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Tracing a Variant

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  • Larry J.
    I m trying to see how far back and how widely distributed a variant reading in the Psalms is. In Ephesians 4:8 Paul quotes Ps. 67:19:
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 8, 2010
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      I'm trying to see how far back and how widely distributed a variant reading in the Psalms is.

      In Ephesians 4:8 Paul quotes Ps. 67:19: εδωκεν δοματα τοις ανθρωποις
      Lat: dedit dona hominibus.

      Except the Psalm doesn't quite say that: ελαβες δοματα εν ανθρωπω
      Lat: accepisti dona in hominibus

      A medieval poet writing on the Ascension I argue is drawing for a particular scene in his poem directly on the this psalm rather than an intermediary sermon reflecting on the Ephesians passage. A small point in my argument is the textual transmission of the Psalm where the Ephesian reading is so strong that it has replaced the original Psalm reading.

      Thus, Eadwine's Psalter has at Ps. 67:19: dedit dona hominibus and I've found it in vernacular treatments the Psalms as well. In addition, there are a number of Late Antique patristic writers who likewise cite the Psalm verse with the reading in Latin dedit dona hominibus; while these writers aren't Jerome, Augustine and those giants, they nonetheless were influential and had their sermons collected in later homiliaries and commentaries cited them.

      So, here's what I'm trying to do: in addition to the above paragraph which really is sufficient to prove my point, but I'd like to compile Biblical manuscripts that have that Psalm reading: VL, LXX, or Vulgate--and other versions if you know of them in order to establish the reading as a viable one in the poet's context.

      Any help or extra info would be most welcome.

      Larry Swain
    • Wieland Willker
      Dear Larry, there is a targum with that reading: do you know Ps LXVIII 19 (= Eph 4:8) another textual tradition or targum? R. Rubinkiewicz NovT 17 (1975)
      Message 2 of 5 , Jun 8, 2010
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        Dear Larry,

         

        there is a targum with that reading:

         

        do you know

        "Ps LXVIII 19 (= Eph 4:8) another textual tradition or targum?"

        R. Rubinkiewicz

        NovT 17 (1975) 219-224

         

        Compare:

        "The descent of Christ: Ephesians 4:7-11 and traditional Hebrew imagery" by W. Hall Harris, p. 98-104

        Available in part (p. 99-103) on Google books.

         

        http://books.google.de/books?id=ZVU8ejgbZE4C&pg=PA144&lpg=PA144&dq=Harris+descent+psalm&source=bl&ots=I-7g-fHaen&sig=fruzeQ47DpI6OgqMXfwDJziMpR0&hl=de&ei=SYkOTLKnN4Pw4gaU36CYDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

         

         

         

        Best wishes

            Wieland

               <><

        ------------------------------------------------

        Wieland Willker, Bremen, Germany

        http://www.uni-bremen.de/~wie

        Textcritical Commentary:

        http://www.uni-bremen.de/~wie/TCG/index.html

         

      • A. Dirkzwager
        Dear Wieland, Larry and all, Please allow me to give here the text of a little study I wrote some time ago about receive and give in Ephesians and the Psalms.
        Message 3 of 5 , Jun 16, 2010
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          Dear Wieland, Larry and all,

          Please allow me to give here the text of a little study I wrote some time ago about receive and give in Ephesians and the Psalms.

          Arie

          A. Dirkzwager
          Hoeselt, Belgium

          The quotation from Psalm 68 in Ephesians 4: to give or to receive?

          by Dr. A. Dirkzwager


          The problem

          In one of the passages about Christ's ascension in the epistle to the Ephesians we find a quotation from Psalm 68:

          But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:
          "When he ascended on high,
          he led captives in his train
          and gave gifts to men;"

          (What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe;)
          It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up, ….

          Ephesians 4: 7-12, NIV

                              Paul is clearly writing about the ascension and about the gifts the Holy Spirit gives to the Christians in order to build up the church. About the captives                     we do not need to write here.

          In Psalm 68 we read however:

          When you ascended on high,
          you led captives in your train;
          you received gifts from men,
          even the rebellious -
          that you, O L
          ORD God, might dwell there.

          Psalm 68: 18, NIV, with omission of "from" (absent from the Hebrew text) before "the rebellious".


          In Ephesians it is "he" who acts, in the psalm "you". It was possible to quote in an adapted form, or to quote more freely. But to give gifts and to receive gifts are clearly different things. This is not a free quotation. It is the opposite of what we read in Psalm 68.
          Paul clearly wrote about giving gifts and not about receiving, for he adds a large passage about the gifts God gives to the believers.

