Re: Greek textual problem: Deut // Heb (fwd)

Cross-posted from IOUDAIOS

Forwarded message:
> Date:         Tue, 9 Nov 1993 14:29:17 -0500
> From: Albert Pietersma <pietersm@EPAS.UTORONTO.CA>
> Subject:      Re: Greek textual problem: Deut // Heb
> To: Multiple recipients of list IOUDAIOS <@PSUVM.PSU.EDU:IOUDAIOS@YORKVM1.BITNET>
> Some days ago Bob Kraft transmitted a posting on the "enoxlh/en xolh"
> problem of Heb 12:15 and DeutLXX 29:18. Now that I have a few moments
> to spare, I'd like to offer some comments, though I have not read the
> literature--which surely entails advantages as well as disadvantages.
> Peter Katz (Walters) reputedly wants to read "en xolh" in both texts
> and he is backed by P46 (Chester Beatty II), which is edited to read
> "enxhlh" with the first h dotted, though the plate suggests o instead.
> I am not convinced by neither
> ..
> I begin with Deut. The original text of Deut is not in doubt on the
> reading of "en xolh," though, as I see it, the Greek translation was
> an open invitation for later development/alteration, because it
> rendered the Hebrew in a wooden and somewhat distorting fashion.
> Whereas MT speaks of a plant/root producing poisonous and bitter
> fruit, in the Greek this becomes a poisonous/"gallic" and bitter plant
> that sprouts up. Two renderings of the Hebrew are of particular
> interest: 1. prh ("bearing fruit") is UNIQUELY rendered by (anw)
> phyousa ("growing up"), and 2. r'sh (a poison from plant OR animal) is
> translated by xolh, a word used in Greek predominantly for gall and
> sporadically for venom (Job 20:14Theod + 2x in LSJ). That xolh, apart
> from DeutLXX 29:1(cf. 32:32), ever refers to poison from a PLANT seems
> highly doubtful. If that conclusion is correct, DeutLXX has created a
> problematic metaphor for speakers of Greek: a plant sprouting up with
> gall in it or, possibly, a plant growing in gall +!
> Now Heb 12:15. One has essentially two syntactic options:1. to accept
> the text as it stands with "enoxlh" as verb, or 2. to read "en xolh"
> with LXX (+ P46) and, consequently, presuppose an equative verb ("lest
> some one BE a root" etc). I am inclined to favour the text as it
> stands for the following reasons:
> 1. Given the problematic metaphor produced by DeutLXX, it is not
> difficult to imagine that some one somewhere in transmission history
> would modify it. It is of course possible that some scribe did so and
> passed on his text to the author of Hebrews (or attribute it to a
> subsequent[Christian] scribe), but more likely is some one who was more
> creatively involved with the Deut text, namely, the author of Hebrews himself.
> 2.That the author of Hebrews was creatively at work is clear even
> apart from the reading under discussion:note that Deut's "root
> (growing up with/in gall) and bitterness" becomes a "root OF
> bitterness" (how shall we interpret this attributive?). I would
> further suggest that revamping Deut's "en xolh" as "enoxlh" is a
> stroke of creative genius, since a) it gets rid of the problematic
> metaphor and b) it retains the written text of Deut, though changing
> the sense. He merely rearranges the letters.
> 3. That the author of Hebrews takes Deut's "en xolh" as a point of
> departure for his creative endeavours is suggested by the verb he ends
> up with in his text, namely, enoxlew, a word hardly consistent with
> the plant metaphor and, I would submit, barely appropriate.
> In conclusion, positing a Greek Vorlage for Hebrews 12:15 which
> already had "enoxlh" is not only unnecessary but suggests that the
> author of Hebrews was more bookish in his approach than the verse as
> whole warrants. Most importantly, it fails to give him due credit for
> his creative use of the LXX. I suspect that Deut 29:18 is no isolated
> example in his work.
> ------------------
> Al Pietersma, Near Eastern Studies
> University of Toronto
> pietersm@epas.utoronto.ca