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City Of Glass - New York Trilogy #1, City of Glass - CD 02 parte I (3)

City of Glass - CD 02 parte I (3)

Later in the Book of Genesis there is another story about language. According to Stillman, the Tower of Babel episode was an exact recapitulation of what happened in the Garden—only expanded, made general in its significance for all mankind. The story takes on special meaning when its placement in the book is considered: chapter eleven of Genesis, verses one through nine. This is the very last incident of prehistory in the Bible. After that, the Old Testament is exclusively a chronicle of the Hebrews. In other words, the Tower of Babel stands as the last image before the true beginning of the world.

Stillman's commentaries went on for many pages. He began with a historical survey of the various exegetical traditions concerning the story, elaborated on the numerous misreadings that had grown up around it, and ended with a lengthy catalogue of legends from the Haggadah (a compendium of rabbinical interpretations not connected with legal matters). It was generally accepted, wrote Stillman, that the Tower had been built in the year 1996 after the creation, a scant 340 years after the Flood, “lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” God's punishment came as a response to this desire, which contradicted a command that had appeared earlier in Genesis: “Be fertile and increase, fill the earth and master it.” By destroying the Tower, therefore, God condemned man to obey this injunction. Another reading, however, saw the Tower as a challenge against God. Nimrod, the first ruler of all the world, was designated as the Tower's architect: Babel was to be a shrine that symbolized the universality of his power. This was the Promethean view of the story, and it hinged on the phrases “whose top may reach unto heaven” and “let us make a name.” The building of the Tower became the obsessive, overriding passion of mankind, more important finally than life itself. Bricks became more precious than people. Women laborers did not even stop to give birth to their children; they secured the newborn in their aprons and went right on working. Apparently, there were three different groups involved in the construction: those who wanted to dwell in heaven, those who wanted to wage war against God, and those who wanted to worship idols. At the same time, they were united in their efforts—“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech”—and the latent power of a united mankind outraged God. “And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” This speech is a conscious echo of the words God spoke on expelling Adam and Eve from the Garden: “Behold, the man is become one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever—Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden….” Still another reading held that the story was intended merely as a way of explaining the diversity of peoples and languages. For if all men were descended from Noah and his sons, how was it possible to account for the vast differences among cultures? Another, similar reading contended that the story was an explanation of the existence of paganism and idolatry—for until this story all men are presented as being monotheistic in their beliefs. As for the Tower itself, legend had it that one third of the structure sank into the ground, one third was destroyed by fire, and one third was left standing. God attacked it in two ways in order to convince man that the destruction was a divine punishment and not the result of chance. Still, the part left standing was so high that a palm tree seen from the top of it appeared no larger than a grasshopper. It was also said that a person could walk for three days in the shadow of the Tower without ever leaving it. Finally—and Stillman dwelled upon this at great length—whoever looked upon the ruins of the Tower was believed to forget everything he knew.

What all this had to do with the New World Quinn could not say. But then a new chapter started, and suddenly Stillman was discussing the life of Henry Dark, a Boston clergyman who was born in London in 1649 (on the day of Charles I's execution), came to America in 1675, and died in a fire in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1691.

According to Stillman, as a young man Henry Dark had served as private secretary to John Milton—from 1669 until the poet's death five years later. This was news to Quinn, for he seemed to remember reading somewhere that the blind Milton had dictated his work to one of his daughters. Dark, he learned, was an ardent Puritan, a student of theology, and a devoted follower of Milton's work. Having met his hero one evening at a small gathering, he was invited to pay a call the following week. That led to further calls, until eventually Milton began to entrust Dark with various small tasks: taking dictation, guiding him through the streets of London, reading to him from the works of the ancients. In a 1672 letter written by Dark to his sister in Boston, he mentioned long discussions with Milton on the finer points of Biblical exegesis. Then Milton died, and Dark was disconsolate. Six months later, finding England a desert, a land that offered him nothing, he decided to emigrate to America. He arrived in Boston in the summer of 1675.

