Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

Church Slavonic and Septuagint Greek versions of Genesis 2:7

April 18, 2017

IMG_2117[1]

A solid enough display of Biblical scholarship

Question 

Here is a paragraph in progress regarding versions of Genesis 2:7. What bothers me is note 2. Is it the case that the Church Slavonic is ultimately based on the Septuagint rather than on some Hebrew original? I discovered that the current Synodal Russian translation is actually utilizing Gospod’ in 2:7, unlike the Church Slavonic edition I have. Any assistance on this would be much appreciated.

Biblical scholar Ronald A. Simkins writes of Genesis 2:7: “… YHWH’s forming of the human creature (the male ’ādām) from the dirt of the arable land (the female ’ădāmāh) serves as a metaphor for humankind’s birth out of the earth.”[1] Again, the earth gives birth, but not without God. Here it is worth noting that, like the grammatically feminine Hebrew word for “earth” (’ădāmāh), the equivalent words in the Septuagint Greek (gē), Vulgate Latin (terra), and Church Slavonic (zjemlja) – are also grammatically feminine. It is worth noting as well that the grammatically masculine Yahweh (YHWH) is matched by its grammatically masculine Greek (kurios), Latin (Dominus), and Slavonic (Gospodь) equivalents.[2]

[1] Simkins 2014, 48 (cf. also Simkins 1998, 39-46).

[2] However, these equivalents do not turn up until the next verse (8) in the Septuagint Greek and Church Slavonic texts.

Response

It is certainly the case that the Church Slavonic text comes from the Septuagint rather than the Hebrew text.

The standard Hebrew text in the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia gives the equivalent of ‘the LORD God’ (YHWH elohim, if you like) at both 2:7 and 2:8–the first occurrence that I can see of this pairing is at 2:4, before that it’s elohim (God). LXX has ho theos (God) in 2:4 and 2:7, then kurios ho theos (the Lord God) in 2:8.

I think that Jewish tradition has often tried to distinguish YHWH elohim on the grounds that one is God in the aspect of justice and the other in the aspect of mercy, but I’m not aware of anything being made of grammatical distinctions. Alternatively elohim may be interpreted as the creator and YHWH as the god of the covenant in relationship to Israel. ‘Elohim’ is notoriously plural in form but governs a masculine singular verb–to over-simplify, grammatical number and gender didn’t have the definitive character in Biblical Hebrew that they do in (say) modern Russian.

Another issue here is that LXX in some cases appears to be based on a more ancient (Hebrew) text than the standard Masoretic text we have, though BHS doesn’t give any textual variants at 2:7.

Rachel’s Hebrew Class 2013/14

September 25, 2013

Rachel Montagu has kindly sent some details of her Biblical Hebrew course for 2013-14.  This stands in place of the course she used to teach at Birkbeck.

Rachel’s courses work in the classic fashion: each student in turn reads a verse aloud and then translates it, with input from the teacher as necessary. She also provides some background and interpretation from traditional Jewish teaching.

The emphasis is certainly on understanding the text rather than grammar as such. In my experience, there have been perhaps an average of seven or so students coming to lessons. The level things are taken at tends to depend on who the students are.

In principle, students should have covered the material in the First Hebrew Primer from Eks before starting this class. If you know the qal conjugation (perfect and imperfect) pretty well for verbs with three strong roots (the ‘regular’ ones if you like) and have some idea about hiphil and niphal and verbs with weak roots, that will probably do.

If you want to know more, you can email Rachel;  or feel free to email me if you’re feeling shy.  I’ve also shared just about everything I know about studying Biblical Hebrew with the world here.

Dear all

This year we will be meeting on Wednesdays, starting this week Wednesday
2nd October from 6.30-8.30.

The West Central Synagogue and Liberal Judaism are still kindly offering us hospitality at

The Montagu Centre
21 Maple Street
London W1T 4BE

This is near to Warren St and Gt Portland St tube stations and just off the Tottenham Court Rd.

