Leonard Greenspoon and Olivier Munnich, eds. VIII Congress of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies: Paris 1992. Society of Biblical Literature Septuagint and Cognate Studies, no. 41. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1995. ISBN: 0-7885-0208-5. Pp. xi+401. US $54.95.
1. These twenty-four papers evoke a splendid meeting of the IOSCS in Paris in July 1992 at the noble College de France. In preparing this review of the proceedings for TC, I am conscious that the literary form of book reviews for electronic publication is still developing. One important benefit of electronic publication could be that collections of essays or conference papers can now be reviewed at greater length than is customary in hard copy publications. On the other hand, the lack of restriction of space could become a mixed blessing. Reflection on this has led to a division of my review into two parts: first, a "table of contents" of the book, then a more detailed review of each contribution.
2. The book contains the following articles.
3. As might be expected, the fully flowering French school was at the centre of the meeting, and the book appropriately opens with a paper from Marguerite Harl, leader and inspiration of the school. She takes up the interesting question of the relationship between the "paraphrase" of Flavius Josephus and the LXX text, with particular reference to the book of Deuteronomy. Josephus shows no sign of using the highly original lexical terms coined by the LXX translators to deal with the terms specific to Judaism. The important conclusion drawn from this is that for the Pentateuch Josephus cannot be shown to have drawn on any particular textual tradition--Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek. Harl also points to interesting links between the lexical choices of Josephus and terms found in the Theodotionic texts and those of Aquila and Symmachus.
4. Zipora Talshir has a wonderfully intelligent approach to the question of the comparison of the LXX with corresponding Hebrew texts. Rightly, she picks up threads of earlier scholars who insisted that the LXX was not just a translation by a series of workers whose value for the scholar was somehow diminished by the Tendenz which exercised an influence. The LXX translators were themselves editors of the text, and the various approaches and devices can also give us an insight into the editorial processes by which the text reached its present forms. Talshir follows the profitable line of comparing the work of two people editing the book of Kings: the translator of the Third book of Kingdoms and the Chronicler.
5. Raija Sollamo contributes a paper that continues one she gave at the Leuven IOSCS meeting in 1989 and that was published in the same series as the volume under review (SBLSCS 31, 1991). Thus she completes her study of the pleonastic anaphoric pronoun by presenting here material from Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. This is typical of the careful work of the Finnish school, to which the scholarly world will be permanently indebted. The material at hand provides a useful index for comparison among the translators of the Pentateuch.
6. The Finnish theme is continued by Ilmari Soisalon-Soininen, who teases out some of the issues involved in attempting the translation of the book of Proverbs. Soisalon-Soininen looks at the Old Greek translation of the book of Proverbs and reflects on issues of modern translation of the same book.
7. Detlef Fraenkel examines Exodus 25ff. and 35ff. and shows some of the creative tension between norms of translation and the style of the individual translator in the Pentateuch. He speaks of "Übersetzungskunst", the art of translation, in these difficult passages. His deep knowledge of the texts, and the ease with which he marshalls grammatical and stylistic phenomena, make this study totally convincing.
8. Gilles Dorival, editor of the book of Numbers in La Bible d'Alexandrie, gives a very useful paper on some distinctive features of the LXX of the book of Numbers. It is particularly interesting to read this with Zipora Talshir's article still fresh in one's mind. The distinctive features of the LXX Numbers are not only pointed out with respect to the MT, but also with respect to the translators of the other books of the Pentateuch. Like Talshir, Dorival avoids easy generalisations and points instead to ways in which the translators and their work might be characterised with greater subtlety.
9. Anneli Aejmelaeus stresses the need to pay attention to the Old Greek translation, in those sections of 1 Samuel where it can be identified, in considering questions concerning the identity of the textual basis for the Lucianic Text found in boc2e2. The solutions are still not evident. Initially, study of the LXX of 1 Samuel seems to raise as many questions as it solves. Professor Aejmelaeus has done a great service in showing how the study of the translation character of Samuel-Kings, as well as the actual equivalents used, is a methodologically sound way of moving toward a solution of the questions.
10. José Ramón Busto Saiz examines the Antiochene text of 2 Samuel 22. He compares the text with the parallel passage in Psalm 18, including the Hexaplaric evidence from the palimpsest O.39 from the Ambrosian Library in Milan. He also draws on some readings from 4QSama to support the case for dependence of the Antiochene text for 2 Samuel 22 on the Hebrew.
11. Victoria Spottorno comes back to the question of the text of Josephus for the last two books of Kings in his Antiquities. This follows her earlier work on the similar question in relation to 1 and 2 Samuel. Again, she finds that Josephus' text is dependent on a Greek text that was at the first stages of the development of the Antiochene text.
