Dualism In The LXX Of Prov 2:17: A Case Study In The LXX As Revisionary Translation -- By: Ronald L. Giese, Jr.

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 36:3 (Sep 1993)
Article: Dualism In The LXX Of Prov 2:17: A Case Study In The LXX As Revisionary Translation
Author: Ronald L. Giese, Jr.

Dualism In The LXX Of Prov 2:17:
A Case Study In The LXX As Revisionary Translation

Ronald L. Giese Jr.*

That authority is inherent in the LXX is clear from its use by the authors of the NT. The question, rather, is how authoritative the Greek tradition is. This in turn prompts two questions: (1) How authoritative was the LXX for the authors of the NT? (2) How authoritative should the LXX be for modern exegetes? In the present article I will deal with the second question. Discussion about the LXX as a whole is often misleading since the translation technique of one book can differ so radically from the next. I will therefore take one verse and try to argue from the particular instead of the general.

The LXX of Proverbs is of special interest since introductory works on the LXX refer to it as a “loose” or “paraphrastic” translation, often placing it at the extreme end of a spectrum opposite “literal.” To do so, however, is very misleading. Though the style of Greek is quite inconsistent, revealing various hands at work in the process of translation, with rare exceptions the LXX of Proverbs carries the sense of the Hebrew quite well. After reading claims of loose translating, students of LXX Greek would be surprised to read through the LXX of Proverbs and discover that over ninety-five percent of the book is virtually as good a translation into Greek as is true of many current translations into English.

The translator of Proverbs1 was not intent on a radical revision of the book in either a structural sense (deleting or freely composing whole verses) or a conceptual one. He refined what he found, never contradicting but qualifying. When part of a concept important to the translator was already resident within a verse the translator brought it out more specifically, qualified it in some way, or brought in a related concept. He did not change the teachings of the Hebrew text in the sense of departing from them and inserting opposing ones. He did change a few select teachings in the sense of producing a translation that communicated them in a stronger and more detailed manner.

One of the teachings deals with the kind of counsel (boulē) that the translator wishes his Jewish readership to follow.2 Wisdom, sometimes

* Ronald Giese is assistant professor of Biblical studies at Liberty University, Box 20000, Lynchburg, VA 24506.

called good counsel by the translator, is personified in the MT of Proverbs as a virtuous woman (the personification is kept in the LXX). Similarly the subject ...

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