If you’re interested in this, you can email her directly.  Or if you’re feeling shy you can email me instead.  The schedule is as given below.

Autumn Term

Amos – Prophet of Tekoa

2nd October Amos 1:1-8, 2:4-12

9th October Amos 2:13-16, 3:1-12,

16th October Amos 4:1-13, 5:4, 5:10-15

23rd October Amos 5:21-27, 6:1-12,

[30th October – half term]

6th November Amos 7:4-16, 8:4-10

13th November Amos 8:11-14, 9:1-3, 9:7-15

Lamentations – A Time to Weep

20th November Lamentations 1:1-18

27th November Lamentations 1:19-22, 3:1-40

4th December Lamentations 3:41-66, 4:13-22

11th December Lamentations 5:1-22

Spring Term

Elijah and Elisha: Master and Student

8th January I Kings 17:1-16

15th January I Kings 17:18-24, 18:16-29

22nd January I Kings 18:30-46, 19:1-4

29th January I Kings 19:5-21,

5th February II Kings 1:1-17

12th February II Kings 2:1-25

[19th February half term]

26th February II Kings 4:1-20

5th March II Kings 4:21-44

12th March II Kings 5:1-19

19th March II Kings 5:20-27, 6:8-23

Micah – Powerful Prophet

26th March Micah 3:5-12, 4:1-10, 5:1-4

2nd April Micah 6:1-16, 7:5-8, 18-20

Summer Term

Esther: Wise Queens and a Foolish King

23rd April Esther 1:20

30th April Esther 1:21-22, 2:1-18

7th May Esther 2:19-23, 3:1-5

14th May Esther 3:6-15, 4:1-10,

21st May Esther 4:11-17, 5:1-14

[28th May half term]

[4thJune no class – Shavuot]

11th June Esther 6:1-14, 7:1-6

18th June Esther 7:7-10, 8:1-17

25th June Esther 9:1-20

2nd July Esther 9:21-32, 10:1-3

Psalms

9th July Psalms 142:1-8, 144:1-15

16th July Psalms 107, 43, 42

Lot and his God, The Print Room 3 November

November 4, 2012

**

Rarely have I been so completely baffled.

This seemed to be The End of the Affair rammed into the Genesis story of Lot and losing its significance as a result.  So we have an angel (Mr Drogheda), Lot and Lot’s wife in a dingy cafe and the angel wants to persuade them to leave–wants to persuade Lot’s wife to leave with him, since he is in love with her.  So we get lots of the kind of dialogue we would expect in such a situation, which doesn’t seem to fit into the Biblical setting very well.  In fact, at one stage the blinded waiter flailing helplessly on the floor seemed be representing the struggles of the text itself.

The authors of the Old Testament may have been dead wrong about the existence of God, the origin of the universe, and a few hundred other things, but they certainly understood what to leave out.

You can’t say that Howard Barker was ignoring the Bible story here, since he did have the angel blind (and strike dumb) the waiters in the cafe.  On the other hand, whatever the issues in Lot’s marriage might have been, they don’t seem to include him offering up his daughters to be raped in place of the angels, since Mrs L. never mentions it.  I think we were supposed to be surprised at the angel Mr Drogheda as a corporeal and carnal being, but on the one hand an angel in the OT is just a messenger and can as far as I know be an ordinary mortal and on the other a spiritual being would hardly need saving from the Sodomites.

But Lot is meant to be merely a sojourner and Abraham’s nephew, not a real Sodomite at all…The more I try to think about this, the more confused I get.

The sleazy cafe set was effective and good, while neither Justin Avoth (Mr Drogheda) nor Vincent Enderby (waiter) fluffed any of their lines.

The thing that really frightens me is that in an ill-advised transliteration Avoth could be the Hebrew word for the Biblical patriarchs, including Lot’s uncle Abraham.