12. Natalio Fernández Marcos also deals with the Antiochene text of 1-2 Kings, examining the Vetus Latina. Having added to the arguments for a contact between the Old Latin and the Hebrew tradition, Fernández Marcos goes on to consider the interpretation of these contacts. Avoiding a simplistic solution that posits a Hebrew original for the variant readings, he considers that some of the readings may have come to the Vetus Latina through a Greek Vorlage, while others came indirectly through the influence of the various revisions that were circulating, and in particular those collected in the Hexapla. Fernández Marcos has examined more texts and developed his observations in Scribes and Translators: Septuagint and Old Latin in the Books of Kings (Leiden: Brill, 1994).
13. Alexander Rofé's examination of Jeremiah 52 argues that in this passage the shorter text of the LXX in references to the exile is a curtailment of a longer text found in its Vorlage, and that this is one instance where the longer text is older. Rofé restates his position that the editing of biblical books progressed by both accretion and detraction.
14. Al Pietersma looks at the question of what happened to the acrostic feature of Lam 1-4 in Greek translation. The manuscript tradition in Hebrew, Syriac and the Vulgate seems to draw attention to the acrostic features. Although a majority of Greek textual witnesses label the alphabetic strophes with the names of the Hebrew letters in Greek script, it is not clear whether this feature is original or secondary in the Greek text. Rahlfs judged them secondary and omitted them both from his text and from his apparatus, largely because in chapters 2-4 the Greek text shows a reversal of the letters pe and ayin to the "usual" alphabetic order but not a reversal of their corresponding strophes. Ziegler follows Rahlfs in omitting names of the Hebrew letters from both the text and the apparatus of his critical edition. Pietersma argues for the originality of the presence of these verse markers in the Greek translation, presenting a closely argued case that both deals with Rahlfs' arguments and advances new elements based on the nature of Greek Lamentations.
15. Peter W. Flint considers the 39 Psalms manuscripts from the Judaean Desert and presents a great deal of useful material relating them to the Greek Psalter. This material was published by Flint in greater detail after the conference in The Dead Sea Psalms Scrolls and the Book of Psalms, Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah, no. 17 (Leiden: Brill, 1995), but the reader will find here a very useful and detailed study.
16. A second paper on the Psalter, by R. G. Jenkins, looks again at Jerome's letter to Sunnia and Fretela. The readings cited by Jerome are compared with the Milan and Cambridge fragments of the Hexaplaric Psalter. When they are related to the text of the Syrohexaplaric Psalter, the question of the relation of SyrHex to the Hexapla comes back into focus. Although SyrHex is often accepted as Lucianic, Jenkins argues that the question should be re-opened and that the consensus is unjustified. He further suggests that the best explanation of the evidence is that the Syrohexaplaric Psalter is Tetraplaric rather than Hexaplaric.
17. Johan Lust's lexicographical concerns emerge in his study of the messianic connotations of the Hebrew and Greek texts of Balaam's third and fourth oracles. He concludes that there is hardly any reason to argue that the LXX version of Num 24:17 is more messianic than the MT, even though the appearance of the term <grc>anqrwpos</grc> is hard to explain.
18. Scholars studying the LXX tend to see it either as a document written in koine Greek or as a translation of a Hebrew text, matching Greek grammatical categories to Hebrew ones. Takamitsu Muraoka looks at uses of the infinitive in arguing for an approach that avoids the polarity of much conventional LXX scholarship. This paper is doubly interesting in that it advances an approach that Muraoka intends to use in writing a syntax of the Greek of the LXX. We look forward keenly to that work, which will surely fill a great gap in LXX tools.
19. Seppo Sipilä is representative of a school that begins from the "translation technique" pole. In this article he applies the methods used by Anneli Aejmelaeus in her study of Parataxis in the Septuagint (AASF Diss. Hum. Lit. 31 [Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, 1982]) to the LXX of Joshua; by doing so he identifies aspects of translation technique in renderings of <heb>wyhy</heb> and <heb>whyh</heb>. The paper also illustrates the importance of paying attention to the context of translation of particular formulae or words.
20. In a superbly crafted article, Olivier Munnich examines the relations between three fragments of Daniel found in the fourth cave at Qumran and the ancient Greek versions of Daniel. Daniel is something of a conundrum. Although in general the text attributed to Theodotion seems to correct the Old Greek by reference to a Semitic model close to the MT, on occasion where the Old Greek is close to the MT, the text attributed to Theodotion seems to introduce a difference based on a variant Semitic Vorlage. Although Munnich is careful to take into account the margin of incertitude in discussions based on retroversions, it does seem that he has identified a convergent series of data that suggest that at places Theodotion's Vorlage differed from the proto-Masoretic Text. In particular Munnich draws on an impressive range of literary critical skills as well as text critical data to suggest that the text of Daniel 2:13-24 is a secondary addition made in Hebrew (on which the text attributed to Theodotion is based) but later translated into Aramaic as it is found in the MT.
