Jeremiah 32 In Its Hebrew And Greek Recensions -- By: Andrew G. Shead

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 50:2 (NA 1999)
Article: Jeremiah 32 In Its Hebrew And Greek Recensions
Author: Andrew G. Shead


Jeremiah 32 In Its Hebrew And Greek Recensions1

Andrew G. Shead

It is widely accepted that the Masoretic Text and Septuagint Version of Jeremiah reflect different Vorlagen, but no final consensus has been reached on the relationship between them. This thesis enters the debate by undertaking a close study of the text of chapter 32, with two questions constantly in mind. Firstly, can a given variant be traced back to the LXX Vorlage (henceforth LXXV), or it is to be seen as a creation of the translator? Secondly, where a variant is judged to arise from LXXV, can a decision be made as to whether it is prior or secondary to the reading of MT?

The first of these questions involves a consideration of translation technique in general, and frequently takes the discussion beyond the confines of chapter 32. It also raises the question of how decisions ought to be made when the evidence is equivocal. Does an overarching theory of translator literalism justify the conclusion in such cases that the more literal or consistent possibility is the right one, or should local considerations such as context and literary structure play a more dominant part? These questions occasionally involve inner-Greek variants and lead to engagements with Ziegler’s edition of the Greek text. I conclude that although his work is generally reliable, he depends somewhat overmuch on the canon of the consistency of the translator.

In dealing with the second question—that of priority—I set to one side the prevailing theory that the Septuagint reflects an earlier edition of the book than MT, and examine each variant on its merits. While I have found a group of variants which lends itself to this theory (in particular, expansions of proper names, filiations, divine titles and the like), there is a second group which suggests extensive haplography in the LXXV tradition, and which I contend is much more extensive than generally recognised. A third group of variants is equivocal and

depends for its interpretation on the application of extra-textual criteria, whether in the form of a general theory such as the one mentioned, or in the form of literary, exegetical or even literary-critical arguments for priority. It is at this point that the modern critic makes the deepest mark on the text, and there is a considerable danger that by applying his or her own canons of interpretive normality to the question, a text can be reconstructed which reflects both prophet, translator and critic in good measure.

In its assessment of the LXX as a translation, the p...

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