Little was known of his first years in the New World. Stillman speculated that he might have travelled westward, foraging out into unchartered territory, but no concrete evidence could be found to support this view. On the other hand, certain references in Dark's writings indicated an intimate knowledge of Indian customs, which led Stillman to theorize that Dark might possibly have lived among one of the tribes for a period of time. Be that as it may, there was no public mention of Dark until 1682, when his name was entered in the Boston marriage registry as having taken one Lucy Fitts as his bride. Two years later, he was listed as heading a small Puritan congregation on the outskirts of the city. Several children were born to the couple, but all of them died in infancy. A son John, however, born in 1686, survived. But in 1691 the boy was reported to have fallen accidentally from a second-story window and perished. Just one month later, the entire house went up in flames, and both Dark and his wife were killed.

Henry Dark would have passed into the obscurity of early American life if not for one thing: the publication of a pamphlet in 1690 entitled The New Babel. According to Stillman, this little work of sixty-four pages was the most visionary account of the new continent that had been written up to that time. If Dark had not died so soon after its appearance, its effect would no doubt have been greater. For, as it turned out, most of the copies of the pamphlet were destroyed in the fire that killed Dark. Stillman himself had been able to discover only one—and that by accident, in the attic of his family's house in Cambridge. After years of diligent research, he had concluded that this was the only copy still in existence.

The New Babel, written in bold, Miltonic prose, presented the case for the building of paradise in America. Unlike the other writers on the subject, Dark did not assume paradise to be a place that could be discovered. There were no maps that could lead a man to it, no instruments of navigation that could guide a man to its shores. Rather, its existence was immanent within man himself: the idea of a beyond he might someday create in the here and now. For utopia was nowhere—even, as Dark explained, in its “wordhood.” And if man could bring forth this dreamed-of place, it would only be by building it with his own two hands.

Dark based his conclusions on a reading of the Babel story as a prophetic work.



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City of Glass - CD 02 parte I (3)

Later in the Book of Genesis there is another story about language. Más adelante en el Libro de Génesis hay otra historia sobre el lenguaje. According to Stillman, the Tower of Babel episode was an exact recapitulation of what happened in the Garden—only expanded, made general in its significance for all mankind. Según Stillman, el episodio de la Torre de Babel fue una recapitulación exacta de lo que sucedió en el Jardín, solo ampliado, generalizado en su significado para toda la humanidad. The story takes on special meaning when its placement in the book is considered: chapter eleven of Genesis, verses one through nine. La historia adquiere un significado especial cuando se considera su ubicación en el libro: capítulo once de Génesis, versículos uno al nueve. This is the very last incident of prehistory in the Bible. Este es el último incidente de la prehistoria en la Biblia. After that, the Old Testament is exclusively a chronicle of the Hebrews. Después de eso, el Antiguo Testamento es exclusivamente una crónica de los hebreos. In other words, the Tower of Babel stands as the last image before the true beginning of the world. En otras palabras, la Torre de Babel se erige como la última imagen antes del verdadero comienzo del mundo.

