re:Difficult Texts

From: Steve Puluka (
Date: Fri Jan 28 2000 - 06:20:46 EST

<x-flowed> Clayton wrote on habakkuk 3:
>>Most of my troubles seem to be with the low level issues, particularly
>>syntax and lexicography. Some verses in this text
>>just don't compute. What do you folks do when you run into a situation
>>like this. You have done all the work you know how to
>>do and you are still starring at an enigma?

  Randall wrote:
>An answer that is both serious yet may sound flippant, come spend
>a year or two in Hebrew in Israel. You need to learn enough Hebrew that you
>know which low level phenomena are not problems and which ones are
>problems. (probably a vocab level around 4000+.) The ones that are truly
>problematic may be mused over, but one doesn't get worked up about what is
>not clear in the text. after all, it is the text's fault.

I would LOVE to spend a year or two in Hebrew in Israel. Perhaps after I
retire this will happen. In the mean time I ran across a very old book this
summer that has helped me in working with these problems in the Septuagint.

F C Conybeare & St. George Stock, Grammar of Septuagint Greek, Ginn &
Company, Boston 1905. Reprinted by Hendrickson Publishers, 1995.

This was a very good investment of $12. The first part of the book cites
over 100 examples of "strange" grammar in the Septuagint and their source
from Hebrew. Each example is illustrated with specific texts in the
Septuagint. There is a scripture index in the back to locate where specific
texts are discussed.

Unfortunately, Habakkuk 3 is not listed. I suspect that a good part of the
difficulty here is poetry. I love poetry. But poetry in the Septuagint is
poetry already translated, a difficult task to be sure. And we are laboring
to repeat the process off the translation. Why not go back to the Hebrew,
you may ask? Because we really cannot tell with certainty where the
differences between the Septuagint and the MT are the result of translation
and where they may have come from alternative texts.

Steve Puluka
Adult Education Instructor
Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh

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