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Author Topic: Hebrew originals of deutero-canonical books?  (Read 566 times) Average Rating: 0
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Remora
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« on: May 20, 2013, 08:17:38 PM »

I just recently bought a Septuagint and I'm really happy I can read all of the deutero-canonical books in Koine Greek now. But there's one thing I wonder.

Some of these deutero-canonical books (or most? or all?) were written in Hebrew originally, and translated into Greek. And apparently some of the Hebrew originals were lost, but later rediscovered. But I can't seem to find out exactly which books have Hebrew versions, and whether the Hebrew texts are full books or fragmentary, and whether they are published or not. And there seems to be disagreement over which books were originally written in Greek.

So it'd be awesome to know,

1. Which deutero-canonical books (if any) were probably written in Greek originally?
2. Which books (if any) survive with a complete Hebrew text?
3. Which books (if any) have fragments of Hebrew attributed to them?

I just wanted to feel cool reading the Greek version of something that only survives in Greek. I don't know any Hebrew yet, though.

Thanks!
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It is a small fish, about six inches long, but when it attaches to a ship the ship cannot move, but seems rooted in the sea, despite raging storms and gales. This fish is also called "delay" (mora) because it causes ships to stand still. 
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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2013, 08:50:28 PM »

Hi Remora.

In my opinion, a little Hebrew is worth studying to read this stuff.

From wikipedia:

Quote
Fragments of three deuterocanonical books have been found among the Dead Sea scrolls found at Qumran, in addition to several partial copies of I Enoch and Jubilees from the Ethiopic deuterocanon. Sirach, whose Hebrew text was already known from the Cairo Geniza, has been found in two scrolls (2QSir or 2Q18, 11QPs_a or 11Q5) in Hebrew. Another Hebrew scroll of Sirach has been found in Masada (MasSir).[7]:597 The Book of Tobit has been found in Qumran in four scrolls written in Aramaic and in one written in Hebrew.[7]:636 The Letter of Jeremiah (or Baruch chapter 6) has been found in cave 7 (7Q5) in Greek.[7]:628 It has been theorized by recent scholars[8] that the Qumran library was not entirely produced at Qumran, but may have included part of the library of the Jerusalem Temple, that may have been hidden in the caves for safekeeping at the time the Temple was destroyed by Romans in 70 AD.
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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2013, 04:42:33 AM »

First Maccabees and Tobit I believe had hebrew originals. Maybe wisdom of sirach did as well.
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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2013, 05:26:46 AM »

Only the Wisdom of Sirach was written originally in Hebrew and fragments of the original have been recovered from the Cairo Genizah or Qumran. We knew about this from the prologue:

Quote
Many great teachings have been given to us through the Law and the Prophets and the othersi that followed them, and for these we should praise Israel for instruction and wisdom. Now, those who read the scriptures must not only themselves understand them, but must also as lovers of learning be able through the spoken and written word to help the outsiders. So my grandfather Jesus, who had devoted himself especially to the reading of the Law and the Prophets and the other books of our ancestors, and had acquired considerable proficiency in them, was himself also led to write something pertaining to instruction and wisdom, so that by becoming familiar also with his bookj those who love learning might make even greater progress in living according to the law.

You are invited therefore to read it with goodwill and attention, and to be indulgent in cases where, despite our diligent labor in translating, we may seem to have rendered some phrases imperfectly. For what was originally expressed in Hebrew does not have exactly the same sense when translated into another language. Not only this book, but even the Law itself, the Prophecies, and the rest of the books differ not a little when read in the original.

When I came to Egypt in the thirty-eighth year of the reign of Euergetes and stayed for some time, I found opportunity for no little instruction. It seemed highly necessary that I should myself devote some diligence and labor to the translation of this book. During that time I have applied my skill day and night to complete and publish the book for those living abroad who wished to gain learning and are disposed to live according to the law.


St. Jerome said he translated Judith and Tobit from Aramaic. The Books of Maccabees were written in Greek - the influence of Hellenistic historiography is quite visible. The additions to Daniel (e.g. the Canticle of the Three Young Men in the furnace) and Esther were probably also written in Greek, as well as the Wisdom of Solomon.

Interestingly, Josephus says that he wrote his work on the Jewish War in Aramaic (being intended for his fellow countrymen as pro-Roman propaganda) and then got help to translate it into Greek.
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Remora
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« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2013, 11:07:53 AM »

Thanks for the help! So if I would summarise, I guess Sirach was certainly originally written in Hebrew, Tobit and Judith may have been originally Aramaic if Jerome translated them from Aramaic, Tobit's been found in Aramaic and Hebrew fragments, and the rest were (probably) originally Greek?

I feel like I shouldn't be too quick to say that because we have only Greek texts for some of them, therefore they were originally written in Greek... but I don't want to stress the opposite either unless there's evidence.

Quote
The Books of Maccabees were written in Greek - the influence of Hellenistic historiography is quite visible.

