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The fable is an elegant and a wise one, invented apparently in allusion to Science; especially in its application to practical life. Science, being the wonder of the ignorant and unskilful, may be not absurdly called a monster. In figure and aspect it is represented as many-shaped, in allusion to the immense variety of matter with which it deals. It is said to have the face and voice of a woman, in respect of its beauty and facility of utterance. Wings are added because the sciences and the discoveries of science spread and fly abroad in an instant; the communication of knowledge being like that of one candle with another, which lights up at once. Claws, sharp and hooked, are ascribed to it with great elegance, because the axioms and arguments of science penetrate and hold fast the mind, so that it has no means of evasion or escape; a point which the sacred philosopher also noted: The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails driven deep in.
Again, all knowledge may be regarded as having its station on the heights of mountains; for it is deservedly esteemed a thing sublime and lofty, which looks down upon ignorance as from an eminence, and has moreover a spacious prospect on every side, such as we find on hill-tops. It is described as infesting the roads, because at every turn in the journey or pilgrimage of human life, matter and occasion for study assails and encounters us. Again Sphinx proposes to men a variety of hard questions and riddles which she received from the Muses. In these, while they remain with the Muses, there is probably no cruelty; for so long as the object of meditation and inquiry is merely to know, the understanding is not oppressed or straitened by it, but is free to wander and expatiate, and finds in the very uncertainty of conclusion and variety of choice a certain pleasure and delight; but when they pass from the Muses to Sphinx, that is from contemplation to practice, whereby there is necessity for present action, choice, and decision, then they begin to be painful and cruel; and unless they be solved and disposed of, they strangely torment and worry the mind, pulling it first this way and then that, and fairly tearing it to pieces. Moreover the riddles of the Sphinx have always a twofold condition attached to them; distraction and laceration of mind, if you fail to solve them; if you succeed, a kingdom. For he who understands his subject is master of his end; and every workman is king over his work.
El Shaddai (Hebrew: אל שדי, el ʃadːaj) is one of the Judaic names of God, with its etymology coming from the influence of the Ugaritic religion on modern Judaism. El Shaddai is conventionally translated as God Almighty. While the translation of El as "god" in Ugarit/Canaanite language is straightforward, the literal meaning of Shaddai is the subject of debate.
The Septuagint and other early translations usually translate "El Shaddai" as "God Almighty." However in the Greek of the Septuagint translation of Psalm 91.1, "Shaddai" is translated as "the God of heaven."
"God Almighty" is the translation followed by most modern English translations of the Hebrew scriptures, including the popular New International Version and Good News Bible.
The translation team behind the New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) however maintain that the meaning is uncertain, and that translating "El Shaddai" as "Almighty God" is inaccurate. The NJB leaves it untranslated as "Shaddai," and makes footnote suggestions that it should perhaps be understood as "God of the Mountain" from the Accadian "shadu," or "God of the open wastes" from the Hebrew "sadeh" and the secondary meaning of the Accadian word.