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Jeremiah in LXX vs. Hebrew Bible

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Jeremiah in LXX vs. Hebrew Bible

Postby Paul Derouda » Sat Dec 02, 2017 10:43 pm

While reading the Wikipedia article on Babylon, I checked a reference to Jeremiah 50-51. The text of the Bible translation I'm reading seems to be quite different what the LXX Greek text says. Apparently, the Greek and the Hebrew versions are quite different here, or can someone explain to me what's going on.

I reckon this is probably obvious to people who know their Scripture better than me...
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Re: Jeremiah in LXX vs. Hebrew Bible

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:07 pm

Actually it's not at all obvious to anyone until they try to go there. LXX of Jeremiah doesn't mirror the Hebrew Masoretic Text (MT). LXX Chapters 27 and 28 appear to follow MT 50-51 with numerous significant variants. Emmanuel Tov's MT-LXX parallel aligned database demonstrates numerous irregularities in the Hebrew Greek correspondence relationships. The most common are referred to as Plus and Minus. Those are the simple problems. The following is a citation from the notes of Emmanuel Tov's MT-LXX.

10 {...} Equivalent reflected elsewhere in the text, disregarded by indexing program.

11 ~ Difference in sequence between MT and LXX, denoted after the first Hebrew word and before the second one, as well as between two Greek words.

12 ~~~ Equivalent of the Hebrew or Greek word(s) occurring elsewhere in the verse or context (transposition).

13 {..~} Stylistic or grammatical transposition.


14 --- In the Greek column: Hebrew counterpart lacking in the LXX (minus in the LXX).

15 --+ In col a. of the Hebrew: element ‘added’ in the Greek (plus in the LXX).

16 '' Long minus or plus (at least four lines).


You might like to read the Introduction to NETS Jeremiah:
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/nets/edition/ ... s-nets.pdf

The Step Bible Jeremiah 50(27) in the LXX:

https://www.stepbible.org/?q=version=LX ... NVHU&pos=1
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Re: Jeremiah in LXX vs. Hebrew Bible

Postby Paul Derouda » Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:43 am

OK, thanks. The introduction to NETS Jeremiah was a bit over my head, since for a start I don't know Hebrew. Is there anything more appropriate to a lay person?

Is NETS considered the standard translation of LXX, or are there other competing translations? The very existence of NETS was unknown to me until now, so you'll have to bear with my ignorance...
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Re: Jeremiah in LXX vs. Hebrew Bible

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:55 pm

Yes, the NETS is now considered the standard translation of the LXX, based on the latest text critical work, and quite a fine team of scholars. There is also the LES (Lexham English Septuagint) that one can get through Logos which is very good for quick reference work. Brenton not only uses archaic English but is occasionally idiosyncratic, and based on an essentially diplomatic text.

For a general intro to the LXX, there is always Jobs/Silva:

https://www.amazon.com/Invitation-Septu ... 080103115X
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Re: Jeremiah in LXX vs. Hebrew Bible

Postby jeidsath » Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:50 pm

It's nice to have the NETS, and I've used it several times for a crib, but I don't really agree with their decision to base it on the NRSV. I've run into places in the Psalms where the translation wouldn't be (in my perhaps ignorant opinion) the first thing that a Greek reader would think, unless he were already acquainted with the Hebrew version (I assume). This maybe gets us closer to the translators, but farther from the readers who used the text.

EDIT: Brenton is also perfectly good for anyone who knows Greek and just needs a hint every once and a while. Also, the definition of "archaic English" varies widely. I can't imagine that anyone who could read the NETS (or the NRSV) would be unable to read Brenton. He writes in good 19th century English.
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Re: Jeremiah in LXX vs. Hebrew Bible

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:18 pm

jeidsath wrote:It's nice to have the NETS, and I've used it several times for a crib, but I don't really agree with their decision to base it on the NRSV. I've run into places in the Psalms where the translation wouldn't be (in my perhaps ignorant opinion) the first thing that a Greek reader would think, unless he were already acquainted with the Hebrew version (I assume). This maybe gets us closer to the translators, but farther from the readers who used the text.


Interesting. Examples?

EDIT: Brenton is also perfectly good for anyone who knows Greek and just needs a hint every once and a while. Also, the definition of "archaic English" varies widely. I can't imagine that anyone who could read the NETS (or the NRSV) would be unable to read Brenton. He writes in good 19th century English.


This is about the only use of Brenton that I can think of, with both better English and better Greek texts available.

"I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage."

