Posted by John Meade on November 6, 2010
After seeing the word Hexapla in this blog title, you continued to read the post .
Microsoft Word has underlined “Origen” and wants to correct it to “origin” continually throughout the document.
Your point of reference for Aquila is the Jewish reviser of the Septuagint of the early second century CE, not the preacher in the book of Acts.
The phrase “Catena manuscripts” conjures up all sorts of nightmares regarding provenance and manuscript groupings.
You know for what the siglum “Syh” stands.
The names of Field, Montfaucon, Morinus, Nobilius, and Drusius are household names.
Bishop Paul of Tella (7th century) and the work of Ceriani (19th century) have deep significance to you and perhaps a special place in your heart.
You recognize that this is a very significant colophon and perhaps some of the names in lines 8 and 10.
Asterisks (※) mean a whole lot more to you than marking an exception or a hypothetical form (e.g. Latin *potsum > possum).
The obelisk (÷) is not a division sign used in mathematics primarily.
The church fathers, Jerome and Olympiodorus et al., are more valuable and essential to your research than Augustine.
You learned about Julian “The Arian” for the first time in your life.
And finally, the Armenian language is way more interesting to you than Arminian theology.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: Aquila, Hexapla, Syriac | 2 Comments »
Posted by John Meade on June 5, 2010
I have not posted here in a long time, but I have been thinking through the whole matter of dating sources with an eye on the Syriac (P)eshitta in particular. Debate has arisen regarding the date of this Version, some claiming the Version was completed circum 200 AD, while others claim the fourth century AD. Some scholars will only go as far as the evidence, as if the version was composed at or near the time it was cited by church fathers. How does one determine? Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Ecclesiastes, Peshitta, Qoheleth, Septuagint, St. Ephraem, Syriac, Textual Studies | Tagged: Ecclesiastes, Peshitta, Qoheleth, Septuagint, Syriac | Leave a Comment »
Posted by John Meade on October 13, 2009
At LXX Studies we will more than likely never be the first to break a story to the public, but hopefully we will be able to offer sound reflection on some of the more newsworthy items from the perspective of the Ancient Versions.
This past week, there was some hype due to an announcement that Ellen Van Wolde has made an argument that concludes something to the tune of “the traditional view that God is creator is untenable now.” As I understand it, a major part of Van Wolde’s argument concerns the translation of the Hebrew word ברא in Genesis 1:1. Of course the traditional translation of this word is “to create,” but Van Wolde has suggested that the word in this context should be translated “to separate,” so that the text is not teaching the original creation of the heavens and the earth, but only the separation of the heavens from the earth (see Chris for an apt critique of Van Wolde’s analysis of the Hebrew usage).
What Van Wolde means by the “traditional view” is not clear, but one may safely assume that she has in mind the traditional exegesis of Genesis 1:1 which supports the traditional Jewish and Christian view of creation that God created the heavens and the earth ex nihilo. I simply want to list the evidence of the Ancient Versions in order to present the traditional exegesis of this verse.
LXX: ᾿Εν ἀρχῇ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν. The text can be translated: In the beginning God created/made the heavens and the earth (see LSJ s.v. αρχη for anarthrous examples with prepositions, where the sense is still clearly definite probably because the lexical item naturally assumes only one beginning). The LXX, then, uses a verb which does not mean “to separate,” but means “to make” or “to create” ( for the latter meaning see s.v. ποιεω A.2 LSJ). For a thorough listing of translation equivalents for bara’ in the LXX and for what equivalents one would expect to see if the translators wanted to communicate the sense “to separate” see here. This translation comes from the 3rd century BC (c. 280 BC) and some might wonder if the translators intended to convey that God only formed the heavens and the earth from existing matter by their use of ποιεω. Although this is possible, only about 120 years later, we see clearly that the Jews are praying to the LORD God as ο παντων κτιστης (“the creator of all”) among other appellations in 2 Maccabees 1:24. The Jews clearly have an understanding that God created all things in this period of their history and this theology must come from texts such as Genesis 1:1.