Rachel’s Hebrew Class 2012/13

October 1, 2012

Rachel Montagu has kindly sent some details of her Biblical Hebrew course for 2012-13.  This stands in place of the course she used to teach at Birkbeck.

Rachel’s courses work in the classic fashion: each student in turn reads a verse aloud and then translates it, with input from the teacher as necessary. She also provides some background and interpretation from traditional Jewish teaching.

The emphasis is certainly on understanding the text rather than grammar as such. There have been perhaps an average of seven or so students coming to lessons. The level things are taken at tends to depend on who the students are.

In principle, students should have covered the material in the First Hebrew Primer from Eks before starting this class. If you know the qal conjugation (perfect and imperfect) pretty well for verbs with three strong roots (the ‘regular’ ones if you like) and have some idea about hiphil and niphal and verbs with weak roots, that will probably do.

If you want to know more, you can email Rachel;  or feel free to email me if you’re feeling shy.  I’ve also shared just about everything I know about studying Biblical Hebrew with the world here.

Dear all

This year we will be meeting on Wednesdays, starting this week Wednesday 3rd October I hope.

Can I suggest we meet 6.45-8.45 this week and discuss during break whetherwe want to move it slightly later or earlier or whether that suits us all.

The West Central Synagogue and Liberal Judaism are still kindly offeringus hospitality at

The Montagu Centre
21 Maple Street
London W1T 4BE

This is near to Warren St and Gt Portland St tube stations and just off the Tottenham Court Rd.

If you’re interested in this, you can email her directly.  Or if you’re feeling shy you can email me instead.  The schedule is as given below.

Hebrew Class Outline 2012-3

Joshua – Entering the Land

3rd October Deut. 34:9, Joshua 1:1-18

10th October Joshua 2:1-24

17th October Joshua 3:1-17, 4:1-5

24th October Joshua 4:6-14, 5:1-15

[31st October no class – half term

7th November Joshua 6:1-27

Isaac and Rebecca: Never Mind the Romance, What about the Marriage?

14th November Genesis 24:15-40

21st November Genesis 24:41-67

28th November Genesis 25:20-28, 26:1-12, 34-35

5th December Genesis 27:1-18, 42-46, 28:1-5

Samuel v. Chronicles: David & Solomon: Succession, Wisdom & the Queen of Sheba

12th December I Kings 1:1-24

[Christmas Holiday]

9th January 1 Kings 1:25-53,

16th January I Kings 2:1-12, 1 Chron 22:1-10

23rd January 1 Chron. 22:11-19, 23:1, 28:1-10

30th January I Chron.28:11-21, 29:1-10

6th February I Chron. 29:11-30

13th February I Kings 3:1-20

[20th February half term]

27th February I Kings 3:21-28, 2 Chron 9:1-12

Isaiah – Comfort and Challenge

6th March Isaiah 40:1-20

13th March Isaiah 40:21-31, 41:8-18

20th March Isaiah 41:19-29, 42:1-11

[Passover-Easter holiday]

17th April Isaiah 42:12-25, 43:1-11

24th April Isaiah 43:25-8, 44:1-8, 21-28, 45:1-7

Does Age Bring Happiness?

1st May Ecclesiastes 1:1-18, 2:1-6

24th April Ecclesiastes 2:7-26

1st May Ecclesiastes 3:1-22

8th May Ecclesiastes 4:6, 5:1-19

[15th May – no class – Shavuot]

22nd May Ecclesiastes 7:1-25

[29th May – no class – half term]

5th June Ecclesiastes 7:26-29, 8:15, 9:1-18

12th June Ecclesiastes 11:1-10, 12:1-14

Psalms

19th June 2 Samuel 22:1-30

26th June 2 Samuel 22:31-50, 1 Chron. 16:7-17

3rd July I Chron. 16:18-37, 46:1-12

10th July Class Choice of Psalms

17th July Class Choice of Psalms

Madingley Hall Greek Texts 2012

November 1, 2011

Picture of Lucian

Here are the Greek texts presently planned for Madingley weekend courses in 2012 (more details here).