I would call that archaic. Good 19th century English does not include "thou" and "thee."
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Re: Jeremiah in LXX vs. Hebrew Bible

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:21 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:Yes, the NETS is now considered the standard translation of the LXX, based on the latest text critical work, and quite a fine team of scholars. {...}

For a general intro to the LXX, there is always Jobs/Silva:


Jobs/Silva are not going to help you with Greek Jeremiah . It's pretty hard to conceptualize a general introduction to what is popularly referred to as the Septuagint. Peter J. Williams argues that the term Septuagint has no referent[1]. [edit] I listened, once again, to the hour-long version of this lecture delivered at Phoenix Seminary. The first part is a bit tedious, but it eventually covers a lot of territory relevant to the question at hand.

Greek Jeremiah includes Hebrew poetry in an isomorphic hyper-literal inconsistent form. The translator took pains to represent, using a sort of pigeon Greek, the details of the Hebrew syntactical surface structure, including Hebrew particles that have no equivalent in Greek. The translator also introduced transliterations.

Reading a hyper-literal translation of Hebrew Jeremiah in one's native[2] language might be a good place to start. Hebrew prophecy is a genre familiar to folks who grew up hearing and reading old fashion literal renderings in their own language. Hebrew syntax isn't nearly as difficult as Attic or even Koine Greek. If you focus on syntax, without getting bogged down in morphology, the basic patterns of Hebrew narrative and poetry can be acquired with very little pain. Hyper-literal translations are one place to start and they are very popular in English. Don't know about Finnish.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmpnJ1cgh58

[2] STEP Bible includes hundreds of languages, they have two Finnish versions.
https://www.stepbible.org/?q=version=Fi ... AVED&pos=1
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Re: Jeremiah in LXX vs. Hebrew Bible

Postby jeidsath » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:45 pm

Barry, I have just opened up the NETS Psalms translation to a random Psalm and read the first verse:

Psalm 42(43), verse 1:

Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
from a nation not devout;
from a person, unjust and deceitful, rescue me!

The Greek from STEP Bible:

Κρῖνόν με, ὁ θεός, καὶ δίκασον τὴν δίκην μου ἐξ ἔθνους οὐχ ὁσίου, ἀπὸ ἀνθρώπου ἀδίκου καὶ δολίου ῥῦσαί με.

I would object to both "vindicate" and "defend my cause," for this Greek. And both are, in fact, direct quotes from the NRSV.

There is a NETS footnote to "Vindicate" which reads "Judge = Ra." Ra[hlfs] is the text which he is translating, so this footnote confuses me. These "= Ra" notes are frequent in the Psalms, but the exact meaning is not explained in the introduction.

***

As far as the idea that the presence of a "thee" or "thou" every now and then can make something archaic English, I also object. It's window dressing and confuses no one. Notice how Brenton has cleaned up the more difficult "which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt" of the KJV/Douay-Rheims. But even that would hardly deserve a word like "archaic."

The people who could be confused by Brenton's window dressing, or even by the more difficult KJV version of this verse, would also have trouble parsing a letter from their doctor. And they would certainly would never be caught reading something as esoteric as a translation of the Septuagint.
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Re: Jeremiah in LXX vs. Hebrew Bible

Postby Paul Derouda » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:22 pm

Indeed like Joel I find at least "vindicate" surprising here. If the whole point of having a separate translation of LXX is to see how it differs from the Masoretic version, it's strange practice to depend on a translation of the Masoretic version to do it.

Here's 42 from Brenton: (http://www.ecmarsh.com/lxx/)

"Judge me, o God, and plead my cause, against an ungodly nation: deliver me from the unjust and crafty man."

Looks better to me, as well as at least equally readable.
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Re: Jeremiah in LXX vs. Hebrew Bible

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:43 am

jeidsath wrote:Barry, I have just opened up the NETS Psalms translation to a random Psalm and read the first verse:

Psalm 42(43), verse 1:

Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
from a nation not devout;
from a person, unjust and deceitful, rescue me!

The Greek from STEP Bible:

Κρῖνόν με, ὁ θεός, καὶ δίκασον τὴν δίκην μου ἐξ ἔθνους οὐχ ὁσίου, ἀπὸ ἀνθρώπου ἀδίκου καὶ δολίου ῥῦσαί με.

I would object to both "vindicate" and "defend my cause," for this Greek. And both are, in fact, direct quotes from the NRSV.

There is a NETS footnote to "Vindicate" which reads "Judge = Ra." Ra[hlfs] is the text which he is translating, so this footnote confuses me. These "= Ra" notes are frequent in the Psalms, but the exact meaning is not explained in the introduction.