21. We stay with Daniel in the following article, where S. Peter Cowe studies the relationship of the old Armenian and Georgian versions of Dan 3:51-90. The article ends with a tentative reconstruction of the earliest stratum of the Armenian version.
22. Frank H. Polak writes about one use of the Hebrew-Greek aligned texts of CATSS-Jerusalem: the study of the "minuses of the LXX". The dream is to be able to present "a comprehensive overview of various phenomena, so as to facilitate investigation of the actual data without exclusive dependence on general 'canons' of judgement". But of course this raises a whole series of questions of its own, and Polak's paper shows how certain criteria are used to judge whether a particular reading constitutes a "minus" or not. In this context "minus" is a neutral term that does not specify whether or not the Greek text is thought to have omitted a text from its Vorlage. Neither can a certain personal judgement be avoided in the presentation of the material under seven categories (word classes, clause structure, stylistic phenomena, sentence structure beyond the boundaries of the clause, translation technique, mechanical problems, relationship with other text forms). A particular case may be cited under several of these categories. CATSS has led the way in the application of computer techiniques to Septuagintal studies, but there still seems to be something of a gap between the possibility of gathering comprehensive data and the conclusions to be drawn from that data.
23. Johann Cook takes a very different approach in his paper, when he puts forward the case for the LXX text of Proverbs to be considered as a Jewish-Hellenistic document. The contrast between wisdom and foreign folly in the first nine chapters, which he takes to be a "representative corpus", is to be understood as a warning against foreign wisdom made by conservative Jews. The study is particularly notable in interpreting lexemes and themes against a whole pericope or chapter. In one sense Cook's final position is not far from that of Gerleman, who emphasised that the LXX Proverbs was a Hellenistic document, but noted that the acceptance of Hellenistic culture and ideas was minimal when compared to the Hellenization seen in Philo. Gerleman supposes continuity, Cook, intellectual resistance. The fulcrum may be the dating of the text.
24. John Jarick's work on the book of Ecclesiastes in patristic tradition is important. He has already published Gregory Thaumaturgos' Paraphrase of Ecclesiastes in the SBLSCS series (no. 29, 1990), as well as A Comprehensive Bilingual Concordance of the Hebrew and Greek Texts of Ecclesiastes (SBLSCS 36, 1993). In this paper he identifies ways in which the Greek and Peshitta traditions seem to harmonise the language and ideas of Ecclesiastes with the rest of the Hebrew Bible. He takes as his starting point the publication in 1988 of a manuscript from Damascus containing a sizeable fragment of a Syriac translation of the commentary on Ecclesiastes by Theodore of Mopsuestia and the biblical text cited therein. Many of the (more than one hundred) divergencies between the Syriac text in this manuscript and the Peshitta are not to be related to the influence of the Old Greek text, nor indeed to the Syrohexapla. This may indicate that the translators, commentator and transmitters did not feel bound to exactitude in dealing with the text of Ecclesiastes. An appendix lists possible variant readings in Theodore of Mopsuestia's text of Ecclesiastes.
25. The final article, by Theodore A. Bergren, studies the relationship between the two Latin recensions of 6 Ezra. He concludes that "the 'Spanish' recension is a Latin revision of the 'French' recension, probably without reference to a Greek text". Quite apart from the theory advanced, which seems convincing, this article is invaluable for its clear exposition of the nomenclature and principal manuscripts of the 2 Esdras or 4 Ezra corpus.
26. Conferences, like geese, come in flocks. Some provide as much material for the novelist as for the scholar. Really academically satisfying conferences are rare indeed, and among them must be numbered the triennial meeting of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies in conjunction with the International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament. The Paris meeting was no exception. The handsome volume in which the papers are presented is the result of extensive labour on the part of the editors, to whom we must be grateful for their patience in assembling the book from the many computerized formats in which the papers were submitted. Although perfection has not yet been reached, we have come a long way since the early days of "camera ready copy".
27. Leonard Greenspoon, one of the editors of the volume may well have got to this part of the review in some dismay that there has been no mention of his paper "The IOSCS at 25 years". This article gives a great deal of information about the IOSCS in a style which many envy but few would dare to imitate. It is a very useful introduction to the IOSCS as it completed its first 25 years. Ad multos annos!
© TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism, 1996.
Gerard Norton University of Birmingham