festschrift, if I remember correctly).
	Epiphanius did manage, one way or another, to quote many ancient
	If anyone wants some relevant bibliography:
C.J. Elliott, "Hebrew Learning Among the Fathers" Dictionary of Christian
Biography 863-4; Hugo Gressman, "Juedisch-Aramaeisches bei Epiphanius," ZNW
16 (1915) 191-7; Juergen Dummer, "Die Sprachkenntnisse des Epiphanius," Die
Araber in der alten Welt, 5/1, 392-435 (F. Altheim ed., 1968); M.A. Levy,
"Bemerkungen zu den arabischen Analekten des Herrn Prof. Hitzig," ZDMG 12
(1958) 712; Ignaz Stern, "Elischa nd Elxai," Ben Chanania [Szsgedin] (1858)
35-7; William Adler, review of Panarion part 1 trans. by F. Williams,
JSPseudepigrapha 3 (1988) 101-4; J. Mordtmann "Dusares bei Epiphanius,"
ZDMG 29 (1875) 492-3; on Arabic cf. Haer. 58.1.2; M. Sprengling's intro in
J. Dean ed./trans. of Epiphanius Weights and Measures, Syriac version
(Chicago, 1935); R. Pritz, Nazarene Jewish Christianity, 49; J. M. Lieu,
"Epiphanius on the Scribes and Pharisees," JTS 39 (1988) 509-24.

best wishes,

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