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Joined 22 July 2010
[Joseph, speaking of a lion.] “But if he had come, with lashing tail,
and roared after his prey, like the voice of the chanting seraphim,
yet thy child would have been little affrighted or not at all before
his rage. ... For knoweth not my father that the beasts fear and avoid
man, for that God gave him the spirit of understanding and taught him
the orders into which single things fall; doth he not know how
Shemmael shrieked when the man of earth knew how to name the creation
as though he were its master and framer ... ? And the beasts too they
are ashamed and put the tail between their legs because we know them
and have power over their names and can thus render powerless the
roaring might of the single one, by naming him. If now he had come,
with long slinking tread, with his hateful nose, mewing and spitting,
terror would not have robbed me of my senses, nor made me pale before
his riddle. “Is thy name Blood-Thirst?” I would have asked of him,
making merry at his expense. “Or Springing Murder?” But there I would
have sat upright and cried out : “Lion! Lo, Lion art thou, by nature
and species, and thy riddle lieth bare before me, so that I speak it
out and with a laugh it is plain.” And he would have blinked before
the name and gone meekly away before the word, powerless to answer
unto me. For he is quite unlearned and knows nought of writing tools.”
~ Thomas Mann, Joseph and His Brethren (tr. unknown)