Psalm 92: 3-4 LXX

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Psalm 92: 3-4 LXX

Post by cgichard » Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:05 am

The words ἀροῦσιν οἱ ποταμοὶ ἐπιτρίψεις αὐτῶν are found only in the Greek Psalterion and the Codex Alexandrinos. I am struglling with how to translate ἐπιτρίψεις. As the second pers. sing. future of ἐπιτρίβω or the plural of the noun ἐπιτρίψις?
If the latter, then αὐτῶν makes sense with οἱ ποταμοὶ as the subject. But the Apostolic Bible Polyglot interlinear takes ἐπιτρίψεις as a verb and translates "you shall wear them away". But why then the genitive αὐτῶν.

And is ἀροῦσιν here meaning lift up (transitive) or 'swell'?

Most commentators treat the rivers as referring to the Apostles as in Ps 45:4 (LXX), and /or link to John 7:38. But why then would they be crushed or worn away?

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Re: Psalm 92: 3-4 LXX

Post by jeidsath » Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:35 pm

ἀροῦσιν is a 3rd. plural verb going with a plural subject, οἱ ποταμοί. ἐπιτρίψεις must be an accusative noun serving as the direct object of ἀροῦσιν.

The makers of your interlinear may have been confused by the vocative in the beginning of the verse. Rahlfs gives (with your version as an alternate down in the apparatus):
ἐπῆραν οἱ ποταμοί, κύριε,
ἐπῆραν οἱ ποταμοὶ φωνὰς αὐτῶν
However the vocative κύριε is not indicating the subject, but instead the one being addressed.

As an alternative to an interlinear -- especially one with such errors, though hopefully this is an anomaly -- for reading the LXX Psalms, I would heartily recommend Ross's new "Septuaginta: A Reader's Edition".

(ἐπιτρίψεις strikes me as much better poetry than the pedestrian φωνὰς, btw)
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Re: Psalm 92: 3-4 LXX

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:29 pm

jeidsath wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:35 pm

(ἐπιτρίψεις strikes me as much better poetry than the pedestrian φωνὰς, btw)
However, it is what the Hebrew has:

נָשְׂא֤וּ נְהָר֨וֹת׀ יְֽהוָ֗ה נָשְׂא֣וּ נְהָר֣וֹת קוֹלָ֑ם יִשְׂא֖וּ נְהָר֣וֹת דָּכְיָֽם

It's a text critical issue with the LXX, apparently. The Hebrew also has דָּכְיָֽם, "their pounding" of which ἐπιτρίψεις is clearly a rendering. So at some point in the manuscript history something was lost...
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Re: Psalm 92: 3-4 LXX

Post by cgichard » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:32 am

Thanks, Barry & jeidsath.
I do have the Lanier & Ross Septuaginata, but it doesn't have this variant. I have to include it because my version is of the Apostolic Psalterion for church use.
But can anyone suggest a better word for ἐπιτρίψεις than 'pounding'? How can οἱ ποταμοί raise/lift up (ἀροῦσιν) 'pounding'? Could ἀροῦσιν mean 'increase' here.
Could ἐπιτρίψεις αὐτῶν mean 'their worn-down water-courses'?

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Re: Psalm 92: 3-4 LXX

Post by jeidsath » Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:28 pm

I looked up Psalm 92 on Wikisource, and it appears that this text is additional to verse 3, not a replacement for the second half.

Ο ΚΥΡΙΟΣ ἐβασίλευσεν, εὐπρέπειαν ἐνεδύσατο, ἐνεδύσατο Κύριος δύναμιν καὶ περιεζώσατο· καὶ γὰρ ἐστερέωσε τὴν οἰκουμένην, ἥτις οὐ σαλευθήσεται. ἕτοιμος ὁ θρόνος σου ἀπὸ τότε, ἀπὸ τοῦ αἰῶνος σὺ εἶ. ἐπῆραν οἱ ποταμοί, Κύριε, ἐπῆραν οἱ ποταμοὶ φωνὰς αὐτῶν· ἀροῦσιν οἱ ποταμοὶ ἐπιτρίψεις αὐτῶν. ἀπὸ φωνῶν ὑδάτων πολλῶν θαυμαστοὶ οἱ μετεωρισμοὶ τῆς θαλάσσης, θαυμαστὸς ἐν ὑψηλοῖς ὁ Κύριος. τὰ μαρτύριά σου ἐπιστώθησαν σφόδρα· τῷ οἴκῳ σου πρέπει ἁγίασμα, Κύριε, εἰς μακρότητα ἡμερῶν.