          If there are differences between the texts of the Old Testament and the New Testament, it is useful to consult the Septuaginta and other ancient translations. No differences are reported. All seem to be based on the "normal" text of the Old Testament.

          So we are confronted with a problem, an old and famous problem.


          Targum

          In a targum (1) we find the following expanded text of our verse in Psalm 68:

          You ascended to the firmament, O prophet Moses; you captured captives, you taught the words of Torah, you gave gifts to the sons of men, and even the stubborn who are converted turn in repentance, [and] the glorious presence of the Lord God abides upon them.

          Moses is seen as the person who is ascending. That is the general opinion of the Talmud (2).
          For our purpose it is important to read here "you gave gifts". The text does not mention that Moses received anything. The Jewish texts mentioned by Strack-Billerbeck (note 2) have Moses receiving the Torah and teaching it to men. That difference is important.
          We can conclude that the Jews knew the text used by Paul.


          Solution

          The Hebrew text has lqxt (x being chet). "You gave" would normally be ntt.
          If we compare these words we cannot imagine how a copyist could change ntt into lqxt. In the older Hebrew alphabet there is as much difference between the two words as in the Hebrew alphabet we are aquinted to.
          There exists however a word that is so similar to lqxt
          that it could be changed by a copyist into lqxt. That word is xlqt "you distributed". And of course "you distributed" could also be rendered as "you gave".

          The type of error was metathesis, a well know source of differences between the reading of manuscripts. Tov (3) has only instances of metathesis between two neighbouring letters. I am proposing a metathesis between on one side two neighbouring letters (xl) and on the other side one letter (q). Receiving gifts and distributing gifts however are both very common combinations. In my opinion that slightly unusual type of metathesis is therefore quite possible.

          As I wrote before, Paul did not use a free quotation. He clearly uses the idea of giving in his argumentation. For people believing in the inspiration of the New Testament and the Old Testament by the Holy Spirit the use of to give or to distribute has to be original.

          One could think that Paul summarised the usual Jewish view that Moses received the Torah and then gave it to men by writing only "he gave gifts". But for him it is Jesus who gives, and the object of giving is not the Torah but are spiritual gifts.
          More important is the fact that the targum shows that there existed an Hebrew text without receiving, but with giving gifts. The most natural way of thinking seems to be that Paul knew such a text and used it.

          Moreover in the Hebrew text of the psalm we find b'dm, not l'dm. With to give le- is the better preposition, with to distribute however be-. So we see again, that originally the word ntn was not used, but xlq.

          Conclusion: I prefer “You distributed amongst men” as the original text.


          1 E.M. Cook, The Psalms Targum: An English Translation, www.tulane.edu/~ntcs/pss/ps2.htm
          2 H.L. Strack - P. Billerbeck,
          Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch, III, München 1926 (=1994), at the text from Ephesians.
          3 E. Tov,
          Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, Minneapolis-Assen 20012, p. 250v.






        • Larry Swain
          Thanks for this Arie!  I can use bits and pieces and would like to cite it.  Did you publish it anywhere or intend to publish? Wieland, I don t think I
          Message 4 of 5 , Jun 22, 2010
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            Thanks for this Arie!  I can use bits and pieces and would like to cite it.  Did you publish it anywhere or intend to publish?

            Wieland, I don't think I thanked you for your help on the question earlier this month either.

            Larry Swain

            --
             

            Dear Wieland, Larry and all,

            Please allow me to give here the text of a little study I wrote some time ago about receive and give in Ephesians and the Psalms.

            Arie

            A. Dirkzwager
            Hoeselt, Belgium


            --

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          • A. Dirkzwager
            Larry, I have not published the study, but it can be read on the list! Do you know another possibility that could be found easier? I have written more studies
            Message 5 of 5 , Jun 22, 2010
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              Larry,

              I have not published the study, but it can be read on the list! Do you
              know another possibility that could be found easier?
              I have written more studies of the same kind (Amos 9 in Acts 15, Hebrews
              10 and Numeri 15 and the quotation in 1 Corinthians 15: 45), but until
              now only the first one exists in English.

              And I am interested to see what you are writing about the subject.

              Arie

              A. Dirkzwager
              Hoeselt, Belgium


              Larry Swain schreef:
              >
              >
              > Thanks for this Arie! I can use bits and pieces and would like to
              > cite it. Did you publish it anywhere or intend to publish?
              >
              > Wieland, I don't think I thanked you for your help on the question
              > earlier this month either.
              >
              > Larry Swain
              >
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