17 – 19 February
Homer, Iliad 23.229-end (897). Ed. Willcock, Books 13-24 (Bristol Classical Press, £20.00)

18 – 20 May
Hesiod, Theogony 1-232; Works and Days 1-307 [‘Essential Hesiod’, ed CJ Rowe, BCP £10.99 or Hesiod, Oxford Classical Texts £17.00 or Hesiod Loeb £15.95]
or
Lucian, selection ed Hopkinson (Cambridge green-and-yellow, £17.99); students to prepare 3: The Ignorant Book-Collector; 4: Praise of the Fly; and 5: Sigma vs Tau

14 – 16 September
Lysias, 1. ‘On the murder of Eratosthenes’ and 7. ‘On the olive-stump’ [in Lysias, Select Speeches ed. C Carey, CUP green-and-yellow £19.99]
or
Aristophanes, Lysistrata, ed Sommerstein (Aris & Phillips, £18.00) 1-657

23 – 25 November
Lysias, 3. ‘Against Simon’ and 14. ‘Against Alcibiades’ [same edition]
or
Aristophanes 658-end (1321)

John Taylor has also kindly sent me details of the texts for New Testament Greek, as follows:

Texts are:

three OT choice snippets – Genesis 18: 1-15, Ezekiel 37: 1-14, Isaiah 53: 1-12

I Maccabees chapter 2

John chapters 1 – 3

Colossians chapters 1 – 4.

New Testament Greek, Madingley Hall 4-6 February

February 7, 2011

 

1 Peter with anxious annotations

 

I had set myself some simple performance targets this time:

i)  do not have a cold;

ii) do not lose return ticket.

In the event, I found that I had managed to leave most of the course papers behind.  I also managed to leave my glasses in the taxi.  And on the Sunday I woke up with a cold.

This time round, there were nine of us, and we managed our quota of 50 verses in a 90-minute session easily enough.  The texts covered were:

Luke  1-15

1 Peter 1-5

1 Maccabees 1

Psalms 22 and 137.

Of these, Peter was a bit tricky at the beginning, while people definitely appreciated 1 Maccabees.  Dr John Taylor, our tutor, gave a talk entitled ‘Between the testaments’ on the Saturday evening; he also seemed to have decided it was his job to keep the course members supplied with wine.

We had a sensible and non-garrulous female taxi driver for the drive to the station at the end, and I didn’t lose my return ticket.

This Year’s Biblical Hebrew Class

October 4, 2010

Note:  there is a page on studying Biblical Hebrew here that I update.  The posting below does not get updated.

Rachel Montagu writes:

Here is an outline plan for readings for this year’s Hebrew class.

Modifications are possible if people feel that there is another direction they would rather pursue, but this gives us a starting point.

We will be meeting 6.30-8.30 on Fetter Lane, London EC4.

As before, cost will depend on the final number enrolled in the class, but I hope it will be less than Birkbeck’s current rate. The cost will be more in the spring and summer term than this term because there will be 2 more sessions in those terms.

And here’s the programme (anyone interested is very welcome to email me):

Hebrew Outline 2010-11

Ruth – Tis Pity She’s A Moabitess

6th October Ruth 1

13th October Ruth 2

20th October Ruth 3

[27th October – half term]

3rd November Ruth 4

Noah – A Perfect Man in His Generation

10th November Genesis 6:5-22, 7:1-3

17th November Genesis 7:4-23

24rd November Genesis 8:1-22

1st December Genesis 9:1-28

Leviticus: Blessing and Holiness

7th December Leviticus 8:1-21

14th December Leviticus 8:22-36, 9:22-24, 10:1-11

12th January Leviticus 16:1-20

19th January Leviticus 16:21-34, 19:1-7

26th January Leviticus 19:8-28

2nd February Leviticus 19: 29-37, 20:1-12

9th February Leviticus 20:13-27, 21:1-17

Chronicles – David’s Story

16th February 1 Chronicles 10:8-14, 11:1-14

[23rd February half term]