Stillman's commentaries went on for many pages. Los comentarios de Stillman continuaron durante muchas páginas. He began with a historical survey of the various exegetical traditions concerning the story, elaborated on the numerous misreadings that had grown up around it, and ended with a lengthy catalogue of legends from the Haggadah (a compendium of rabbinical interpretations not connected with legal matters). Comenzó con un estudio histórico de las diversas tradiciones exegéticas relacionadas con la historia, profundizó en las numerosas lecturas erróneas que habían surgido a su alrededor y terminó con un extenso catálogo de leyendas de la Hagadá (un compendio de interpretaciones rabínicas no relacionadas con asuntos legales). . It was generally accepted, wrote Stillman, that the Tower had been built in the year 1996 after the creation, a scant 340 years after the Flood, “lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” God's punishment came as a response to this desire, which contradicted a command that had appeared earlier in Genesis: “Be fertile and increase, fill the earth and master it.” By destroying the Tower, therefore, God condemned man to obey this injunction. Se aceptaba generalmente, escribió Stillman, que la Torre había sido construida en el año 1996 después de la creación, apenas 340 años después del Diluvio, “para que no fuéramos esparcidos sobre la faz de toda la tierra”. El castigo de Dios vino como respuesta a este deseo, que contradecía un mandato que había aparecido antes en Génesis: “Sed fecundos y multiplicaos, llenad la tierra y dominadla”. Por lo tanto, al destruir la Torre, Dios condenó al hombre a obedecer este mandato. Another reading, however, saw the Tower as a challenge against God. Otra lectura, sin embargo, vio la Torre como un desafío contra Dios. Nimrod, the first ruler of all the world, was designated as the Tower's architect: Babel was to be a shrine that symbolized the universality of his power. Nimrod, el primer gobernante de todo el mundo, fue designado arquitecto de la Torre: Babel sería un santuario que simbolizaría la universalidad de su poder. This was the Promethean view of the story, and it hinged on the phrases “whose top may reach unto heaven” and “let us make a name.” The building of the Tower became the obsessive, overriding passion of mankind, more important finally than life itself. Esta era la perspectiva prometeica de la historia, y dependía de las frases “cuya cumbre llegue hasta el cielo” y “hagámonos un nombre”. La construcción de la Torre se convirtió en la pasión obsesiva y dominante de la humanidad, más importante finalmente que la vida misma. Bricks became more precious than people. Los ladrillos se volvieron más valiosos que las personas. Women laborers did not even stop to give birth to their children; they secured the newborn in their aprons and went right on working. Las trabajadoras ni siquiera se detenían para dar a luz a sus hijos; aseguraron al recién nacido en sus delantales y continuaron trabajando. Apparently, there were three different groups involved in the construction: those who wanted to dwell in heaven, those who wanted to wage war against God, and those who wanted to worship idols. Aparentemente, había tres grupos diferentes involucrados en la construcción: los que querían morar en el cielo, los que querían hacer la guerra contra Dios y los que querían adorar ídolos. At the same time, they were united in their efforts—“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech”—and the latent power of a united mankind outraged God. Al mismo tiempo, estaban unidos en sus esfuerzos: “Y toda la tierra era de una misma lengua y de un mismo discurso”; y el poder latente de una humanidad unida indignó a Dios. “And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” This speech is a conscious echo of the words God spoke on expelling Adam and Eve from the Garden: “Behold, the man is become one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever—Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden….” Still another reading held that the story was intended merely as a way of explaining the diversity of peoples and languages. “Y dijo el Señor: He aquí, el pueblo es uno, y todos ellos tienen un mismo lenguaje; y esto comenzaron a hacer: y ahora nada les impedirá lo que han pensado hacer.” Este discurso es un eco consciente de las palabras que pronunció Dios al expulsar a Adán y Eva del Jardín: “He aquí, el hombre se ha hecho uno de nosotros, sabiendo el bien y el mal; y ahora, no sea que alargue su mano, y tome también del árbol de la vida, y coma, y viva para siempre—Por tanto, el Señor Dios lo expulsó del huerto de Edén…”. Otra lectura más sostenía que la historia pretendía simplemente ser una forma de explicar la diversidad de pueblos e idiomas. For if all men were descended from Noah and his sons, how was it possible to account for the vast differences among cultures? Porque si todos los hombres descendían de Noé y sus hijos, ¿cómo era posible explicar las grandes diferencias entre culturas? Another, similar reading contended that the story was an explanation of the existence of paganism and idolatry—for until this story all men are presented as being monotheistic in their beliefs. Otra lectura similar sostenía que la historia era una explicación de la existencia del paganismo y la idolatría, porque hasta esta historia todos los hombres se presentan como monoteístas en sus creencias. As for the Tower itself, legend had it that one third of the structure sank into the ground, one third was destroyed by fire, and one third was left standing. En cuanto a la Torre en sí, la leyenda decía que un tercio de la estructura se hundió en el suelo, un tercio fue destruido por el fuego y un tercio quedó en pie. God attacked it in two ways in order to convince man that the destruction was a divine punishment and not the result of chance. Dios lo atacó de dos maneras para convencer al hombre de que la destrucción era un castigo divino y no el resultado de la casualidad. Still, the part left standing was so high that a palm tree seen from the top of it appeared no larger than a grasshopper. Aún así, la parte que quedó en pie era tan alta que una palmera vista desde la parte superior parecía no más grande que un saltamontes. It was also said that a person could walk for three days in the shadow of the Tower without ever leaving it. También se decía que una persona podía caminar durante tres días a la sombra de la Torre sin salir de ella. Finally—and Stillman dwelled upon this at great length—whoever looked upon the ruins of the Tower was believed to forget everything he knew. Finalmente —y Stillman se detuvo mucho en esto— se creía que cualquiera que contemplara las ruinas de la Torre olvidaba todo lo que sabía.

