Q: In The Skin of Our Teeth, Act I, Wilder includes two quotations, one in Greek by Homer and one in Hebrew by Moses. Can you identify these two quotations and translate them into English for me?
A: The speech by Moses in Hebrew is the beginning of the Bible:
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:1,2 KJV)
The speech by Homer in Greek is the first 3 lines of “The Iliad”; I only have a prose translation, so this is the quote without line breaks:
“Sing, goddess, the wrath of Achilles Peleus’ son, the ruinous wrath that brought on the Achaians woes inumerable, and hurled down into Hades many strong souls of heroes…” (trans. S.H. Butcher and Andrew Lang)
Perhaps future productions of The Skin of Our Teeth can have the actors playing Moses and Homer say the speeches in English, rather than skipping over them, as most productions do, I think.