ἐπίτριψις is formed from ἐπιτρίβω. ἐπιτρίψεις is maybe "wearings away". I think that it's a fair exercise to go by the Greek without the Hebrew, and put ourselves in the reader's shoes (that is, not the original translator's shoes, who was perhaps transliterating as well as translating here). Looking at the context like φωνὰς αὐτῶν, and φωνῶν ὑδάτων πολλῶν, it is talking about the slaps of waves against the shore that wear away the earth and make noise. The mental image most likely to be conjured in the Greek reader's mind, I think, would be waves being lifted up to strike. Even taking it out of context -- which would be wrong -- and just looking at ἀροῦσιν οἱ ποταμοὶ ἐπιτρίψεις αὐτῶν, I still think that ἀροῦσιν means that you have the image of waves rising up, not of other wearings away of a river (water courses).
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Re: Psalm 92: 3-4 LXX

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:28 pm

jeidsath wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:28 pm
I looked up Psalm 92 on Wikisource, and it appears that this text is additional to verse 3, not a replacement for the second half.

Ο ΚΥΡΙΟΣ ἐβασίλευσεν, εὐπρέπειαν ἐνεδύσατο, ἐνεδύσατο Κύριος δύναμιν καὶ περιεζώσατο· καὶ γὰρ ἐστερέωσε τὴν οἰκουμένην, ἥτις οὐ σαλευθήσεται. ἕτοιμος ὁ θρόνος σου ἀπὸ τότε, ἀπὸ τοῦ αἰῶνος σὺ εἶ. ἐπῆραν οἱ ποταμοί, Κύριε, ἐπῆραν οἱ ποταμοὶ φωνὰς αὐτῶν· ἀροῦσιν οἱ ποταμοὶ ἐπιτρίψεις αὐτῶν. ἀπὸ φωνῶν ὑδάτων πολλῶν θαυμαστοὶ οἱ μετεωρισμοὶ τῆς θαλάσσης, θαυμαστὸς ἐν ὑψηλοῖς ὁ Κύριος. τὰ μαρτύριά σου ἐπιστώθησαν σφόδρα· τῷ οἴκῳ σου πρέπει ἁγίασμα, Κύριε, εἰς μακρότητα ἡμερῶν.

ἐπίτριψις is formed from ἐπιτρίβω. ἐπιτρίψεις is maybe "wearings away". I think that it's a fair exercise to go by the Greek without the Hebrew, and put ourselves in the reader's shoes (that is, not the original translator's shoes, who was perhaps transliterating as well as translating here). Looking at the context like φωνὰς αὐτῶν, and φωνῶν ὑδάτων πολλῶν, it is talking about the slaps of waves against the shore that wear away the earth and make noise. The mental image most likely to be conjured in the Greek reader's mind, I think, would be waves being lifted up to strike. Even taking it out of context -- which would be wrong -- and just looking at ἀροῦσιν οἱ ποταμοὶ ἐπιτρίψεις αὐτῶν, I still think that ἀροῦσιν means that you have the image of waves rising up, not of other wearings away of a river (water courses).
There is no transliteration at all in the text of Psalm 92 LXX. The Gottingen editon of the LXX does not have the text as you have it above, which appears to be an attempt at a closer translation of the Hebrew. ἐπιτρίψις is rare, practically a hapax. Other than that, I agree with this. It appears to refer to the pounding of waves on the shore or banks. If both clauses were original, it would reflect the Hebrew (sorry, impossible to ignore the original in translation literature), and so be parallelism essentially restating the same thought for rhetorical emphasis.
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Re: Psalm 92: 3-4 LXX

Post by jeidsath » Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:57 pm

"Transliteration" as in "Hebrew words being transferred over one by one to Greek equivalents" rather than translation of complete expressions. Maybe I'm grasping for a different word than "transliteration" which is usually (always?) about sounds. Translexication?

