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Headword: *ma/nna
Adler number: mu,130
Translated headword: manna
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] food being supplied from on high. That is, "what [is] this?"[1]
That which is also called bread of angels, as being supplied by an angel.[2]
Among many manna is called amblision.[3]
Greek Original:
*ma/nna: h( a)/nwqen xorhgoume/nh trofh/. toute/sti ti/ tou=to. o(\ kai\ a)/rtos a)gge/lwn le/getai, w(s u(p' a)gge/lou xorhgou/menos. o(/ti para\ polloi=s le/getai to\ ma/nna a)mbli/sion.
See also mu 129. Cf. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 3.1.6, web address 1.
[1] Exodus 16:15: "When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, 'What is this?' For they did not know what it was." According to Nahum Sarna (see bibliography below), the Hebrew מן הוא man-hu ("What is that?") "is a folk explanation for the term by which the inhabitants of the wilderness knew the substance." Propp points to the Semitic root מון "*mwn (provide, feed) attested in Arabic" and states that "man" is also "a primitive form of the Hebrew interrogative pronoun מה 'ma(h),' 'what?'"
[2] Theodoret of Cyrrhus PG 80.1489c, on Psalm 77.25 LXX.
[3] The word amblision is ambiguous. It occurs as alpha 1522 (from which the present addendum derives), defined there merely as "manna". Alpha 1521 defines a)mbli/zw merely as "a verb." It is my opinion that the compiler did not know the meaning of the word, but included it here because he knew that his source used the term to describe manna. Adler's apparatus points to a similar entry in the unpublished Lexicon Ambrosianum, Milan Amb. B12 sup, entry 1742. Perhaps the word means "ground" or "milled". Prof. Robert Kraft, Dept. of Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania, suggests a relationship to amulos, an "unmilled, very fine flour or starch," as found in Aquila's version of Exodus 16:31. In the passage where the Israelites found that manna tasted like "wafers made with honey," Aquila used amulos for "wafers" rather than the more usual enkris, or "cake." Pointing to the "U/V/B interchange in Greek vowel sequences (for example stauro/s/stabro/s)," Prof. Kraft suggests a derivation of the verb a)mbli/zein from a)muli/zein which would mean "to grind very finely." This is especially suggestive since there is the feminine noun "manna", meaning "granules or powder of frankincense," as well as the adjective amblus, meaning "dull, the edge worn down". There are also references to millstones found in the third heaven, "where manna is constantly being ground" by the angels "for the future use of the pious". Timothy Janz (Lincoln College, Oxford) points to the definition of "ambrosia" as "manna" by Hesychius. Janz states that "this connection, and the idea of emending the Suda's amblision to ambrosion, was already suggested in 1746 by Johannes Alberti in his edition of Hesychius; it is also referred to in the 19th-c. incarnation of Henri Estienne's TGL (produced by Ambroise Firmin Didot and not to be confused with the TLG), s.v. amblision".
Ronald E. Clements, Exodus, Cambridge Bible Commentary 3 (Cambridge, 1972) 99
Louis Ginzberg, Legends of the Bible (New York, 1956) 365
William Propp, Exodus 1-18, Anchor Bible 2 (New York, 1999) 596
Nahum Sarna, JPS Torah Commentary, Exodus (Philadelphia/New York, 1991) 89
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: Christianity; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; imagery; religion
Translated by: John Arnold on 19 June 2000@16:37:10.
Vetted by:
William Hutton (Added betacode, set status) on 20 June 2000@10:15:52.
John Arnold on 21 June 2000@13:53:51.
William Hutton (Cosmetics, reset status) on 24 January 2002@16:45:52.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 25 January 2002@03:05:47.
Raphael Finkel (Added Hebrew) on 11 August 2004@16:17:16.
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics) on 28 March 2011@05:49:46.
David Whitehead (tweaks and cosmetics) on 29 April 2013@09:14:57.
Catharine Roth (consolidated links) on 14 September 2013@00:01:59.
David Whitehead (coding) on 17 May 2016@06:22:14.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 5 July 2020@01:13:41.


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