Re: Parallelism in Hab. 3:12 LXX

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Fri Jan 28 2000 - 06:38:16 EST

<x-rich>If I read you rightly, Clay, you're protesting more against the manner
of translating that seems to you to destroy the Hebrew poetic
parallelism rather than offering a comment about the Greek text as
such. I find the phrasing of EN APEILHi and EN QUMWi itself
interesting. You speak of the phrases as describing "the state of the
agent and/or some quality of the action," and while that's clearly the
case, I think there's a traditional grammatical category of the
instrumental dative at work here, what is normally called a "dative of
manner." What is "odd" is use of the preposition EN with these datives
of "manner"; I don't think I've seen this before (which doesn't mean
much, considering that I've not read much of the OT prophetic corpus in
the LXX, although I've read a lot in the Pentateuch and historical
books in the LXX. I haven't really checked it yet, but I wonder whether
EN with an instrumental dative of manner is ever found in classical
Attic. Well, yes, here's what LSJ at Perseus has:


OF THE INSTRUMENT, MEANS or MANNER, en puri prsantes Hom. Il. 7.429;
dsai eni desmi au=Hom. Il. 5.386, cf. Hom. Od. 12.54, etc.; but in
most cases the orig. sense may be traced, to put <italic>in</italic>
the fire and burn, <italic>in</italic>fetters and bind, etc.; so en
ponois damenta Aesch. PB 425 (lyr.); ezeuxa prtos en zugoisi kndala
IBID=au=Aesch. PB 462; ergon en kubois Ars krinei IDEM=Aesch. Seven
414; also en ophthalmoisin or en ommasin horasthai, idesthai, to see
<italic>with</italic> or <italic>before</italic> one's eyes, i.e. have
the object <italic>in</italic> one's eye, Hom. Il. 3.306, Hom. Od.
10.385, etc.; en te ti opsei diagignskein kai en ti akoi Plat.
Theaet. 206a; also en si nmn ornithas Aesch. Seven 25; also en
litais <italic>by</italic> prayers, Soph. Phil. 60; en doli
<italic>by</italic> deceit, IBID=au=Soph. Phil. 102; en logois
<italic>by</italic> words, Aesch. Lib. 613 (lyr.); apekteinan en ti
prophasei tauti Lys. 13.12, cf. Antiph. 5.59; psauein en kertomiois
glssais Soph. Ant. 961 (lyr.); en tois homoiois nomois poisantes tas
kriseis Thuc. 1.77; esp. with Verbs of showing, smainein en hierois
kai oinois Xen. Cyrop. 8.7.3; ta prachthenta . . en . . epistolais
iste ye know <italic>by</italic> letters, Thuc. 7.11; en tide rhabdi
panta poiseis Ezek.<italic>Exag.</italic>132, cf. ti=Ezek.


At any rate the post-Homeric examples (and even the Homeric, for that
matter) show usage pretty closely parallel with those you've cited in
Hab 3:12--so I guess there really is nothing distinctively Hellenistic
about it, although it doesn't seem all that common a usage either.

As for the way it's translated, this may be more a matter of taste; it
seems to me that the parallelism is pretty clearly there, even if one
is rendered as "by threatening" and the other "in anger." I too would
really prefer using "with" in both instances, and I would guess,
without having checked the Hebrew, that one would find BE or B' in both
instances there. So I agree with you that the translation as "with a
threat, with wrath" is more aesthetically satisfying, but I don't
really think the parallelism of sense is lost in the other version.

</color>At 9:44 PM -0800 1/27/00, clayton stirling bartholomew wrote:

>In Hab 3:12 MT the two clauses appear to be parallel both

>and semantically. By this I mean the parallelism is not just confined

>formal elements but also appears at the level of meaning.


>(Note: The LXX in this verse differs from the MT at several points

>that has little or no bearing on my question.)


>Hab 3:12 LXX (Rahlfs) reads:






>I have seen a recent private translation of Hab 3:12 LXX where EN

>APEILHi is rendered as the means by which the action of the verb is

>accomplished and EN QUMWi is rendered as the state in which the agent

>performs the action.


>EN APEILHi is rendered "by threatening"

>EN QUMWi is rendered "in anger"


>This rendering seems to negate the semantic parallelism. I suspect

>lexical considerations were active in making this rendering. APEILH

>often found with the meaning "threat." However LEH (vol 2. page 46)

>suggests "anger" as the best gloss for this context. Also LEH cites

> Isa 54:9 as an example in the LXX where APEILH should be rendered



>I noticed that Charles Thomson in his now ancient translation of the

>preserves the semantic parallelism:


> Charles Thomson's Rendering:


>EN APEILHi is rendered "with a threat"

>EN QUMWi is rendered "with wrath"


>I would like to suggest that both of these clauses use the EN +

>to describe the state of the agent and/or some quality of the action.

>would render them with the ambiguous English preposition "in" which

>would allow the reader to decide on one of several semantic



>EN APEILHi "in anger"

>EN QUMWi "in fury"


>I am not as concerned about how this parallel structure is glossed as

>am with preserving the semantic level of the parallelism. If anyone

>come up with arguments for abandoning the semantic level of the

>parallelism I would like to hear them.




>Clayton Stirling Bartholomew

>Three Tree Point

>P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062




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Carl W. Conrad

Department of Classics/Washington University

One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018

Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649



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