Aquila: ἐν κεφαλαιω εκτισεν θεος συν τον ουρανον και συν την γην. Aquila employs the very specific verb κτιζω “to create” in order to render the Hebrew text. Note that Aquila is not using the συν preposition in the normal sense “with” so that someone might be tempted to translate the text: God created with the heavens and with the earth or something like this. Rather, Aquila uses συν characteristically to translate the Hebrew marker of the direct object את.
Symmachus: Not extant
Theodotion: Not extant
Vulgate: In principio creavit Deus caelum et terram. Jerome uses creo to communicate the idea of creation, not separation.
Peshitta: ܒܪܫܝܬ ܒܪܐ ܐܠܗܐ܂ ܝܬ ܫܡܝܐ ܘܝܬ ܐܪܥܐ܂ P uses a cognate (bra’) to translate the Hebrew text in this verse. According to the CAL in the G stem this verb may mean “to create” or “to get well.” The former is clearly the meaning in this context given that the verb is transitive in this context.
Targum: בֲקַדמִין בְרָא יוי יָת שְמַיָא וְיָת אַרעָא׃ The Aramaic Targum uses the same cognate (bra’) as P, which has the same range of meaning in this dialect according to the CAL.
The Ancient Versions speak with one clear voice that God did indeed create the heavens and the earth, not simply the “stuff” in the heavens and the earth, and they certainly did not understand the text to mean God separated the heavens and the earth.
Therefore any argument to the contrary will have to be established firmly on the basis of the analysis of the Hebrew text of Genesis and the Hebrew Bible as a whole, which is Van Wolde’s project apparently. However, see John Hobbins’ initial critique of Van Wolde’s analysis of the Hebrew Bible here.
Posted in Aquila, Aramaic, Creation, Genesis, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Masoretic Text, Peshitta, Septuagint, Syriac, Targum, Textual Studies, Theology, Vulgate | Tagged: Aquila, Aramaic, Creation, Genesis, Greek, Hebrew, Masoretic Text, Peshitta, Septuagint, Syriac, Targum, Vulgate | 3 Comments »
Posted by John Meade on August 26, 2009
In this post, I comment on the nature of the translation of the Syriac Peshitta (S) in Qoheleth, which is an important consideration when trying to determine whether S is dependent on the Septuagint (G).
The Former Thesis
At an earlier time in research, scholars considered S to be a daughter version of the Septuagint (for this view see G.W. Anderson, “Canonical and Non-Canonical,” in Cambridge History of the Bible, ed. P.R. Ackroyd and C.F. Evans, vol. 1, (Cambridge, 1970), 158-9.), which means they considered S to be a direct translation of G. What ailed this thesis was that it did not conform to the evidence of S itself. One is not able to read past Genesis 1:1 (ܒܪܫܝܬ ܒܪܐ ܐܠܗܐ. ܝܬ ܫܡܝܐ ܘܝܬ ܐܪܥܐ) without seeing the essential Semitic character of S and its faithful translation of the underlying Hebrew text (M or proto-M). But however faithful S was to M, scholars still have noted that in some places S seems to be dependent on G, and the challenge was to explain this phenomenon leading to a new thesis. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Ecclesiastes, Greek, Hebrew, Masoretic Text, Peshitta, Qoheleth, Septuagint, Syriac, Textual Studies | Tagged: Ecclesiastes, Greek, Hebrew, Masoretic Text, Peshitta, Qoheleth, Septuagint, Syriac | Leave a Comment »
Posted by John Meade on August 22, 2009
I realize I have not been posting frequently, but I can say that I have been making progress in preparation for comprehensive exams, and I have been bringing long standing projects to a close. One of those projects is my work on the relationship of the Peshitta of Qoheleth to the Septuagint of Ecclesiastes for Peter Gentry’s critical edition of Ecclesiastes in the Goettingen Septuaginta series. This project began as a seminar paper for Dr. Gentry’s Introduction to the Septuagint seminar at Southern Seminary last Fall and has turned into a contribution to his forthcoming edition. I hope in the future to publish the entire article, but it will take some time to clean it up for publication.
