Re: Acts 2:23

Date: Thu Aug 12 1999 - 20:46:08 EDT

In a message dated 8/12/99 8:05:35 AM Pacific Daylight Time, writes:

<< I would prefer Wallace's solution of exempting translation Gk. from
 certain interpretive/semantic rules: it appears by far to be the simplest
 Pv 24.21 LXX (Rahlfs) reads:
 and MT reads:
 Note that the Gk follows the word order of the Hb. The LXX appears to be a
 1-1 literal translation at this point. The details are copied, down to the
 *lack of* a defn. art. w/ MELEK. This makes for poor translation theory,
 but often an empahsis on literal, word-for-word translation sacrifices
 accuracy of meaning for the sake of 1-1 formal correspondence, and this is
 true of various parts of the LXX. >>

Yes, but it is not true even of the context of this passage. The LXX
translator of Proverbs does not always follow the Hebrew literally, and this
still leaves unanswered the following question: Why did the LXX translator of
Proverbs not reword this theologically significant text so that no confusion
would arise regarding identity of referent, IF the LXX translator accepted
article-noun-KAI-noun constructions the way Sharp did? (See below on the
question of whether he was simply "messy.")

<< As to the question of Ignatius et al. quoting the LXX w/o emendation (I
 could not verify this right now, but take your word for it), that should
 not be surprising, even if the exact quotation went against the common
 Semantic (Sharp's) rule. After all, the context is probably enough to
 counteract the interpretation (God = king) that is predicted by Sharp's
 rule. >>

I agree. Indeed, Ignatius is not even making a word-for-word quotation of the
LXX at this point (though he may be quoting a variant reading), so Wallace's
suggestion that the vocative hUIE disrupts the semantics of Sharp's rule in
this instance does not come into play for Ignatius, and it cannot be shown
conclusively to have any bearing on the LXX of Proverb 24:21.

<< And I might even ask rhetorically (but gently), when was the last
 time that you consciously modified an standard translation on-the-fly, w/o
 consulting the original language first? I don't think such intentional
 emendations would have been made lightly. (The real questions to ask arise
 when there are variants between the LXX and quotations!) >>

Then what are we to make of the intentional emendations in the surrounding
context of Proverbs 24, in the LXX? I gather from your earlier comments that
you have not checked this matter out thoroughly. May I (gently) suggest that
you do so, prior to sharing your views about what the LXX translator may or
may not have 'intentionally' done?

 <<On the other hand, though, I would not think it appropriate to put the
 exemption for translation Gk into Sharp's (or any other Semantic or even
 Syntactic) rule. Sharp's rule stands on its own, and we must simply invoke
 the principle that sometimes translations are messy/imperfect, as in the
 case of Pv 24.21 LXX! >>

No, we "must" not do any such thing. It is unnecessary to make any such
assumptions, especially when the passage is not only found in a translation
(LXX) but in the works of Greek writers in the first century and following.
Did they, too, 'mess up'? Instead of taking the easy way out and assuming
that Sharp's rule "stands on its own," it, like every other rule of grammar,
should be evaluated per occurrence, and each of the nuances and differences
of the text where an instance of the rule presents itself should be
considered afresh, without any assumptions hindering our attempt to exegete

<<That is, the general principle that 'translations do
 not always follow the grammar of the receptor language to convey the
 correct meaning' comes into conflict with and overrides grammatical rules
 in specific passages, as in the ex. above. This does not mean that *no*
 translated passage will follow Sharp's rule, but that in some instance(s)
 they *might* fail to *because* they are translation Gk! >>

Of course, they "might." But in this instance we are not forced into thinking
that the LXX translator of Proverbs was slavishly literal; he clearly was not
so tied to the Hebrew throughout his work. When we couple this with the fact
that other writers quote the essence of the text and still do not write the
passage as if they recognize some rule that "stands on its own," then we have
a right to question that rule, and determine its value in interpreting other
texts where, similar to Proverbs 24:21, the context makes matters quite
clear, as you yourself acknowledged.

Greg Stafford

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