Ra[hlfs] is specifically "Psalmi et Odi" and the NETS translators primarily used the Gottingen text, which, however, does not differ from what you have cited above or the edition of Swete which I am accustomed to use. Did you read the entire philosophical explanation of the NETS translators' decision to use the NRSV as the base English text? Quite interesting and informative. The very thing you find objectionable is precisely what the NETS translators feel they are bound to do with their translation.

As for Psalm 42:1(43:1 MT), do you not see that the the Hebrew, the English translation of the NRSV based on the Hebrew, and the LXX all may capture the sense to which you find yourself objecting? On "Vindicate" the Hebrew is שָׁפַט, which includes in its semantic range:

—2. to pass judgement, meaning to obtain judgement for (with acc. of the person) 1K 832/2C 623, שָׁפְטֵנִי Ps 79 261 3524 431; שָׁפְטָה מִשְׁפָּטִי obtain justice for me, or alternatively help me to get my rights (ZüB) Lam 359; obj. יָתוֹם וָרָֽךְ Ps 1018 (= I i 4; I ii 2); cf. שָׁפַט מִיָּד to obtain judgement for someone against someone else, meaning to save, deliver; may the Lord vindicate me against you (NRSV) 1S 2416; he has delivered him from the power of his enemies (NRSV) 2S 1819; he has vindicated you this day delivering you from the power of of all who rose up against you (NRSV) 2S 1831.

Koehler, L., Baumgartner, W., Richardson, M. E. J., & Stamm, J. J. (1994–2000). The Hebrew and Aramaic lexicon of the Old Testament (electronic ed., p. 1625). Leiden: E.J. Brill.

Essentially meaning to make a favorable judgement on behalf of the one being judged. The range of κρίνω certainly allows a similar usage, particularly if someone were asking for a judgment (one tends to ask for a judgment that is favorable).

καὶ δίκασον τὴν δίκην μου is a quite literal translation (formally/syntctically) of וְרִיבָה רִיבִי, including the use of the two cognates. The vav consecutive here indicates to me that this is an explanation of שָׁפְטֵנִי/Κρῖνόν με, a form of parallelism here used epexegetically. Context again indicates the request for a favorable judgment, and δικάζειν δίκην, to judge a case, certainly may bear the sense assigned by the translators by way of contextual pragmatic extension.

That the NETS translators deliberately may have kept the wording of the NRSV here only shows that they felt the English text adequately captured the intent of the LXX translators vis-a-vis the Hebrew.

***

As far as the idea that the presence of a "thee" or "thou" every now and then can make something archaic English, I also object. It's window dressing and confuses no one. Notice how Brenton has cleaned up the more difficult "which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt" of the KJV/Douay-Rheims. But even that would hardly deserve a word like "archaic."

The people who could be confused by Brenton's window dressing, or even by the more difficult KJV version of this verse, would also have trouble parsing a letter from their doctor. And they would certainly would never be caught reading something as esoteric as a translation of the Septuagint.


Nobody is going to be confused by Brenton's archaisms, but the question is whether or not the LXX translators used archaisms in their rendering of the Hebrew and whether they intended audience would have felt that the second person forms were archaisms. I suspect you know the answer to that one. It's also, BTW, not "every now and then." Brenton does it consistently throughout the Psalms and elsewhere in his translation. This is not only not faithful to the original but adds a layer for the English reader that was not present for the original audience.
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Re: Jeremiah in LXX vs. Hebrew Bible

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:47 am

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:Jobs/Silva are not going to help you with Greek Jeremiah . It's pretty hard to conceptualize a general introduction to what is popularly referred to as the Septuagint. Peter J. Williams argues that the term Septuagint has no referent[1].


The NETS translators were quite well aware of this and address it in the first paragraph of their introduction. Jobs/Silva is going to give a good overall introduction and framework better to understand the LXX.
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Re: Jeremiah in LXX vs. Hebrew Bible

Postby jeidsath » Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:46 pm

Well, as I said in my first post, the decision to use the NRSV gets us closer to the translator (perhaps), but farther away from the reader. A reader of the NETS translation will learn relatively little about how the text was interpreted by the early Jews and the earliest Christians, including the writers of the NT, or how it was read by the Greek fathers. Instead he will receive very dubious third-hand intelligence about the operations of the original translators for which he would be better off learning Greek and Hebrew to understand.
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Re: Jeremiah in LXX vs. Hebrew Bible

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:34 pm

jeidsath wrote:Well, as I said in my first post, the decision to use the NRSV gets us closer to the translator (perhaps), but farther away from the reader. A reader of the NETS translation will learn relatively little about how the text was interpreted by the early Jews and the earliest Christians, including the writers of the NT, or how it was read by the Greek fathers. Instead he will receive very dubious third-hand intelligence about the operations of the original translators for which he would be better off learning Greek and Hebrew to understand.