What all this had to do with the New World Quinn could not say. Qué tenía que ver todo esto con el Nuevo Mundo, Quinn no podía decirlo. But then a new chapter started, and suddenly Stillman was discussing the life of Henry Dark, a Boston clergyman who was born in London in 1649 (on the day of Charles I's execution), came to America in 1675, and died in a fire in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1691. Pero luego comenzó un nuevo capítulo, y de repente Stillman estaba discutiendo la vida de Henry Dark, un clérigo de Boston que nació en Londres en 1649 (el día de la ejecución de Carlos I), llegó a Estados Unidos en 1675 y murió en un incendio en Cambridge, Massachusetts, en 1691.

According to Stillman, as a young man Henry Dark had served as private secretary to John Milton—from 1669 until the poet's death five years later. This was news to Quinn, for he seemed to remember reading somewhere that the blind Milton had dictated his work to one of his daughters. Esto era una novedad para Quinn, porque parecía recordar haber leído en alguna parte que el ciego Milton le había dictado su trabajo a una de sus hijas. Dark, he learned, was an ardent Puritan, a student of theology, and a devoted follower of Milton's work. Se enteró de que Dark era un ferviente puritano, estudiante de teología y un devoto seguidor de la obra de Milton. Having met his hero one evening at a small gathering, he was invited to pay a call the following week. Habiendo conocido a su héroe una noche en una pequeña reunión, fue invitado a visitarlo la semana siguiente. That led to further calls, until eventually Milton began to entrust Dark with various small tasks: taking dictation, guiding him through the streets of London, reading to him from the works of the ancients. Eso condujo a más llamadas, hasta que finalmente Milton comenzó a confiarle a Dark varias tareas pequeñas: tomar dictados, guiarlo por las calles de Londres, leerle las obras de los antiguos. In a 1672 letter written by Dark to his sister in Boston, he mentioned long discussions with Milton on the finer points of Biblical exegesis. En una carta de 1672 escrita por Dark a su hermana en Boston, mencionó largas discusiones con Milton sobre los puntos más finos de la exégesis bíblica. Then Milton died, and Dark was disconsolate. Entonces murió Milton y Dark quedó desconsolado. Six months later, finding England a desert, a land that offered him nothing, he decided to emigrate to America. Seis meses después, al encontrar en Inglaterra un desierto, una tierra que no le ofrecía nada, decidió emigrar a América. He arrived in Boston in the summer of 1675. Llegó a Boston en el verano de 1675.

