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Greek OT Translations of Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion

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  • psaulm119
    I read somewhere that these three translations all represent a movement away from the text of the LXX, and towards the Masoretic text, of the OT. This brings
    Message 1 of 9 , Sep 15 4:41 PM
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      I read somewhere that these three translations all represent a movement away from the text of the LXX, and towards the Masoretic text, of the OT. This brings up a few questions:

      (1) How much of these three translations is extant?
      (2) Has anyone actually collated them against either MT or LXX?
      (3) If so, can someone quantify how close they are to either one (as in, 90% they follow the MT, 10% the LXX, and 30% an independent reading, etc.)
      (4) Would people here agree with that opening generalization (moving toward the MT)?
    • mej1960
      I can t say too much about it, since I am relying on my own distant memories of having read Jellicoe and Swete years ago. But I can say that to understand the
      Message 2 of 9 , Sep 16 5:55 PM
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        I can't say too much about it, since I am relying on my own distant memories of having read Jellicoe and Swete years ago. But I can say that to understand the answers to all these questions, especially to understand why they are so difficult to answer, one should start with these two classics.

        And now for relying on those memories: as of the time those books were published, no manuscript was extant containing an entire book for any of these. Much of our knowledge comes instead from the Hexapla, which itself did not survive in entirety, thanks to those barbarians who burned Origen's original at Caesarea -- along with the rest of the city.

        Now as you may know, the Hexapla used a lot of unusual symbols to mark presumed deletions, additions etc. Unfortunately, the scribes did a really bad job of copying these, so that the text is seriously corrupt in all copies of the Hexapla. So our knowledge of Origen's original text is quite shaky, people make careers out of unravelling the puzzle.

        The article in the Catholic Encyclopedia on the Hexapla at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07316a.htm is probably not too out of date.

        You might also want to look at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15367a.htm, though it does not add that much.

        Finally, my shaky memories of Jellicoe and Swete are telling me that the Hexapla is our main source for these translations, but we also have a few mixed manuscripts (e.g. almost all manuscripts have Theodotion's version of Daniel, not the 'original' LXX), and scattered commentary of the Fathers (e.g. Jerome discusses Aquila's variants).

        Really finally now;) Google "aquila theodotion manuscripts" and you will find some other interesting factoids concerning these questions, such as that Origen published the version of Symmachus for Job, Psalms, Song of Songs and the Minor Prophets from a manuscript found in a jar in Caracalla near Jericho.


        --- In lxx@yahoogroups.com, "psaulm119" <psaulm119@...> wrote:
        >
        > I read somewhere that these three translations all represent a movement away from the text of the LXX, and towards the Masoretic text, of the OT. This brings up a few questions:
        >
        > (1) How much of these three translations is extant?
        > (2) Has anyone actually collated them against either MT or LXX?
        > (3) If so, can someone quantify how close they are to either one (as in, 90% they follow the MT, 10% the LXX, and 30% an independent reading, etc.)
        > (4) Would people here agree with that opening generalization (moving toward the MT)?
        >
      • psaulm119
        Swete s introduction to the Greek OT (dated, I know) gives some decent examples of Aquila, the most literal of the three, and thus most likely to give us a
        Message 3 of 9 , Sep 17 8:50 AM
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          Swete's introduction to the Greek OT (dated, I know) gives some decent examples of Aquila, the most literal of the three, and thus most likely to give us a good idea of the Hebrew sources--but he doesn't seem to provide a judgment about how close Aquila's Greek, or his source, was to the Masoretic texts we have now. A reference in the Jewish Encyclopedia says that he follows the Masoretic text more than the LXX, but stops at that.
        • psaulm119
          George Barton s introduction to Ecclesiastes states that Aquila made two translations of that work, the first much more in line with the Masoretic text than
          Message 4 of 9 , Sep 17 9:32 AM
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            George Barton's introduction to Ecclesiastes states that Aquila made two translations of that work, the first much more in line with the Masoretic text than the first, although again no specific instances are given.

