Event Title

Reading the Old Testament in Greek: A Text-critical Study of Daniel 8:23–25

Location

Seminary N335

Start Date

9-2-2018 12:30 PM

End Date

9-2-2018 1:00 PM

Description

The importance of the Septuagint for biblical exegesis and theology in the context of the textual criticism is unrivaled. In the case of the Old Testament, Tov highlights that “the ultimate purpose of the text-critical analysis of the LXX is to isolate deviations in the translation that presumably were based on a Hebrew Vorlage different from MT and, accordingly, to reconstruct elements in that Vorlage” (The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research [Winona Lake: Eisenbraus, 2015], 18). Whenever these reconstructed elements represent a probable original reading, this should be taken seriously by the exegete. However, sometimes the task can be considerably complex. The objective of this paper is to illustrate how the text-critical use of the LXX can be productive and hazardous at the same time. Any hasty conclusions can prevent the interpreter from gaining precious insights or lead him or her to wrong judgments. The choice of Dan 8:23–25 has at least two reasons. First, the discussion around the Greek text of Daniel continues creating divisions in the academic world. Its peculiar characteristics, combined with the complexities of the Hebrew text has fostered the debate over the years. Recently, the debate involving the translation technique of LXX’s translators and the category “literal” or “free” has gained momentum. The analysis of Dan 8:23–25 seems to contribute significantly to the discussion. Second, since the interpretation of this chapter is key in its theological structure, the textual criticism of Daniel 8 is crucial for the Adventist theology. If the LXX textual differences from MT “disfigure” the actions of the little horn and the attack against “the prince of princes” (as is the case in Dan 8:9–13, 25) to such an extent that its interpretation is completely altered, the exegetes should seriously inquire: do the differences between the LXX and the MT imply a different Vorlage? If yes, what would the most original be: MT or LXX’s Vorlage? Even a slight difference in Daniel 8:9–13, 23-25 could have huge consequences for the Adventist interpretation. However, the analysis of Dan 8:23–25 demonstrates how the LXX translator was working to transmit accurately the text of his Vorlage. Despite the many differences between the MT and LXX, particularly in verse 25, the deviations found in this section are the result of unintentional mechanic errors. The changes are not part of a conscious attempt to adapt the text into the historical situation of the translator, as Rösel has vindicated. As in the past, it is in the present, any attempt to impose on the biblical text a particular interpretation or a personal view could not be considered honest with the author’s intentions. Although every interpreter/translator has their own presuppositions, it is necessary as much as possible to evaluate them separating true from false preconceptions. To this end, the temporal distance and possibility of seeing the mistakes and successes of the predecessors can become an advantage for the modern interpreter of the Bible. In this point, the LXX’s contribution is essential.

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Feb 9th, 12:30 PM Feb 9th, 1:00 PM

Reading the Old Testament in Greek: A Text-critical Study of Daniel 8:23–25

Seminary N335

The importance of the Septuagint for biblical exegesis and theology in the context of the textual criticism is unrivaled. In the case of the Old Testament, Tov highlights that “the ultimate purpose of the text-critical analysis of the LXX is to isolate deviations in the translation that presumably were based on a Hebrew Vorlage different from MT and, accordingly, to reconstruct elements in that Vorlage” (The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research [Winona Lake: Eisenbraus, 2015], 18). Whenever these reconstructed elements represent a probable original reading, this should be taken seriously by the exegete. However, sometimes the task can be considerably complex. The objective of this paper is to illustrate how the text-critical use of the LXX can be productive and hazardous at the same time. Any hasty conclusions can prevent the interpreter from gaining precious insights or lead him or her to wrong judgments. The choice of Dan 8:23–25 has at least two reasons. First, the discussion around the Greek text of Daniel continues creating divisions in the academic world. Its peculiar characteristics, combined with the complexities of the Hebrew text has fostered the debate over the years. Recently, the debate involving the translation technique of LXX’s translators and the category “literal” or “free” has gained momentum. The analysis of Dan 8:23–25 seems to contribute significantly to the discussion. Second, since the interpretation of this chapter is key in its theological structure, the textual criticism of Daniel 8 is crucial for the Adventist theology. If the LXX textual differences from MT “disfigure” the actions of the little horn and the attack against “the prince of princes” (as is the case in Dan 8:9–13, 25) to such an extent that its interpretation is completely altered, the exegetes should seriously inquire: do the differences between the LXX and the MT imply a different Vorlage? If yes, what would the most original be: MT or LXX’s Vorlage? Even a slight difference in Daniel 8:9–13, 23-25 could have huge consequences for the Adventist interpretation. However, the analysis of Dan 8:23–25 demonstrates how the LXX translator was working to transmit accurately the text of his Vorlage. Despite the many differences between the MT and LXX, particularly in verse 25, the deviations found in this section are the result of unintentional mechanic errors. The changes are not part of a conscious attempt to adapt the text into the historical situation of the translator, as Rösel has vindicated. As in the past, it is in the present, any attempt to impose on the biblical text a particular interpretation or a personal view could not be considered honest with the author’s intentions. Although every interpreter/translator has their own presuppositions, it is necessary as much as possible to evaluate them separating true from false preconceptions. To this end, the temporal distance and possibility of seeing the mistakes and successes of the predecessors can become an advantage for the modern interpreter of the Bible. In this point, the LXX’s contribution is essential.