An Analysis Of Two Early LXX Manuscripts From Qumran: 4QLXXNum And 4QLXXLeva In The Light Of Previous Studies -- By: Nicholas Petersen

Journal: Bulletin for Biblical Research
Volume: BBR 19:4 (NA 2009)
Article: An Analysis Of Two Early LXX Manuscripts From Qumran: 4QLXXNum And 4QLXXLeva In The Light Of Previous Studies
Author: Nicholas Petersen


An Analysis Of Two Early LXX Manuscripts From Qumran: 4QLXXNum And 4QLXXLeva In The Light Of Previous Studies

Nicholas Petersen

Cincinnati, Ohio

4QLXXNum and 4QLXXLev a are extensively analyzed below, and it is concluded that these manuscripts are best understood as either stylistic or clarifying revisions of the OG and that the OG is better represented by Ged. As such, this work substantiates and builds upon the previous conclusions of Patrick Skehan and John Wevers, while the conclusions of Eugene Ulrich, who found the idiosyncratic nature of these two manuscripts to be indicative of their primacy, are necessarily opposed. In addition, the proposals that Ulrich has offered to the effect that a variant Hebrew Vorlage underlies these texts are shown to be inadequate. Besides these text-critical considerations, it will be shown that 4QLXXLeva in particular exhibits some significant instances of stylistic translation technique.

Key Words: Septuagint, revision, 4QLXXLeva, 4QLXXNum, Old Greek, Vorlage, Masoretic Text

1. Introduction

The discovery of Greek translations of the Pentateuch at Qumran was a momentous event. Dating approximately four centuries prior to the oldest codices, these documents became no less significant after it was determined that they were in fact septuagintal in nature. Two of these fragmentary documents have drawn the most scrutiny to date: 4QLXXNum (4Q121 = Rahlfs 803) and 4QLXXLeva (4Q119 = Rahlfs 801).1 Other significant finds are pap4QLXXLevb (4Q120 = Rahlfs 802), pap7QLXXExod, which covers Exod 28:4-7, and 4QLXXDeut, which is identified solely by Deut 11:4.2 Concerning 4QLXXNum, Patrick Skehan originally thought

“that a somewhat awkward Greek rendering of Numbers has been reworked anciently to yield the recension contained in our later codices.”3 By 1977, Skehan had fully altered this earlier assessment, saying: “[Rahlfs 803’s] text is not such as can be supposed to underlie the form presented in later Septuagint codices; it is instead a considerable reworking of the original LXX to make it conform both in quantity and in diction to a Hebrew consonantal text nearly indistinguishable, within the limited scope of our evidence, from that of MT.”4 Shortly after this in 1982, John Wevers agreed with the essentials of this assessment, concluding that ou...

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