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1585Re: [lxx] Re: Question(s) from new members

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  • Sigrid Peterson
    May 15, 2005
      Re: Two newcomer questions

      From James Rovira, the question pertained to whether/to what extent Greek translations of
      Hebrew poetry stuck to the (presumed) stichometry of the Hebrew. In addition to Bob Kraft's
      reference to the newer work of Emanuel Tov on scribal practices, there is a (much) older
      article from Tov on the two Greek versions of the Song of Deborah (Judges 5), dating from
      the mid-80s, I believe. My later examination of the two Greek versions led me to think that the
      translators did not have much sense that the Hebrew was to be understood as poetry. Perhaps
      that's one indicater that at least some transcriptions of scripture did not use stichometry
      to indicate poetry or poetic passages. Remember that the stichometric arrangements of the
      Biblia Hebraic Stuttgartensia are artificial, constructed by the publishers, for the most

      From Sid, the following question:
      > I am also a new member who has been studying religion
      > off and on. My biggest question is why the books of
      > the old testiment are arranged in different order
      > than the torah.
      > Sid

      Perhaps the best way of exploring this question is in a good class on Jewish and Christian
      Biblical Interpretation. The order of the books in both Jewish and Christian collections of
      Scriptures varied in Antiquity and Late Antiquity. In Judaism there were separate


      All understood to be from Moses (except the account of his death).

      These books are called the Pentateuch in the Christian OT, and are in identical order.

      In the Jewish Bible or TaNaKh (I'll explain later), the next grouping is called Prophets,
      and consists of

      NEVIIM (means Prophets)
      Former Prophets
      1st Samuel
      2nd Samuel
      1st Kings
      2nd Kings
      Still the same order as the Christian OT, except that sometimes Ruth gets placed after
      Judges in some varieties of OT
      NEVIIM still
      Latter Prophets
      The 12 Minor Prophets, Hosea, Joel, Amos, . . . Haggai, Zacharia, Malachi

      The third grouping of Jewish scripture is called the Writings or KETUVIM
      Song of Songs
      Qohelet (Ecclesiastes) "The Preacher/Preaching"
      I Chronicles
      II Chronicles

      Two points: the order of the books in the Jewish Bible or TaNaKh is approximately
      chronological, taken from the internal evidence that purports to place particular books in
      particula times, except that by such criteria Ruth was the Grandmother or
      Great-grandmother of David, and the Book of Ruth should come after Judges.

      The name TaNaKh, used for the Jewish Bible, is an acronym taken from the three parts of the
      Bible, Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim--TNK or TaNaKh

      Because of problems like the misplacement of the book of Ruth, and Lamentations seeming to
      belong to Jeremiah, rather than fitting an order of poetic book, personal history, poetic
      book, personal history, . . . that fits the most prevalent ordering, Christian scholars
      moved books around. Ultimately it seemed good to them to place the prophecies last, as
      these came to be interpreted as portents of the coming of the Messiah,
      specifically identified as Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary.

      It helped the process along, I think, that only the Torah was regularly used in Jewish
      worship. Psalms and the three major Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, were also used
      in worship. Since two early scrolls of the Twelve Minor Prophets have been found in the
      Dead Sea Region (NaHal Hever-Greek, and Murabba'at, Hebrew), and the Qumran community had
      commentaries on Nahum and Habakkuk, there was interest in examining these texts, probably
      for descrying their mantic information, rather than any liturgical use. Another scholarly
      way of examining the texts was *midrash halakha*, the use of any biblical text with words
      in common with the Torah as a means of elucidating the specific way of carrying out the
      laws of the Torah. One such work of *midrash halakha* was the Mekhilta. Later, in the
      rabbinic period, there was elaboration of this technique in the imaginative combinations
      and extensive literary forms found in the great collections of rabbinic midrashim.

      Had the entire collection of texts in the Hebrew-Aramaic Jewish Scriptures (or the LXX)
      been as fixed for as long as the Torah/Pentateuch, we might now have a Christian OT that
      reflected that fixed order. Since the arrangement was in flux anyway, and interpretation
      was the order of the day, why not place the messianic prophecies right before the NT?

      All the best,
      Sigrid Peterson University of Pennsylvania petersig@...
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