I agree that there's clear influence of hellenistic historiography... but that by itself wouldn't mean we can be sure the Maccabees were written in Greek? There's a lot of influence of hellenistic historiography in works of early Latin historians (Ennius, Livy etc), but they still wrote in Latin. Maybe Hebrew writers could also be influenced by hellenistic genres but still write in Hebrew or Aramaic.

I wonder if there's any stylistic features that can point to whether 1 Maccabees (or any other deutero books) were translated from Hebrew/Aramaic? I seem to find an overabundance of the word "and" (kai) in 1 Maccabees, which my Greek teacher said was normally due to the fact that Hebrew used "and" a lot, and the translators wanted to render some Hebrew idioms in Greek. But I can't say for sure, not knowing Hebrew myself. In any case I won't argue for a Hebrew/Aramaic original too strongly if it turns out there's no evidence for it.

But thanks for your replies!
« Last Edit: May 22, 2013, 11:13:59 AM by Remora » Logged

It is a small fish, about six inches long, but when it attaches to a ship the ship cannot move, but seems rooted in the sea, despite raging storms and gales. This fish is also called "delay" (mora) because it causes ships to stand still. 
(Isidore of Seville, Etymologies, Book 12, 6:34)
Cyrillic
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« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2013, 12:13:44 PM »

IIRC I Maccabees had a Hebrew original, II Maccabees was originally in Greek. The latter is also more stylised which indicates Hellenic Paideia on the side of the author. III and IV Maccabees are even more clearly written by Hellenistic Jews since it leaves no rhetorical device unused.

« Last Edit: May 22, 2013, 12:18:20 PM by Cyrillic » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2013, 12:20:46 PM »

I just recently bought a Septuagint and I'm really happy I can read all of the deutero-canonical books in Koine Greek now. But there's one thing I wonder.

Which version, if I may ask?
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"But slay her he did not, for between dream and deed laws and practicalities remain"
-Willem Elschot, 'The Marriage'.
Remora
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« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2013, 03:56:24 AM »

Interesting, I did a bit more digging and it seems that the Catholic Encyclopedia speaks in favour of 1 maccabees being originally Hebrew. No fragments survive, but the witness of Jerome and the stylistic features suggest it was originally Hebrew. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09495a.htm

A few more articles, and it turns out that 2 Hebrew versions of Judith survive, but they're different lengths, and we can't be sure if either of them is actually the original. The writer of the article wants to say that the longer one is a version of the original, though. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08554a.htm

And apparently the original language of Baruch is up for question. Those who argue either for a Greek or a Hebrew original both claim that the linguistic features are on their own side. No Hebrew version survives, but the marginal note in a manuscript apparently alludes to a Hebrew version at the time of the commentator. It is a bit difficult to argue that this Hebrew version would have been the original, but it might have been. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02319c.htm

I also found a table of the original languages of the deutero-canonicals, or at least one person's summary. I think I'd be more inclined to put Baruch in the Greek column.


http://catholic-legate.com/apologetics/scripture/Articles/AreDCBooksPartOfTheBible.aspx

I just recently bought a Septuagint and I'm really happy I can read all of the deutero-canonical books in Koine Greek now. But there's one thing I wonder.

Which version, if I may ask?

I actually bought two because the first one didn't have what I needed. The first one I bought was Brenton's Greek and English Septuagint, published 1970, but I was quite disappointed by that because it only had the Protestant Old Testament with none of the apocrypha (I was being cheap and ordered it second hand without checking its contents Sad ). But then I ordered in the Ralfs-Hanhart 'Septuaginta', revised edition (editio altera), two volumes in one, pub. 2006. And that one is great, a much handier size than the massive Brenton, and it has everything I wanted. It even includes all of Maccabees 1-4, Susanna and Psalm of Solomon. The pages are crisp and clear, the binding is lovely, and I really really like it. Cheesy
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It is a small fish, about six inches long, but when it attaches to a ship the ship cannot move, but seems rooted in the sea, despite raging storms and gales. This fish is also called "delay" (mora) because it causes ships to stand still. 
(Isidore of Seville, Etymologies, Book 12, 6:34)
Cyrillic
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« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2013, 06:26:22 AM »

But then I ordered in the Ralfs-Hanhart 'Septuaginta', revised edition (editio altera), two volumes in one, pub. 2006. And that one is great, a much handier size than the massive Brenton, and it has everything I wanted. It even includes all of Maccabees 1-4, Susanna and Psalm of Solomon. The pages are crisp and clear, the binding is lovely, and I really really like it. Cheesy

I like Rahlfs too.  Much better than Brenton's. If only there would be a nice and cheap pocket edition of the Göttingen Septuagint. But not all books are done yet and I don't think that a pocket edition will ever be released.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 06:26:37 AM by Cyrillic » Logged

"But slay her he did not, for between dream and deed laws and practicalities remain"
-Willem Elschot, 'The Marriage'.
Tags: Apocrypha deutero-canonical 
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