Ipse dixit. For those interested in the translators' opinion on the subject:

http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/nets/edition/ ... t-nets.pdf

starting at p. xiv.
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Re: Jeremiah in LXX vs. Hebrew Bible

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:38 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:OK, thanks. The introduction to NETS Jeremiah was a bit over my head, since for a start I don't know Hebrew. Is there anything more appropriate to a lay person?


I went looking for something easier and generally found just the opposite. The introduction to NETS Jeremiah employs some technical jargon, but it's a breath of fresh air by comparison to the 19th-early 20th Century works on Jeremiah from frameworks like source criticism and form criticism, e.g. Sigmund Mowinckel, Hermann Gunkel. I recall you read Eduard Fraenkel while working through Agamemnon, this is the same sort of subject. There is no easy way into it. Emmanuel Tov has published a number of very readable works on the so called "Septuagint" and textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible. Tov is the guy to read.

Here's a very short treatment.
hermeneutics stackexchange
https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/ ... iah-relate

This article talks about stuff that was already very old news when I was in school 40 years ago.

TEXT AND REDACTION IN JEREMIAH'S
ORACLES AGAINST THE NATIONS
James W. Watts
http://jameswwatts.net/Jer-oafn.htm
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Re: Jeremiah in LXX vs. Hebrew Bible

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Mon Dec 04, 2017 5:35 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:Is NETS considered the standard translation of LXX, or are there other competing translations? The very existence of NETS was unknown to me until now, so you'll have to bear with my ignorance...


Depends on who you ask and where you are from. I seem to recall, Albert Pietersma was the general editor and also translated the psalms. The decision to model the translation after the NRSV is a reflection the status of the RSV in North American academic biblical studies. The translation philosophy of the RSV was formal correspondence. That translation philosophy works better in technical biblical studies publications. Obviously, if you are doing serious exegesis you don't want to be using a paraphrase. The NRSV editors claim that it reflects "progress" made in Biblical philology. Bruce Metzger's explanation of the gender-neutral language in the preface was not a crowning achievement of his career. I frequently use the digital NRSV in parallel with the Hebrew Old Testament. I've learned to factor out the gender-neutral language. Obviously there are plenty of other choices NASB-1971, RSV.

In other parts of the world the Greek Old Testament is approached in a very different manner. It is difficult to summarize this difference since I am from North America. The attitude that prevails in places like U-Penn or Toronto cannot be taken for granted among the Eastern Orthodox in other regions of the world. The attitude reflected in the preface of NETS is not universally shared even in the English-Speaking World. I generally don't bother reading NETS, I display the Hebrew and Greek in parallel columns. StepBible https://www.stepbible.org/?q=version=LX ... lay=COLUMN

Apparently there is no Finnish version of the Greek Old Testament. Here is an opportunity seldom encountered in the English speaking world. I have a hard copy of Charles Thomson's 1808 translation of the Greek Old Testament. Published by Falcon Wing press.
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Re: Jeremiah in LXX vs. Hebrew Bible

Postby Markos » Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:08 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
jeidsath wrote:It's nice to have the NETS, and I've used it several times for a crib, but I don't really agree with their decision to base it on the NRSV. I've run into places in the Psalms where the translation wouldn't be (in my perhaps ignorant opinion) the first thing that a Greek reader would think, unless he were already acquainted with the Hebrew version (I assume). This maybe gets us closer to the translators, but farther from the readers who used the text.

Interesting. Examples?

It's an open question. When the hearers heard LXX Psalm 1:1a

Μακάριος ἀνήρ, ὃς οὐκ ἐπορεύθη ἐν βουλῇ ἀσεβῶν...

did they hear something like

Blessed is the man who has not walked in the counsel of the ungodly...(Brenton)
(εὐλογημένος ἐστὶν ὁ μὴ βεβηκὼς ἐν τῇ τῶν ἀθέων βουλῇ...)

or more like

Happy the man who did not walk by the counsel of the impious...(NETS)
(ὄλβιος ὁ ἄνθρωπος ὃς οὐ περιεπάτησεν τῇ βουλῇ τῶν ἀνοσίων...)

And compare Apollinarus' Epic version:

Ὄλβιος, ὅς τις ἀνὴρ ἀγορὴν δ' οὐ νίσσετ' ἀλιτρῶν...

https://ia800304.us.archive.org/14/item ... olrich.pdf
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Re: Jeremiah in LXX vs. Hebrew Bible

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:22 pm

The highlighted text caught my eye. Found an undergraduate paper by Robert Krishna PhD that addresses this variant. Reading difficult texts you discover other people who are interested and unearth all manner exegetical curiosities.