In the mean time, I would like to comment on some of the salient points of the work in the next few posts.
In this post I will attempt to date the sources. In the second post I want to say something about the nature of the Peshitta as a translation of the Hebrew Bible (proto MT). In a third post, I want to work through the nature of the dependency of the Peshitta on the LXX. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Ecclesiastes, Greek, Masoretic Text, Peshitta, Qoheleth, Septuagint, Textual Studies | Tagged: Ecclesiastes, Greek, Masoretic Text, Peshitta, Qoheleth, Septuagint, Syriac | 4 Comments »
Posted by John Meade on June 3, 2009
Prima facie there are significant differences between the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint, which lead one to think that the LXX was translated from a radically different text than the MT. However, many of these differences arise from the translation technique of the LXX translator; ergo, the differences are on the level of the translation, not the level of the actual parent text or Vorlage. We have seen already in Job 3:3, and we will continue to see in Job that translation technique often accounts for the differences between the texts.
In Ecclesiastes or Qoheleth 2:12, there is a fine example of two divergent texts prima facie, but after a little digging, one finds that the LXX reading supports the consonantal text of the MT and simply represents a different vocalization of the text. What follows is not my original work, but the work of my teacher, Peter Gentry, but of course any errors in the argument are mine. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Aramaic, Ecclesiastes, Masoretic Text, Qoheleth, Septuagint, Syriac, Textual Studies | Tagged: Aramaic, Ecclesiastes, Masoretic Text, Qoheleth, Septuagint, Syriac | Leave a Comment »
Posted by John Meade on June 2, 2009
Well, I have finished reading the first two chapters of Job in the MT and the LXX with some spot readings from the Peshitta along the way. I’m struck by differences between the LXX and MT, particularly the plus in LXX Job 2:9, which I will comment on later. However, the differences do strike me as differences on the translation level not the textual level, which has already been observed by many (cf. the NETS translation and Cox’s introduction to Job).
However, I’m more impressed with the simplicity of the Greek translation of the difficult Hebrew text. Job 3:3b offers a short example. The Hebrew poetry commences in chapter 3 and with it comes a whole host of syntactical difficulties. In 3:3b alone, the Hebrew text reads: והלילה אמר הרה גבר. The text is translated as follows: and the night [which] he said a man was conceived. There are two verbs in the stichos with no conjunctions to define their relationship to one another. However, this is a common construction in Hebrew poetry called an asyndetic relative clause. But how do we know to read the text in this way? Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Job, Masoretic Text, Peshitta, Septuagint | Tagged: Greek, Job, Masoretic Text, Peshitta, Septuagint, Syriac | Leave a Comment »
Posted by John Meade on May 16, 2009
Acts 16.34 contains that wonderful and glorious text of the salvation of the Philippian jailer and his household. However, the question that has intrigued interpreters is who is believing according to this verse? Is only the jailer believing? Or is the jailer believing together with his household? Allow me to cite the Greek text of the verse then I will describe the exegetical difficulties, and finally I will provide the Syriac Peshitta reading of the verse and draw some conclusions from it.
Greek Text: αναγαγων τε αυτους εις τον οικον παρεθηκεν τραπεζαν και ηγαλλιασατο πανοικει πεπιστευκως τω θεω.
Difficulty: Does πανοικει (an adverb meaning “with the whole house”) modify the main verb ηγαλλιασατο or the participle πεπιστευκως? As an adverb, grammatically it may modify either word. What is the difference between the options? If it modifies the first verb, the translation is something like: “He rejoiced with his whole household because he believed in God.” If it modifies the second, the text reads: He rejoiced because he believed in God–together with his whole household. In the second translation the adverb indicates that the whole household believed with the jailer and were subsequently baptized according to 16.33. The first translation has only the jailer believing, but the whole household is rejoicing with him and if the oikos argument is granted, this whole household is baptized apart from faith. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Acts, Baptism, Greek, New Testament, Syriac, Textual Studies | Tagged: Acts, Baptism, Greek, New Testament, Peshitta, Syriac | 1 Comment »