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February 15, 1965

Censura et Cavilla

Author Affiliations

New York

Long Beach, Calif

JAMA. 1965;191(7):603-604. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080070087028

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To the Editor:—  The dispute between Drs. Conlon and Trimble (JAMA190:253 [Oct 19] 1964) seems to be what is expressed so characteristically in German as a dispute about the emperor's beard (ein Streit um des Kaisers Bart). The sudden switching from Hebrew to Aramaic in the book of Daniel is rather unexplained. At any rate the fact that Aramaic is used does not mean that the words "Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin" are Aramaic. In fact they are the Assyrian-Babylonian names of some weights and they represent no quotation in any language. Daniel is reputed to have explained them poetically after the other seers failed to make any sense out of the Buchstaben von Feuer an weisserWand (as Heine expresses it). Pari passu it might be mentioned that Belshazzar was not a descendent of Nebuchadnezzar, nor was he king as he is so often called.

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