καίγε in Joel 2:29 and Acts 2:18

Blogging has been a low priority for me this past year since my transition to Phoenix last summer. My first year of teaching at Phoenix Seminary was both challenging and satisfying. Currently I am teaching a course on the Septuagint, Readings in the Septuagint, and in my preparation I came across an interesting piece in Joel 2:29.

As I was reading Joseph Ziegler’s apparatus for the Duodecim Prophetae for Joel 2:29, I found a curious variant. I provide the first part of the Hebrew, LXX, and NT followed by the apparatus for LXX:

HT: וְגַ֥ם עַל־הָֽעֲבָדִ֖ים

LXX: καὶ ἐπὶ τοὺς δούλους

NT: καί γε ἐπὶ τοὺς δούλους

καί 1° W* B-S*-V L-36 C-68 AchSa] + γε rel. = Act. 2:18.

No doubt Ziegler has determined the original text in this instance and perhaps Acts 2:18 influenced the rest of the Greek manuscript tradition with the addition of γε. Acts 2:18 is the earliest witness to this variant but it probably did not introduce this reading into the textual transmission. Where did γε come from? We now have enough evidence, especially for the Twelve Prophets, that shows that the Jews were revising the (O)ld (G)reek to a text closer to the proto-Masoretic Text long before the time of Jesus and the NT. One of the characteristics, indeed the characteristic after which the tradition became named, was the revision of the translation of וגם/גם with καίγε (sometimes two words καί γε) where OG had simple καί. This characteristic and the general tradition was brought to its pinnacle in the revision of Aquila. The most significant piece of evidence for the tradition comes from the Nahal Hever Scroll of the 12 Prophets dated to the middle of the 1st century BCE.

One can see that the use of καίγε brings the Greek text into greater quantitative alignment with the Hebrew source, for now גם has an equivalent in the Greek text.

What is intriguing to me in this example and others like it is that the NT has a reading which in all probability goes back to the καίγε tradition of the 1st century BCE and therefore a reading in close alignment with the proto-MT.

It is very intriguing to me that at times they cite what is close to the OG (even when it departs from the proto-MT) and at other times they cite what is closer to καίγε or Theodotion (a prominent member of the former tradition; see here). Did the NT authors have a choice between texts or did they simply use what they had at their disposal? This is an open question in my mind and I invite you to list your opinions in the comments.

UPDATE: Brian Davidson informed me that Steve Runge wrote a paper on Joel 3:1-5 in Acts 2. Steve gives a great discussion of the Hebrew discourse function of גם and the Greek discourse function of γε. The particles גם and γε disambiguate the intended function of the following prepositional phrases marking the fullest extent to which the outpouring of the Spirit will be experienced. The LXX is ambiguous with καί only, but γε in Acts 2:18 indicates that the fronting of the prepositional phrases is emphatic and not contrastive. Excellent analysis of the grammar. What Steve does not mention (not the intention of this paper) is the καίγε tradition, which probably influences Acts 2:18. Before Acts 2, the Jews were already revising גם/וגם with καίγε where the OG had only καί.

About these ads

7 thoughts on “καίγε in Joel 2:29 and Acts 2:18

  1. I find it curious that Acts, which features some of the ‘best’ Greek in the NT, would quote from the kaige recension, which is often criticized for its pedantic and wooden translation equivalents. Perhaps kaige-type texts sounded more Bible-y in the ears of the NT authors, in the same way that moderns wield King James’-type English to sound more authoritative.

    • Interesting. So are you suggesting that because Luke was concerned with the style of his Greek, if given the choice, he would not choose a more wooden translation over a more stylistic version? The only reply I would make is that Luke 1-4 contains a high concentration of Septuagintalisms, which would not score points for ‘good’ Greek. Still I appreciate the comment and will think on it.

  2. Are you familiar with the work Georg Walsir did in his dissertation? If I recall correctly, he was investigating the idea of “Jewish-religious Greek,” and he concluded that Semitisms were much more frequent in Jewish religious literature than Jewish secular literature. Perhaps Luke’s use of kaige and other Septuagintalisms was a concession of his intended genre.

  3. In what context would it be possible for the authors of the NT to have access to multiple different Greek translations? Just thinking out loud here. It doesn’t seem likely to me that they would have had multiple physical, written copies of scripture before them. Multiple “copies” in their mind (memory variants), perhaps.

    • The beauty of the blog is that we get to think out loud :). So let me join you…
      By “context” do you intend: by what means would it be possible…? I am not sure about Luke’s access, but what about Paul (of course they traveled together so this might be the same thing)? Perhaps he had more than one version of the OT memorized, but it might be more plausible that he had means and access to more than one version of the OT. It is an argument from silence, but Paul does reference having access to books and especially parchments in 2 Tim 4:13. The internal evidence reveals that Paul cites different versions of the OT. He has a clear Theodotion reading of Isa 25:8a in 1 Cor 15:54 and a clear LXX reading of Isa 28:16 (I was not able to check Ziegler) in Rom 10:11. Now he could just have certain verses memorized in different versions or he could have access to different versions. I’m thinking of more examples in Paul and the Gospel of John but I will comment on these later.

      What would be the external reasons for thinking that Paul, a former Pharisee, trained under Gamaliel would not have had access to different versions of the OT?

    • Josephus may shed some light on this question. From his bosting in Life, he gives the impression that he has the entire Hebrew Bible memorized, and from his use of OG Books in Antiquities it seems as though he had contact with the OG versions and some of the Theodotian translations, and some unknown Greek sources (his version of Nehemiah, for example).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s