2nd March 1 Chronicles 11:15-19

9th March 1 Chronicles 13:1-12, 15:1-11

16th March 1 Chronicles 16:1-21

23rd March 1 Chronicles 16:22-43

30th March 1 Chronicles 17:1-27

6th April 1 Chronicles 21:1-30

Ezekiel the Visionary

27th April Ezekiel 1:1-20

4th May Ezekiel 1:21-28, 2:1-9, 3:1-3

11th May Ezekiel 16:1-27

18th May Ezekiel 18:1-28

24th May Ezekiel 24:15-27, 37:1-14

[1st June – half term]

Ezra and Nehemiah: The Torah of Returning and Rebuilding

8th June Ezra 3:1-13, 10:1-12

15th June Ezra 10:13-18, Nehemiah 1:1-11, 2:1-7

22st June Nehemiah 8:1-18, 9:30-33, 10:1, 31-40

Psalms

29th June Psalm 122, 123, 127

6th July Psalm 128, 131, 148

13th July Psalm 139, 61

20th July Psalm 40,

Psalm 22:17

July 31, 2010

Another interpretation...

Texts

The Septuagint, Tanakh and English Bible have the following for Ps 22:17 (Ps 21:17 in the Septuagint):

Septuagint

ὅτι ἐκύκλωσάν με κύνες πολλοί συναγωγὴ πονηρευομένων περιέσχον με ὤρυξαν χεῖράς μου καὶ πόδας

[ Lit: Because many dogs have encircled me a congregation of evil-doers have surrounded me they have dug my hands and feet.]

Tanakh

כִּ֥י סְבָב֗וּנִי כְּלָ֫בִ֥ים עֲדַ֣ת מְ֭רֵעִים הִקִּיפ֑וּנִי כָּ֝אֲרִ֗י יָדַ֥י וְרַגְלָֽי׃

[Lit: For dogs have encircled me a congregation of evil-doers have surrounded me/like a lion my hands and feet.]

ESV

For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet.

Questions

So there are two three main questions here:

i)  What does the Hebrew text mean?

ii)  How can it be reconciled with the Greek text?

iii)  Can ‘dug’ really be the same as ‘pierced’?

What does the Hebrew text mean?

The simplest way of ‘saving’ the Hebrew text is to take the verb  הִקִּיפ֑וּנִי apo koinou with both both halves of the line, so we get:

*For dogs have encircled me a congregation of evil-doers have surrounded me/like a lion [they have surrounded]my hands and feet.

This procedure is perfectly unexceptionable in the Hebrew Bible, especially the poetic passages.  The idea of a single lion ‘having surrounded’ something may be a little alarming, but the Hebrew past tense often has the force of a present in English, so if we say the lion ‘surrounds => prowls around’ that’s not an insurmountable problem.

The other possibility is to say that כָּ֝אֲרִ֗י  ‘like a lion’ will originally have been some suitable verb.  The Septuagint translators appear to have decided it was or should be כַּרוּ , from the verb כָּרָה ‘dig’.  That may be possible–there’s some discussion here and here.

Greek and English texts

If the LXX translators saw (or thought they saw) כָּרָה, then the obvious translation would have been ’ορύσσω,  aor 3 pl ὤρυξαν, as we see above.  Unfortunately, neither ’ορύσσω nor כָּרָה can really mean ‘pierce’.  One can argue that, as with the apo koinou construction, words can be–are–used in ‘unusual” senses in the Psalms; but in that case we have to assume that the Septuagint translators saw and failed to realise it didn’t really mean what it said, while modern Bible translators know better.