Jer. 27:16 ἐξολεθρεύσατε σπέρμα ἐκ Βαβυλῶνος, κατέχοντα δρέπανον ἐν καιρῷ θερισμοῦ· ἀπὸ προσώπου μαχαίρας Ἑλληνικῆς ἕκαστος εἰς τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ ἀποστρέψουσιν καὶ ἕκαστος εἰς τὴν γῆν αὐτοῦ φεύξεται.

Some texts reflect the different situations or historical perspectives of the two editions. Thus, twice (LXX 26:16, 27:16), the LXX of the Oracles Against the Nations has  πὸ προσώπου μαχαίρας Ἑλληνικῆς (before the face of the Greek Sword), where the MT (46:16, 50:16) has “before the face of the destroying sword.” מפְנִֵ֖י†חֵֶ֥רֶב†הַיּוֹנָהֵֽׁ†. This could again be a misreading of theHebrew יווני†in place of ינה†,19 but even if this is interpreted as a mistake, for those Jewish, and later Christian, congregations that read the Hebrew in this way, there is a significant difference in perspective. The Hebrew suggests that both Egypt and Babylon will flee before the destroying sword, matching the sword that befalls Jerusalem (e.g. MT 21:7). The Septuagintal reading suggests a Danielic (or a proto-Danielic) perspective (cf. Dan 7-8), where this revenge is taken by the overthrow of empires by the Greeks, not themselves saviours, but part of a continuing chain of kingdoms that rise up against God. In a similar vein, LXX 28:28 makes the king of the Medes the Lord of all the earth (τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Μήδων καὶ πάσης τῆς γῆς).20


Condemnation and Restoration in the Septuagint and Masoretic Texts of Jeremiah (Undergraduate Essay)
Robert Krishna University of Sydney
https://sydney.academia.edu/RobertKrishna
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Re: Jeremiah in LXX vs. Hebrew Bible

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:14 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:In other parts of the world the Greek Old Testament is approached in a very different manner. It is difficult to summarize this difference since I am from North America. The attitude that prevails in places like U-Penn or Toronto cannot be taken for granted among the Eastern Orthodox in other regions of the world. The attitude reflected in the preface of NETS is not universally shared even in the English-Speaking World. I generally don't bother reading NETS, I display the Hebrew and Greek in parallel columns. StepBible https://www.stepbible.org/?q=version=LX ... lay=COLUMN

Apparently there is no Finnish version of the Greek Old Testament. Here is an opportunity seldom encountered in the English speaking world. I have a hard copy of Charles Thomson's 1808 translation of the Greek Old Testament. Published by Falcon Wing press.


And I'll lay good money that the NIV is not the preferred translation in France. I'm not sure about the Eastern Orthodox in general, but for the Greek Orthodox, the LXX is canonical, so yes, they have quite a different perspective.
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Re: Jeremiah in LXX vs. Hebrew Bible

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:27 pm

Markos wrote:It's an open question. When the hearers heard LXX Psalm 1:1a

Μακάριος ἀνήρ, ὃς οὐκ ἐπορεύθη ἐν βουλῇ ἀσεβῶν...

did they hear something like

Blessed is the man who has not walked in the counsel of the ungodly...(Brenton)
(εὐλογημένος ἐστὶν ὁ μὴ βεβηκὼς ἐν τῇ τῶν ἀθέων βουλῇ...)

or more like

Happy the man who did not walk by the counsel of the impious...(NETS)
(ὄλβιος ὁ ἄνθρωπος ὃς οὐ περιεπάτησεν τῇ βουλῇ τῶν ἀνοσίων...)

And compare Apollinarus' Epic version:

Ὄλβιος, ὅς τις ἀνὴρ ἀγορὴν δ' οὐ νίσσετ' ἀλιτρῶν...

https://ia800304.us.archive.org/14/item ... olrich.pdf


Good observation. That μακάριος means something more than the English "happy" is something that would become clear, I think, to any reader going through the Psalms, but might not be evident to a first time reader looking at 1:1. It would pick up the richer connotations implied by אַשְׁרֵי, ashre, from pragmatic extension (that this is the way those familiar with the Greek OT understood it, just compare the use of the word in the beatitudes, and Jerome's rendering beatus). Even reading in English, our initial understanding of a literary text does not always bring the fullest or best understanding of the text.

As for Apollinarus, if I ever knew of his "Metaphrasis" I had forgotten about it. Thanks!
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Semper melius Latine sonat...
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