ποταμός would be an example of the strange word choice here that I think wouldn't happen if he were translating sentences rather than individual words. And ἐπίτριψις.
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Re: Psalm 92: 3-4 LXX

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:21 pm

jeidsath wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:57 pm
"Transliteration" as in "Hebrew words being transferred over one by one to Greek equivalents" rather than translation of complete expressions. Maybe I'm grasping for a different word than "transliteration" which is usually (always?) about sounds. Translexication?

ποταμός would be an example of the strange word choice here that I think wouldn't happen if he were translating sentences rather than individual words. And ἐπίτριψις.
From the Introduction to the Psalms in the NETS translation:

"There can be no doubt that the NETS paradigm of the Greek as an interlinear translation of the Hebrew is applicable to the book of Psalms. That is to say, the linguistic relationship of the Greek text to the Hebrew text is one of dependence and subservience."

http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/nets/edition/24-ps-nets.pdf

However, I wonder if ποταμός can have a wider range of meaning in later Greek? I'm thinking of Matt 7:25:

καὶ κατέβη ἡ βροχὴ καὶ ἦλθον οἱ ποταμοὶ καὶ ἔπνευσαν οἱ ἄνεμοι καὶ προσέπεσαν τῇ οἰκίᾳ ἐκείνῃ...
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Re: Psalm 92: 3-4 LXX

Post by mwh » Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:21 pm

As I understand it, the Septuagint was produced for Jews who knew Greek and not Hebrew, and was subsequently used by Greek-speaking Christians and others. So it stood on its own, independent of the Hebrew, and Joel is right to approach the Greek without the Hebrew.
If we’re interested in the Greek as a Ptolemaic translation (and it’s very interesting as such) of course we need the original Hebrew, but let's not forget that the Greek was self-standing.

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Re: Psalm 92: 3-4 LXX

Post by cgichard » Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:16 am

This is all very interesting and helpful. In this case, given the priority the Orthodox give to the LXX, I'm with mwh and jeidsath in taking the Greek as it stands, without reference to the Hebrew. The Matt. 9: 25, 27 ref. suggests that ποταμοὶ can mean rivers in flood, when they rise 'with the sound of many waters'. Can 'ἀπὸ have such a meaning? If yes, then I would punctuate with a full-stop between πολλῶν and θαυμαστοὶ.

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Re: Psalm 92: 3-4 LXX

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:26 pm

mwh wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:21 pm
As I understand it, the Septuagint was produced for Jews who knew Greek and not Hebrew, and was subsequently used by Greek-speaking Christians and others. So it stood on its own, independent of the Hebrew, and Joel is right to approach the Greek without the Hebrew.
If we’re interested in the Greek as a Ptolemaic translation (and it’s very interesting as such) of course we need the original Hebrew, but let's not forget that the Greek was self-standing.
Well, that's common wisdom, and largely true, but the data doesn't always comfortably fit the assumption. For example:

καὶ εἶπεν Γεδεών Διὰ τοῦτο ἐν τῷ δοῦναι Κύριον τὸν Ζέβεε καὶ Σελμανὰ ἐν χειρί μου, καὶ ἐγὼ ἀλοήσω τὰς σάρκας ὑμῶν ἐν ταῖς ἀκάνθαις τῆς ἐρήμου καὶ ἐν ταῖς ἁβαρκηνείν...

This would give any Greek speaker without Hebrew pause to wonder what exactly ἁβαρκηνείν means (and there, Joel, is some actual transliteration for you). In Kingdoms (Samuel and Kings in EV's), one finds more such scattered instances as well as various Hebraisms due to the literalistic approach used by the translators.

Determining how the Greek would have been read by those without any Hebrew is primary, but there are times when one has to wonder how a Greek speaker could have understood the text in a world without the reference works and resources we so enjoy.

As for the Greek as translation literature, fascinating subject, with lots of layers that have to be considered.

