Thursday, May 30, 2013

Duckworth's High Estimation of D'Antraigues Testimony

The problem which I keep coming back to in my investigation of D'Antraigues is how Osborn could have been led to write not one but two papers on the subject of the Hypotyposeis claims. It is easy to attribute Osborn's zeal to find the manuscript (he visited Macarius at least twice) to misjudging the worth of D'Antraigues testimony. Yet the difficulty with this is that he co-wrote his first paper with Colin Duckworth, the world's leading authority on D'Antraigues. I even noticed that French historians cite Duckworth extensively in their works. So it must have been Duckworth who nodded his head approvingly when Osborn asked - could this be for real?

A sample of Duckworth's testimony about D'Antraigues:

On 18 December 1778 d'Antraigues left the sweet consolation and company of Princess Ghika at Constantinople, and sailed for Egypt. The record of his journey to Alexandria, Cairo, Suez and the Sinai desert is contained in his letters to the Sinai desert is contained in his letters to the Princess which constitute the second half of the Memoires. He shows himself to be an acute observer, a well-informed seeker and an indefatigable writer, anxious to fix his recollections not only for his beloved Princess, but for posterity, in this "journal de [ses] observations." [p. 113 - 114]

To this end, it is beyond question that Duckworth must have read all the previous generations of French scorn heaped upon D'Antraigues and not only pushed it aside but moreover eventually wrote what is regarded by the French historians I have read as the authoritative book on D'Antraigues.  It now becomes hard to entirely dismiss his account. 

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