Little was known of his first years in the New World. Poco se sabía de sus primeros años en el Nuevo Mundo. Stillman speculated that he might have travelled westward, foraging out into unchartered territory, but no concrete evidence could be found to support this view. Stillman especuló que podría haber viajado hacia el oeste, hurgando en un territorio desconocido, pero no se pudo encontrar evidencia concreta para respaldar esta opinión. On the other hand, certain references in Dark's writings indicated an intimate knowledge of Indian customs, which led Stillman to theorize that Dark might possibly have lived among one of the tribes for a period of time. Por otro lado, ciertas referencias en los escritos de Dark indicaban un conocimiento íntimo de las costumbres indias, lo que llevó a Stillman a teorizar que posiblemente Dark podría haber vivido entre una de las tribus durante un período de tiempo. Be that as it may, there was no public mention of Dark until 1682, when his name was entered in the Boston marriage registry as having taken one Lucy Fitts as his bride. Sea como fuere, no hubo ninguna mención pública de Dark hasta 1682, cuando su nombre se inscribió en el registro de matrimonio de Boston por haber tomado a Lucy Fitts como su esposa. Two years later, he was listed as heading a small Puritan congregation on the outskirts of the city. Dos años más tarde, figuraba como líder de una pequeña congregación puritana en las afueras de la ciudad. Several children were born to the couple, but all of them died in infancy. Varios hijos nacieron de la pareja, pero todos ellos murieron en la infancia. A son John, however, born in 1686, survived. Sin embargo, sobrevivió un hijo, John, nacido en 1686. But in 1691 the boy was reported to have fallen accidentally from a second-story window and perished. Pero en 1691 se informó que el niño se cayó accidentalmente de una ventana del segundo piso y murió. Just one month later, the entire house went up in flames, and both Dark and his wife were killed. Solo un mes después, toda la casa se incendió y tanto Dark como su esposa murieron.

Henry Dark would have passed into the obscurity of early American life if not for one thing: the publication of a pamphlet in 1690 entitled The New Babel. Henry Dark habría pasado a la oscuridad de la vida estadounidense temprana si no fuera por una cosa: la publicación de un panfleto en 1690 titulado The New Babel. According to Stillman, this little work of sixty-four pages was the most visionary account of the new continent that had been written up to that time. Según Stillman, esta pequeña obra de sesenta y cuatro páginas era el relato más visionario del nuevo continente que se había escrito hasta ese momento. If Dark had not died so soon after its appearance, its effect would no doubt have been greater. Si Dark no hubiera muerto tan pronto después de su aparición, su efecto sin duda habría sido mayor. For, as it turned out, most of the copies of the pamphlet were destroyed in the fire that killed Dark. Porque resultó que la mayoría de las copias del folleto fueron destruidas en el incendio que mató a Dark. Stillman himself had been able to discover only one—and that by accident, in the attic of his family's house in Cambridge. El propio Stillman había sido capaz de descubrir sólo uno, y eso por accidente, en el ático de la casa de su familia en Cambridge. After years of diligent research, he had concluded that this was the only copy still in existence. Después de años de investigación diligente, llegó a la conclusión de que esta era la única copia que aún existía.

The New Babel, written in bold, Miltonic prose, presented the case for the building of paradise in America. The New Babel, escrito en negrita, en prosa miltónica, presentó el caso de la construcción del paraíso en América. Unlike the other writers on the subject, Dark did not assume paradise to be a place that could be discovered. A diferencia de los otros escritores sobre el tema, Dark no asumió que el paraíso fuera un lugar que pudiera ser descubierto. There were no maps that could lead a man to it, no instruments of navigation that could guide a man to its shores. No había mapas que pudieran llevar a un hombre a ella, ni instrumentos de navegación que pudieran guiar a un hombre a sus costas. Rather, its existence was immanent within man himself: the idea of a beyond he might someday create in the here and now. Más bien, su existencia era inmanente dentro del hombre mismo: la idea de un más allá que algún día podría crear en el aquí y ahora. For utopia was nowhere—even, as Dark explained, in its “wordhood.” And if man could bring forth this dreamed-of place, it would only be by building it with his own two hands. Porque la utopía no estaba en ninguna parte, incluso, como explicó Dark, en su "palabra". Y si el hombre pudiera hacer realidad este lugar soñado, sólo sería construyéndolo con sus propias manos.

Dark based his conclusions on a reading of the Babel story as a prophetic work. Dark basó sus conclusiones en una lectura de la historia de Babel como obra profética.

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