Saturday, November 28, 2009

Emendations in Modern Versions of the LXX

As I continue to work through 1 Esdras, I've noticed that at certain points in the Rahlfs-Hanhart and Gottingen (also the work of Hanhart) editions, that conjectural emendations are preferred for several names at certain points. For instance, in 1 Esdr 2.12 (15), Hanhart prefers the conjecture of J.A. Brewer who opts for Beslemos despite the fact that Belemos is attested by both Alexandrinus and Vaticanus (see bishlam Ezra 4.7). Nothing in the text cries out for an emendation and there are several alternative spellings that could have been used if the witness of the two major codices was deemed inaccurate. Moral of the story - make sure that you read the apparatus of the LXX!!!


Anonymous said...
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Dunc and Als said...

Hi Mike,
telling you the obvious to delete the above post. The address of the website is enough to tell you it won't be edifying.


David Reimer said...

I make that two morals, with the second being more compelling than the first! ;)

Reading this post suggests two more "morals" to me: (1) if you're going to be a text critic, learn how to spell "emendation[s]" (we're 0 for 3 in this entry!), and (2) find out enough about the transmission of names in LXX mss to understand why someone of the erudition of Hanhart might find such an emendation convincing.

(Which is not to say he is infallible. Your second moral still stands!)

Michael F. Bird said...

Alas, public school education did not prepare me for the rigors of text criticism! I genuinely like Hanhart and cite his textual history of 1 Esdras at length, but I think about 5 out of 6 names in 1 Esd 2.12 (15) are based on CE from either Torrey or Bewer. Granted my TC background is NT not LXX, but I would have thought that CE are used when mss evidence is diverse, when a CE can explain the origins of other readings, or to be provide a reading that makes better sense of the context and tendencies of the author. In the case of 1 Esd 2.12, the CE seem to be better transliterations of the MT. But that assumes (a) The Semitic Vorlage of 1 Esdras was identical to the MT on the names (which is contested), and (b) that the best transliteration of names was also the original one. My gut instinct is that this is an overly liberal (i.e. generous not unorthodox) reliance on CE at this point. But if I'm missing something, some factor that is under my textual criticism radar, I'm open to correction.