Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bookworms

I'm a little reluctant to admit this, but I've become quite the fan of Google Books. Not only can you there find the 1869 account of a German Orientalist's visit to the Monastery of Job in Hauran, Syria (in a book not owned by the libraries I use), and there learn of the small long round stones and slag, which tradition declares to be the worms that fell to the ground out of Job's sores, petrified. But you can find a current book (2008) on the Geology of Iraq which describes a kind of stone known as Zor Hauran Formation, which, in its youngest form, bears the fossilized tracks of marine worms. Trippy! However I have yet to find geological confirmation of my favorite factoid of the ancient cult of St. Job: the spring, described in a fragment credibly attributed to the Iberian pilgrim Egeria who visited the tomb of Job at Carneas in Hauran around 400 CE, whose color changes four times a year; it has first a pus-like color, then the color of blood, then that of bile, and finally it becomes crystal clear.

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