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1574Re: [lxx] Question from a new member...

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  • James Miller
    May 12, 2005
      On Thu, 12 May 2005, James Rovira wrote:

      > When LXX translators translated Hebrew poetry into Greek, did they
      > incorporate line breaks, or simply write the text across the page? I
      > suspect earliest and most texts were simply written across the page,
      > but if this isn't the case, I'd like to know, and if there are
      > significant variants, I'm curious about those too.

      Great! A question right in my dissertation research area! I don't know if
      there is a generic answer to this question, but I can speak to the Great
      Uncial manuscripts (Codex A, Codex B and Codex S) in this regard. These
      all use a special formatting for poetry sections. This involves books
      commonly grouped in the "Wisdom" genre in both ancient and modern times
      (Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Wisdom of Solomon, Job,
      Ecclesiasticus, etc). Metzger gives a general description in "Manuscripts
      of the Greek Bible." The manuscripts switch formatting in these sections
      going from 3 (Codex B) or 4 (Codex S) columns to 2 and switching from
      something approximating full justification (what I think you mean by
      "write the text across the page") to writing out lines "stichometrically"
      or "colometrically" (I think this is probably what you mean by
      "incorporate line breaks"). There is a dual left margin or bounding line
      in the poetry/wisdom sections, and because of the colometry or stichometry
      observed, many lines end short of the right hand margin. The overall
      appearance shows much more jagged margins than in prose segments. Take a
      look at poetry segments of Codex S, available in pseudofacsimile
      version online at
      http://alpha.reltech.org:8083/cgi-bin/Ebind2html/BibleMSS/TischendorfSinv3
      (username any, password any). I can't say much about earlier manuscripts
      or fragments of these works and how they were formatted. I've undoubtedly
      seen images of them at some point, but since my interest at that time
      wasn't in these sorts of formatting details, I didn't note such aspects.
      Can what is seen in terms of poetry formattting in the Great Uncials be
      extrapolated to other manuscripts and/or fragments? I would guess so, but
      cannot affirm anything certain about it. Anyone else?

      James
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