1585Re: [lxx] Re: Question(s) from new members
- May 15, 2005Re: 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:
>Perhaps the best way of exploring this question is in a good class on Jewish and Christian
> 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.
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)
Still the same order as the Christian OT, except that sometimes Ruth gets placed after
Judges in some varieties of OT
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"
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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