            OK I'm going to have to stop here. If anyone else can come up with something a bit more up to date, that can verify or refute this, please chip in.
          • Ken Penner
            I suggest reading Part Three of Fernaìndez Marcos, Natalio. The Septuagint in Context: Introduction to the Greek Version of the Bible. Leiden: Brill, 2000.
            Message 5 of 9 , Sep 17 10:07 AM
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              I suggest reading Part Three of
              Ferna�ndez Marcos, Natalio. The Septuagint in Context: Introduction to the Greek Version of the Bible. Leiden: Brill, 2000.
              http://books.google.ca/books?id=8MbvEZ4bgdwC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_atb#v=onepage&q&f=false

              Ken M. Penner, Ph.D.
              Assistant Professor, Religious Studies
              St. Francis Xavier University
              Antigonish, NS Canada
              kpenner@...

              From: lxx@yahoogroups.com [mailto:lxx@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of psaulm119
              Sent: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 8:42 PM
              To: lxx@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [lxx] Greek OT Translations of Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion



              I read somewhere that these three translations all represent a movement away from the text of the LXX, and towards the Masoretic text, of the OT. This brings up a few questions:

              (1) How much of these three translations is extant?
              (2) Has anyone actually collated them against either MT or LXX?
              (3) If so, can someone quantify how close they are to either one (as in, 90% they follow the MT, 10% the LXX, and 30% an independent reading, etc.)
              (4) Would people here agree with that opening generalization (moving toward the MT)?



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Peter Papoutsis
              Wow, that was nice overview. Good job Matthew.   Peter A. Papoutsis [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              Message 6 of 9 , Sep 17 12:49 PM
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                Wow, that was nice overview. Good job Matthew.
                 
                Peter A. Papoutsis




                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Kevin P. Edgecomb
                Perhaps first I d recommend as an introduction to Septuagint Studies the book by Karen Jobes and Moises Silva: Invitation to the Septuagint (Baker Academic,
                Message 7 of 9 , Sep 17 2:56 PM
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                  Perhaps first I'd recommend as an introduction to Septuagint Studies
                  the book by Karen Jobes and Moises Silva: Invitation to the
                  Septuagint (Baker Academic, 2005).

                  Many of the reader's questions will be answered there, as these are
                  common beginner's questions.

                  Regards,
                  Kevin P. Edgecomb
                  Berkeley, California
                • psaulm119
                  That is an excellent source, and fortunately, the Google Books edition has every page for the section I wanted (a rarity it seems). Marcos confirmed that
                  Message 8 of 9 , Sep 17 4:59 PM
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                    That is an excellent source, and fortunately, the Google Books edition has every page for the section I wanted (a rarity it seems).

                    Marcos confirmed that comment above (re Barton's suggestion that Aquila's second edition was more like the MT than the first). However, he twisted that idea a bit: (1) Marcos suggested that what has been seen as Aquila's first edition was in reality, a common tradition of translating the LXX more literally, and more in accordance with the proto-MT readings of the time; (2) there might not have been a real second translation, so much as margin notes. Regardless, whether one calls it a new translation or a corrector's marginalia, those corrections were in fact (if these scholars are correct) a move towards the Hebrew MT--although Marcos repeated the statement that Aquila wasn't 100% MT.

                    --- In lxx@yahoogroups.com, Ken Penner <kpenner@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > I suggest reading Part Three of
                    > Fernaìndez Marcos, Natalio. The Septuagint in Context: Introduction to the Greek Version of the Bible. Leiden: Brill, 2000.
                    > http://books.google.ca/books?id=8MbvEZ4bgdwC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_atb#v=onepage&q&f=false
                    >
                    > Ken M. Penner, Ph.D.
                    > Assistant Professor, Religious Studies
                    > St. Francis Xavier University
                    > Antigonish, NS Canada
                    > kpenner@...
                    >
                    >
                  • psaulm119
                    Thanks for all the responses. For a group that had all of three threads started in August, you folks sure came out of the woodwork for this one. Much obliged.
                    Message 9 of 9 , Sep 17 5:00 PM
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                      Thanks for all the responses. For a group that had all of three threads started in August, you folks sure came out of the woodwork for this one. Much obliged.
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