Above the use of the LXX by the Greek Orthodox was mentioned. As I recall, the version they use is a late Byzantine recension which smooths out a lot of the difficulties which would have confronted ancient readers of the text.
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Re: Psalm 92: 3-4 LXX

Post by jeidsath » Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:55 pm

@Barry
Determining how the Greek would have been read by those without any Hebrew is primary, but there are times when one has to wonder how a Greek speaker could have understood the text in a world without the reference works and resources we so enjoy.
Well, not having any Hebrew, I would think that ταῖς ἁβαρκηνείν is some Hebrew name for flora/fauna/landscape of the desert and physically suited for metaphorical threshing.

@CG

ἀπὸ can't mean "with" there. If this were me, I'd read through the LXX Psalms a few times, and probably the rest of the LXX at least once or twice, before putting pen to paper for any sort of translation.

However, it's a decent question where the stop would go if it weren't indicated.

Image

Here is the Sinaiticus manuscript, from the 4th century. A later hand has added the αρουσιν...αυτων line on the left. Where would a reader ignorant of the basis of the text have included απο φωνων υδατων πολλων? With επηραν (or αρουσιν), or with θαυμαστοι?

Obviously ἀπὸ can be understood physically with (επ-)ἀείρειν. But the physical description is a bit of a muddle. What is being lifted away from what by what?

ἀπὸ can go with θαυμαστοι just as well. Here's Plutarch, for example: ἀλλὰ γὰρ ἐκεῖνος οὐκ ἀπὸ τούτων μόνον θαυμαστὸς ἦν. And I think that it makes much more sense to take it that way, and that even a Greek reader ignorant of the Hebrew would have put the full stop before ἀπὸ φωνῶν ὑδάτων πολλῶν, and not after.
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Re: Psalm 92: 3-4 LXX

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Wed Sep 18, 2019 4:33 pm

Nice introduction to the LXX by Emanuel Tov:

http://www.accordancefiles1.com/products/introlxx1.pdf
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Re: Psalm 92: 3-4 LXX

Post by jeidsath » Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:46 pm

jeidsath wrote: I would think that ταῖς ἁβαρκηνείν is some Hebrew name for flora/fauna/landscape of the desert and physically suited for metaphorical threshing.
From Barry's link,
Emanuel Tov wrote:In rare cases they left words withouttranslation, representing them with Greek characters, for example barqanim (briers?)represented as “borkonnim” in Judg. 8:7, 16.
So it's "briers" then. There you go. No Hebrew necessary. My tranquil sea of ignorance can continue its rest untroubled.
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Re: Psalm 92: 3-4 LXX

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Wed Sep 18, 2019 6:21 pm

jeidsath wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:46 pm
jeidsath wrote: I would think that ταῖς ἁβαρκηνείν is some Hebrew name for flora/fauna/landscape of the desert and physically suited for metaphorical threshing.
From Barry's link,
Emanuel Tov wrote:In rare cases they left words withouttranslation, representing them with Greek characters, for example barqanim (briers?)represented as “borkonnim” in Judg. 8:7, 16.
So it's "briers" then. There you go. No Hebrew necessary. My tranquil sea of ignorance can continue its rest untroubled.
You're welcome, and no extra charge. I didn't even know that was in the article... :D
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Re: Psalm 92: 3-4 LXX

Post by mwh » Wed Sep 18, 2019 9:50 pm

Barry, thanks for the links, but do you not realize that Joel was correcting you? Examples like this don’t compromise the “assumption” (as you strangely termed it) that the Greek was self-standing. Certainly it was a bit weird, but It was understood (or not) without the Hebrew, from which it had been immediately severed. Much the same could be said of English translations of the Psalms.

Naturally Tov (like others) doesn’t address the issue of how it was read, though that’s at least as important as figuring out how the translators went about their work (which is pretty easy to see, when all’s said and done). Fixating on the Hebrew has its downside.

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Re: Psalm 92: 3-4 LXX

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:04 pm

mwh wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 9:50 pm
Barry, thanks for the links, but do you not realize that Joel was correcting you? Examples like this don’t compromise the “assumption” (as you strangely termed it) that the Greek was self-standing. Certainly it was a bit weird, but It was understood (or not) without the Hebrew, from which it had been immediately severed.

