Studies In The Septuagintal Texts Of Leviticus -- By: Harold M. Wiener

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 070:279 (Jul 1913)
Article: Studies In The Septuagintal Texts Of Leviticus
Author: Harold M. Wiener

Studies In The Septuagintal Texts Of Leviticus

Harold M. Wiener, M.A.


For the study of the Septuagintal text or texts of Leviticus we depend on four groups of authorities — MSS., versions of the LXX, citations in patristic and other ancient writings, and extant Hexaplar notes. Each one of these is encumbered with peculiar difficulties, and the final result of a presentation of their evidence is generally to leave a feeling of hopeless bewilderment in the mind of the inquirer. Nevertheless, from time to time one lights on some more or less satisfactory clue which helps to unravel some part of the tangled skein; and it is with the result of such clues and with their use that the present inquiry is concerned. I stumbled on one while examining Leviticus xvi. for another purpose, and was led to look into the matter further by the results I there obtained.

It is necessary, first of all, to glance at the history of the Septuagint. The greatest landmark is the edition of Origen known as the Hexapla, from its six columns, giving the Hebrew text, a Greek transliteration, and the four versions of the LXX, Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion. Origen patched and mended the Septuagintal text, with the help of the other versions, to bring it into accord with the Hebrew text of his day; and in the process he used asterisks to denote additions to the old Greek, and obels to mark passages

found in the Greek but not in the Hebrew. We know of two important later recensions: those of Lucian, used in Syria. etc.; and of Hesychius, which had currency in Egypt. There was, further, an edition, on the basis of the Hexapla, by Eusebius and Pamphilus. Quotations in authorities before Origen should give us a pre-Hexaplar text, and later the fathers of Antioch should quote Lucian, and the Egyptian fathers (notably Cyril) Hesychius. Thus we ought, theoretically, to find three main types of text in our MSS., and be able to connect these with versions and fathers; while a fourth type of text should be attested by the earlier quotations. In practice this is not altogether the case.

The first qualification to be made is not very serious. We sometimes find in older authorities readings which are attributed to a later translator or editor; e.g. Philo will present the text of the later Symmachus. Such instances merely suggest that the known translators often used earlier materials. Similarly Lucian no doubt presented an edition of the text that had been current in Syria before his time, and Hesychius presumably incorporated earlier Egyptian readings.

There are, however, more serious matters. Our MSS. have suffered from all the usual faults of a MS. tradition; but, in addition,...

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