A Literary Critical Comparison Of The Masoretic Text And Septuagint Of Daniel 2-7 -- By: Tim Meadowcroft

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 45:1 (NA 1994)
Article: A Literary Critical Comparison Of The Masoretic Text And Septuagint Of Daniel 2-7
Author: Tim Meadowcroft


A Literary Critical Comparison Of The Masoretic Text And Septuagint Of Daniel 2-71

Tim Meadowcroft

One of the many challenges of the book of Daniel is that the Septuagint version of the book diverges from the Masoretic Text (MT) in significant ways, especially, but not only, in chapters 3-6. At the same time, another version known as Theodotion has become the well known and better attested Greek version of Daniel. Neither of these phenomena on their own are unique in the Greek Bible. The apparent freedom of the translators of Job or Proverbs is well known, and the presence of a differing Greek tradition is also a feature of the history of the book of Esther. What is unique about the Greek translation of Daniel is that somewhere in the history of the Greek Bible the Septuagint of Daniel was replaced by Theodotion, which is much closer to the Masoretic Text, as the authoritative Greek version.

My purpose in this dissertation is to explore the curious situation outlined above by applying the tools of narrative criticism to a comparison of the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint of Daniel 2-7. The choice of those particular chapters is based partly on the fact that they are in Aramaic in MT, and partly on form critical work which identifies chapters 2-7 as a coherent unit within the book as a whole. The choice of the particular tools of narrative criticism aids in a consideration of whether or not the two versions differ significantly in the way in which they tell their stories. Such an approach seeks to treat the Septuagint as a literary creation with its own integrity, and as

a collection of writings that at some stage has possibly been accorded authoritative status, where more often than not it has been treated simply as a mine of historical critical information to be quarried in assessing the Masoretic Text.

The thesis undertakes the comparison chapter by chapter, but at each stage considers the way the particular story in question relates to the wider unit of which it is a part. The order of treatment is informed by Lenglet’s analysis of the literary structure of Daniel, namely that the Masoretic Text is in the form of a chiasm centred around chapters 4-5. I treat those central stories first before moving to chapters 3 and 6, and finally the outer pairing of chapters 2 and 7. I dr...

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