Re: [textualcriticism] Deuteronomy 32:8 - according to the number of the children of Israel.
I'm just an interested layman who normally lurks on this list learning from the experts, so feel free to put me in my place if I assert anything here that ain't so. I only decided to speak up because I'm aware of some more info on this Deut 32:8 discussion that seems relevant and that I haven't seen mentioned yet.
1. I don't have access to a copy of the Göttingen LXX (I wish) and haven't looked up these sources to double-check, but a poster on a discussion list with access to it wrote that according to its apparatus, textual evidence for "υιων θεου" in vs 8 includes: "the oldest Greek witness to Deuteronomy, P. Fuad 266 (Rahlfs 848), the Armenian version, Origen, Justin Martyr and some late minuscules (such as 106 [16th century]). Minuscule 58 (12th century) reads υιους." (that post here: http://goo.gl/0PhKa)
Emmanuel Tov also gives LXX 848 and 106c as witnesses to υιων θεου (p. 269 of the 2nd Rev. Ed. of Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible).
So it would appear to me that any hypothesis needs to explain not just αγγελων θεου in the LXX, but also the reading υιων θεου.
It also seems that the textual support for "sons of God" is at least a tad stronger than has been acknowledged so far in this thread.
2. I have seen it asserted in several places now that while 4QDeutj has:
Paul Sanders, for example, says this in his The Provenance of the Deuteronomy 32. But if this really is in 4QDeutq, why isn't this fact brought up more often in discussions of the passage? Is it because the fragment is too damaged to make this reading certain? Has this reading been disputed? Does anyone here know?
3. As has been mentioned, the number being implicitly referred to in the passage is likely 70, in reference to the table of nations given in Gen 10 (and as Targum Pseudo-Jonathan makes explicit).
In that case, it seems significant to the discussion that the Ugarit tablets (KTU 1.4:VI.46) tell us that there were 70 sons of Athirat (and El, presumably). If this was background knowledge for the writer of the passage, it would seem to make "sons of El" or "sons of elohim" a very natural reading, would it not?
It could have then been changed to "Israel", still making some tenuous connection with the understood number (i.e the 70 who went to Egypt), but making little sense otherwise.
4. The different readings of Deut 32:43 might also be significant to the discussion of verse 8. Whichever the direction of change, it seems to have happened similarly in both places. In verse 43 the MT has a shorter reading referencing only mundane earthly groups, while the LXX and a text from Qumran (4QDeutq again) have a longer version with references to the heavens and, again, sons of god. As Emmanuel Tov puts it (in Exploring the Origins of the Bible):
This festive ending differs in the various versions. In the MT, the poem concludes with an invocation calling upon the nations to rejoice with God for his punishment on Israel's enemies. On the other hand, according to additional colons of verse 43 found only in the LXX and 4QDeutq, the heavens and divine beings are called upon to rejoice with God, as in verse 4, "Give ear, O heavens, let me speak; Let the earth hear the words I utter." It seems that the MT shortened the long version of the LXX and the Qumran scroll. One detail supporting this assumption is the incomplete poetic structure of verse 43 in the MT, rendering the additional colons necessary.
He goes on to explain further why the reading of the Qumran text and the LXX seems more likely original. He also briefly relates it to the problem of verse 8. You can see his whole discussion of the passage here: http://goo.gl/f2ogd
As I said at the start, I'm a layman with regard to all of this and it's entirely possible that I made major embarrassing errors of fact or etiquette here. If so, please don't hold back in ripping this post to shreds and exposing my goofs.
I look forward to any comments anyone might have.
- No problem. The dual cataloging system for the DSS is absurdly confusing to everybody, probably including the good folks who devised it.
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Date: Fri, 11 May 2012 08:32:49 -0700
Subject: Re: [textualcriticism] Re: 4Q37 and "sons of God"Apparently 4Q37 was the 37th mss recovered from Cave 4, now cataloged as 4QDeut-j, and conflated by none other than yours truly as 4QDeut37. So we can remove that ID number from the list right off! and are back to two DSS mss that contain the phrase in question.Daniel Buck