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The website about the work of Paul Hoffman

The Left Hand of God – the Original First Page


Beowulf – First Page

This is the first page of the first of the Cale texts (popularly, but without justification, known as The Left Hand of God). The first line of the text, a single word, is Hwaet, a demand for those gathered to hear the story to pay attention. It is more properly translated as Lo! but Paul Fahrenheit chose the more accessible Listen. It was the similarity of the word Hwaet to the local Habiru people’s use of their word Hwate (Harken to me) that provided him with the first clue that the Habiru language, though profoundly different in some respects, would be the key to translating the complete text. Fahrenheit first discovered this part of the manuscript ‘lying dirty on the floor under a table’ of an Habiru acquaintance, Shiffnall Shrop, ‘being used by his manservant to light the fire.’ He bought it from Mr Shrop who is now suing Mr Fahrenheit and UNAS for a majority share of the profits on the grounds that he had preserved the manuscript at great expense and for many years.