Naturally Tov (like others) doesn’t address the issue of how it was read, though that’s at least as important as figuring out how the translators went about their work (which is pretty easy to see, when all’s said and done). Fixating on the Hebrew has its downside.
Regardless of perception, I was largely agreeing with Joel all along, but providing data better to nuance the discussion. The article was just for general background reference. Fixating on the Hebrew? Well, if taking into account the source language is fixating, then I suppose translations of Homer are just fine, and we don't have to fixate on the Greek. If you had better acquaintance with LXX studies, I doubt that you would make such a claim.
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Re: Psalm 92: 3-4 LXX

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Tue Sep 24, 2019 1:50 am

Here is another example (and there are more than a few) where a Greek reader with no prior exposure to the LXX might find the Greek a bit obscure, 2 Kgdms 17:19.

καὶ ἔλαβεν ἡ γυνὴ καὶ διεπέτασεν τὸ ἐπικάλυμμα ἐπὶ πρόσωπον τοῦ λάκκου καὶ ἔψυξεν ἐπʼ αὐτῷ ἀραφώθ, καὶ οὐκ ἐγνώσθη ῥῆμα...
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Re: Psalm 92: 3-4 LXX

Post by mwh » Tue Sep 24, 2019 2:52 am

Barry, What is your point? And why do you add “with no prior exposure to the LXX”? No-one’s disputing that readers (or auditors) would have found the LXX obscure in places. They dealt with it. The Greek was all a bit weird, after all, but as I said, ”It was understood (or not) without the Hebrew.”

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Re: Psalm 92: 3-4 LXX

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Tue Sep 24, 2019 2:28 pm

mwh wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 2:52 am
Barry, What is your point? And why do you add “with no prior exposure to the LXX”? No-one’s disputing that readers (or auditors) would have found the LXX obscure in places. They dealt with it. The Greek was all a bit weird, after all, but as I said, ”It was understood (or not) without the Hebrew.”
Simply adding more data for consideration.

1) It's the "or not" that I find interesting, because one of my concerns is how the text would have been understood particularly as it became "the Bible" for the Christians, and the text would be heard/read by people who really had never heard anything like it before. The text I cited above includes a transliterated Hebrew word (almost a hapax) which the translators themselves didn't know, and so transliterated.

2) "No prior exposure to the LXX" -- what I should have said is "No prior exposure to the LXX or to the target community of the translation." The assumption is that even in Greek speaking Jewish communities before the production of the LXX that a process of translation and adaptation of the Tanakh (or what would become what we call the Tanakh) was taking place. This process can be observed even before Greek became prevalent in the ANE:

Neh 8:8 They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. (ESV)

פּרשׁ, translated above as "gave the sense," is often considered to include translation or paraphrase, since by this time the community is considered to have been primarily Aramaic speaking. The LXX itself most likely found its genesis (!) in the production of such ad hoc translations and paraphrases over a period of time, with the result that the target audience of the translation would have had a traditional background and framework to understand the text.

Translation literature suggests an entire set of question which are not relevant to original composition. Some of us find those questions interesting. It's also fine that others do not.
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Re: Psalm 92: 3-4 LXX

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Tue Oct 01, 2019 1:29 pm

Here is another fun example of the "inter-linear" nature of the LXX in 2 Kingdoms:

20:17 καὶ προσήγγισεν πρὸς αὐτήν, καὶ εἶπεν ἡ γυνή Εἰ σὺ εἶ Ἰωάβ; ὁ δὲ εἶπεν Ἐγώ. εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ Ἄκουσον τοὺς λόγους τῆς δούλης σου· καὶ εἶπεν Ἰωάβ Ἀκούω ἐγώ εἰμι.

Ἀκούω ἐγώ εἰμι, very good Greek not, but a very wooden rendering of the Hebrew וַיֹּ֖אמֶר שֹׁמֵ֥עַ אָנֹֽכִי. For the translator the correspondence for אָנֹֽכִי is apparently always ἐγώ εἰμι, and that's how he's going to render it! :shock: Of course, אָנֹֽכִי does not always render "I am" (though it often does), but is simply an emphatic form of the pronoun, used here to clarify שֹׁמֵ֥עַ, the qal participle, as a periphrasis for the finite verb.
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