Conclusion

The most conservative answer is to take the verb in the Hebrew text apo koinou, and there seems no very strong reason to reject it.  It’s very difficult to see how the Septuagintists would have written ὤρυξαν if they meant ‘pierced’, when otherwise they seem to have used perfectly normal words for ‘pierce’, such as τετραίνω (2 Ki 18:21) and τρυπάω (Ex 21:6).

Job 20:23

May 13, 2010
Our Hebrew class wondered why the Authorised Version deviated from the Hebrew text at the end of this verse, and whether it was down to Septuagint.
In the Hebrew text we have:

 יְהִ֤י׀ לְמַלֵּ֬א בִטְנֹ֗ו יְֽשַׁלַּח־בֹּ֖ו חֲרֹ֣ון אַפֹּ֑ו וְיַמְטֵ֥ר עָ֝לֵ֗ימֹו בִּלְחוּמֹֽו׃
(that may look very odd, depending on what fonts you have installed!)

The AV has:

23 When he is about to fill his belly, God shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him, and shall rain it upon him while he is eating.
(when the Hebrew would suggest….and will cause it to rain (it) upon him in his flesh.)

Septuagint has:

23. εἴ πως πληρώσαι γαστέρα αὐτοῦ ἐπαποστείλαι ἐπ’ αὐτὸν θυμὸν ὀργῆς νίψαι ἐπ’ αὐτὸν ὀδύνας

(If in some way he will fill his belly, [God] will send upon him a rage of anger to wash pains upon him–OR:…anger, [God] will wash pains upon him.)

The Vulgate has:

[23] utinam impleatur venter eius ut emittat in eum iram furoris sui et pluat super illum bellum suum
which I think is the same kind of thing, but with ‘rain’ for ‘wash’.
So the most reasonable explanation is that someone left out the waw in בִּלְחוּמֹֽו and decided to make it ‘at his food’ => while he was eating.

ἴσθι and ἴσθι

February 26, 2010
We have been asked about the imperatives of ‘know’ and ‘be’ being the same in Greek, and whether this had any connection with ‘Be still and know that I am God’.

It is true that a grammar book will give you ἴσθι (sing) and ἴστε (pl)  as imperatives from οἶδα  (I know) and  ἴσθι (sg), ἔστε (pl) from εἰμί (I am).

Unfortunately things then begin to get a bit complicated!  The verb οἶδα is interpreted as the perfect of some hypothetical verb *εἴδω (I see) with the idea ‘I have seen’ => ‘I know’, at least if we are working purely in terms of `Greek (reasoning with the corresponding Indo-European forms is probably better).  Normally there isn’t a perfect imperative in Greek any more than there is in English–ἴσθι and ἴστε look like root aorist imperatives formed from ἰδ- to me, but whatever.

So even though it exists one would feel a bit uncomfortable at using the imperative of οἶδα and would prefer to use some other verb for ‘know’ if possible.  Similarly, (on the one hand) it’s more idiomatic to have one verb to express the idea ‘be still’ and (on the other) if there wasn’t one and you needed two words you’d prefer keep + still, become + still, or something similar.

It’s really just a coincidence that the two singular imperatives coincide–the first root is ἰδ-, but *ἰδθι isn’t allowed in Greek, so you get ἴσθι.  The roots for ‘to be’ include ἰς-/ἐς-, so ἴσθι and ἔστε are comprehensible enough.

I think the phrase quoted comes from Ps 46:

הַרְפּ֣וּ וּ֭דְעוּ כִּי־אָנֹכִ֣י אֱלֹהִ֑ים אָר֥וּם בַּ֝גֹּויִ֗ם אָר֥וּם בָּאָֽרֶץ׃

LXX gives this as:

σχολάσατε καὶ γνῶτε ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ θεός ὑψωθήσομαι ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ὑψωθήσομαι ἐν τῇ γῇ.

So as we’d expect ‘be still’ is represented by one word and word other than οἶδα is used for ‘to know’.  And it all turns out to be plural anyway!