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1575Re: [lxx] Poetic Stichoi (was: Question ...)

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  • Robert Kraft
    May 12, 2005
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      Sorry, Jim, but I don't think there is a clear answer. We don't have manuscripts
      or comments on format that go back early enough. Later manuscripts (e.g. of
      Psalms, or of poetic sections in the Pentateuch) attest three practices --
      continuous writing with no breaks, use of spacing (or special marking) within a
      line to indicate a break, and separate poetic units on separate lines
      ("stichometric/stichographic").

      If we assume that the first translators and copyists imitated the formats of
      their Hebrew exemplars, we could argue on the basis of those exemplars. But it
      can be seen from the Dead Sea Scrolls that there is no uniform approach in those
      materials although perhaps the use of spacing within the line tends to
      predominate (but since most of those manuscripts use spacing between words, it
      would be necessary to distinguish between word spacing and sense unit spacing).

      If anyone wants to pursue these issues, see now Emanuel Tov, Scribal Practices
      and Approaches Reflected in the Texts Found in the Judean Desert (Brill 2004).
      In chapter 5, Tov deals with "Writing Practices," with a section on "Division
      between Poetical Units (Psalms) (a.4; see also a.2 "Indication of Small Sense
      Units [Stichs and Verses] in Biblical Manuscripts"). Tov thinks that the
      equivalent of verse division may have been introduced "in conjunction with the
      public reading of Scripture (in the synagogue service)," and especially when
      simultaneous translation (e.g. into Aramaic) was practiced (p.135). He then
      notes that "some poetical units in the Bible were written stichographically,
      though in different systems, in thirty texts from the Judean Desert," with
      specific reference to 1QIsa\a/ in Isa 61.10-62.9, with small spaces between each
      stich in the running text (p.136).

      How much of this made it into the early Greek translations remains anyone's
      guess at this point.

      Bob Kraft

      >
      > Hello, my name is Jim Rovira. I'm a Ph.D. candidate in English at
      > Drew Unviersity in Madison, NJ, and a Lecturer in English at Rollins
      > College in Winter Park, FL. I've been studying Christian theology and
      > texts independently (off and on) for about 23 years, and have very,
      > very modest instruction in NT Greek.
      >
      > A question came up on a Milton listserv I'm subscribed to that I found
      > difficult to answer, and I was hoping listmembers here could help out.
      > I'm pretty sure I know the answer, but would like to hear the
      > opinions of scholars in the field.
      >
      > 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.
      >
      > Thanks much.
      >
      > Jim Rovira

      --
      Robert A. Kraft, Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania
      227 Logan Hall (Philadelphia PA 19104-6304); tel. 215 898-5827
      kraft@...
      http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/rs/rak/kraft.html
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